P u b l i s h e r s W e e k ly .

c o m

Special Report 2014

Digital Solutions in

The endless pursuit of new workflows,
methodologies, efficiencies and profitability in
content transformation and digitization

Making Digital Pay

Digital publishing
solutions of all sizes
for all types of content





e: info.psg@cenveo.com | p: +1.267.640.9158 | WWW.CENVEOPUBLISHERSERVICES.COM

Digital Solutions in India 2014

Nothing is set in stone as far as content digitization and
aggregation is concerned

Redefining and Repurposing
Content as We Go Along
By Teri Tan

Smart and enhanced content. Intuitive and dynamic workflow. Interactive and integrated media. Scalable and customized solutions. Single-source and multi-platform processes.
Aggregated and dechunked data. Agile and mobile technologies. The adjectives keep coming and the concepts pertaining
to content, ever more sophisticated by the day.


o just when you were grasping the meaning of “discoverability” and “big
data,” you will now have to
get your mind around
“flipped classroom,” in
which students view short video lectures
at home before the class session while inclass time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussion; and “semantic tagging,” a way of reinforcing the meaning
of specified content.
Concepts and jargons aside, both publishers and digital solutions providers
need to make some major calls regarding
content, and its digitization and distribution processes. For publishers, the big

decision is about how enriched, complex
and smart (or smarter) their content (or
assets) should be to grab the end users
(and their wallets). For digital solutions
providers, how much the publishers are
willing to pay to apply enhanced and
intuitive solutions to their content
would decide how high the level of offerings would go. In short, everything has a
price and finding a workable business
model is getting more complex—and
crucial—than ever.

Controlling Content
As we speak, content is being scanned,
converted, reformatted, enhanced,
spliced, diced, structured, dechunked,

animated, fattened (or trimmed) and
slicked up for distribution through all
types of devices and platforms. The need
for content consistency, portability, efficiency, accuracy and speed is overwhelming.
Current digital technology, says CEO
Kris Srinaath of Qbend, has thrown up
various possibilities, platforms and
devices. “We see consumer choices
becoming extremely varied, and content
delivery so complex that publishers—
both traditional and non-traditional—
cannot afford to focus on a few formats.
The goal for S4Carlisle, Qbend and our
transmedia services team is to provide a
solid framework for publishers to curate
and enrich their content, and provide
what the consumers have come to
expect,” he says, adding that transmedia
services, a new division within S4Carlisle, will bridge the gap between technology providers and content creators to
offer consumers rich content experience
on their devices.
Multiplicity of devices has certainly
increased the demand for content conver-

Online Coverage of the Digital Solutions Industry
The following articles are available online in conjunction with this print report:

Q&A with Dr Lalit S. Kanodia of Datamatics (who is one of
the pioneers in the Indian software and offshore services

Across Segments and Domains: Projects Showcase
(featuring interesting, unusual and complex projects
from various vendors)

Visit www.publishersweekly.com/DigitalSolutions2014 for continuing coverage, news, and q&as with vendors and
publishers on the digital solutions industry.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Digital Solutions in India 2014
sion, and by default grew Lapiz Digital
Services further last year. “The services
required ranged from simple conversion
to complex animation,” says CEO Indira
Rajan, whose team strives to keep up
with new technologies even as it works
on more digital products for publishers.
“In e-book production, for instance, dealing with multiple platforms and stiffer
competition from industry counterparts
are all in a day’s work.”
There are also more requests to compose content as individual assets along
with the entire title, says v-p of sales and
marketing David Bass of codeMantra.
“Publishers are thinking about customizing content for their end users digitally
in ways that they cannot do with print
products, and they are using XML to
ensure content functionality and display
capabilities on different e-book readers
and browsers.” Publishers’ objective, he
adds, is to develop a title one time, with
a single process that produces outputs for
print and digital—and leaving one file
to update and edit going forward. “It is
about improving operational efficiencies
to create and distribute print and digital
in a variety of methods.”
And it has always been about XML in
the digital solutions industry. “We have
heard of ‘XML-first’ and ‘XML-early’ for
many years now. But it is a real conversation stopper when you try to introduce
‘XML’ to content creators and authors.
We believe they should not have to even
know what XML or structure is,” says
Marianne Calilhanna, director of marketing at Cenveo Publishers Services, adding that it is the service provider’s job to
support publishers and authors with
structure that enables front-end automation. “Our editorial transformation tools
do this now and are evolving to even provide a mechanism to incorporate stylistic
elements before acceptance. It sounds
like a pipe dream, but everyone—
authors, readers, the scientific community, for instance—will benefit from the
speed and efficiency this system brings
to the process. We are making this happen now and will be partnering with
publishers even more in 2014.”
Content enrichment and semantic tag4

ging are what help publishers manage
their most important asset—content,
adds Calilhanna. “Commercial and society publishers alike will need more efficient ways to bring semantic tagging
into workflows. This is a particularly
critical process that needs to be considered when working with a service provider like Cenveo, which manages much
of publishers’ development and production processes.”
With lines demarcating publishing
departments blurring, “editorial, production, marketing and IT departments
now play equally important roles in
product development and delivery,”
observes chief marketing officer Rahul
Arora of MPS Limited. “In addition to
creating engaging and interactive learning products, it is also imperative to provide seamless access to such content
through robust and easily scalable platforms. And more than ever before, publishers are committed to understanding
their end-users through richer analytics
and market research.”
MPS is also seeing its business becoming more focused on platform development and managed services for publishing clients in recent months. Its hosted
cloud-based platform, MPSTrak, for
instance, powers the overall publishing
process from start to finish, and has won
two significant client awards in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Peer Review module of
MPSTrak, having passed the early development and testing stages, will be
implemented for a U.K.-based publisher
sometime this year.

Rethinking e-Learning
In the e-learning space, the multiplicity of
devices and platforms, while affording vendors new paths to grow their business (and
revenues), poses a big challenge. “Content
must automatically fit into different platforms while learning effectiveness needs to
remain the same,” says executive director
Jayant Kulkarni of Harbinger Interactive
Learning, explaining that “the pedagogy,
interaction levels and learning effectiveness
must remain unchanged even as the content sequence is presented a little differently on a PC, tablet or a smartphone due

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ M AY 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

to different screen sizes. This called for
improvisation at the instructional design
level itself.”
How to achieve that same level of
learning with different display or content
presentation, he adds, “is an instructional
design question, and that is a very exciting problem to solve.” Other hot button
issues for the e-learning industry on
Kulkarni’s list include responsive
HTML5, interactive ePub3, augmented
reality in print, personalizable educational videos and cloud technologies.
Technology, while confounding, also
makes it an exciting time to be in the
education industry. “Technology affects
the way we receive and process information, and directly impacts the way we
learn. Students now live in a digital
world, and we are creating a learning
product, MarkSharks, that is consistent
with that,” says Aditya Tripathi, CEO of
OKS Education. In a nutshell, MarkSharks is a tablet- and cloud-based
e-learning product for students grade 6
to 12 that will be launched in the autumn
of 2014.
Almost all educational publishers
today are looking to acquire or partner
with adaptive learning companies to
make their products more personalized,
observes CEO Samudra Sen of LearningMate, whose team created a huge amount
of content for adaptive learning platforms last year. “We know students master learning objectives faster through
personalized learning—when the system
is intelligent enough to predict areas of
struggle and prompt students with additional content and assessments that help
them achieve mastery of that concept.
Meta-tagging for the level of difficulty
or specific subject area becomes incredibly important. So these platforms are
changing the way publishers write, and
create, content.”
Publishers and content creators are no
longer selling curriculum or full-text
content, adds Sen. “Instead, they are
focusing on selling learning outcomes.
And when you sell outcomes, you need
technology to measure effectiveness.
That is a great opportunity for us because
our team is uniquely qualified to develop

Digital Solutions in India 2014
content with embedded programmatic
constructs to measure and track these

Digesting (Big) Data
With consumers buying more content
and products online, providing data and
content enrichment solutions to pureplay retailers or “click-and-mortar” companies is par for the course at Datamatics.
“Such solutions have expanded to include
deeper and richer catalogue creation,
maintenance of merchandizing sites, and
quicker migration to newer taxonomies
to enable faster and more accurate product discovery,” says Krishna Tewari,
executive director and global head of
digital publishing and retail solutions.
“The huge traction on e-commerce has
prompted us to expand our vision to
include business insights and complementary technologies for content and
e-commerce. Since we serve both publishers and retailers, we are uniquely
positioned to ‘cross-pollinate’ the learnings from these clientele and help them
achieve increased e-commerce success
through enriched content and improved
Over at Thomson Digital, it has been
about embracing technologies such as
semantic tagging and big data to support
its clients for a long time. “Analyzing
various data sets can help editors and
publishers to make informed decisions
about how to develop, package and
deliver content—if they have the right
tools. And when it comes to big data,
there are three dimensions that need to
be considered: the volume, which is the
amount of data being collected; velocity,
or the ability of real-time analysis; and
variety, which may be structured or
unstructured information including
text, videos, images, log files, sensor data
and click streams,” says executive director Vinay Singh, adding that the company’s innovative TD-XPS platform will
soon integrate big data analysis.
With data gathering at a tremendous
rate and from ever increasing sources in
this fast-paced world, the challenge is to
understand that data, structure it, and
use or monetize it to achieve a competi-

tive edge—accurately at a fast speed.
“Although the publishing industry has
generally righted itself from just a few
years ago when it faced revolutions in
new digital content creation paradigms
and delivery platforms—such as ePub3,
LMS and the challenges posed by Google
and Amazon, for instance—we believe
big data and how to take advantage of it
is publishing’s next big challenge,” says
Nakul Parashar, v-p of enterprise content
management at SourceHOV, which is
offering its revolutionary Rule14 technology to the publishing industry to
meet that challenge. Rule14 is a gamechanging big data-based platform from
its California-based technology-driven
affiliate company, perfectly applied to
content aggregation.

