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Using a Solstice display: Features and overview

Introduction and Video Demo

This article is designed to show you how to connect, share and control posts on Solstice-enabled display from laptops, mobile devices and the Solstice display user interface.

Key Terms

  • Solstice Wireless Display – Any flat panel or projector display that is connected via a video cable to a Solstice Pod or host PC with Solstice Software, allowing users to connect and share content wirelessly.
  • Solstice Software (server) – Software application installed on the Windows 7, 8 or 10 host PC connected to the display by video cable.
  • Solstice client software/app – Software app installed on user laptops and mobile devices used to connect to and share content on the Solstice wireless display.
  • Posts – The individual pieces of media/content published to the Solstice wireless display.

Starting a Solstice Display

In order to start a Solstice-enabled display, you can simply launch the Solstice software on the Windows host computer from the icon on the desktop.

However, at Deakin University, Solstice is configured to open automatically upon a connection attempt and will launch in full screen mode.

Figure 1: Solstice Display Splash Screen

Upon system launch, Solstice has a built-in splash screen that informs users how to access the display and the Solstice client software from client devices.

Accessing the Solstice Display Menu

To access the menu when the Solstice display software is running, click the Solstice icon in the bottom right corner of the display.

Figure 2: Solstice Display Menu

Menu options include:

  • Lock disables access to the display by any new users for the remainder of the session. Only users already connected to the display can share media.
  • Disconnect all Users disconnects all users from the session and removes all media posted by the users.
  • System provides access to the configuration panel and control of the Solstice application from the Solstice host PC.
    • Minimize/Hide minimizes the Solstice software window to allow access to the Windows desktop without disconnecting any clients or posts.
    • Configure opens the Solstice configuration panel. However at Deakin this is generally locked (greyed out) and is for administrator use only.
    • Exit Solstice removes all posts, disconnects all users/devices and closes the Solstice software program.

Session Types

At this point ALL deployments of Solstice at Deakin are in Full Collaboration mode. This provides all members of the session with equal rights to share and control the display. These sessions at Deakin are set utilize a Screen Key. A Screen Key allows only those who can see the screen key in the bottom left corner of the Solstice-enabled display to connect to the session. For these sessions, any user that attains access to the session has equal sharing and control rights.

Connecting to the Solstice Display from Client Devices

For information on regarding installing the Solstice client app and getting connected see the following artilce.

How do I install the Solstice app and connect to a Solstice enabled display?

Solstice Client Software during Full Collaboration Sessions

When you launch the Solstice client app and connect to a display, you will see the sharing panel with the available sharing options as well as your session information and additional navigation options in the left side navigation menu.

Figure 3: Solstice Client Share Panel (desktop shared)

The sharing panel provides the user options for sharing different types of posts to the display. Not all sharing options are available on all devices. The sharing options available for Windows and Mac laptops include:

  • Desktop with Audio – stream the desktop view of the Windows or Mac laptop, with optional desktop audio, to the display.
  • App Window – stream a single application window open on the Windows or Mac laptop.
  • Media File – access and share media, including images and videos, from the device.
  • Public File – browse to and share media in the designated public folder on the Solstice display host PC.

The Solstice display will automatically enter full screen mode when only one source is shared.

Users can also share media to the display from the control panel just like from the share panel. To share from the control panel, click the share button – designated by a small display icon – in the lower right area of the control panel client interface. From there, select the type of item you’d like to share. Again, not all sharing options are available on all devices.

When app windows or desktop views are shared to the display in the room, the posts are not static images; they are live feeds from the client device(s). Any changes visible on desktop or app window that is shared to the Solstice display will be visible on the shared Solstice display in real-time. However the shared document/data never leaves the original device – only the desktop/app-window view is shared to the display. So the security of shared documents and data is never compromised/at-risk.

The client app interface also consists of a ‘Disconnect’ button to disconnect form the Solstice display/session, as well as the navigation menu with options for toggling between the sharing panel and the control panel. ‘Settings’ and ‘Look-In’ options appear as well.

Selecting ‘Disconnect’ will disconnect the user from the Solstice session. Toggling to the control panel replaces the sharing panel with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface with options for controlling the media on display. See Managing Media Posts on the Solstice Display for more details about the control panel.

The ‘Settings’ options are the same as those from the Solstice client connect screen. And the ‘Look-In’ option gives the user to a view of the display from their web browser, including ‘native’ resolution, ‘full screen’, or ‘fit to window’ views.

The client software control panel (see Figure 4) enables users to control media on the display in a number of ways.

Figure 4: Solstice Client Control Panel

To access the control panel from the share panel, toggle to the ‘Control’ option in the left side menu. To go back to the share panel, toggle back to the ‘Share’ option.

