Overview: What are we talking about?
Gingr offers a "digital whiteboard" which is a screen you set up in your facility to display dogs checking in and checking out in real time. This can help communicate which dogs are checking in and out throughout your facility. In this article, we will discuss how to set up your digital whiteboard, how to use it, and what hardware we recommend.
This article includes:
Helpful Hints: Before you begin.
- While the digital whiteboard can be displayed anywhere with an internet connection, it is recommended to be in your back of the house as it displays things like lodging names, belonging areas, and custom icons.
- This feature is free to use; however, it does require some hardware outside of Gingr in order to work as recommended.
Set it Up: Let's get started.
Step 1: Create a user group
You will want to begin by creating a unique user group for this feature. This group will only contain a single user which will be used specifically for this feature.
Create a new group, go to the Left-hand Navigation: Reports and More » Groups and follow the steps below:
- Click Create Group
- Name the group "Digital Whiteboard"
- Enable the "Can Access API" permission.
Step 2: Create a new user account
The digital whiteboard should have its own user account to function. We will create a new user account and assign it to the group we just created. This user account will have no function, and will just be a "dummy" of sorts to use this feature.
To create a new user, navigate to Left-hand Navigation: Reports and More Icon » Users and follow the steps below:
- Click Create a New User.
- Set the First Name to "Digital".
- Set the Last Name to "Whiteboard".
- Set the Email to email@example.com where "businessname" is your business' name.
Note: You can also set it to some real, unused email address if you would like. It cannot be the same email address as an existing user account.
- Set the Phone number to 000-000-0000.
- Set the Password to "dogsrock".
Note: You will not need the password to use this feature, but this field is required to create a user account.
- Confirm the password by typing it in again.
- Set the Location to match the location that the digital whiteboard will be configured for.
- Set the User Group to the Digital Whiteboard group we created in the first step of this article.
- Click Sign Up. Done!
Step 3: Set Up Your Digital Whiteboard Hardware
The digital whiteboard requires a monitor/television, a device which can connect to and stream content from the internet, an internet connection, and power. For recommendations on monitors/televisions and streaming devices, see the recommended hardware section here.
The following hardware is required to use the digital whiteboard feature:
- A television ormonitor
- A streaming device capable of running a website independently through an installed browser or by streaming from another device.
Note: If you choose a streaming device that relies on a connection to another computer (like Apple TV or Chromecast), then the device you are streaming from must always be on and connected (this option requires more work)
- An internet connection (wired or wireless — depending on the streaming device of your choice)
Follow these steps to set up the hardware for your digital whiteboard:
- Connect your television and streaming device to power.
- Connect the streaming device to your television using an HDMI cable or another display connection type.
- Configure your streaming device to connect to the internet via Wifi or Ethernet.
Note: Depending on the device you choose, you may need to install some software on a computer in order to fully set up the streaming device.
Step 4: Generate a Digital Whiteboard link
Once you've configured your hardware, the last step needed to use the digital whiteboard will be to generate a link to input onto the device that powers the digital whiteboard.
Follow these steps to generate a digital whiteboard link:
- In Gingr, go to the Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Digital Whiteboard.
- Select the Digital Whiteboard user account that we created in the second step of this article.
- Select the Location that the digital whiteboard has been installed at.
- Set the Number of Records Per Page to the number of animals that you want to display in a column at a time.
This number depends on the size of the television you're working with. Generally speaking, the larger the television, the more records you can view per page. You may need to tweak this number after you have completed setup in order to maximize the space size your television screen.
- Set the Seconds Per Page setting to the number of seconds you want the screen to display a list of animals before moving on to the next page.
This setting is important when you have more animals checking in or out than can fit on the display at a given time. When this happens, the digital whiteboard will display a group of animals for the set time before changing to the next group of animals in the list.
- Copy the custom URL displayed at the bottom of the in its entirety and configure your streaming device with this URL.
How you'll configure your streaming device depends on the features of the device. For devices like AirTame which can display a webpage independently of another computer, you will simply paste the link into the AirTame Partner App on your computer. For devices like Chromecast, you will need to have this link open in a browser window and streamed to the Chromecast at all times.
Step 5: Test your Digital Whiteboard
Once you have installed the hardware for your digital whiteboard and have generated and set up a custom link, you should test your digital whiteboard to ensure that it is working as expected.
You can test your digital whiteboard by creating a test reservation and checking it in.
If the test reservation appears on the digital whiteboard, then you are all set to go!
How to: Use the digital whiteboard.
With the digital whiteboard installed and set up, using it becomes very simple. The digital whiteboard is designed to communicate to your back of house team(s) which dogs are currently checking in or out, and which dogs have already completed checking in or out.
Pets that are checked in or out will show on the digital whiteboard for 5 minutes before they will no longer appear on the screen.
A dog that is checking in will appear with a white, spinning icon next to their name.
