Digital Signage - Coffee Company. Ideas?

A friend of mine some time ago asked me to automate his lights and some of the coffee gear in his coffee house using HA. Been working successfully for years (since 0.82). He has just asked me if its possible to create digital signage for his shop outlining the coffee menu for above the counter.

I said “in theory yes” but Im now concerned about HIS UX in entering the data so as to populate a dashboard. The Dashboard bit isnt too much of a worry, the data entry bit i need to be aware of his “lack” of computer skills.

Anyone have any good ideas as to how to get info from an excel spreadsheet (row, column) into a sensor with attributes so that I can use it for the dashboard?


produces something like that I can use in a dashboard

{{ state_attr(‘sensor.brew1’, ‘name’) }} obvioulsy translates into the name ‘Caffe Latte’
{{ state_attr(‘sensor.brew2’, ‘pricelarge’) }} translates into $5.00 (sorry I didnt format the spreadsheet)

Or any other suggestions that take into account an “older generation” persons’ UX perspective would also be welcome

What’s the maximum number of lines on your digital sign?

I might be wrong but using HA for a digital signage is not the obvious way and I don’t know if it gives you enough flexibility and ease of use to achieve that.

Why not use real signage software?
For a friend with a business who was renting systems and paying for keeping the prices/times up-to-date.
I helped him by creating excel sheets that are converted to JPG files and he puts them on a USB stick which he plugs into the TV’s directly.
The result was the same, very cheap to put in place without any additional systems anymore.

On the other hand, there must be dedicated software to install on a SBC that fits the bill too.

I vaguely recall seeing a digital sign project described for something like ESPHome or Aduino. If it were me I’d be looking for something like that, rather than try to use HA. Also check out Ali Express, there’s probably already inexpensive hardware specifically for this purpose.

Very simple - get a Raspberry Pi, uSD card, run the Raspberry Pi imager, and choose one of the many digital signage / special purpose OS available straight from the tool (along with HASS):

An example is Anthias - FOSS, but with a commercial version available. The ‘Freemium and paid for OS’ section has another 5x options like info-beamer, Yodeck, Screenly (which is based on Anthias), etc.

The main concept is digital signage isn’t a Grafana display, it is more like Powerpoint or GIMP where a player steps through images or web pages like a slideshow. The content creation is more like graphic design than a spreadsheet.

If this helps, :heart: this post!

I just spoke my friend this morning. He really wants to do it thru HA as the staff have access to the HA dashboard to turn off the lights/AC and the roller blinds out the front of his cafe. He would prefer the staff to use the existing interface (a shop tablet w fully kiosk installed) rather than having to introduce something new or another tablet with another app

Essentially there would be approx 20 rows of information as data with a couple of dashboards that can get displayed (cast) to multiple TV’s around the place

Do you think a separate influxdb (it would be tiny) and grafana page (for the digital menu) would be a simpler way to go???

TBH - I do have a slightly alterior motive - we are long time friends (we used to work together) and whenever Im there he gives me free coffee so I do like to helping him out whenever I can as things like yaml are not in his wheelhouse. :slight_smile:

Perhaps I missed it, but what is the sign hardware?
Also, Node-Red has a node for that, ‘node-red-contrib-spreadsheet-in’ to extract information from an Excel file.

You can use Node-Red to read the spreadsheet cells and then to create Home Assistant entities.

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@stevemann The signage is currently a chromecast enabled TV.

Im going to set up a cast-dashboard to the TV

Thx for the suggestion for the NR-spreadsheet idea!