From the control panel, media items can be rearranged, moved on/off screen, and deleted. The layout can also be changed to/from grid and freeform modes. In freeform mode, media can be scaled and rearranged arbitrarily to create custom layouts to meet the needs of the unique session. Media control/management features of the control panel are covered in detail in Managing Media Posts on the Solstice Display.

Users can also share new media items from the control panel, similar to sharing from the share panel. To share an item from the control panel, click the display icon button in the lower right area of the client interface and select the type of item you would like to share.

Solstice Display Interface during Full Collaboration Sessions

Solstice supports display-side interaction via the display host computer running Solstice software. This enables the host user controlling the Solstice display to use the host PC as a client in the Solstice session, sharing and controlling media like laptop and mobile device users. If the Solstice display is touch-enabled, the user can interact with the display screen directly via touch support.

Figure 5: Solstice Display Software Interface

  • Display Name/IP – The display name and/or IP address appear in the lower left corner of the Solstice display.
  • Screen Key – Visible only when the Access Control for the session is set to SCREEN KEY, this 4-digit key ensures only those in the room with a view of the display can access the session, share and control the display.
  • Share Media Button – This button enables the display host user to share media to the shared display. The media sharing options include those items on or accessible from the host computer connected to the display and running Solstice display software, as well as the ability to activate Attached Sources (i.e. Video Feeds).
  • Meeple – Meeple are graphical indicators of session participants located along the bottom of the Solstice display interface.
  • Meeple Menu (not pictured) – The Meeple Menu, accessed by left clicking on any Meeple icon, provides the display host user access with per-user control over media posts and users of the session, including options to boot user; show, hide, stack, and delete a user’s posts; and get session info about the user.
  • Solstice Display Menu – This menu, accessed by left clicking the Solstice icon in the lower right corner of the display, provides the display host user control over the session from the display user interface. See Accessing the Solstice Display Menu for more details.
  • On Screen Area – This is the large interactive area with the active posts in view on the Solstice display.
  • On Deck Panel – This is the smaller interactive area along the left side of the Solstice display that shows media posts not currently in view on the shared display. Media posts in this area are ‘on deck’. The on deck panel will be empty until a post is moved from the display onto the panel. The on deck panel will auto-hide after a short period of inactivity. To access the on deck panel when hidden, simply mouse over the left border of the Solstice display.

In addition to the display interface controls covered in the section, the display-side user can also control media content on the display using a mouse or touch-enabled display. Media items can be rearranged, moved on/off screen, and deleted. The display layout can also be changed to/from grid and freeform modes. Media control/management features are covered in detail in the next section, Managing Media Posts on the Solstice Display.

Managing Media Posts on the Solstice Display

Users have a large amount of control over the media shared, regardless which user shared it (unless the session Access Control is set to Moderated). Further, media and the display layout can be controlled display-side by the display host user or by users on their client devices.

Figure 6: Media placement menu (Windows client)

Placement and Layout. There are two layout modes that can be designated by accessing the Media Placement menu. To access the menu, click the alignment icon in the bottom right corner of the control panel (see Figure 6).

From here, the user can select:

  • ‘All On Screen’
  • ‘All Off Screen’
  • And enable/disable ‘Align to Grid’

Posts can also be dragged and dropped individually between the On Deck Panel (left) and the On Screen Area, as well as rearranged individually within the On Screen Area by clicking, holding, and dragging.

When ‘Align to Grid’ is disabled/deselected, posts can also be scaled. Pinch to zoom on touch-enabled client devices and touch displays, or use the mouse wheel to scale media in and out for non-touch clients and displays. These are the basic layout control options.

Media Actions. There are specific actions available for each media post which are accessible by right-clicking on the media post, or clicking and holding on touch devices:

  • Fullscreen publishes the media post to a full screen view and moves all other posts in the On Screen Area to the On Deck Panel.
  • About toggles to a view of the post on the display that provides information about the post and the user.
  • Stack enables the user to organize multiple media items into a single post on the display. Items can then be flipped through within the position of the single post.
  • Delete removes the media post from the session completely.
  • Preview enables a user to enlarge a post to nearly-fullscreen size – by double-clicking/tapping the post – without moving other posts on the display to the On Deck Panel.

Figure 7: Media Actions (Client view)

Stack Actions. When multiple posts are compiled into a stack on the display – which is indicated by a small number in the top right corner of the post – there are specific actions available which are accessed by right-clicking or tapping-and-holding (touch controls) on the stack:

  • Fullscreen publishes the media stack to a full screen view and moves all other media posts in the On Screen Area to the On Deck Panel.
  • About toggles to a view of the media item that provides information about the stack and the user.
  • Delete All removes all media posts within the stack from the session completely.
  • Unstack makes each component piece of media in the stack its own post on the display.
  • Edit Stack enables the user to add and remove media posts from the stack.

