XhibitSignage 3.0 is coming to XhibitSignage.com, the Mvix cloud-based, content-rich digital signage software. Along with exciting new features, it also includes enhanced workflows to make managing digital signage even easier than it already is. Keep reading to learn more about these important upgrades.
How it all started
In 2014-15, XhibitSignage 2.0 was built as a UI makeover of our XhibitSignage platform but the fundamental technology stack remained unchanged at that time. A lot has changed in the last 12 years for the XhibitSignage platform. Our client preferences have changed, user experience requirements have changed, content requirements changed, and security requirements have changed as well.
In the last 10 years, we also integrated over a dozen 3rd party APIs for fetching dynamic data and content from 3rd party sources. These integrations were based on an older tech stack and therefore required constant maintenance and upkeep. Above all, our client-base had mushroomed and our server architecture was almost at 75-80% of its capacity. So in Q4 2018, we started brainstorming the idea of a new version of XhibitSignage.
What we decided moved towards
Several options were discussed: from a simple UI refresh (i.e. a new cost of paint ) all the way to a complete overhaul of the entire system. There were significantly fewer votes in favor of “complete overhaul” since the current solution was working perfectly.
Q1 2019, planning started for a “few minor enhancements” to the solution architecture and within a few weeks, there was ample consensus that a complete overhaul of the entire solution will not pm;y yield better results, it’ll serve our clients better in the long run.
The initial time and cost estimates for developing the application from scratch were mind-boggling and were quickly swept aside so as not to raise eyebrows. Then started the overwhelming task of
- what new technologies to adopt
- what old technologies to eliminate
Imagine building a new house and wondering if you should run CAT6 ethernet wires in the walls, fiber, go wireless (with extenders) or do nothing at all since 5G is around the corner.
If you think the selection of a tech stack was complicated, the issue got even more complicated when you have to find the skill sets and expertise in your existing team, requirements for training and acquiring additional development resources and expertise.
The NEW Tools
XhibitSignage 3.0 is built upon the latest and greatest tech stack on a custom-built UI designed by an award-winning designer.
A combination of Laravel (backend) and ReactJS (frontend), all packaged seamlessly via hundreds of RestAPIs and hosted on Amazon’s AWS for scalability and reliability.
The new server platform boasts of an enterprise-grade architecture utilizing Cloudfront CDN, Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) located inside of an Elastic Beanstalk (ELB) cluster along with a scalable number of EC2 instances.
All media is handled via a Relational Database Service (RDS) instance that provides us with a highly scalable/available database system. In front of this is an ElasticCache service that will do object-level caching on our database assets.
Logs, device health metrics and playback reports are all handled by DynamoDB Document Store.
The CMS-player communication is also revamped so as to allocate more resource-intensive tasks to the CMS server and allow the device to do the one thing that it should do – smooth, reliable playback.
JQuery is now legacy.
It is almost eliminated from the entire application.
I say “almost” because we have to leave some support for backward compatibility with existing devices out in the field.
Significant authentication techniques and new roles and permissions are designed to enhance overall system security.
All communication within the CMS and with the devices is all encrypted with 256-bit encryption. We integrate with OKTA for seamless SAML and AD integration.
The NEW Shiny Stuff
All New User Experience
Using words to describe “design” or “user interface” is irrelevant.
Judge for yourself:
What do you think?
All New Design Gallery
There has been almost unanimous client feedback that we should somehow combine our popular SignageCreator application inside of XhibitSignage.
It’s happening now with 3.0!
We have integrated all our 1000+ designs from SignageCreator in 3.0 with a new state-of-the-art design editor.
The editor’s interface is intuitive and reliable. It also opens doors for us to support hundreds of custom fonts, patterns, background, illustrations etc.
All New Content Media
Content has been the front-and-center of the Mvix brand since its inception.
In recent years we embarked on integrating 3rd party API data sources so as to bring dynamic data to the screens. We pushed this agenda further with XhibitSignage 3.0.
Few new content media have been integrated already and a few dozen more are in the pipeline. New content media includes:
- MS PowerBI
All New Responsive Visualizations (aka Themes)
In 2016 when we started introducing the concept of visualizations/themes for our content apps, we never knew how popular those will be. Clients loved it and wanted more.
In the current XhibitSignage 2.0, we have an average of 2-3 “themes” for a few content apps. XhibitSignage 3.0 is on steroids.
We made a commitment to provide 8-10 new and modern themes for over 22 content apps… and wait for it… these themes are fully responsive within template zones. This means that when you add the media to zones, it will fit perfectly.
All New Device Health Dashboard
One of the upsides of exhibiting at tradeshows is that you receive A LOT of unsolicited feedback. This new feature is a result of such consistent, never-ending, fundamentally-correct advice we received across market verticals.
It had to happen in 3.0.
To start, we are now collecting about 24 device parameters (health indicators) and reporting back to the CMS for diagnostics and preemptive troubleshooting. Enterprise-grade, it is!
We are super excited about this new version of our baby. Hope you will be too! Let us know if you would like to learn more about something specific and we will cover it in our next blog.