Uncovering Discoverability and Profitability

Today, one big issue faced by publishers
and authors is to ensure that their books
get discovered in the online environ-

ment, where shelf space is endless and
anyone with a computer can—and probably soon will—self-publish a book,
observes CEO Kannan Narayanaswamy
of ePagemaker, a subsidiary of Newgen
KnowledgeWorks. “Readers face a different challenge: with the huge increase
in the number of books available in the
market, it is getting harder to sift
through the ‘noise’ and find titles that
they are interested in reading. Thus we
have both a book discovery problem for
readers and an audience discovery problem for authors and their publishers.”
At ePagemaker, the goal, he says, “is
to help publishers to leverage their digital presence, for example by creating a
modern, responsive, SEO-optimized
website that uses the latest techniques to
drive search results, discoverability and
revenue. We help authors to reach the
network of audiences on online and social
platforms to drive awareness across both
front- and backlist, and we plan consistent online marketing programs, which


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W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Digital Solutions in India 2014

Flash-to-HTML Conversion: The Hurix Story

are more appropriate than one-shot campaigns when a book is published.”
For CTO Gurvinder Batra of KiwiTech,
digital content and its monetization are
central to any business’s growth these
days. “User engagement defines profitability. The growing bandwagon of newage chief executive officers with digital
blueprint as their primary ROI index is
driving the growth of mobile apps and


digital solutions providers like us. Enterprises are evolving to stay connected,
improve processes and deliver rewarding
consumer engagement. Mobile and the
digital spectrum are offering never-beforeseen mechanics to our shrinking and connected world. This is a truly digital convergence era that we live in, and KiwiTech
is strategically positioned to evolve and
grow organically with it.”

Serving Up Solutions
Whether it is about transforming content, enhancing e-learning modules,
aiding discoverability, experimenting
with new workflows, augmenting reality, gamifying interactivities or mining
big data, the following 27 vendors—sizable or small, specialist or generalist;
listed in reverse alphabetical order—
offer a multitude of services, bespoke or

Now that Flash is dead, publishers are scrambling to reformat their FLA files into future-proof
standards such as HTML5. But making converted Flash-to-HTML content compatible across
various devices—desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets and smartphones—is a major hurdle,
admits CEO Subrat Mohanty of Hurix. “With the current boom in the mobile industry, we now
have devices with varying screen sizes, from 5-inch smartphones to 10-inch tablets with
phablets somewhere in between. We also need to ensure that the converted Flash activity
works across these screen sizes without any tangible loss in the user experience.”
To address the above challenge, Hurix deploys Responsive Web
Design (RWD) to create the HTML5 activities. “RWD allows the layout to adjust according to the user’s screen resolution and size, and
in order for RWD to work, the activity layouts need to be programmed
as flexible. Fluid or liquid layouts, proportionally scaled images and
supporting media queries help to achieve the required flexibility.
It enables us to offer the best possible experience to the widest
possible audience,” says Mohanty.
Replicating the experience of Flash activity—in look, feel and
functionality—in HTML5 is the next challenge. “The animation part
is the most problematic. Simple transitions or motion-based animation of images can be achieved through JavaScript and CSS transitions. But achieving small complex animations requires the use
of sprite sheets and tween max,” Mohanty explains, adding that
sprite sheets are basically a sequence of images depicting different steps of an animation on a single sheet. “Sprite sheets cannot
be used for longer animations. Furthermore, tablets do not load
sprite sheets with a large number of frames.”
Tween max, he adds, is used for presenting slightly complex
motion-based animations, which are movements of an object across
different locations on the screen. “In cases where large complex
animations have multiple characters or objects, we convert these
animations to MP4 videos and channel them through a player.” The
drawback of using videos for presenting the animations, he says, is
that external factors such as Internet connectivity and the device’s
processing power will determine the time it takes to download the
video. So his team employs a combination of the above approaches in
Flash-to-HTML5 conversion so that the experience of the animations
remains the same as seen in Flash.
Naturally, HTML5 has its limitations. Explains Mohanty, “HTML5
content is most likely to be viewed on tablets, and ‘rollover’ cannot
be implemented since tablets do not support this functionality. In
such cases, we deploy workarounds like click-to-reveal. Having con-

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ M AY 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

verting a massive amount of Flash activities over the years, we are
familiar with various workarounds that can be used to address different HTML5 limitations.”
Given that HTML5 is still a developing standard, it is not supported by many older versions of popular browsers. For instance,
HTML5 standards are not supported by Internet Explorer versions
older than IE9. “However, using libraries such as HTML5shiv,
HTML5shim and DOM animations, we can make the activities compatible to IE8. We employ user agents to check the browser version
on the launch of an activity. Then, based on the version used, the
appropriate libraries or scripts are called to play the activity.”
Hurix adopts two different approaches when it comes to Flash-toHTML conversion projects. Dictera, its proprietary award-winning
platform, which is mostly used for authoring content and publishing
courses, can be also be used for Flash-to-HTML5 conversion. “In
this method, media assets such as graphics, audio and video are
extracted from existing Flash files. Dictera then uses its wide-ranging templates to author the screens while offering instant preview
and testing on more than 50 types of browsers. Such features have
enabled us to convert 50,000 Flash pages within five months for a
publishing client,” says Mohanty.
The second method—custom development—is mostly
applied when there are numerous Flash activities involving custom screens and interactivities such as games, complex labs
and simulations. “Once media assets are extracted from the Flash
files, the programming of the templates and screen layouts is
done from scratch. Dynamic templates are often created with
JSON [JavaScript Object Notation] so that all future screens and
template revisions can be easily done by editing the JSON.”
Once the templates are created, the content is then integrated
and the HTML5 package tested on the required device, operating system or browser combinations as per client’s requirements.

Digital Solutions in India 2014
templated, for e-books, apps, tablets and
mobile devices. Each company is answering calls for innovative products and
novel solutions in its own way, building
on proven expertise and established reputation.
This small sampling, out of hundreds
that mostly operate below PW radar, is
sufficient to showcase their cumulative
strength and expertise. But if you need
further assurance about, and proof of,
their capabilities, online article Across
Segments and Domains looks at many of
these vendors’ interesting and complex
This review—totally unscientific and
not rubber-stamped with our endorsement—is totally discriminating, featuring only those with interesting products
and solutions targeted at publishers and
content creators/aggregators. Whichever
provider(s) you ultimately choose to be
your partner down the digitization path,
remember: do your homework and exercise your due diligence.

duction and mobile app development
have been strengthened and expanded
further. “We pride ourselves on our flat
hierarchy and quick response. Our dedicated client service, for instance, enables
clients to interact directly with our production line managers for continual
updates on project status. For clients,
nothing is more frustrating than being
put on hold and not knowing what is
happening to their projects.”
Hyderabad has no other major player
of vPrompt’s size offering composition
services. The location gives the company
an edge, as Hyderabad is about 15% less
expensive than Delhi and other major
Indian cities in terms of entry-level
wages. “But cost will eventually go up
and nullify any cost advantage. So we
have been investing in technology to
reduce manual work and to achieve costeffectiveness in production workflows.
This investment will offset future
increases in manpower costs,” adds T.
Giriraj, senior director for strategic
vPrompt eServices
Presently, 80% of vPrompt’s business
Some of the highlights for eight-year-old
comes from the U.S., mostly for XML
Hyderabad-based vPrompt in 2013 were
work and e-book processing. “We are a
the acquisition of a new facility in New
one-stop shop for all types of publishing
Delhi and addition of another 300 proand content processes, such as data entry,
duction people. “Our revenue more than
art creation, conversion, structured copydoubled, with significantly increased
editing of all content types, automated
volume of work from major clients,” says
page composition and XML processing
president and CEO Ameet Chauhaan,
for e-publications,” says managing direcadding that their capabilities in foreign
tor Ajay Srivastava, who recently brought
language data processing, HTML5 proin industry veteran Byron Laws as v-p for
business development
and account management. “Our New Delhi
office serves as a client
hub, as many clients prefer not to make the longer trip to Hyderabad,
while most softwarerelated and full-project
management services are
handled by our Hyderabad facility. Both facilities will undergo further
expansion this year with
newer and faster services
(l. to r.) Ajay Srivastava, T. Giriraj and Ameet Chauhaan of
to better meet client
vPrompt eServices

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ M AY 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

Vakils Premedia

Last year, Vakils Premedia, a subsidiary
of printing and publishing group Vakils
& Sons, entered into an alliance with
Boston-based short-run printer King
Printing and Milan-based Rotolito Lombarda. “Both companies and their clients
can now take advantage of Vakils’s premedia services for file conversion, or use
our new business lines to create mobile
apps, interactive e-books, e-catalogs or
applications for e-learning and the Web,”
says managing director Bimal Mehta.
“It is estimated that 500 million
smartphone users will be using healthcare apps by 2015, and many major pharmaceutical firms, such as Merck, Pfizer,
Roche and GlaxoSmithKline, have intro-

Bimal Mehta, managing director of Vakils

duced apps for marketing and medical
education. And we have developed several mobile solutions for our clients in
the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry to improve their customer outreach
and increase their competitiveness. Apps
such as MD Spirometry Flash and Dental
Sleep Medicine Study, for instance, are
designed to reinforce knowledge for professionals in the respective fields,” adds
Mehta. His team also developed the official app of Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy
Journal and an app on Merck Millipore
Antibody that comes with comprehensive search functions and hyperlinks.
For the business sector, Mehta and his
team provide annual reports, XBRL conversion, IR apps and other services to
company secretaries and investor relations departments of corporations. He
has also added Virtualboardroom to his

Digital Solutions in India 2014
offerings, which is a secured Web-based
portal for board members and company
secretaries to share confidential information and access documents remotely.
(Virtualboardroom is owned and developed by a British company, and Vakils
will be marketing it in India.) “Together
with our associate companies, we provide
a one-stop solution to clients requiring
premedia services, app development, IT
services, printing and publishing,
including self-publishing,” adds Mehta.