Figure 8: Stack Actions (Client view)

Video Posts on Solstice. Solstice supports video posts up to 1080p with synchronized audio. A video posted to the display during a session will auto-play with audio. When moved from the On Screen Area to the On Deck Panel, the video will auto-pause and auto-mute. Users can control video(s) posted to the display with the Solstice video player. The Solstice video player functions similarly to other video players, with play/pause buttons, as well as volume control, mute/unmute, fast-forward/rewind, and loop options. As with all Solstice media posts, any user with session access can control any video posted to the display. Solstice will only play audio from one source at a time. If multiple videos with audio are posted to the display On Screen Area, audio from the first video only will play. Other audio sources will be auto-muted.

Figure 9: Video Post on the Solstice Display

Touch-Interactive Displays

Multi-Touch Support. Solstice display software supports multi-touch for touch-enabled displays. When using a touchscreen as the Solstice display, a single tap is equal to a left mouse click, a double tap is equal to a double left mouse click, and a tap-and-hold is equal to a right mouse click.

When 'Align to Grid' has been disabled, posts on the screen can be pinch zoomed using 2 fingers.

Solstice Touch Gesture Controls. Solstice supports gesture controls to move media between the On Screen Area and the On Deck Panel. On a touch-enabled display, drag-and-flick a single media post to move it between these areas or drag-and-flick an empty space between media items to move all media items between the On Screen Area and the On Deck Panel.

Using the Solstice Mobile App

The Solstice client software app for iOS and Android devices has a slightly different user interface than for Windows and Mac OS X clients.

The apps for iOS and Android look and function very similarly to the Windows and Mac OS X clients with a few exceptions. The most significant difference is the sharing options from mobile devices vs Windows and OS X clients. The Solstice App on mobile devices features a ‘Mirror Screen’ option in place of the ‘Desktop’ and ‘App Window’ sharing options on Windows and OS X clients.

Android

Figure 10: Sharing Options on the Android Client App

The Android mobile device app sharing options include:

  • Media File – access and share media from the device’s Media Library.
  • Camera – access the device’s native camera app and take a photo to share to the display.
  • Take Video – access the device’s native video app and take a video to share to the display.
  • Mirror Screen – mirror the device screen on the display as a media post. This feature is supported for devices running Android version 5.0 Lollipop and newer. Users running older versions of Android will see a Webview option instead of Mirror Screen.
  • Webview – browse the web to access the web content you want to share on the display, including cloud applications present on the Webview homepage: Dropbox, OneDrive, SugarSync, Google Search, Google Drive, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Box.
    Users with Android version 5.0 Lollipop or newer can show web content and more by mirroring their device screen. Therefore, the Webview sharing option is replaced with a Mirror Screen option for Android users running version 5.0 Lollipop or newer.
  • Public File – browse to and share a file located in the designated public folder of the Solstice display host computer when the option is enabled in the Solstice configuration panel.

iOS

Figure 11: Sharing Options on the iOS Client App

The iOS mobile device client app sharing options:

  • Media File – access and share media from the device’s Media Library.
  • Camera – access the device’s native camera app and take a photo or video to share to the display.
  • Take Video – access the device’s native camera app to take a video to share to the display.
  • Webview – browse the web to access the web content you want to share on the display, including cloud applications present on the Webview homepage: Dropbox, OneDrive, SugarSync, Google Search, Google Drive, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Box.
  • Mirror Screen – full iOS mirroring on the Solstice display is supported via the iOS AirPlay protocol to share anything visible on device screen. When Mirror Screen is selected, the Solstice prompts the user to mirror via AirPlay functionality.
    See Mirroring iOS Devices with Apple AirPlay for instructions on how to use AirPlay mirroring and more details.
  • Public Media Folder – browse to and share a file located in the public folder of the Solstice display host computer when the option is enabled in the Solstice configuration panel.

Mirroring iOS Devices with Apple AirPlay®

Solstice enables users to mirror Apple iOS devices with AirPlay® functionality – including iPhones and iPads with iOS 7 and higher – to Solstice wireless displays. This means that any content on the screen of an iOS device can be posted to the display with AirPlay.

How do I mirror my device?

Airplay mirroring is accomplished through the device’s native AirPlay feature, using a similar process as connecting to an Apple TV.

To mirror your AirPlay-enabled iOS 7, 8 and 9 devices, first ensure the device is on the Deakin wireless network, eduroam. Then follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Solstice app on your device.
  2. Select and connect to the desired display from the list of available Solstice instances.
  3. Ensure Solstice remains as the "front" application, and Swipe upward from the bottom of your devices screen to open the Control Center.
  4. Tap the AirPlay icon.
  5. The Solstice instance selected in step 2 will now be available as an AirPlay device. (This will be the solstice display name).
  6. Turn on the mirroring switch underneath the name to enable mirroring.

Figure 12: iOS 8/9 Control Center – Device Mirroring with AirPlay


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