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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Tony Chua, Singapore
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IE Singapore eyes international carriers as potential market for SmarttPapers

IE Singapore Aviation’s encourages companies to offer innovative services to tap innovative technology set to create paperless cabin for airline industry.

In a rapidly evolving digital world, companies have to innovate, reassess their business functions and constantly adapt to changing consumer needs. The airline industry is one impacted by this trend. Airlines have had to keep in step – from online check-ins, electronic check-in machines, to checking-in via a smart phone – this growing niche in the airline industry presents opportunities for innovative Singapore companies, according to an IE Singapore report.

Said Mr Chua Taik Him, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, “SmarttPapers is a good example of how Singapore companies can capitalise on its intellectual assets to achieve competitiveness in the global market place. Digitisation has changed the landscape of the airline industry, creating much potential for Singapore companies to offer services in infocomm and network technology. This untapped space presents bountiful opportunities for innovative companies.”

“As one of the world’s best connected air hub, Singapore is also a good launch pad to reach out to the international airline market. IE Singapore encourages and supports companies to test bed products in this new market space,” Mr Chua added.

The number of flights and passenger movements at Singapore’s Changi Airport exemplify the potential of the international airline industry. Currently, Changi Airport handles more than 5,400 scheduled flights each week. In 2010, it saw more than 42 million passenger movements. With strengthening business confidence, the global passenger market is also expected to grow by 5.6% and air cargo by 6.1% this year.

Singapore company makes paperless cabin a reality
SmarttPapers Aviation Pte Ltd is one Singapore company that has tapped into this space with its unique cutting-edge technology. Already counting Singapore Airlines as one of its clients, SmarttPapers uses a patented file compression and transformation technology to compress and transform magazine and newspaper contents into a digital format for integration into the in-flight entertainment system. This is the first of its kind in the world.

Digital magazines and papers loaded on smart phones and devices are known to take a long time to load because of the sheer file size. SmarttPapers’ technology compresses files to 100KB - 200KB in highest resolution of 300 dpi, a world of difference compared to the usual 3MB - 20MB size for a PDF page. Loading speeds are uncompromised due to the smaller file size. Travellers can browse contents with ease, while airlines need not add hardware to their in-flight entertainment system.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to work with the airlines around the world to save cost, go green and provide value-add to their clients. By working with local and international publications to go digital, we are also contributing to a more connected world and aim to change the concept of air travel,” said Mr Winston Wei, CEO of SmarttPapers Aviation Pte Ltd.

As the agency driving Singapore’s external economy, IE Singapore is helping SmarttPapers explore opportunities overseas. It will encourage other Singapore companies to consider different business models for internationalisation.

Benefits brought by SmarttPapers’ technology

Airlines save cost and go green
According to the Federation of International Print Publisher, airlines can save S$440,000 (£274,641) a year for every 11.5kg of paper weight eliminated from the aircraft. Typically, airlines can carry around 1,000kg of print publications onboard a flight, depending on the flights and planes. By adopting a paperless cabin, airlines can save millions if the load from publications is lightened.

This also contributes to the green cause without compromising on quality. Travellers will be able to view exact replicas of print magazines and newspapers in the video panels of the airplanes.

Publishers gain global readership
With this solution, publishers can widen their readership base by catering to air passengers. International publishers such as The Economist, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal Magazine, Elle, Prestige, Haymarket Media, Yazhou Zhoukan, Healthy Times, Trends Media Group, Caijing Group, etc have partnered SmarttPapers to be part of this.

Passengers will also be able to order the magazines onboard if they like the magazines they read either in digital copies or print copies. Some features that travellers can use are searching for articles via keywords, choosing a preferred font size, auto-scrolling and selecting different zooming levels to aid reading. 

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