Launched at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair,
TD-XPS, which can handle books, magazines, journals, e-learning, and other smart
and interactive content, has since completed the pilot phase with two of the company’s largest customers. “We are moving
toward the second testing phase and will
go ‘live’ soon. We are also customizing TD-

Thomson Digital

XPS for legal publications for one of
Europe’s biggest publishers.”
Digital media capabilities, which are the
core of e-learning services, have also been
the prime focus for Thomson Digital in the
last few years. “Our team of instructional
designers and subject matter experts offers
interactive animation and e-learning mod-


It was a year of evolution for Thomson
Digital in 2013. “We developed the
revolutionary concept of 1P1P [One
Person One Project] with the aim of
fostering a smart and lean workflow
pattern from input acceptance to delivery. It is about facilitating the shortest
possible workflow while lowering costs
and improving quality,” says executive
director Vinay Singh, adding that the
concept is backed by TD-XPS, the
company’s unique Web-based digital
publishing platform. “TD-XPS is a
game changer. It builds and manages a
robust XML-based production process
that integrates authoring, reviewing,
editing, formatting and multichannel
product delivery from a single content
source. Its futuristic features have a
measurable impact on cost efficiency
and resource optimization.”
TD-XPS’s high degree of automation
captures the levels of granularity in content
while limiting manual intervention to a
minimal, thus delivering consistent quality at an unparalleled speed, he adds.

All on the same web page
A single URL unites authors, typesetters
and publishers in Proof Central, a
TNQ platform that has transformed the
proofing process for over 1000 S&T
journals from PDF to HTML, with the
XML intact. We make it possible for

editors, reviewers, authors, all of
publishing, to collaborate along similar
lines. This takes publishing to the next
level, even as it drives costs down. To
get there, get on the same page with
TNQ. Contact info@tnq.co.in.

Vinay Singh, executive director at Thomson
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Digital Solutions in India 2014
ule development in a
variety of disciplines and
languages,” adds Singh,
who has also built a creative services team skilled
in understanding cultural
nuances, local tastes and
specific creative needs.
Singh has been busy
expanding Thomson
Digital’s onshore and
offshore presence in
recent months. “We
have a sales office in Germany, and a new facility
in Gangtok, Sikkim,
which was conceptual- (l. to r.) Shanthi Krishnamoorthy, S.K. Venkatesan,Yakov Chandy, Kalpana Chandrasekaran, M.V. Bhaskar and
Mariam Ram of TNQ’s executive team
ized with the 1P1P/TDXPS workflow in mind. We offer translacontent-centric workflow as opposed to
arships for journalism and performing
tion, copyediting and proofreading seruser-centric. In this scheme of things, an
arts studies, contributes to the Integrated
vices in French (handled by our Mauritius
article or a chapter equals a URL. After
Child Development Centre, assists in
facility), Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Dutch
testing this concept and the associated
running a school for the disabled and
and Brazilian Portuguese.” Thomson
processes and technologies, we have sucsupports the Lepra Trust (founded on the
Digital now displays a growing list of
cessfully used it for the journal Review of
ideals of Mother Teresa), and facilitates
addresses in London, New York, BarceAgrarian Studies [ras.org.in] in the last
wildlife-tribal life harmony in an ecolona and Rio de Janeiro. “This is about
two years, where the whole process—
logically sensitive zone.
having a global reach with a local touch,
submission to publishing—is managed
and we are hatching plans for an onshore
online,” adds Chandy, whose clients
Swift Prosys
presence in Germany and Singapore.”
include Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer, eLife
Independently owned since April 2013,
and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Swift Prosys has moved to a new facility
Chandy regards the company’s most
with space for 75 people. “We also have
Based in Chennai with around 2,000
important clients to be its own employees.
two Norwegian employees, under a
employees, 17-year-old TNQ is known
“However, we make it tough for them to
three-year employee exchange program
for its expertise in STM publishing.
join. The recruitment, induction and trainwith our client eBokNorden. FK NorProof Central, its proofing platform, has
ing processes are rigorous, so much so that
way funds this program, where Swift
been replacing the traditional PDF
TNQ is considered the de facto training
Prosys and eBokNorden will exchange
proofing processes, and will be used for
ground for the rest of the industry.”
two employees for each of the three
more than 1,400 scientific and technical
TNQ is known for its CSR initiatives,
years,” says managing director and
journals (one-fourth of such journals
especially the annual lecture series feafounder Mohan Thas Shanmugam, addglobally) by the end of this year. “This
turing speakers at the leading edge of
ing that his company provides eBokNortechnology eliminates errors that are
biological sciences that it
inevitable in the content integration proco-sponsors with Cell
cess post-PDF annotation. Besides
Press. Speakers featured
increasing accuracy, it halves process
in past events include
time and cost,” says CEO Yakov Chandy,
David Baltimore, Elizaadding that his team will leverage the
beth Blackburn, Shinya
capabilities of Proof Central in other
Yamanaka and, recently,
areas of STM publishing and beyond.
Huda Zoghbi. (InterestMeanwhile, the writable Web has
ingly, the first three won
enabled everyone—authors, editors,
the Nobel Prize after
reviewers, typesetters and publishers—
their lectures.) TNQ also
to work on the same HTML page from
sponsors a chair at the
submission to publishing in TNQ’s sinChennai Mathematical
gle-URL publishing workflow. “It is a
Institute, provides schol- Mohan Thas Shanmugam, managing director of Swift Prosys
10 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

Digital Solutions in India 2014
den with e-book production, typesetting
and web application development to
enable a fully functional e-book portal.
(eBokNorden provides e-book distribution and sales services to Scandinavian
Shanmugam and his team are now
busy servicing various libraries under the
Europeana Newspapers Project and
working on a new project to clip German
newsreels. “There is also a two-year project on MARC XML retroconversion from
Germany that is the second phase of a
project we had successfully completed in
2010,” says Shanmugam, who has also
started servicing Italian libraries as a
third-party vendor. “We now serve 21
countries including Iceland, and have
more clients from South Africa in the
past year for typesetting and e-book production.” There have been a lot of enquiries on ePDF, which is a low-cost e-book
format for personal computers, and backlist conversion to ePDF and ePub, he
adds. “The demand for iBooks Author
workflow from Scandinavian publishers
is also on the rise, pointing to the wider
acceptance of this format beyond the
U.S. shores.”
This year, Swift Prosys is set to open
an office in Chennai suburb that will hire
only female workers (and managed by
Shanmugam’s wife and Swift Prosys coowner, Bhavani, who is an experienced
executive in the ITES industry). “We
will focus on selling web applications
such as learning management system and
human resource management system to
South African clients. While Swift Prosys is a young company of five years, we
have been able to leverage on our cumulative expertise to go into—and work on
successful projects in—areas such as apps
development, SharePoint development
and open source implementation to offer
products in CRM, MIS, NVOCC
Dynamics [for shipping and multimodal
logistics], performance management system, retail ERP and warehouse management system.”


Texas-based SourceHOV has over 70
locations throughout the U.S. in addi-

tion to facilities in India, China, Canada,
Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines.
This global provider of transaction processing solutions, strategic consulting
and data analytics has over 12,000
employees and recorded a 20% growth
last year. “In the publishing space, our
biggest challenge is making our new and
traditional services widely known to the
industry. We have actually been servicing publishers for over 21 years,” says
Nakul Parashar, vice president for enterprise content management (ECM).

Nakul Parashar, v-p for enterprise content
management at SourceHOV

“Our ECM publishing vertical
uniquely distinguishes itself by bringing
to every one of our content clients the
depth of our organization’s expertise.
ECM offers not only all the traditional
publishing services—ranging from
developmental editing services to ePub3
creation—but also creates content for our
clients. We have strong writing and legal
teams providing legal blogs, social media
posts, articles, and case head notes to the
world’s biggest legal publishers. We also
have a deep pool of technology solutions
that currently help over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies. Our publishing
clients can create content with us, do a
deep dive into data and content analytics,
use our content management solutions,
engage our end-to-end production services, and avail themselves of our document analytics, conversion work, quality
checking, and auditing of all their workflows,” explains Parashar.
End-to-end big data-driven aggregation solution is another SourceHOV
offering to publishers. Rule14, says

12 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

manager for scalable cloud systems
Shao-shao Cheng, “takes current bodies
of content or unstructured data, break
them into modules, discover relationships within, bring in related and relevant public external content, and
dynamically assembly all the pieces into
intelligent streams of aggregated content. These streams of content can then
be delivered as marketable product to
any format.” Rule14 has been applied by
two major legal content developers to
create headnotes for judgments and
write blogs after researching for stories
on the Web. “Rule 14 is a hybrid system,
taking advantage of a machine learning,
natural language processing, and customizable rules engines and is therefore
extremely flexible, customizable to client’s requirements, and is able to learn
and therefore refine its performance to
extremely high levels of accuracy with
minimal human intervention. It also can
manage product technology support and
customer relationships at a fraction of
today’s costs for such services.”

Reality Premedia
Pune-based Reality Premedia is high on
advanced e-book apps and augmented
reality (AR). “Now that e-books are no
longer new, publishers are looking
beyond cookie-cutter solutions. Service
providers are expected to create a unique
e-book experience—not just adding
technology for the sake of going digital,
or simply embedding video or audio to
the digitized version of a print book,”
says manager for business development
Alberto Lima Fernandes, pointing out
that the big mistake for a lot of service
providers in the past was to keep e-books
very similar to the print editions. “The
key to a unique digital experience is a
much closer collaboration between the
publisher’s editorial team and the service
provider’s technical people. And while
earlier technology determined how digital content interacted with users, now it
is more the content dictating how the
technology is applied.”
Most publishers today get into
e-books because of competition, market
hype or the fear of being left behind in

Digital Solutions in India 2014

Alberto Lima Fernandes (l.) and Mohit
Ahluwalia of Reality Premedia

the technology race, adds global head
for marketing Mohit Ahluwalia. “However, not many can confidently say that
e-books have generated revenues for
them. AR offers a unique win-win
opportunity: publishers can attract
users to access their digital content
directly from their print book. There is
no need to leave the print strategy
behind. Instead, publishers can now
leverage that print strategy to create
interactive digital content and boost
their revenues. AR only requires readers
to scan the print pages with a simple
mobile app, and the pages would come
to life with games, videos and other
R e c e n t l y, t h e t e a m p r o d u c e d
“momics” (mobile comics) for a major
comic book publisher, using a semiautomated workflow to adapt more
than two million pages in 14 different
languages for mobile devices. “We are
also working with a large entertainment
and publishing company to digitize
their 20-year-old backlist and make
their content future-proof using
XHTML/HTML,” adds Ahluwalia,
pointing out that his 18-year-old company serves more than 100 European
newspapers and marks up nearly one
million pages annually for multiple
devices and platforms.