A pet's check-in is considered "in progress" from the moment the "check-in" button is clicked on the Expected Tab of the dashboard until all check-in questions have been answered and the pet's reservation is moved to the checked-in tab of the dashboard.
A dog that has completed checking in will appear with a white "in" icon next to their name.
Check-in is considered complete once all check-in questions have been completed and the animal is shown in the Checked In section of the dashboard.
Similarly to check-ins, checkouts that are in progress will appear with a white, spinning icon next to their name.
A checkout is considered "in progress" from the moment the reservation is added to the Shopping Cart to the moment that checkout is complete.
Checkouts that are complete will appear with a white "out" logo.
A checkout is considered "complete" the moment the checkout process is finished in the shopping cart and a Receipt for their checkout has been generated.
Understanding the Information on the Digital Whiteboard
The Digital Whiteboard will display important information about a reservation. From left to right, you will see:
- The Animal's Name
- Lodging Assignment
- Custom Animal Icons
- Reservation Type
- Belonging Area (with number of Belongings)
- Reservation Status (check-in/out in progress/complete)
- Times from when the reservation status last changed.
FAQ: Check this out!
This section includes:
- Recommended hardware
- Why can't I see my custom icons on the whiteboard?
- Why can't I see my digital whiteboard user account when trying to create a link?
- Help! I'm getting an error when trying to test my digital whiteboard.
The digital whiteboard requires a monitor, a streaming device, and an internet connection.
Since the digital whiteboard is designed to always be on, we recommend a television that can withstand being on for long periods of time and can withstand the dust, dander, and other debris that might occur at your facility.
For televisions, Gingr recommends a commercial grade flat screen tv/monitor. Some examples are:
Note: There is an important difference between commercial and consumer grade TV's/monitors. While often a higher up-front cost, commercial TVs often boasts a more durable and long-lasting build quality and a better warranty. For example, many commercial displays are meant to be on 24/7 whereas a consumer grade TV which was always on is at a higher risk of display burn or failure.
We encourage you to do your research and decide which TV is best for you.
The digital whiteboard requires a device that can connect to the internet and display a webpage.
There are many methods to achieve this; however, since the digital whiteboard is designed to always we on, we recommend a device that can display a webpage on its own. In other words, it does not need a stream from a computer in order to display something.
Gingr recommends and uses AirTame and Amazon FireTV Sticks. Among other features, these devices can be configured to wirelessly display a webpage.
Note: Some "smart" TV's will come with WiFi connectivity and a webOS browser preinstalled on the TV itself. Televisions like these may replace the need for an independent device to be connected. However, performance on these TV's cannot be guaranteed.
Other options include:
- Chromecast (requires another device to stream to)
- Apple TV (requires another device to stream to)
Note: There are many options for hardware. The only requirement is that a webpage can be displayed on the television.
Why can't I see my custom icons on the whiteboard?
If your pet's icons are hard or impossible to see, it is likely because of the black background of the digital whiteboard's interface.
Since the digital whiteboard was designed to always be on, we designed it in a way to prevent strain on your TV so that the screen will last longer and will be less likely to suffer from burn-in.
With the black background on the digital whiteboard, darker color icons may be harder to see because there is a lack of contrast.
We recommend tweaking the color of these icons that are hard to see against the dark background to be lighter.
You can adjust the color of your custom icons in Gingr by going to the Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Icon/Color Templates.
Why can't I see the "Digital Whiteboard" user account when trying to create a link?
Typically, a user does not show in the drop-down list if they do not have an API key associated with their user account.
First, ensure that you have created the proper user group (with the "can access API" permission enabled) and that your new "digital whiteboard" user account is assigned to that user group. For instructions on how to do this, read the "Set it Up" section above.
If the user account still does not appear in the dropdown to select when creating a Digital Whiteboard link, then you may need to generate a new API key using the following steps:
To force-create a new API key for a user:
- Navigate to the Left-hand Navigation » Reports and More » Users.
- Edit the "Digital Whiteboard" user account that you created earlier.
- Find the API Keys section and click "Create New Key"
- In the list of API Keys, find the API key you just created and remove any other API Keys using the "x" button on the right-hand side of the screen.
Once you have created a new API key and removed the old ones, try creating a Digital Whiteboard link again.
Help! I'm getting an error when trying to open my whiteboard.
If you see an error when trying to test your whiteboard for "You must use your API key to access this endpoint" that looks like this:
When following the steps in this article to generate a link for your Digital Whiteboard user account, it's important to remember to test your digital whiteboard url in an incognito tab on your computer's browser, or by logging out of your regular Gingr session prior to trying to load the digital whiteboard.
If this is not done, you will receive the error above because you're now "logged in" as two user accounts on the same browser. The Gingr tab is using your normal user account, and the digital whiteboard is using the Digital Whiteboard account.
When the digital whiteboard goes to communicate to the API, the API is saying "Hold up, something weird is happening. You can't access the API key with a different user's key". So, the data that feeds into the digital whiteboard is never loaded, due to this API restriction.