The end of 2017 is rapidly approaching, so I thought it would be a good time to review what Datalogics and our customers and partners have been up to for the last year, as well as look forward to what we can expect in 2018 and beyond.

In May of 2017 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our original incorporation. To say the world has changed during that span would be a huge understatement. No nation had set foot on the moon when we were founded, yet today Elon Musk is promising commercial space tourism to Mars in the “near future”. In 1967, the United States and Europe both had robust industrial economies, but we now live in knowledge economies where anyone with a smartphone and the proper education can participate from anywhere there is connectivity.

In-office 50 year anniversary celebration

On the EdTech side of Datalogics, in 2017 we saw substantial growth in the Educational Technology and eLearning spaces. The emergence and acceptance of electronic book standards over the last decade has created opportunities to lower the cost, expand the reach, and raise the quality of education substantially. While many initial offerings were proprietary walled gardens, the acceptance of standards such as Learning Tools Interoperability, LTI,  paved the way for the creation of best-of-breed multi-vendor offerings in the EdTech space.

Widely supported standards such as QTI, the Quiz and Test Interoperability standard, promise to allow educational publishers to deliver content through any compliant Learning Management System, LMS. These digital testing solutions will be able to provide educators with real time information about individual student progress, and can provide learning institutions similar information about individual educator’s results.

Datalogics entered the eBook space back in 2010, and we have since helped several hundred organizations deliver their own or other publishers’ content outside of the walled gardens of Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks. We have recently pivoted that focus so that we can help any publisher deliver digital content working with any Learning Management System. To this end we made investments in our READynamic offering to add the Sony DADC User Rights Management Solution (URMS) protection as an option for publishers who requested such content insurance.

We are looking forward to supporting LTI compliance in January of 2018 so that READynamic will interoperate with whichever compliant LMS solution a learning institution prefers.  Interoperability will lower the cost of education by allowing institutions and corporations to plug READynamic into their existing infrastructure, without the need for costly and time consuming custom code integration. Lower cost of ownership will make education more accessible and provide for improved learning outcomes.

Working session with READynamic customer, CFU Denmark

On the Document Tools side of the business, 2017 saw Datalogics make investments to dramatically expand the reach of our offerings by creating scriptable utilities to automate common office tasks that increase worker productivity and reduce the drudge work of pushing paper documents. We were aware of common use cases such as automating printing, rasterization, optimization, or redaction that customers between disparate industries were using our SDK offerings for, so we have been creating utilities that allow organizations to deploy automated solutions for these problems without writing code. Whether delivering PDF documents to a repository for long term archival, delivering these documents to mobile applications, or delivering them to a press to become ink on paper, our customers had the desire to optimize PDF files for specific purposes. We knew customers that built such solutions with the Adobe PDF Library and Datalogics PDF Java Toolkit, and had also encountered many that glued together workflows that utilized Adobe Acrobat inappropriately and ineffectively as server applications.

Datalogics released extensions to the Adobe PDF Library for optimization back in 2016, and in 2017 we took that a step further by creating an easier to use, scriptable utility for PDF optimization. The PDF OPTIMIZER tool can be automated and used with available workflow tools to deliver files that are tailored for specific business processes. Removing redundancies before archiving saves space, and down sampling images before delivering to mobile devices saves bandwidth and makes for more responsive viewing and a better user experience.

In a recent Forbes magazine article Adobe claimed that PDFs have led to a 91% reduction in environmental impact and 90% cost saving over paper-based processes. These are major accomplishments to be celebrated, but we want to take them further. In a 2015 presentation at the PDF Technical Conference, Phil Ydens, Adobe Systems VP of Engineering, estimated that 2.5 trillion PDF documents are created each year.

Now, if we used round numbers pulled out of thin air and assumed that these files averaged only 1 Megabyte each, then the new files created each year would require 2.5 exabytes of new storage space. Our testing has shown that properly optimizing PDF files can reduce them in size by between 10 and 50+ %. Storage space costs money and uses energy. We are excited to say that using PDF OPTIMIZER can save organizations substantial amounts of money on energy and storage costs, and will allow them to use less bandwidth and deliver a better user experience on mobile devices.

PDF Camp: Chicago 2017

In 2018 and beyond, we will continue to extend Datalogics Document Tools offerings, and will be providing popular SaaS offerings with access to these capabilities as web services so that content can be manipulated in the cloud for optimal archival and delivery. Taking our technology to the cloud, and providing technology solutions that do not require software engineering to deploy, will allow Datalogics to substantially lower the cost of deployment and increase the ROI from our offerings.

To our customers, partners, and the Datalogics team, thanks for all of your efforts in 2017. I am truly looking forward to working with you in 2018. It’s going to be another great year.

Kevin McNeill

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