The publishing industry has come to
realize the importance of selling direct to
customers, according to COO Kaushik
Sampath, “so we have been working to
adapt our services and focus areas to meet
publishers’ needs, such as the enterprise
side of content delivery. One of the great
things about selling direct is that you
will build communities around your content, and we look forward to helping clients achieve this.”
His team has launched several services
that cater to both traditional and nontraditional publishers, retailers and authors.
MyCollect, for instance, takes content
customization to a whole new level where
end consumers can put together customized books from a large repository of a
publisher’s content. “The potential is
tremendous; for example, a researcher
can assemble chapters, sections or even
content with higher granularity into a
single reference book, a food lover can
collate favorite recipes into a personalized cookbook, and parents can customize storybooks for their children,” adds
CEO Kris Srinaath adds, “We are also
working on a self-publishing platform
that will enable authors to prepare their
content for publication, build their
brand through an eStore powered by
Qbend, use our services to distribute
their content to channels such as Amazon, B&N and Apple, and utilize our
digital marketing services. Our prepress
team, S4Carlisle, will work with them on
editorial, design and other publishing
aspects. So every aspiring author will
have the best professional tools and aids
to get their magnum opus published.”
Analytics, an area for which Qbend is
well known, has changed sales models for
many publishers, says Sampath. “With
Qbend’s analytics, a publisher gets to
know, for example, that many people are
looking at a particular book by a midlevel author but not buying it. Offering
a free first chapter of the book to interested readers will help dispel doubts
about the writing and quality of a largely
unknown author, and this can increase
sales tremendously.”

Digital Solutions in India 2014
are increasingly aware
tional products, which creates a strong
of the widening gap
impetus for us to expand our e-learning
between student
achievements, and
Its brand-new e-learning product,
corporate and indusMarkSharks, adopts the “flip classroom”
try expectations.
methodology, where students undertake
Learnival serves to
self-study before class by watching vidbridge this gap,”
eos or using other learning material
explains director for
(typically in digital format). “MarkAsia Pacific, Sharath
Sharks differs from other e-learning
Waikar. Learnival, a
material in that it does not present the
flip-classroom model,
content through a ‘talking head.’ Instead,
is focused on the
it transforms the learning experience
learners while supusing a guided discovery approach where
(l. to r.) Yogish Shanbhag, M.S.P. Shrikant, Vinod Chithambaran
porting different
students literally interact with, and
and Mahim Mishra of Purpleframe Technologies
learning styles. It
explore, the content,” says Aditya Tripaoffers many collaborative tools that conthi, CEO of OKS Education.
tinuously engage learners to explore and
Nigel Wyman, president of OKS
get exposed to global curriculum in their
Prepress Services, says publishers are
Six-year-old Bangalore-based Purplefield of study or research.
looking for new workflows that remove
frame has been producing learning soluHoused in a new 20,000-sq.-ft. office
the reliance on traditional typesetting
tions that promote strong user retention
that can accommodate around 100 peoprocesses. “Many publishers are migratthrough the usage of rich and interactive
ple, Purpleframe is busy leveraging its
ing to a nonprint portfolio, and there
content with broadcast-quality graphics.
success in the U.S. and Singapore markets
seems little reason why they should be
“Such experience comes about by partto move into new territories such as Ausconstrained by page layouts that are
nering innovative technology with intralia and the Middle East.
created to meet printing requirements.
house subject matter expertise,” says
We are about to launch a cloud-based
founder and CEO Yogish Shanbhag, addOKS Group
publishing platform that delivers coning that the finished content is deployed
Founded 30 years ago by Vinit Khanna,
tent in various digital formats simultaseamlessly on all platforms and devices.
OKS Group has expanded many times
neously and with minimum reliance on
His team delivers mostly platform-indeover since then, having bought over
conventional processes.”
pendent solutions and virtual realityAlden Prepress (now OKS Publishing) in
The range of services that the OKS
based content for real-time 3D simula2009 and Exactus (now OKS Legal) in
Group provides, adds Wyman, goes
tions. Such expertise has netted Purple2011. Despite having four production
above and beyond the normal set of pubframe the 2012 Brandon Hall Gold
sites in New Delhi, Mumbai, Trichy and
lishing services offered by other vendors.
award for a technology-based training
Chennai, and offices in the U.S., Europe
“Our clients particularly benefit from
solution for GE Transportation.
and Latin America, OKS still operates
our legal, information and technology
Its double-digit growth last year came
very much as it did during its modest
solutions units. We have the expertise,
mostly from the manufacturing and engibeginnings. “We pride
neering industries, where Purpleframe
ourselves on being
excels in creating customized training
small enough to treat a
content. “The demand for real-time simclient like they are our
ulation-based training solutions is growonly customer, yet
ing, and our success in this area has opened
large enough to promore doors. Our ability to mix 3D and
vide everything that is
programming skills in real-time simulaneeded,” says Khanna,
tions is expected to bring us a twofold
the group’s president
increase in revenue and clients this year,”
and CEO. “Last year,
says CEO for America, Mahim Mishra.
our STM business
The team has also created Learnival, a
grew significantly, and
flipped classroom model for higher-ed
we continue to see an
students. “Asian colleges have recognized
increasing focus on
that curriculum excellence alone does not
electronic delivery and (l. to r.) Vinit Khanna, Nigel Wyman and Aditya Tripathi of
define the success of their students, and
interactivity for educa- OKS Group
14 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

Digital Solutions in India 2014
capacity and flexibility to work with our
clients to develop new products, design
new workflows and deal with specialized
content.” Its IP unit, for instance, carries
out work on trademark protection and
anti-counterfeiting to prevent activities
that would threaten brand integrity and
cut into publishers’ sales.

One noticeable trend at Newgen in 2013
was increased experimentation with formats and publication models for academic
and professional books. “In large measure,
the experiments, done in collaboration
with our clients, were enabled by the nearubiquity of XML-first production workflows and multiple e-delivery formats,”
says president Maran Elancheran, adding
that many reference works, for instance,
have “adopted a journal-like model in
which each chapter is published online as
soon as it is copyedited.”
Many monograph publishers, Elancheran adds, have also begun to make individual chapters available online to
researchers or as e-books. “For backlists,
the metadata for each chapter may need to
be derived by manually splitting reference
lists or indexes, or by taking the first few
sentences of each chapter to create an
abstract. For new titles, authors are often
asked to submit abstracts, and references
and index terms are assigned to the relevant chapters on the basis of links in the
As for full-service manuscript-toprint projects, he observes involvement
of the Newgen team as early as the manuscript acquisition stage. “This
prompted a client to ask how we could
jointly make life easier for authors, and
the result is the Author Experience
interface. Authors see a simple responsive Web interface, which is backed by a
powerful project management system,
that focuses their attention on what they
need to do next. It even ensures that
project managers prioritize their daily
activities to coincide with their authors’
time zones.”
Meanwhile, Newgen’s Silk reflowable

ePub tool now has a Web-based fixedlayout counterpart, Steel, which converts
PDFs to HTML pages, which are then
optimized for major reading devices.
“This optimization has required extensive research into often undocumented
device specifications, which put us in a
good position last year to join the IDPF
BISG working group set up to compile
the ePub3 Support Grid,” adds Elancheran. The grid is a summary of app,
device and reading system performance
across features supported by ePub3. “We
are currently working with several academic presses to formalize their specifications for accessible ePub within the
reality of what devices and reading systems can support.”

Netex Knowledge
Last year was a busy period of implementing innovative approaches in real
time for Netex. “One of our latest initiatives is to enhance learner engagement
through Collaborative Learning using
eXperience API, formerly known as Tin
Can. This technology allows both online
and offline tracking of the learner’s experiences from multiple sources. We are
using this API capability to make
e-learning content truly dynamic, flexible and engaging, and exploring possibilities such as adding gamification and
social learning to the e-modules,” says
country manager Sumedh Kasare, whose
company is one of the early adopters of
this technology.

Netex, he adds, is focused not just on
the technological aspects of e-learning
solutions but also on its pedagogical relevance. “Our flagship platforms—learningCoffee and learningFruit—are perfect
for needs-based e-learning while our
authoring tool, learningMaker, is evolving by the day as a robust solution for
content authoring and publishing,” says
Kasare, pointing out that learningCentral, Netex’s comprehensive learning
management system, helps to manage
online, offline and blended trainings in a
perfectly integrated environment. “And
now, through collaborative learning tools
along with eXperience API, we are taking participative learning to a whole new
Netex clients, adds Kasare, are primarily looking for device-agnostic content
which helps them to tap into the tablet
and smartphone content consumption
market. “Our authoring tool learningMaker uses responsive design architecture and publishes totally responsive
HTML5 content for seamless consumption on multiple devices. Our revolutionary tool, learningApp, allows clients
to publish, deliver, and sell their learning
content in Google Play and App stores
through their own app.”
With big publishing houses finding
it difficult to move their content into
the digital space, Netex is offering its
consultancy services to identify the
best strategies that clients can use to
digitize their content. “We analyze
their requirements, business objectives
and provide our expertise in pedagogy,
usability, technology and production
management in order to develop an
effective action plan,” adds Kasare,
whose company was established in
Spain in 1997 and opened its Pune
office 11 years later. Netex now has
offices in London and Mexico City.

