You can use Appspace to manage content and scheduling for digital signage display screens controlled by your organisational unit.

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Overview

Appspace is used to manage content on digital signage display screens across UQ.

Each digital signage display is connected to a digital media player, which communicates with Appspace to retrieve content and scheduling information.

The digital media players are grouped into network locations that are managed by particular UQ organisational units through Appspace.

Appspace content managers are able to control the content assigned to the digital media players in their network by adding content to the channels assigned to the players. Channels are a collection of media content, which can include still images, videos, web pages and live video streams. Content managers can schedule these content items to display over a specific date period and make other changes to keep their channels up to date.

Each network also contains a library, which allows content managers to store and share media content with other networks at UQ.

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Getting access to Appspace

You'll need to request access to be an Appspace content manager to be able to:

  • manage content on digital signage displays
  • monitor the status of digital media players.

Access can be granted by an existing user within the Appspace network location you wish to access, or you can request Appspace access (staff login required).

Inviting a new user to join Appspace

If you’re an existing Appspace content manager, you can invite new users to join your Appspace network location.

Before adding a new content manager, please consider that your network location may contain devices and content belonging to other organisational units within your faculty. If you're adding a new user to join your network location, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the new user understands which assets within the network location belong to your organisational unit.

To add a new content manager:

  1. In Appspace, select the ‘Users’ icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Select the blue ‘+ ADD’ option.
  3. Type the default UQ email address of the new staff content manager within the text field, then press the TAB key on your keyboard. This step can be repeated if you wish to add multiple new users at once.

Please note that the email address used must be the default UQ email address for the new content manager, rather than a preferred email alias. For example, use j.citizen9@uq.edu.au rather than john.citizen@faculty.uq.edu.au. Using the incorrect email address will mean that the new content manager will be able to log in successfully the very first time they access Appspace, but they will be unable to log in again once logged out.

If a red circle appears around the email address you are attempting to add, this indicates that the user is an existing Appspace content manger. Please refer to the section ‘Inviting an existing user to join your Appspace network location’.

  1. Select the blue ‘ADD’ option.
  2. Leave the ‘Phone Number’ field blank.
  3. Within the ‘User Group’ field, start typing the name of your network location, then click on the name of your network location once it appears within the search result. If you don’t know the name of your network location, it will be displayed within the ‘Home Location’ field (as per Step 9 below).
    If you are a member of multiple network locations and wish to add a new content manager to multiple locations, add all the required locations to the ‘User Group’ field.
  4. Set the ‘License’ field to ‘Platform’.
  5. Leave the ‘Role’ field blank.
  6. Make sure the ‘Home Location’ field is set to the network location to which the new content manager will be added.
  7. Select the blue ‘SEND INVITES’ option to issue an email invitation to the new content manager.
  8. Contact the new content manager to provide them with a link to UQ's Appspace user guide which covers all the basic operations of Appspace at UQ. It is strongly recommended that all new Appspace users read though this guide before making any changes within Appspace.

Inviting an existing user to join your Appspace network location

Appspace content managers can be members of multiple network locations, though only Appspace Administrators are able to grant additional access to an existing Appspace user. To submit a request for this change, request Appspace access (staff login required) and select the option ‘Changes to access for an existing Appspace user’. Make sure to include in the request:

  • the name of the existing user(s)
  • the network location(s) which they require access to.
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Creating images and video content

Formats and dimensions for images and video

If you're creating images and videos to be used within Appspace, make sure you use these required formats and dimensions. If your content exceeds these dimensions, it won't appear on your digital signage display and may cause other display and sync issues.

Images:

  • Image formats: JPG or PNG
  • Landscape dimensions: 1920px (width) x 1080px (height)
  • Portrait dimensions: 1080px (width) x 1920px (height)

Videos:

  • Video formats: MP4 (H.264)
  • Audio formats: AAC or MP3
  • Max bitrate: 8 Mbps
  • Landscape dimensions: 1920px (width) x 1080px (height)
  • Portrait dimensions: 1080px (width) x 1920px (height)

How to create image content using Microsoft PowerPoint

If you’re not familiar with more specialised software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you can use Microsoft PowerPoint to create image content items for your channels.

Watch the video to learn how to create and export still image content using PowerPoint.

Watch: Content creation with Microsoft PowerPoint

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Managing channels and content

Adding images and videos to an existing channel

Identifying the correct channel to update

Your Appspace network location may contain several channels, so it's important to check you're making changes to the correct channel before you start. To do this:

  1. Select the 'Devices' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Identify the digital media player you wish to update, then take note of the channel assigned to that player.
  3. Make sure the required changes will be appropriate for every digital media player assigned that channel. If your changes are only required for one of the digital media players, you may need to consider creating a new channel and assigning it to the required digital media player.

