Seattle — Locally based AccessVia recently unveiled a web-based tool that enables retailers to publish signs and labels using their Internet browsers.

The product, Web dSignShop, requires no software installation at store locations, which allows retailers who use it to avoid significant front-end costs as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrade expenses. Store employees can use the technology to print product signs, shelf-edge labels, fact tags, coupons, and other kinds of promotional signage.

Designed to be easy to learn, Web dSignShop features one-source data management for sign copy and graphic content, and tools that allow retailers to track the progress of signage campaigns and analyze the results across stores. According to AccessVia, the product's real-time compression and decompression capabilities and sophisticated caching make printing fast and efficient.

It includes full support for laser, ink-jet, and thermal printers and integrates well with back-end retail systems, says AccessVia CEO Dean Sleeper. “With this product, we've demonstrated that web-based printing can deliver economic advantages, practical results, and great-looking signage.”

Long Beach — Locally based Pioneer New Media Technologies recently provided high-tech plasma display panels for 11 Eddie Bauer stores across the country.

According to Pioneer, Eddie Bauer embraced the technology after a test at its store in Bloomington, Ind., shows the electronic window displays significantly boost in-store traffic. Eddie Bauer uses the 50-inch, customizable display panels to target particular demographic groups based on criteria such as time of day, season, and store location.

During the roll out, Valencia, Calif.-based Visual Systems & Services headed up the design and integration of the technology. The display panels weigh less than 90 pounds and are less than 4 inches thick. They can be hung on walls, flown from ceilings, or mounted on carts or moveable arms.

Los Angeles and San Francisco — The boards of directors of LoopNet Inc. and PropertyFirst.com recently approved a merger of the two firms. The new company, which will operate under the LoopNet name, now claims to be commercial real estate's dominant online community and web-based property marketplace.

The new company boasts more than 200,000 users and more than 145,000 sale and lease listings. It will be better equipped to help clients use the Internet to accelerate transactions, reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and connect with each other, according to John Stanfill, president, CEO and co-founder of Los Angeles-based PropertyFirst.

“The time is right for consolidation,” notes Dennis DeAndre, CEO and founder of San Francisco-based LoopNet. DeAndre calls the merger “a natural step” for both companies.

LoopNet and PropertyFirst will integrate operations, including their websites, data and customer bases. DeAndre and Stanfill will serve as co-chairmen of the new company.

New York — Locally based CapitalThinking, which provides web-based financial services applications and technology, recently received its third round of venture capital financing, a total investment of $9 million. Investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, iStar Financial, ABP Investments U.S., and New York City Investment Fund.

CapitalThinking has raised more than $30 million since its inception.

Irvine, Calif. — Locally based Skytron Corp. announced a portfolio-wide agreement to expand the Skytron Mall Television Network to more than 100 General Growth Properties malls in 2001. The network delivers video programming via giant HDTV screens suspended in food courts. The expansion follows a successful pilot program in General Growth malls.

Mark Klockner, VP of business development for Chicago-based General Growth, describes the deal as a win for both companies. “Skytron is partnering with us to evolve the mall into a medium,” Klockner notes.

The Skytron programming is tailored to the interests of mall shoppers. Segments include music, entertainment, fashion, travel, lifestyle topics, and features from the pages of Elle, Car and Driver and other magazines. The network also provides product manufacturers and other advertisers a vehicle to reach shoppers.

Los AngelesDallas-based The Container Store recently adopted locally based DMX Music's newest in-store music delivery system. The Internet-enabled technology, called DMX Axis, will continuously provide commercial-free digital music to all 22 Container Store locations.

The system uses a combination of DMX technology, Microsoft software and IBM e-business platforms. It will provide signature programming designed to reinforce The Container Store's brand.

According to DMX, users of the system gain access to the world's largest library of music. They can add new titles and whole playlists via the Internet, and can adjust their playlists based on input from customers.