MPS Limited

Sumedh Kasare, country manager at Netex
Knowledge Factory

16 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

It was an exciting 2013 for MPS, which
was selected as one of the core vendors for
product development services by two of
the world’s leading educational publishers. “The acquisition of Florida-based
Element LLC has certainly strengthened

Digital Solutions in India 2014
our position in the k-12
and publishers.” Curmarket. We also met the
rently, 90% of the content
clients’ criteria in terms of
that MPS produces for
experience and perforpublishers is for digital
mance on service deliverconsumption. “Our proies, a strong digital focus
duction processes are
and ability to leverage
driven by digital-first
technology for product
workflows that come to
development,” says chief
life through DigiCore, our
marketing officer Rahul
smart, cloud-based editoArora.
rial and production plat“We have also been conform, which has been
ducting several pilots Nishith Arora, chairman of
helping STM publishers
with publishers using MPS Limited
realize savings and reduce
DigiEdit, our intuitive online editing
time to market.”
platform with underlying XML,” adds
MPS Insight, which enables users to
Arora, pointing out that “the success of
dynamically access and analyze content
such platforms is dependent on the pubusage, is one of the first platforms to be
lishers’ capacity for innovation and
COUNTER 4-compliant, and is a natural
change. On our part, we are committed
choice for publishers looking to underto our goal to redefine how content is
stand their customers better. “Publishers
managed, and we continue to develop
can access this dynamic platform in real
more products to make life easier for
time to analyze usage patterns in order to
authors, editors, production planners
develop richer content, make intelligent

pricing decisions, focus on specific distribution channels, and develop an overall
marketing strategy,” says Arora, whose
team completely overhauled the Insight
user interface last year.
Over at the learning and new media
services (LNMS) business unit, a range
of digital production services are offered,
such as image reprocessing, complex artwork production, audio and video processing, video transcription, video screen
capture, and templated file creation for
image galleries, companion CDs/DVDs/
Websites, interactive presentations and
others. “It leverages on various MPS proprietary technologies such as MediaSuite, which can convert content in any
format into multimedia-rich flipbooks.
Audio, video, animations, hyperlinks
and interactivity can then be added to
the flipbook pages to create enhanced
learning solutions,” says Arora. “In some
cases, we offer MediaSuite to publishing
clients through a SaaS model.”

Big Data Driven
Content Aggregation
Find out how Big Data can change the
way you look at publishing.
Email us at contact@rule14.com
or visit www.rule14.com

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Digital Solutions in India 2014

Samudra Sen, CEO of LearningMate

Hitting the 10th-year mark was a major
milestone last year for LearningMate,
which now employs 600-plus people. The
company sees more demand for editorial
work as well as more content rendering for
mobile devices and digital environments.
And it has expanded its offerings to include
authoring services, such as those dedicated
to adaptive learning.
“Schools are buying iOS, Android or
PC tablets, and one-to-one computing is
literally exploding. Everyone is looking
for a strategy to capitalize on m-learning.
For a strategy to be successful, controlling
student-teacher interaction and structuring the learning experience are crucial.
LearningMate was a first mover in this
with GoClass, which was recently named
an SIIA Education CODiE finalist. And
we are helping one of the largest educational content providers in the U.S. to
build their mobile curriculum platform,
which will be rolled out to school districts this fall,” says CEO Samudra Sen.
LearningMate’s next-generation
GoClass+, a cloud-based teaching and
learning application, incorporates
flipped-classroom methodologies using a
three-screen approach (student, teacher
and shared). “This flipped model proved
itself when storms wreaked havoc on
much of the East Coast of the U.S. last
winter. GoClass instructors stayed on
schedule even though schools were
closed,” says director of marketing Danielle Holmes, adding that GoClass has

instructors in more than 70 countries.
Learning analytics, or education intelligence, is another key area that LearningMate has focused on in the last few
years. “Since 2012, we have worked with
the Arizona Department of Education to
develop and implement a statewide data
and analytics framework to track areas
such as funding patterns, content analyses, teacher and student performance,
and attendance–performance relationships. This is the largest analytics project
in education, covering 1.1 million students, 600 school districts and 500-plus
local education agencies,” adds Sen.
(Read more about this on page 29, LearningMate’s Analytics Project for Arizona.)
With many educational publishers
moving content to digital format or creating digital-first content, there is
increased demand for new approaches
and workflows, and often a change in
resource and expertise requirements.
“In the k-12 segment, for instance, we
are working on TEI [technologyenhanced items] that adhere to the new
Common Core standards,” adds Sen,
who is setting up a k-12 editorial division in the U.S.

Lapiz Digital Services
Last year, more software-based projects
than just plain typesetting and composition landed at Lapiz Digital. “We were
able to handle these projects by enhancing the skill levels of our existing staff

The production floor at Lapiz Digital Services

18 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

through rigorous training and constantly
updating them on new technologies and
methodologies,” says CEO Indira Rajan.
The company has become the place publishers go to when they want to vet other
vendors’ work.
In a recent project, it was asked to
“debug” the code for an interactive math
project. “We had to enhance the performance (or loading) of the content, the
code for math calculation, and the image
loading with HTML5 canvas. In the end,
we changed the user interface design and
created more 3D interactivity before finishing it up with more validation and
testing,” adds Rajan.
Another Lapiz specialty is adding
interactivity to comics (or manga) using
ePub3/HTML5. Explains COO V.
Bharathram, “We add background audio
or audio lip-sync for the comic characters,
enhance the variety of voice-overs to suit
different characters, and produce animations that range from simple effects to
complex movements.” He points out that
the popularity of printed comics makes
the task of repurposing them for the digital medium a challenge. “We have to
ensure the same user experience in various
devices in terms of page swiping. The
images need to be in high resolution so
that there is no difference between print
and digital versions. We also have to
enhance the experience by adding interactivity and audio to make the characters
come alive. That is quite a tall order.”

Digital Solutions in India 2014
In the meantime, Rajan has expanded
the company’s software division by
developing their own products. “On the
publishing side, we have developed content management systems using technologies such as Python and Django
frameworks. For schools, we work on the
full management system right from student admission to records management.
Our team has also developed a wide
range of apps on iOS and Android specifically for students and k-12 publishers. More new products and services from
our software division are in the works.”


Five years on, KiwiTech has pivoted from
a mobile app development outfit to a
digital ecosystem builder for today’s
enterprises. “We now offer a consultative-driven approach to build Web,
mobile and social media solutions. A key
differentiator in 2013 was our strategy to
engage with start-ups that bring niche
offerings into the digital world. This has
given a fresh leash of solutions and technical capabilities to infuse into some of
our large enterprise clients. We have
moved from a typical vendor-driven
approach to a strategic technology partnership that solves two of the major
issues in the start-up world: access to
capital and human talent,” says v-p for
strategic partnerships, Mohsin Syed,
adding that publishing continues to be a
big part of what KiwiTech does. “We are
also actively working in enterprise world
with the likes of McKinsey, Intel and
Toyota. Overall, we are pivoting as the
mobile market becomes more mature.”
CTO Gurvinder Batra and his colleagues have also been busy driving
Ruckus Media—an interactive children’s
multimedia app, education and retail
platform that was acquired last October—from a negative cash flow to profitability. Says Batra: “We strategized a new
operational model and this redefined
approach is showing strong results
through app store downloads. The
usability and export of Ruckus content is
also seeing new opportunities with some
large enterprise accounts willing to collaborate and use them as a part of their

gamification strategy to build and
engage their brands.” Warner Brothers
and IDW Publishing have also signed up
to add their content on Ruckus platform.
KiwiTech also acquired a major share
of Loopster, a developer of cutting-edge
video-editing software in October.
Director of project management office
Rachna Chauhan adds: “The value of
video as a medium to enthrall digital
audiences is high on the radar of the most
progressive enterprises, and Loopster is
able to uniquely address this new-age
demand for customized and on-demand
video content creation and management.
It fits into KiwiTech’s digital philosophy
for today’s enterprise: disruptive user
engagement, and ease of using and
deploying technology. We will launch a
HTML5-based Web video editor and an
Android app very soon.”

Established in Mayenne, France, back in
1903 as a printing company, Jouve has
since expanded into digital services with
offices in Europe, North America, Africa
and Asia. Every year, its 2,500 staff in 19

Sanjiv Bhatnagar, CEO of Jouve India

locations handle around 50,000 projects
and process nearly 24 million pages. Currently, 25% of its business comes from
For Jouve India in Chennai (which was
established in 2011 through the acquisition of TexTech), a major differentiator is
its editorial expertise in all European
languages. “Last year, we saw an increased
demand for full-service project management from both trade and educational
publishers. We also had the highest vol-

20 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

ume in custom publishing, showing that
more publishers want to reuse their content,” says CEO Sanjiv Bhatnagar. His
team also provides content structuring,
database management and content
enrichment services to French and Australian travel book publishers. “Our clients are also interested to have Jouve
handling project management along
with custom publishing. In fact, more
publishers want us to use their content
management platforms, where they
already have the content structured the
way they want.”
A high-speed workflow has enabled
Jouve to provide project management,
genre-based copyediting, and typesetting
with simultaneous print and e-book
deliveries. “This workflow is a full-service
end-to-end production process that is
focused on low- to no-touch titles,” adds
Bhatnagar, who recently introduced a
new service for the production and delivery of interactive assessment objects.
These are XHTML5-based exercises that
use sets of predefined and reusable building blocks, and are fully customizable
with support for multimedia components
within the assessments. “I continue to see
increased interest in building libraries of
reusable learning objects. For instance, a
learning module may contain a learning
objective, specific content, an assessment
and the metadata, which can be assembled on the fly to fit a student’s need and
delivered through a variety of platforms.”
He also sees publishing clients struggling with the management and streamlining of editorial workflow. “This is a
common problem, and it is an area of
great interest to Jouve. We are looking
into new tools, methodologies and services that will make life easier for publishers.”