Uploading images and videos to a channel

  1. Ensure your content items adhere to the file format and resolution requirements.
  2. Select the 'Channels' icon on the left menu bar.
  3. Select the channel you wish to update.
  4. Click '+ADD'. If the channel is empty, click '+ADD CONTENT'.
  5. Select 'Upload Media'.
  6. Click 'Browse' to choose the content item on your computer, or drag and drop it on to the page.
  7. Click 'Save'.

Any changes you make to a channel may take up to 15 minutes to sync with the digital media players assigned that channel. It may take longer if large videos have been uploaded to the channel.

Adding a website to an existing channel

  1. Select the 'Channels' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Select the channel you wish to update.
  3. Click '+ADD'. If the channel is empty, click '+ADD CONTENT'.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the list, then select 'Web (Legacy)'.
  5. Enter a title for the content at the top left of the page.
  6. Select the 'Website' option.
  7. Enter the web address required into the 'Website URL' field.
  8. Click 'Save'.
  9. See 'Changing the playout duration of a content item' if you'd like to extend the playout duration of your website, so it's visible on screen for longer.

Adding library content to an existing channel

  1. Select the 'Channels' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Select the channel you wish to update.
  3. Click '+ADD'. If the channel is empty, click '+ADD CONTENT'.
  4. Select the 'Browse Library' tab at the top of the page.
  5. Use the library folder structure to locate and select any content items you wish to add to your channel, then click 'ADD'.

Changing the playout duration of a content item

  1. Identify the content item you wish to update within your channel, then click on the item's current duration.
  2. Click inside the 'Content Duration' field, then use the arrows to set a new playout duration (up to 1 day).
  3. Click 'Save'.

Scheduling a content item

  1. Identify the content item you wish to update within your channel, then click on the item's current duration.
  2. Click inside the 'Schedule' field to open two calendars.
  3. Use the left calendar to select a date and time for your content item to start.
  4. Use the right calendar to select a date and time for your content item to stop.
  5. Click 'APPLY'.

Once the schedule for a content item has expired, it will appear with a red calendar icon next to the content item's playout duration. When the content item is no longer required, you can delete it from your channel.

Changing the order of content within a channel

When a new content item is uploaded to a channel, it will automatically appear at the top of the channel's playlist. To adjust the order of the channel's playlist, use the drag icon to click and drag the content item to a new position within the list.

Deleting and disabling content items

To delete a content item, select the item's corresponding '...' icon, then select 'Delete'.

Instead of deleting a content item, you may prefer to disable it temporarily if you wish to reuse the content item again.

To disable a content item, select the item's corresponding '...​' icon, then select 'Disable'.

Disabled content items will appear greyed-out within your playlist and will not show on digital media players to which the channel has been assigned.

Creating a new channel

  1. Select the 'Channels' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Click '+CREATE'.
  3. Enter a name for the new channel, then click 'CREATE'.
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Managing digital media players

Assigning a channel to a digital media player

  1. Select the 'Devices' icon on the left menu bar to see a list of all the digital media players within your network location.
  2. Tick the device you wish to update. You can tick multiple devices if they are all to be assigned to the same channel.
  3. Select the 'Assign Channel' icon above the list of devices.
  4. Select 'Administrators can select a single channel'.
  5. Select the required channel from the list of channels, then click 'Save'.

The sync status of the digital media player(s) will change to 'Out of Sync' whenever a new channel is assigned, or whenever a change is made to the assigned channel. It may take 15 minutes for the change to sync, but sometimes longer if the channel contains a large amount of content.

The sync status will change to 'In Sync' when all changes have synced to the digital media player.

Monitoring and troubleshooting digital media players within your network location

The 'Devices' page within Appspace can be used to monitor the status of all the digital media players within your network location. This page shows the sync and online statuses of each device.

A digital media player is showing 'Offline'

Information Technology Services (ITS) monitors the status of every digital signage display at UQ and works to resolve issues with offline devices. If a digital media player within your network loction is offline, submit an IT request.

A digital media player is showing 'Out of Sync'

It's normal for an online digital media player to show as 'Out of Sync' if there have been changes to the channel assigned to the device in the past 30 minutes. If the device continues to show 'Out of Sync' after this time, it's likely a content item within the assigned channel is not in a compatible file format for the digital media player, or a content item exceeds the resolution requirements. Check your content item meets the format and dimension requirements.

Submit an IT request if you are unable to identify the issue.

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Using the Appspace library

Your network location's library can be used to store and organise your content, as well as share content with your content managers in other Appspace network locations. Any content you upload to a channel will be automatically added to your network location's library. To access your library, select the 'Library' icon from on left menu bar.

