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The uncommon eReader

DTI Software develops and integrates cutting-edge entertainment software and licensed inflight games for many of the world’s leading airlines. Its popular eReader platform gives passengers access to their favourite newspapers, books, magazines and comics in the language of their choice. With a click of a button, they can turn pages, select links and zoom in to see colourful images and quotes. DTI’s latest customer for the eReader is flydubai, the Dubai-based low-cost airline, which now provides passengers with access to 45 newspapers in seven languages from across the globe in PDF format, via its Lumexis-supplied IFE system.

Why did it take three years to develop the eReader for flydubai?
Although the actual application has been available (in fact the eReader has been flying on other airlines for over two years) and could have been delivered on the Flydubai Lumexis platform many years ago, the real challenge was more operational with respect to getting newspapers onto the aircraft in a timely manner on a daily basis. We have been working with Newspaper Direct for three years, and had integrated their Press Reader and had made the proper links in the back office to ascertain that their content was uploaded automatically to our Content Management System; and that we then create a loadable that is ready to be used and uploaded on the Lumexis server on the plane to then present the content from the application on the screens. The fact that this took three years since we began working with Newspaper Direct is not a technical issue but mostly operational in that no other airline had been willing to make the commitment to getting the content onboard using a ‘sneaker net’ approach.

What's next for the eReader service?
One of the next milestones for the eReader service will be the update of the content via satellite communication link (satcom). We presently have a few airlines that already have the eReader or are integrating the eReader on a new program that will also have satcom on their flights. The objective would be to be able to upload the newspapers via this satcom link, which would mean that newspapers could actually be uploaded to the aircraft while in flight and as the newspapers become available. For example, a flight leaving Beijing to London could have newspapers from Europe become available on the eReader as their digital version becomes available, so potentially you could read a London-based newspaper before landing.

We are also working on a version of the eReader that will be compatible with the new dual-screen hardware becoming available in the market.

And of course we keep increasing the content availability: we presently offer a number of magazines (TAM airlines is flying with a number of South American publishers that we were able to source for them), and also the Press Reader by Newspaper Direct has started offering an increasing array of magazines. We also offer Soundview (summaries of business books), audiobooks, books from DK and comics strips from Universal Uclick.

Any more eReader customers in the pipeline?
We have over 10 airlines presently flying with the eReader and have over six airlines set to be delivered in the next six months. We are seeing a definite increase in the number of airlines that are committing to offer digital reading content on their new programs. Beyond flydubai’s Lumexis-supplied IFEsystem, our eReader is both flying and available on Thales and Panasonic IFE systems.

Airlines flying the eReader [as of January 2013]:
• Hainan Airlines
• Hong Kong Airlines
• China Southern Airlines
• China Eastern Airlines
• Air China
• Oman Air
• Malaysia Airline
• JAL (eManga Reader)
• Flydubai

Airlines about to fly the eReader  [as of January 2013]:
• Gulf Air
• Lot
• Aeroflot
• Libyan

(A number of other airlines have committed to the eReader but don’t want to announce the deployment of the application yet.)

Patrick Préfontaine spoke to Anthony James in January 2013



27 January 2013


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