Now at version 5.1, iPublishCentral, the
flagship product of Impelsys, offers a
suite of comprehensive features that
include library model functionality, rich
data analytics, abandoned cart monetization and enhanced user experience.
“With rich data analytics, publishers can
transform data into actionable insights

Digital Solutions in India 2014
and discover effective ways to gain more
readers,” explains assistant v-p for marketing and presales Uday Majithia. “The
new version, empowered with the latest
COUNTER reports, will help publishers
understand reader behavior, gain insights
into title consumption and analyze various buying patterns.”
A comprehensive solution that helps to
warehouse, market, sell and deliver content
online across multiple platforms, iPublishCentral can be customized to specific publisher requirements. This SaaS model,
which can build a digital e-book strategy
from scratch, serves around 100 publishers
globally. “We will be adding exciting
e-learning features to iPublishCentral that
are geared toward improving the reading
experience with richer, integrated and
interactive content,” adds Majithia, pointing out that the implementation team
recently built a white-labeled e-library for
Elsevier using iPublishCentral. “With the
e-library, students can access an entire collection of titles by paying a fixed monthly
rate. Such e-libraries allow publishers to
accrue recurring revenues through subscriptions and renewals, and monetize
existing digital content by having a presence in the institutional markets.”
To help publishers create rich, fun,
immersive and engaging titles, Impelsys
has also launched enhanced e-books on
iPublishCentral. “It offers better discoverability and navigation, improved readability and presentation, and support for
ancillaries and assessments. Other features include enhanced tables of contents, note-sharing, bookmarking, multimedia components, reader personalization, real-time assessment and social
media networking,” says marketing
manager Shubha Khaddar. She lists
adapting the layout for mobile devices as
well as developing and embedding ancillary content without disrupting the text
flow as key challenges in producing
enhanced e-books.
Named one of the Top 100 Digital
Companies That Matters by EContent
magazine, Impelsys offers solutions that
support multiple business models, such
as chapter-based selling, e-lending, subscription, book collections, and retail and

institutional access. “These are models
that can be leveraged by publishers, educational institutions and content aggregators alike,” adds Majithia.


The latest product from Hurix is the
cloud-based version of its multi-platform
publishing solution Kitaboo. “The beauty
of Kitaboo Cloud is that it has multiple
versions to cater to the needs of mediumsized to large publishers, institutions and
corporations. Since its launch in January
this year, it has created quite a buzz among
existing and prospective clients. We have
seen several adoptions to date, and we are
working on new features such as licensing
mechanisms, enhanced analytics and
improved feedback,” says CEO Subrat
Mohanty. He acknowledges that the idea
for Kitaboo Cloud came from clients who
wanted a totally cloud-based end-to-end
solution. He launched the Windows 8
Reader app on the day Microsoft launched
the new browser. Coming up soon is the
app for Windows 8.1.
Hurix has also been busy converting
more than 100,000 Flash pages into
HTML in the past ten months. “We usually take two approaches when it comes
to Flash-to-HTML conversion. One
involves using our proprietary platform
Dictera, which is used for authoring content and publishing courses. Dictera
extracts the media assets from Flash files,
and uses its wide-ranging templates to
author the screens. It offers instant preview as well as testing on 50-plus browsers,” adds Mohanty, whose team converted 50,000 Flash pages within five

Subrat Mohanty, CEO of Hurix
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Digital Solutions in India 2014
months using Dictera, which is a much
more cost-effective and faster method.
“We also use a customized approach
when there are specially built screens and
interactivity such as games and simulations in the Flash content. In such cases,
the template programming is done from
scratch, usually with JSON [JavaScript
Object Notation].”
Dictera, by the way, won the 2013
Brandon Hall silver award for excellence
in technology. This content creation
platform allows users to author, manage
and publish e-learning content on multiple platforms. “You can create workflows and assign different users access to
different areas. It is designed to make the
job easier for authors, editors, asset producers and project managers. It has the
capability to deliver upwards of 20,000
pages of content within a three-month
turnaround time,” adds Mohanty. Major
publishers using Dictera include
McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Jones &
Bartlett Learning.

Harbinger Interactive
The move into more innovative design and
development services of instructionally
sound and interactive digital learning content is behind the new name given to Harbinger’s content development business
unit, explains executive director Jayant
Kulkarni. “With strong customer relationships, new client acquisitions and innovative offerings, Harbinger Interactive Learning is poised to usher in the next stage of
rapid growth.”
One of the innovative services deals
with AR (augmented reality). “There is
immense potential in AR, and it is surprising to note that not much has been
thought, or done, about this concept in
e-learning,” says Kulkarni, pointing out
that users—whether kids or professionals—“find this innovative, real life-like
ability to explore, discover and apply
knowledge within the learning content
highly engaging and effective. We have
started to look into adding ‘applicationdriven interactivity’ in learning experiences using AR. The initial results from

interactive learning experiences at both
individual and social levels.”


Jayant Kulkarni, executive director at
Harbinger Interactive Learning

our clients are extremely positive, and it
shows that responsive design principles
in instructional design are increasingly
in demand and much needed in educational content.”
Perhaps the only learning solutions
company to hold patents on technologies
for developing learning interactions,
Harbinger has also been busy making
video-based content interactive and
dynamic. “Our new innovation, Video
Jazzer, changes the conventional one-way
presentation of content in a video by
turning that content into a multi-layered, interactive and personalized learning experience. For publishers, the ability to rapidly and cost-effectively turn
educational videos into dynamic, interactive and socially connected personalized learning tool will be of great value.
The high level of interest shown by our
publishing customers attests to the
potential of this product,” adds Kulkarni.
Video Jazzer, which is currently at the
beta-testing stage, will soon be launched
by Harbinger Group. “It will join TeemingPod, our Group’s versatile platform
for embedded social interactions, as a
SaaS-based product offering.”
With self-learning becoming a major
component of the learning process, it is
imperative, says Kulkarni, “that learners
must get effective means to interact with
the content as well as with the group or
his peers. Without the appropriate mix
of both types of interaction, the overall
impact of interactive learning diminishes. So Harbinger is focused on both
approaches that immerse learners in

22 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

For CEO Muthu Krishnan of Dataworks,
having his production facility in
Thirunelveli, some 610 kilometers south
of Chennai, is a sound business strategy.
“Costs are high when one operates in
major cities, and there is no lack of skilled
labor even this far south. In fact, it is even
better as there are few solutions providers
out there to compete with us for resources.
Our low-cost model works, especially
since creating e-books is not exactly
rocket science.” One recent project to
convert 114 titles, or 5,496 pages, into
different outputs—press- and Web-ready
PDFs, standard reflowable and fixed
ePub, Mobi and KF8—took the team
under two months while another similar
project of 63,108 pages with inputs in
scanned pages, Quark and InDesign
application files and print-ready PDFs
was completed within three months.
Currently, nearly 60% of business
comes from Europe, which Krishnan
attributes to his company’s expertise and
capabilities in handling more than 20
European languages. “We also work as an
aggregator for about 20 publishers on
two different models. The first model is
where we convert the titles for a flat fee
and then we register the titles on behalf
of the publishers with selected e-book
retailers and negotiate the percentage of
sales to be paid to the retailers. Once a
user ID is created, we upload and maintain the e-book files. So we act as the
technical assistant and consultant to the
publisher.” In the second model, Krishnan’s team converts the titles and hosts
them through the Dataworks account.
“We track the sales and pay the publishers after deducting our fees, which range
between 12% and 22% of sales. This is
done after paying the retailers’ fees.”
Although there is still a significant
demand for ePub2 format, adds Krishnan, “many of the required features in
most of the app projects that landed at
our door can be easily created in ePub3.
So this has opened up new opportunities
for us to convert and update hundreds of

Paper is out

Device is in

NIMAS conversions

Asp.Net, MVC, C#, Ruby on Rails,
Python, Mobile Applications

508 Compliance for
Digital content

Interactive Digital content – Widgets
IWB Solutions

Apps and Game Development:
Educational apps for all age groups
iOS – Android – Windows

Ebooks / EPUB3: Freeflow
Fixed layout – Manga – Comics
Interactive ebooks
KF8 – Nook – Apple – Kobo



Learning • Expertise • Innovation

Digital Solutions in India 2014
backlist apps into ePub3 format.”
The way ahead for Dataworks to expand,
says Krishnan, is to maintain the same successful strategy. “We have been providing
high-quality digital services at very competitive rates with turnaround time that is
on par with the best in the industry. My
plan is to continue on this path and give
our 100-plus clients unmatched turnaround time and quality service.”

As one of the leading big data vendors, it
is not surprising that Datamatics was
invited to deliver a keynote speech on
that topic to around 300 publishers at a
forum in Berlin in May last year. “My
presentation covered the overall idea of
big data, various types of data that are
generated in publishing, challenges faced
by publishers in harnessing the data, and
the big data technology landscape along
with relevant case studies,” says Krishna
Tewari, executive director and global
head of digital publishing and retail solutions. “One of the ideas we mooted was
that publishers should take focused steps
in harnessing big data technology by
identifying target areas to work on, and
then approach it at an organizational level
instead of operating in silos.” (Datamatics
was named Innovator in Technology of
the Year by the 2014 National Trial Lawyers’ Summit in Miami for its expertise in
both big data and legal publishing.)
While its publishing and e-retail business continue to grow on its own, the
acquisition of Premedia Global in
August 2013 has boosted the company’s
portfolio further. “It has created a powerhouse in content-related capabilities
and digital solutions. Our company, with
more than 2,500 people spread out in
nine locations worldwide, is now focused
on the emerging needs of publishers and
retailers, working to help them grow
their business by enabling content and
e-commerce through newer technologies
and solutions. In recent months, we are
seeing increased demand for assessments,
reader analytics, buyer behavior studies,
in addition to the usual inquiries about
full-service project management and
digital products,” adds Tewari, whose

Krishna Tewari, executive director and global
head of digital publishing and retail solutions
at Datamatics

team is working on several initiatives
that will soon be unveiled.
The increase in services for both publishing and e-retail in the European market has also led to the creation of a separate company in Germany, aptly named
Datamatics e-Retail & Publishing
GmbH. Says Tewari, “This new company
marks the point where we will be enriching our offerings with more platformbased solutions using software such as
Oracle-ATG and Intershop.”

