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WebWindows is the solution that Configured Things has created to tackle the range of issues faced when building a physical control centre, or putting together a disparate collection of devices – not necessarily co-located – into a collaborative virtual control centre.

Background

WebWindows has been designed to have the appropriate security and collaboration models from the ground up, a necessary pre-requisite for this to be able to work in practice. The model of content and devices and their relationship is flexible and powerful, allowing complex situations to be handled, and the system can cope with a high rate of change of content, and how and where it is to be displayed.

Challenges

Control rooms traditionally consist of banks of signage displays or signage walls. They tend to be expensive, hard to construct and configure, and be specialised to a specific purpose. However, speed and agility are becoming more important, such coping with a specific incident – emergency response, military action, etc. In these cases, the control room may not be a room at all, but a virtual collection of people and things belonging to a variety of organisations that need to collaborate to carry out the task at hand.

WebWindows is designed for flexibly managing signage and other display devices, including mobile. It is well suited to the needs of such virtual as well as physical control rooms.

Vision

WebWindows uses a unique paradigm: people and programs describing the way that real estate should to be used, and then WebWindows ensuring the signage reflects that desired state.

webwindows architecture
WebWindows uses the core configuration management capabilities of the core Configured Things platform and applies it display management. It defines a configuration model for the displays and the content that should be mapped over defined areas of them. Changes, both permanent and temporary, may be applied to the configuration and the system immediately adapts to the changing circumstances by removing, moving, or resizing existing content, introducing new content, and so forth.

The programming model for the system is simple, and libraries are provided for that and for creating content services that are well matched to WebWindows.

Differentiator

One of the unique aspects of WebWindows, inherited from the Configured Things platform, is that the configuration model is not centralised, it may be federated across a range of organisations that want to participate and share content to each other’s displays. Given such federation, with content going from one domain to another, it is essential that the appropriate security model be in place – with authentication of person(s) and devices, and even their location, and the levels of trust that comes from each of these properties. Thus, the content can be shipped, abstracted, obfuscated or barred as appropriate.

Although this may seem excessive for a more centralised control room, even within a shared space there are public and private devices that may need to show different detail.

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