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CoolSign Software Gets a Facelift

The new CoolSign 4.0 digital signage software from Planar Systems allows clients to display, distribute, and control digital signage content from a central location to thousands of players.

The new CoolSign 4.0 digital signage software from Planar Systems allows clients to display, distribute, and control digital signage content from a central location to thousands of players. According to Brad Gleeson, vice president of business development and CoolSign general manager at Planar, the latest version is a “true enterprise-class digital signage platform,” meaning the level of security and scalability allows it to live on highly secure network infrastructures.

The system includes a player appliance that connects to any display, the appliance's own Ad Player software, and CoolSign 4.0, the content manager. Clients manage the digital content internally, through a third-party network operator, or on a subscription basis through Planer resellers. “We try to be flexible to the different business models that the end-user needs in order to justify their digital signage network,” says Gleeson.

As an enterprise-class platform, CoolSign 4.0 works with Microsoft Active Directory and has a built-in transfer server that acts as a hub between the central network manager and the players to reduce network traffic. According to Gleeson, “[IT departments] don't want anything on their network that could potentially either bring the network down, corrupt data, or cause other applications not to work.” He says IT departments can run CoolSign 4.0 without it interfering with other programs on the network—a valuable feature for clients with networks that contain highly sensitive data like Planar's clients Bank of America and the Pentagon.

User-friendly features, such as content templates, allow CoolSign 4.0 to be managed by non-dedicated staff. The DataWatcher module uses Flash to manage and link data fields of incoming information, so a user can type the word “sunny” to trigger dynamic content, such as an MPEG video of a beach, to display a local weather forecast. Integration with Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Microsoft Outlook, enables a user to instantly update location-specific, context-driven information, such as a conference room schedule. Users don't need to worry about aspect ratio or resolution, because CoolSign 4.0 automatically adjusts the content to match the specs of connected displays.

It's this flexibility in CoolSign and other digital signage systems that Gleeson says will make such platforms more acceptable to enterprises. “If you're an IT guy, you need to know that [CoolSign 4.0] works with Active Directory and SMTP, it's all there; but if you're an end-user and all you want to do is update your Outlook Calendar and have the rest happen, that's there, too,” he adds.

CoolSign 4.0 software is available in two editions: the Standard Edition is $4,995 and the Enterprise Edition is $19,995 for a 100-node network, which includes software modules not included with the Standard Edition. Modules cost between $1,000 and $1,500 each. Player appliances are $1,495 each.



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