Contentra Technologies
Formerly known as Planman Technologies, Contentra has been associated with
three of the world’s largest e-reader companies for a while now, helping them to
produce magazines, newspapers and
e-books for their respective portals.
“Every month, we produce more than
1,000 magazines, around 1,500 e-books
and over 300 newspapers for these companies,” says president Amit Vohra.
Contentra has developed its own proprietary digital software solution, FlexePub, to digitize contents into multiple
formats for various devices and platforms.
According to senior v-p Pawan Narang,
FlexePub is truly “a state-of-the-art technology and our clients have experienced
an average 40% reduction in cost while
maintaining the required high level of
quality. FlexePub is a robust, agile, seamless WYSIWYG solution, where quality
checks and edits can be made in real time.
We have also made FlexePub truly ‘flex-

24 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

ible’ and ‘international’ to handle all
major European languages as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Malay.”
FlexePub is based on the client-server
model that is built on standard Web and
cloud technologies. “This enables the
‘deploy-once, access anywhere’ environment while providing centralized access
control and data security,” explains
Narang, adding that the solution “utilizes
tried-and-tested open source technologies
to reduce both initial and operational
costs.” The servers utilize Linux-based
operating systems for higher efficiency
and lower cost, and allow administrators,
managers and operators to access the system through Chrome Web browser. “Centralized access control mechanisms further
allow secure authentication schemes and
support for industry standard 256-bit SSL
encryption for data security.”
This year, Contentra is focused on
ePub3 creation, HTML5 animation,
developing mobile content, digital
learning modules and providing end-toend publishing services and solutions
comprising of conceptualization, manuscript development, editorial services,
fact-checking, book design, page composition, proof-reading, creative artwork,
photo research, permissioning, cartography and project management services.
“In the newspaper segment, we offer a
complete solution that includes microfilm scanning, content refurbishing,
digital data preservation and Web hosting solutions for national libraries across
the globe,” says Vohra.

Crescendo, codeMantra’s newly launched
XML-anytime composition workflow,
takes the center stage this year. A powerful XML authoring and dynamic composition engine that imports, exports and
transforms content across multiple publishing applications such as Word, InDesign and Quark, Crescendo can work
with, or provide, XML at any point in the
publishing production process. It also
seamlessly integrates with a publisher’s
existing workflow. “That means that no
matter where, or how, your edits occur—
before, and even after a so-called final page

Digital Solutions in India 2014
or file is declared. Crescendo captures
those edits and can create and store an upto-date XML instantly from a traditional
Word-to-InDesign workflow,” says president Walter Walker, adding that the
workflow integrates seamlessly with
cloud-based collectionPoint 3.0 [cP 3.0]
platform—codeMantra’s flagship product—to store and distribute content to
any digital retailer or printer.
Recently, the codeMantra team used
cP3.0 to work on content from the IMF
(International Monetary Fund), where
the documents were enhanced with an
XML layer allowing IMF to distribute
their e-content across the Web for marketing purposes and drive users back to
their e-bookstore and e-library. This
enables them to measure marketing ROI
and traffic trends.
The metadata management, title
workflow and sales/revenue reporting
features of cP3.0 have been enhanced significantly in the past few months, adds
Walker. “We are focused on providing
clients with end-user insights related to
their titles including daily rankings of
their titles, top sellers and highest grossing, and average selling prices. We want
to provide features that will help clients
improve revenue insights and operational efficiencies.”
Structure-wise, after a management
buyout by a group of investors in February, former head of sales and marketing
Walker now serves as the president while
ex-CFO Nathan Vaidya takes the CEO
mantle. Ed Marino, former head of Lightning Source, is one of its board members.
Says Walker: “2013 was a great year for
us with double digit revenue growth
again. Our strategy is to increase codeMantra’s presence and offerings within the
composition services and XML composition technology products. An announcement on Crescendo software licensing is
forthcoming, and we are placing specific
emphasis on our suite of solutions and
services to enable publishers to increase
their efficiencies and lower overall costs.”
He is also preparing to launch Duet, an
e-book reader application, in the latter
half of this year with several key partners
and publishing brands.

Cenveo Publishers
The list of publishers using Cenveo
Mobile dPub, a device-neutral browserbased digital publishing framework for
mobile content development and delivery, continues to grow. The Society for
Petroleum Engineers, for instance, moved
from print to digital-only journal issues
to cater to the evolving needs of its members, who are mostly out in the oil fields
with their iPads. The organization’s
multi-issue app is now supported by Cenveo Mobile dPub Business Edition. In
addition, Cenveo’s production team provides resources to meet the client’s XML
workflow and changing editorial and production requirements. Georgetown Law
also launched a multi-issue app on the
Mobile dPub platform. “Both clients
have an XML-early workflow, enabling us
to flow XML into our app engine and use
that for other outputs, such as Web sites,
PDF and licensing channels,” says marketing director Marianne Calilhanna.
The Mathematical Association of America, on the other hand, uses the Starter Edition of Cenveo Mobile dPub, which offers
a print replica on the iPad and uses PDF
files as the input. Explains Calilhanna,
“Clients use this edition to enter the world
of apps, collect usage data and poll their
readership before deciding whether to
move to the next level. We provide them
full metrics to show how their content is
being used and which devices are most
popular.” The Cenveo team also provides
24/7 e-mail support for all Mobile dPub

Marianne Calilhanna, marketing director at
Cenveo Publishers Services

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00111 0101001
100 1 11 01010


Pioneer in developing highly interactive
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Our Services
For further details or
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Digital Solutions in India 2014
versions and helps publishers identify inapp links to serve their readers and connect
with the larger community.
Meanwhile, a new online editing system that allows faster and more accurate
downstream processing is set for global
release this spring. “This system allows
corrections to be made online by authors
or reviewers in a PDF-like environment
but with XML in the background. Math
can be easily edited inline, again with
true MathML behind the scenes. Notes,
metadata, history and changes are all
captured, and users can choose to see
these things or hide them.”
Price and time to market continue to be
key factors. “Publishers are constantly
under pressure to control costs. So we
work with them to develop the right solution at the right time, in the right location
for the right price,” adds Calilhanna.

Braahmam Net Solutions
Translation and localization services form
the biggest—and strongest—part of
Braahmam’s portfolio. But in recent
months it has been busy expanding into
digital learning, Web applications development and non-traditional localization
services for ERP systems, learning content
and even games. In fact, Braahmam was
the recipient of the 2013 SAP AG Service
Recognition Award for localizing in
Hindi the SAP ERP software, consisting
of around 1.7 million coding lines. “Apart
from providing services in over 150 languages, we offer custom solutions to fit
the customer’s requirements in different
fields and industries,” says CEO Biraj

Rath. He adds that the majority of his
counterparts in the translation industry
“often provide piecemeal services and
would hesitate to educate clients about
difficulties related to a localization project. We believe in educating and guiding
our clients in order to forge long-term
relationships that are mutually beneficial.
So our sales and project management
teams are here to guide each and every client about the complexities and challenges
involved in different languages and projects. They are trained to handle end-toend solutions that combine localization,
digital learning and digitization.”
The localization industry, too, has
evolved, says Rath. “Language service
providers now use translation memory
and translation database automation
tools to support their unique offerings.
Machine translation is now a hot topic,
and we are also developing our own
machine translation tools in key languages to stay ahead of the competition.
The industry is also looking at expanding into the field of interpreting and
With two-thirds of the company’s
business coming from Europe, it is not
surprising that Rath is opening a new
office in Dublin, “the birthplace of localization.” He explains, “There is a natural
affinity for the European market due to
their demand for language solutions.
However, we have been gradually expanding our market to the U.S., Middle East
and Asia Pacific. There will be new
Braahmam offices in Japan and the U.S.
in the next 19 months.”

AEL Data

Biraj Rath, CEO of Braahmam Net

The main focus for the AEL Data team
currently is EduLektz, a spin-off from its
flagship product, the Lektz reader.
“EduLektz powers mobile reading, both
online and offline, through a mobile
LMS, and it supports DRM for piracy
protection. This SCORM-compliant
reader supports PDF, HTML, and ePub2/
ePub3 standards. It can be integrated into
any PHP-based LMS, and is compatible
with any portal through Web services or
APIs. Since EduLektz is tied to an LMS
in the back-end, content can be down-

26 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

Aditya Bikkani, assistant v-p for business
development at AEL Data

loaded to mobile devices for offline
access,” says Aditya Bikkani, assistant v-p
for business development. “This allows
students to take a test on their mobile
devices and save it locally while commuting. And when the device is subsequently
connected to the Internet, the saved progress is synched to the LMS. So EduLektz
facilitates m-learning on the go, and it is
a white-label reader that can be personalized by institutions or organizations.”
Ongoing work on EduLektz includes
making it an LTI-compliant reader with
Tin Can API. “The various versions of
browsers available in the market remain
a big challenge that we need to deal with.
New updates to Internet Explorer 9 and
FireFox 13, for instance, cause some
problems with the scripting, something
not encountered previously,” adds Bikkani, pointing out that LTI and Tin Can
will be among the new standards to
watch out for in 2014.
One of the few vendors with expertise
in Arabic language services, AEL Data
continues to see a lot of backlist digitization projects from the Arabic-speaking
world. The content, in both ePub2 and
ePub3 formats, ranges from the Koran to
interactive educational material and children’s books. At the same time, the team
is constructing a book portal, customizing a mobile reader, and integrating them
for an Iranian client. It is also building a
Web site based on parallax logic for Lebanon Open University. AEL is also one of
the few vendors with vast experience in
accessibility (see page 27 on Accessibility: Where Are We Now?).

Digital Solutions in India 2014

Where Are We Now?