Creating a new library folder

  1. Select the 'Library' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Select the existing parent folder where you want your new folder created.
  3. Click the small arrow within the '+CREATE' button, then select 'Folder'.
  4. Type the name of the new folder, the press Enter.

Adding content to a library folder

  1. Select the 'Library' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Select the folder where you want your content to be added.
  3. Select 'Upload Media'.
  4. Click 'Browse' to choose the content item on your computer, or drag and drop it on to the page.
  5. Click 'Save'.

Sharing your library folder with other specific Appspace network locations

If you have content you believe would be appropriate for other organisational units to share on digital signage displays within their own network loction, the easiest way to share is to create a dedicated folder for sharing within your network location. Make sure the folder has an appropriate title, e.g. 'HASS Shared'. If you wish to share content with all other network loctions, see 'Sharing content via the 'UQ Shared' folder' below.

  1. Within your Library, right-click the folder you wish to share, then select 'Share with Others'.
  2. In the search field, type the name of the user groups you want to share the folder with.
  3. Choose whether the user group should view only, or be able to edit the folder.
  4. Click 'Save'.

Sharing content with network locations via the 'UQ Shared' folder

The 'UQ Shared' folder is shared with all UQ Appspace network locations and allows content managers to share content that may be appropriate for any organisational unit to use, such as event flyers or public service announcements.

When adding images or videos to this folder, it is important that these content items adhere to the file format and resolution requirements. Content that exceeds the requirements will cause display and sync issues for any digital media player. It's your responsibility to ensure that your content meets these requirements.

To add a content item to the 'UQ Shared' folder:

  1. Select the 'Library' icon on the left menu bar.
  2. Within your Library, expand the 'Common Library' folder, then select the folder 'UQ Shared'.
  3. Select 'Upload Media'.
  4. Click 'Browse' to choose the content item on your computer, or drag and drop it on to the page.
  5. Click 'Save'.

Sharing content via the ITS DMM Users group

The ITS DMM Users group contains most Appspace Content Managers at UQ and helps facilitate the sharing of content between Appspace network locations. Requests to show content emailed to the 'ITS DMM Users' email group will be received by all group members, who will then upload the shared content to Channels within their own Appspace network location, if appropriate.

Submitting a request to the ITS DMM Users group

If you wish to share content with the ITS DMM Users group:

  1. Check that your image content you wish to share is exactly 1920x1080px. Images with a resolution higher than this may cause issues on some digital signage players. It’s your responsibility to ensure the resolution is correct before distributing it to other Appspace users.
  2. Start a new email within Outlook, then select the 'To' button. A new window will open.
  3. Within the BCC field, enter 'ITS DMM Users', then select ‘OK’. Using the BCC field helps to prevent the issue of users accidentally replying the whole user group instead of just yourself.>
  4. Give your email an appropriate Subject, such as 'Request to show content on Appspace'.
  5. Attach your images to the email.
  6. Send your fellow Appspace Content Managers a formal request to show your content on their digital signage display. Be sure to include a brief description of your content.

Requesting access to the ITS DMM Users group

If you would like to be added to the ITS DMM Users group in order to receive content shared by content managers within other Appspace network locations, request Appspace access (staff login required) and select the option 'Changes to access for an existing Appspace user'.

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Working with advanced channels

There are two main types of channels in Appspace: playlist channels and advanced channels.

The guides on this page are primarily for working with playlist channels. We strongly recommend using playlist channels. They're significantly easier to manage than advanced channels, and will usually provide all the functionality you need to display, manage and schedule content.

We recommend using advanced channels only if you need the extra functionality they provide. Advanced channels allow you to arrange and display multiple playlist channels simultaneously. They're most commonly used for purposes like system monitoring, where dynamic content from different sources needs to be visible at the same time.

If you'd like to know more about creating and managing content for advanced channels, submit an IT request. You can also see the user guides for advanced channels on the Appspace website.

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Managing multiple network locations

Some users may be given access to more than one Appspace network location.

If you have access to multiple network locations, each time you log in to Appspace you'll start in your default network location. This is the first network location you were added to when your access to Appspace was originally set up.

You'll need to switch between your network locations to manage content for each one.

To switch between network locations, log in to Appspace and then:

  1. Select the name of the current network location at the top right of the interface.
  2. Select the required network location from the list of network locations available to you.
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Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application for Appspace

Organisational units may choose to register their own PC-based devices to UQ's Appspace service using the Universal Windows Platform application for Appspace. These organisational units are responsible for the ongoing support and maintenance of any PC-based devices registered to their network location, and are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Notify ITS that you intend to register UWP-based digital signage devices to Appspace via this online form (staff login required).
  • If a device is no longer in use, remove it from your network location.
  • If a device is appearing offline in Appspace, take steps to resolve the issue. If the issue can not be resolved within your organisational unit, please submit an IT request.
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