The idea is to have an ad system that is flexible, small, usable in many situations. But let us start at the beginning. In many stores you can see a big TV displaying ads of many kind, information regarding the store, weather information, etc. These are called ad systems (will be referred to in this article, at least) and they ought to bring information to the customers. Some of these are interactive, some are not.
Flexibility of Raspberry Pi
In the projects we did, we mostly used Raspberry Pi. This little thing is huge, when it comes to flexibility. It is a small computer that has its own Linux-based operating system. Thus, it has a lot of functionalities. Also, it is a microcontroller at the same time, having digital and analog inputs and outputs to handle all kinds of digital electronic communication. It is absolutely unbelievable how many things a Raspberry Pi can do.
So, we use this instrument to do our work. It has a fullHD display output, HDMI output, some of them even have TV output. It has almost everything a computer has and even more regarding electronics.
So, what kind of things can be done with a Raspberry Pi? We did a few projects that were interesting, so we will discuss those.
Ad system in a hotel
A hotel needed an information surface on every TV they had. They needed to display information about meals, opening hours, etc. Also, they needed the same thing to play a local radio. It sounded a bit hard at first, but we managed to come up with a simple solution. We used a Raspberry Pi. When the graphic interface starts, it loads a browser in full screen mode. In the browser there is a simple HTML and JS based website that displays the needed information, a slider, and also plays the radio using a JS plugin. The Raspberry also has a system that measures outside temperature, also displayed on the screen. On the TV output we have this displayed. Than this output is modulated together with the other TV stations, being the main channel loading when the TV is turned on.
In a store we used almost the same technique. It is a full-screen website loaded that displays information about the lates offers, etc. This system communicates with another RaspberryPi that measures height, barometric pressure and temperature. This data is used to display a weather station among the sliders, showing how the weather is and will be.
To create such an ad system, some basic things were used. We used the graphic interface of Raspbian (OS). We installed a webserver and added the PHP based Raspberry Sensor Server, a self-developed system for measuring and logging all kinds of sensor data. We created a HTML system to run in the browser as the main interface.
These systems can be combined as wanted, can be installed in small places, even on the back of the TV itself for sake of mobility.
Using Raspberry Pi as base for an Ad system gives us huge freedom. There are so many possibilities to explore that there are almost no challenges that could not be done. Using easy and simple technologies combined give us useful systems.