By Teri Tan


ccessibility has always
been a goal for IDPF
(International Digital
Publishing Forum), dating back to its foundation
in 2000. By making the
mainstream standard format for e-books
and other digital publications accessible
by design, says executive director Bill
McCoy of IDPF, “it will help enable
accessibility to be the default expectation
for the reader, not the exception. As every
book will soon be available in a digital
edition, there is a huge opportunity to
enhance the reader experience and accessibility for everyone.”
EPub2 was reasonably accessible,
much more so than PDF, points out
McCoy. “But it was limited in the types
of content it could represent, being most
suited to simpler text-centric content.
EPub3 marked a huge leap forward both
in ePub being able to represent all types
of rich and interactive content, and in
meeting all accessibility requirements of
that content due to its close partnership
with DAISY Consortium.”
EPub3’s key a11y features, for instance,
include semantic enhancement of
markup (for both new native HTML5
elements and epub:type), media overlays
(enabling synchronization of audio playback and text rendering) and text-tospeech enhancements (including the
ability to embed pronunciation lexicon
dictionaries and inline hints). “The fallback mechanisms in ePub3 also help to
ensure that another form of content can
be substituted when necessary. For
instance, a text description instead of a
bitmap image or video,” adds McCoy,
emphasizing that the rise of mobile

devices means that it is imperative that
content be adaptable to different screen
sizes and user preferences on type size
display. “The general feature of being
structure-centric that makes ePub a great
format for mobile devices also helps for
accessibility, particularly as mobile and
accessibility often go hand in hand when
organizations adopt ePub3. IBM, for
example, made ePub3 their preferred
portable document format a few months
back, highlighting both mobile support
and accessibility.”
As e-textbooks become more prevalent, there will be increased accessibility
concerns and greater ePub3 adoption to
ensure access is available for all learners.
Says McCoy, “Government education
ministries and educational institutions
around the world typically have mandates to make content accessible that
may not always apply to consumer
e-books in certain regions.”
IDPF’s accomplishment (and influence) in accessibility can be seen from the
dramatic increase in accessible titles. “In
the U.K., RNIB [Royal National Institute of Blind People] has been measuring
this for years. In 2012, for instance, 84%
of the top 1,000 titles were accessible
compared to just 45% and zero in 2011
and 2009, respectively. It is interesting
to note that in 2009, there were already
specialized a11y digital formats including the original DAISY DTBook format,
charitable efforts on Braille production,
and the possibilities of making PDF
accessible. Publishers simply were not
able to invest the time to create special
accessible editions despite a clear need,”
says McCoy, adding that the increase in
practical a11y has been due to the rise of

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Digital Solutions in India 2014
adoption of mainstream consumer e-books powered by
IDPF’s new community
based site EPUBZone has a
specialist area dedicated to
accessibility in ePub3 and
provides guidance and
resources on how to improve
the accessibility of your ePub
documents (http://epubzone.
org/accessibility). “Accessibility is not automatic and
publishers should make sure
that they build these important enhancements at the
beginning of their content
creation. In this way, accessibility
becomes second nature and will be something all readers can expect to enjoy and
make use of,” adds McCoy.
For Chennai-based AEL Data, accessibility services have been a unique part
of its portfolio for over a decade. The
main clients, says executive v-p Aditya
Bikkani, are a group of Scandinaviabased agencies which distribute finished
product to the visually impaired, or people suffering from dyslexia or other
learning disabilities. “Our core expertise
is in XML-based DTB [Digital Talking
Book], where DAISY standards are used
to create full-audio text, text-only and
audio-only products.”
AEL Data also specializes in tactile
graphic image production. “Tactile
graphics are images—maps, paintings,
graphs or diagrams, for instance—that
convey non-textual information to visually impaired people. While there are
many methods of producing tactile
graphics, AEL Data is only concerned
about producing the images that go to
the Braille printer.” This workflow
requires both designer and developer to
look at the actual image together and
reproduce it as non-textual information.
“The biggest challenge lies in interpreting a visual image into lines of varying
thickness and textures. It is left to the
discretion of the designer to interpret the
image as he or she thinks will benefit the
visually handicapped user. Such designer
would have first-hand knowledge of var-

ious Braille formats such as BANA,
CBA, Netherlands and Finnish Libraries.” Over the years, AEL Data’s tactile
graphic team, which has been trained by
European specialists, has grown from one
to seven people.
“Once the publisher decides on a specific standard to follow for tactile graphics, the biggest challenge can be easily
addressed. Our Scandinavian clients are
world leaders when it comes to accessibility, and some of them have created
their own standards for us to follow. Such
practice, however, may not be feasible for
most publishers due to the higher costs
and longer turnaround time. It is definitely much easier to a publisher going
into accessibility products for the first
time to adopt an already established
standard for tactile graphics,” Bikkani
Accessibility testing for Web sites and
PDF documents based on Section 508
Compliance is another related service.
“To be ‘accessible’ means that the Web
site has to be built using certain tags and
elements that will allow screen readers to
read the content aloud. For instance, each
cell in a table must have a header associated with it. Background images should
not be used to convey information unless
that information is also available elsewhere on the same page. Content should
not blink, flash or flicker, or cause the
screen reader to do so. In other words,
moving flash banners will not make a
Web site accessible.” PDF accessibility,

28 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 1 4

on the other hand, depends on the existence of “tags”. “Screen readers can only
read the ‘tagged’ version of the document. So an accessible PDF is a properly
structured document with its tags providing a logical reading order. Tables
within the document must have headers
and summary with all form fields
described properly,” explains Bikkani,
adding that proofreading the tags is a
challenge especially for STM subjects.
His team creates accessible PDF documents from sources such as Word and
InDesign files. The content, adds Bikkani, “is tested using test cases and plans
as per the client’s requirements. Some of
the areas that need accessibility testing
are graphs, scripts, frames, tables,
images, multimedia elements and page
orientation. A 300-page book with pure
text and few tables would easily take four
to five days to convert into an accessible
DysLektz, an e-reader created by AEL
Data for people with learning disabilities, has special coding to replace regular
e-book fonts with a dyslexic font. “This
open-source font, opendyslexia, also
serves as a large print for the partiallysighted as its typesize can be increased by
200%. The work-in-progress for this app
is the media overlay, which helps in narrating the text along with word- and
sentence-level highlighting,” adds Bikkani, pointing out that the app is available for download for free on both iOS
and Android stores.

Digital Solutions in India 2014


Analytics Project
For Arizona
By Teri Tan

With more than 600 education technologists and software
architects on staff, LearningMate has been making fast inroads
into big data for education. The Arizona Department of
Education (ADE), for instance, has leveraged LearningMate’s
expertise to streamline technology costs while reaching
students with effective, data-driven learning solutions.

DE recognized the need to
equip districts, schools,
teachers, policy makers
and parents with reliable
data to boost student
achievement and teacher
effectiveness. “The data was available but
often inaccessible due to siloed systems,
and there was not an effective data-analysis model to support fast decision-making,” says Amit Soman, LearningMate’s
v-p for enterprise solutions, pointing out
that a comprehensive and integrated
learning and accountability system is
needed to crunch the numbers and make
sense of it. The resulting improvements
to data collection, analysis and access
tools came under the purview of the Arizona Education Learning and Accountability System, or AELAS.
Soman and his team partnered with
ADE CIO—and winner at Computerworld’s 2014 Premier 100 CIO
award—Mark Masterson to deter-

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Digital Solutions in India 2014
mine the department’s strengths and
weaknesses with regards to technology in order to reinforce their effectiveness and drive systemic improvements. The team uncovered almost
170 different and often redundant
applications across multiple program
areas that were negatively impacting
data availability and data integrity.
Says Masterson: “In order for AELAS
to be truly successful, we had to
unlock that data’s potential. Arizona’s implementation of the Common
Education Data Standards will create
a unified view of data at ADE and
across the state.”
With the application portfolio rationalization work underway, the LearningMate team then turned its focus on the
requirements, strategy, execution, and
the business case that could effect the
funding of AELAS. “We started from the
beginning: defining the components of a
learning and accountability system that
supports evidence-based responsibility
while facilitating professional learning
opportunities and actionable feedback to
the learner,” adds Soman.
“In order for AELAS to work, it has
to define the context of accountability.
Then, the system must be built on a
foundation of aligned components—
objectives, assessments, instruction,
resources and rewards or sanctions.
Next came the technical aspects, which
must meet the high standards established by federal government and the
education industry. The system must
be a catalyst for positive change, aiding
highly accurate real-time data to allow
the best possible decision-making,”
Soman explains.
From the initial interview of 200 local
education agencies [LEAs]—representing 30% of districts and charter
schools—the team was able to tell that
very small LEAs pay seven times more
than very large LEAs for software licenses
per user. “Implementing AELAS could
enable LEAs to recover up to 50% of
their software costs,” says Soman, adding
that LEAs are in a constant reactionary
mode because keeping up with changes
in education technology means revamp-

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ing every five years. “This translates into
at least $281 million spent every five
years on software licenses and implementation. Moreover, LEAs cannot effectively share data with each other and the
ADE because their separate IT ecosystems prohibit easy integration of technologies. This has resulted in over 600
independent, disparate and disconnected
A business case was then built to
enlist stakeholder support for ADE’s
vision since the initial AELAS mandate
came without funding from the state
legislature. “LearningMate provided
me with the data and information
needed to present a thoughtful funding
discussion to legislators, non-profit
education foundations and grant entities. Our partnership helped define the
benefits of an integrated accountability
system based on agile technology built
for growth. Ultimately, AELAS is all
about providing what’s best for Arizona’s kids,” says Masterson. “The
thoughtful architecture and common
systems built in partnership with
LearningMate’s education technology
experts can potentially save ADE and
LEAs nearly $260 million. I believe
educators can put that savings to better
use within the classroom itself.”
Over two years, the overhauled school
payment system has reduced processing time by 75%. The system also completed on-time student counts for the
first time in a decade with vast improvement seen in reporting processes and
metrics. Components such as StudentTeacher-Course Connection—aimed at
creating visibility and transparency into
educational progress of students and
those who inspire them—and the secure
one-click ADEConnect portal to various
education-related applications, are now
in full swing. The Arizona Department
of Education has a vision for highquality education intelligence—integrated data and analytics—to deliver
‘real-time’ actionable information to
education stakeholders that would benefit college and career-ready students.
LearningMate is partnering with ADE to
realize this vision.

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