Google Docs Coolsign!!!

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

We have long associated Web 2.0, ASP and SaaS with digital signage and digital out of home and there are many more connections to come between them than many people actually realise.

We are also big fans of almost everything Google – both of our businesses use Google for corporate mail, calendaring, documents (we don’t use Microsoft apps), Analytics, Alerts etc etc. so we know their tools and features set well.

It had to happen – an announcement from a digital signage vendor about some form of Google integration. The announcement below from Planar is quite cool though the work done doesn’t go far enough we think (I am sure we can expect further announcements).

Digital Signage vendors need to support open authentication / sign-on systems like OpenID, talk more about XML than APIs and be much more amenable to accepting third party components and widgets in general.

Still this is a great start and Planar have stolen a PR march on their competition by being the first to bring Google integration into a press release.

Planar Announces Digital Signage Software Integration with Google Calendar and Google Docs

BEAVERTON, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 19, 2008–Planar Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLNR), a worldwide leader in specialty display solutions, today announced its CoolSign offering is the first digital signage software platform to integrate with Google Calendar(TM) web-based calendaring service and Google Docs(TM) word processing and spreadsheet applications. The new integration allows users to easily update and control digital signs using Google Calendar and Google Docs, providing CoolSign with superior technology in digital signage. This new solution achieves an unparalleled level of creativity and ease-of-use not available on the market today and illustrates Planar’s commitment to the growing digital signage market.

Providing an ideal interface for both technical and non-technical users, this platform enables immediate changes to key content including calendars, agendas and schedules rendered in CoolSign digital signage content. Concurrent with the launch, Planar is also announcing its first customer deployment with a leading global sports apparel retailer, which will integrate CoolSign, using Google Docs and Google Calendar, into their retail stores.

The new interface using Google’s free Web applications addresses the retail customer’s creative requirements that required being able to display up-to-the-minute information generated by store personnel and the community. The customer required a simple, but secure, way to display and update dynamic in-store digital signage content. In addition, they wanted to be able to drive and update a community events calendar from an internal Google Calendar, as well as provide up-to-the-minute details regarding sporting and community events using Google Docs.

“The key to truly compelling digital signage is to make it relevant and engaging with dynamic, up-to-date content,” said Brad Gleeson, vice president of business development and general manager, CoolSign. “CoolSign’s capability to work with Google applications, as well as other industry-standard applications, is truly revolutionary because it makes this form of customer communication universally accessible to virtually anyone.”

The Planar CoolSign solution now enables the customer to use the familiar interface of Google Calendar and Google Docs to manage dynamic digital signage content while leveraging the security built into Google’s applications to prevent unauthorized changes. For example, CoolSign’s Data Watcher, combined with software that CoolSign developed specifically for the retailer, allows these Google applications to act as the input mechanism for dynamic data fields within CoolSign creative content. The retailer can integrate data selections by store visitors into Google’s online calendar application to display dynamic, animated and real-time information. The CoolSign solution also provides access to an interactive message board connecting customers to local and nationwide basketball news, along with related community and store events information for a comprehensive, interactive experience.

Additionally, the way CoolSign’s interface uses Google web applications allows for unprecedented mobility and ease-of-use for customers since content updates can be made via laptop, desktop or mobile phone. With just an Internet connection and access to Google Calendar or Google Docs, the user can manage specific CoolSign-enabled digital signage or an entire network of digital signage.

The practical applications for dynamic data updating are virtually unlimited. Digital content that can now be more easily updated using this platform includes:

— Calendars outside conference rooms

— Digital menu boards in restaurants

— Interactive boards for community groups and academic

— Corporate signage for company visitors

— Event signage

In addition to Google application data, CoolSign Data Watcher may also interface with text files and office documents created with Microsoft Word and Excel. It can also be updated from RSS feeds and other online XML sources, in addition to Microsoft Exchange.

Google Calendar and Google Docs integration will be available with Planar CoolSign Version 4.0, which will be introduced at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) in Las Vegas, February 26-28, 2008. For more information, please visit or come to Planar’s booth (#612) at DSE 2008.

About Planar

Planar Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLNR) is a global leader of specialty display technology providing hardware and software solutions for the world’s most demanding environments. Hospitals, space and military programs, utility and transportation hubs, shopping centers, banks, government agencies, businesses, and home theater enthusiasts all depend on Planar to provide superior performance when image experience is of the highest importance. Founded in 1983, Planar is headquartered in Oregon, USA, with offices, manufacturing partners, and customers worldwide. For more information, visit

Google, Google Calendar, and Google Docs are trademarks of Google Inc.

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