White PaperNeoSoar’s “eTextbooks for Education” platform a win-win-winfor students, schools and publishersTaiwanese softwa...
How it WorksThe NeoSoar platform is comprised of a multi-tenant, highly available and scalable cloud-basedback-end server ...
The system is highly redundant, for performance and failover purposes; and it has been architectedto scale up and scale ou...
The NeoSoar platform: for StudentsStudents access the NeoSoar platform completely through the front-end reading app. The a...
Figure 5. Publisher console: publishers can manage their eTextbooks and make them available to schools. They use theconsol...
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NeoSoar’s “eTextbooks for Education” platform a win-win-win for students, schools and publishers

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NeoSoar’s “eTextbooks for Education” platform a win-win-win for students, schools and publishers

  1. 1. White PaperNeoSoar’s “eTextbooks for Education” platform a win-win-winfor students, schools and publishersTaiwanese software developer NeoSoar, Inc. develops an innovative eTextbook delivery platform utilizingAdobe Content Server and Adobe Reader Mobile SDK technologies through Datalogics.BackgroundPupils in the educational system in Taiwan consistently attain some of the highest test scores in theworld. With over 5 million students (primary, secondary and post-secondary), extremely high literacyrates and very competitive / world-class / world-reknown secondary institutions, education continuesto be a top priority there.The increased competitiveness among educational institutions; the proliferation (and growingubiquity) of powerful handheld computing devices; and the emergence of eBooks as a superioralternative to traditional printed books has created an ideal market opportunity for Taiwanesesoftware developer NeoSoar to leverage their technical expertise to develop an “educationecosystem” and a technology platform, built upon Adobe Content Server and Adobe Reader MobileSDK technologies from Datalogics, which provides benefits to students, schools, and publishersalike.Introducing the NeoSoar PlatformThe NeoSoar platform is illustrated in Figure 1. It is a full-service, end-to-end, multitenant hostedsystem for providing eTextbooks to students. Via this platform: • Schools can review and select eTextbooks for course curricula from a number of different (participating) publishers; • Publishers can connect to multiple schools, and can market and sell or lend their eTextbooks to schools and students; • Students can access their semesters’ textbooks electronically on the device(s) of their choice; and aren’t required to purchase textbooks permanentlyFigure 1. Publishers, Universities and Students can all participate and engage on the NeoSoar platform. 1
  2. 2. How it WorksThe NeoSoar platform is comprised of a multi-tenant, highly available and scalable cloud-basedback-end server farm for use by schools and publishers, and a front-end client app for students.Publishers upload their eTextbooks into the NeoSoar cloud; schools browse the set of uploadedeTextbooks, place orders based on their course curricula and upload student information andcourse schedules; and students download the front-end NeoSoar app from the Apple App Store orGoogle Play, and connect to the NeoSoar cloud. As they do this, the corresponding eTextbooks areautomatically downloaded into the front-end app.The Front EndThe front-end app is an EPUB and PDF viewer built by NeoSoar using the Adobe Reader MobileSDK from Datalogics. The NeoSoar app is available for iOS, Android and Windows OS. Studentscan download the app on multiple devices; content, bookmarks, and user-generated notes/annotations are automatically synchronized across devices; and are automatically backed up.In addition, students have easy access to online resources (dictionaries, encyclopedias, searchengines) and hyperlink targets while reading to facilitate an enhanced learning experience. Since thereader utilizes industry-standard Adobe technology, students can also use the front-end app to readcontent from any other sources that use ACS including public libraries, school libraries, and onlinebooksellers.The Back EndThe back-end consists of a stack of different technologies: • a scalable commerce engine through which schools and publishers place, manage and fulfill orders; • a powerful relational database through which schools maintain student database, course curricula, and student schedules; • an Adobe Content Server farm to provide DRM on eTextbooks; • a cloud storage service where content is stored, archived and backed up; • a content delivery network, to optimize performance and facilitate delivery of static/cached content; and • unique administrative dashboards for schools and publishers to manage books, orders and fulfillment; and to provide at-a-glance relevant metrics on orders, reading habits and reading progress, and other useful metrics.Figure 2. The NeoSoar back end architecture. 2
  3. 3. The system is highly redundant, for performance and failover purposes; and it has been architectedto scale up and scale out as new schools and publishers join.A scalable open systemThe NeoSoar platform leverages industry standards (e.g., ONIX, XML) to facilitate batch processingof orders, account setup and management, etc. The system is also integration-ready: publishers,for example, could drive their front-end retail website powered by content served directly from theNeoSoar cloud. Similarly, schools could integrate the eTextbook management and fulfillment serviceswith their own existing administrative websites.The NeoSoar platform: for SchoolsSchools utilize the NeoSoar platform to: review publishers’ titles and order eTextbooks for curricula;manage student accounts, create users, generate/reset passwords; select and assign specificeTextbooks for specific classes, and push content automatically to students’ reading devices; andmonitor student reading progress.Figure 3. A standard reading progress dashboard for schools. The three green bars indicate overall student usagerates (as indicated by client app activation rate); eTextbook fulfillment; and note/annotation utilization. Clicking onindividual books below displays specific reading progress of that book. This data is also available as ONIX-XML feeds,should schools wish to design their own dashboards. 3
  4. 4. The NeoSoar platform: for StudentsStudents access the NeoSoar platform completely through the front-end reading app. The appis fully-featured, with powerful notes and highlights capabilities, and easy access to hyperlinkeddata sources such as online dictionaries, encyclopedias and search engines. eTextbooks areautomatically loaded into their apps at the start of each semester, and are available for the durationof the class. Students have the option to purchase the eTextbooks permanently, but this is notrequired. Students can also use the front-end reading app to read content loaned from publiclibraries, school libraries and purchased from other online booksellers utilizing Adobe Content Server.Figure 4. The bookshelf view of the student iPad app and the reading view of the Windows app. Students can usepowerful notes and highlights functions to annotate important passages. These notes are automatically synced acrossall students’ devices, and are backed up in the cloud. If the student loses their tablet, for example, all of their noteswould be automatically copied back to their replacement device.The NeoSoar platform: for PublishersPublishers utilize the NeoSoar platform to upload and manage their eTextbook titles. Throughthis platform they can build the marketing and wholesale channels to every school that uses theNeoSoar platform. In addition they can sell titles directly to students. All transactions are handledwithin the system using a consistent mechanism: publishers do not have to implement new paymentprocedures when new schools join the system. 4
  5. 5. Figure 5. Publisher console: publishers can manage their eTextbooks and make them available to schools. They use theconsole to upload content, set pricing, review and fulfill orders, and manage billings and transactions.Win/win/winThe NeoSoar platform was launched in late 2011 through a pilot program at one school with 9publishers, 130 students and teachers, and over 1300 eTextbooks being managed through thesystem. Performance and scalability supported this initial rollout; and in March 2012 NeoSoar will rollthis out to an addition 164 universities in Taiwan.“The advantage of our system,” states John Liang, General Manager at NeoSoar Inc., “is thatas more schools join the system, publishers have access to a wider audience. And the converseis also true: as more publishers join the system, the value to schools (and thus students) alsoincreases since they have access to a wider range of titles. This is why we see it as a win/win/win forpublishers, schools and students.” Datalogics, Inc. 101 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1800 Chicago, IL 60606 USA www.datalogics.comDatalogics and the Datalogics logo are registered trademarks of Datalogics Incorporated. Adobe and the Adobe logo are either registered trademarks ortrademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.©2012 Datalogics, Inc. 5

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