OutlookPoint is a product that lets you use your Outlook content such as messages, calendar, contacts, notes, tasks, etc. as a database source. It doesn’t stop there — using DataPoint as an interfacing product that links PowerPoint to database sources, OutlookPoint can let you send an email that converts itself to a presentation slide in an instant! How more dynamic can you get with PowerPoint?
And in this Indezine exclusive, we have Kurt Dupont who heads PresentationPoint — creators of OutlookPoint, DataPoint, and other amazing PowerPoint add-ins.
Geetesh: OutlookPoint is not a conventional program — there’s probably no other application that does the same things — so how did OutlookPoint evolve?
Kurt: Indeed, OutlookPoint is a special product in our business software but the application is definitely related to our main product DataPoint. With DataPoint you can display real-time information in a slide show, coming from various data sources. This kind of functionality is widely used at airports, schools and factories. On the other hand DataPoint is used to regenerate presentations with up-to-date content like sales reports, product information and availability statistics etc.
OutlookPoint is only interesting for the first type of presentations, what we call online presentations. With an online presentation you need a database to retrieve the dynamic information from and most applications are simply displaying messages or announcements, or are welcoming people at a company by displaying their name and company name at a large flat panel screen at the reception desk. The type of database needed here is very basic but requires a database, installation, training and a graphical user interface.
Figure 1: An OutlookPoint Workflow
This is what OutlookPoint does. You can use Microsoft Outlook or Exchange to host the public folders for DataPoint display purposes. You simply identify which folders or maps need to be exported to the OutlookPoint database. Then you use your existing Outlook interface to enter and maintain the map content. So for example you create a new appointment beween 9:00 and 10:00 and its subject will be displayed between 9:00 and 10:00 on the flat panel screen. Interesting options like appointment recurrence etc are included automatically.
The same can be done with email messages, contacts, notes and tasks. With DataPoint you decide what information is displayed.
All of this is very basic, but by using this add-on you eliminate the need of building a new database and user interface.
Geetesh: Can you share some case studies and usage patterns for OutlookPoint.
Kurt: Sure. Many possible applications are possible with DataPoint and OutlookPoint.
- At a school you can use the Outlook calendar map to store your class schedules and teacher absences and use a mail map to store general announcements.
- At a factory you can setup an email address per production lane and send a message like ‘we are on schedule’ and send it to [email protected]
- By making use of this standard way of messaging, you can even send that type of message from an internet cafe in Bangkok to your company and have it displayed on a plasma screen at production lane 4.
Related Post: DataPoint: Conversation with Kurt Dupont