PiCube From FirstView Digital Signage

Andrew Neale

A couple of weeks ago FirstView Digital Signage in Finland launched a new Raspberry Pi based Digital Signage Player.

Billed as being without hardware costs for the customer, it seems that the only monthly service fee for SaaS usage is €26 a month.

3 Responses to “PiCube From FirstView Digital Signage”

  1. DS Pro Says:

    “Without hardware costs”?

    In the fine print, you must pay 3 months upfront + shipping = €89. So the hardware costs are just rolled in to the first 3 months SaaS fee.

    Interesting model though… getting closer to carrier-subsidized mobile phones.

  2. Bob Rushby Says:

    I would worry about the reliability of a Raspberry Pi in a 24/7 commercial application. I’ve had 3 of them for over a year. Here’s the main problem: if the RasPi powers down unexpectedly, then it may not re-boot properly. Unexpected power loss in the field can happen any time. I’ve experienced this a number of times myself and you can find numerous reports on the web. “Clean” shutdowns work fine, but unexpected power downs can be bad.

    The other problem is the SD card itself where the operating system and user files are kept. They aren’t designed for constant re-writes and will eventually wear out. Maybe a preventative maintenance SD card replacement process would be helpful, but it would entail a labour cost.

    Don’t get me wrong — I really do like Raspberry Pi’s. Just not for unattended commercial use.

  3. FirstView Digital Signage Says:

    Thanks Bob for your comment!

    You managed to pick those two very questions that we were most concerned about during the development of PiCube.

    It’s actually true for any computer OS (with writable filesystem) that unanttended powerloss can render machine unbootable. But our R&D team came up with a solution that minimizes this risk and so far after several months constant testing has proven to be very reliable. With our current software, we haven’t seen any unbootable Raspberries due to unattended powerloss. Even if there’s major filesystem corruption due to powerloss, our solution will most likely fix itself and continue as nothing happened in a few minutes.

    And then the SD card wearing, we’ve had our share of flash storage mediums failing in the past and we took this one very seriously. We’ve tested tens of SD card brands and models, and some of them failed badly very quickly. After several months constant read/write testing (50 Terabytes written on a 8GB card at the moment, simulating how our software behaves in an accelerated simulation) we picked few for production use. We will not ship or use untested brand or model of SD cards in our products. Also our software has been designed so that it takes the nature of SD cards into account, minimizing all unneccessary writes.

    If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@firstviewds.com

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