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With TVs and monitors becoming cheaper all the time, it becomes more and more interesting to have displays everywhere, and using these to display information of all sorts, be it informative messages, advertising, photos, dashboards and whatever one can think of.

Tools that allow the easy administration of these TVs, or more precise, the content displayed, fall into a category called "digital signage".

Let's rewind one and a half years inside SAP. Many teams by then had big 55" TV screens in the hallways. The problem was: how do we get content on there. There were a number of challenges to solve and specific, enterprisy requirements:

  • it should be possible to define content, arrange it in a timeline and loop it

  • content can be URLs, pictures, but also movies (streaming!), powerpoint files and more

  • the content to be displayed resides in the corporate network, protected by internal employee-only authentication mechanisms

  • managers should be able to define the order of what is displayed but teams should be able to easily change the content they are responsible for, not to create any bottlenecks

  • other locations should be able to reuse a centrally provided base-presentation, but add their own content as well independently (think inheritance and nesting)

  • it must be manageable from desktop but also from mobile on the fly

  • a wide arrange of hardware should be supported, not only one specific solution, to connect to the TV

  • users should not be limited in what they want to display (think custom templates)

  • onboarding must be as easy as possible and a self-service

  • and much more...

As you can see, coming from an inital "let's do some JavaScript and add a fancy page transition" we quickly had to realize, doing this right is a bit more challenging. Due to the security demands, not a lot of free or even payed solutions in the market provided the level of flexibility we needed.

Since at SAP we still have the TGiF 20% time, a small and enthusiastic team started to create a custom solution using SAP technology like UI5 and much more, on SAP Cloud Platform. Over time, this solution has now grown significantly and is already battle-tested in various locations.

Another aspect came up mid of 2018. With the introduction of Cloud Foundry we wanted to showcase how easy it can be to switch between the Neo and the Cloud Foundry environment, and potentially others to come, like Kubernetes. PrimeTime was used to illustrate one possible approach and a paper was released later that year containing many examples taken directly from the PrimeTime codebase.

It took a while to get everything cleared, but we are super happy and proud to annouce, that the full PrimeTime project, 100% like we use it inside SAP, is now available to everyone, as Open Source, free to use. We even provide a hosted demo instance to freely play with and use for simple scenarios. All future development will be done in this public version.

Grab the code here:

In addition, there is an Apple TV companion application which can be used for very easy onboarding and central management of new screens. It also reports status information, like the current version, latest errors, and also sends screenshots of what is currently displayed.

Grab the code here:

Over the next weeks, we will release blogs detailing out the concrete features and implementation details, discuss design decisions, technical challenges and more. Stay tuned!