How Technology Works
Author: Dirk Leese, Manager Process Automation Practice, DextraDataSubscribe
Dirk Leese, Manager Process Automation Practice at DextraData shares how the latest generation of Logipad will take the EFB to a whole new level
Logipad’s first EFB project started in 2002 with a German airline and, since then, there have been many changes and developments Responding to feedback from users and in a continual process of development and improvement, the solution has been extended in incremental steps. At DextraData, we will always be striving to ensure that the solution is at the top of its class and reflects the latest processes and technology. Looking to this latest technology upgrade, there were several drivers behind the decisions to further develop Logipad.
The first was in order to incorporate the latest technologies into Logipad because, as readers will know, technologies change and advance frequently, especially in IT. For example, one of the latest developments has been two-factor authentication (2FA), a security process. So, to have the latest security measures available and also from a development perspective, everything has been put inside ‘containers’ in order to be able to deploy new developments very easily and very fast.
In addition, our architecture will automatically scale up a user’s cluster as soon as they need it and scale it back down to save you money when they don’t. In the upcoming digital era, applications will be the daily business. Speed and innovation are creating winners and losers especially in the aviation industry. The advantage of containers, and why we’re moving in this direction, is that they dramatically speed up develop- and deployment.
Furthermore, in the latest version of Logipad, we have ensured the ability to scale the software has been incorporated from the outset. If more resources are needed, it’s very easy to grow the solution to match the need. Finally, we have created a new and modern visual design (figure 1) and feel for the application itself, and for the administrative interface.
While technology is at the heart of Logipad, the development focus is always from the users’ point of view. In order to ensure that is the case, is it important for DextraData to understand the customer’s business and their requirements: we don’t just sell the solution.
The Logipad name will stay the same but there is a re-branding to accompany the changes. Logipad has been serving airlines for twenty years and does so many things as well as supporting pilots in flying the aircraft. But the solution always had the goal of optimizing processes. And this need also exists in other sectors, such as logistics. We want to help there, too.
Every aspect of the business needs process optimization and Logipad will be offering capabilities to serve those other areas as well. This is why the logo has been updated to something more modern to reflect that the solution can do a lot more besides optimizing the pilot’s day. The converging triangles in the new logo symbolize the streamlining of processes and the merging of different information. These are the main reasons why it was decided to undertake the re-branding.
It will be a new version of Logipad which looks a bit different and includes lots of new features to use within the solution. Indeed. We have been able to greatly expand Logipad.
For example, the eFormGenerator: creating eForms now works via drag and drop. It also now supports signatures, adding pictures with the camera or saved graphics. In addition, it is now possible to pre-fill data fields. Forms can be created without programming knowledge and used immediately in Logipad.
Another example is the BriefingManager: The BriefingManager allows a manual assignment of crew members to a specific flight. Additionally, content can be added to a briefing/EFF package, such as loadsheets, overflight permits etc. Finalized briefings can be viewed with the Briefing Manager. The ‘new’ BriefingManager was developed as a web application and is therefore also platform-independent.
The original version of Logipad supports a Windows client and iOS client, for example, which means that the solution has to have two code bases; one each for Windows and for iOS, and that entails having to maintain two different platforms. With this latest development, we will be using the latest frameworks and technologies that enable there to be just one code for Windows application, for iOS application and for Android application: one code for three different platforms.
That is the main development because different companies have different servers and infrastructure environments. So now, on the server side, it doesn’t matter whether the customer is using Windows, Unix, Linux or whatever, because Logipad is wholly platform independent. On the DextraData side, this enables developers and programmers to focus even more on the qualitative and capability issues that customers appreciate rather than having to spend time thinking about making any development compatible with different platforms.
THE IMPACTS OF CHANGES
There are a lot of features that will be different as well as that two-factor authentication security process. Also, on the back-office side, Logipad will offer a lot of services including using REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs for those services. Also, a customer’s existing applications will be able to use Logipad services plus the steps or processes are getting smaller, which simplifies processes for administrators to deploy content to the right person.
As has already been mentioned, Logipad will now be able to support different platforms. Airlines often have to make a decision as to what kind of hardware they should use, iPad or Android or Surface. In the past, a big consideration has been the platform used by their solution provider but now they can decide independently of any need to take that into account. When Logipad, is their chosen solution vendor; they don’t need to worry about what kind of platform Logipad supports and that will make a significant difference for customers.
When pilots first open the new version of Logipad, they will notice four things. First, they will notice that the 2nd generation has a cleaner look and feel and second, this look and feel continues across all platforms: iOs, Windows and Android. Thirdly, the Logipad client now supports single sign on and 2FA. The fourth thing is the Auto Sync functionality.
IMPACT OF COVID ON THE PROJECT
This development was largely managed remotely but, that said, the office didn’t close during the pandemic. Developers were able to decide whether they were going to work from the office or from home or a mixture of both. So, the pandemic really had no impact from a development point of view.
With this development, Logipad has endeavored to stay with the old processes and user interfaces. There will be an update if customers do a migration but training specifically for the new application will not be necessary. Equally, there will be no need for customers using the latest version of Logipad to get any further clearances from regulators: from an end user point of view, nothing will change. It will even be possible to use the old interface or the old application from a user’s side while also using Logipad’s new services. From an end user point of view, there will be a smooth migration with nothing changing. Then, at a later point, they can use the latest version of the application in parallel.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
For the late summer, we plan to significantly expand the most popular feature ‘eForm’.
We are also aware that good and meaningful dashboards are becoming increasingly important. Therefore, we want to expand existing reports and dashboards. In addition, we want to make an internal chart function available to all users.
We would also like to mention the partnership with Axion Ivy – this will have an even greater impact on workflow engine integration in the future.
The thing that summarizes the approach in this latest development of Logipad is the term ‘Appreciate your time’. Do you think that you can save time in the same way that you can save money? We think that, no, you can’t save time the way you save money but you can make better use of the time that is available to you. That’s important and is Logipad’s vision for digitalization.
One of the longest established EFBs, Logipad has been helping pilots to fly better for more than twenty years. With their latest upgrade, the Logipad team aim to help the whole business to work better and on any IT platform.
Dirk has enjoyed a successful career since starting as a business consultant with NetManage GmbH in 1997 and then T&A Systeme in 2002, leading to DextraData from 2017. In 2021, he was appointed Manager Process Automation Practice, in which capacity he is responsible for the development of Logipad, DextraData’s EFB solution. As well as projects and process consulting and analysis in the aviation business since 2002, Dirk has worked on Identity Management, infrastructure and migration projects an IT project management.
Logipad by DextraData
Since 2002, Logipad has been providing airlines with a trusted Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution. Logipad makes flight management simple, fast and smart for pilots, crew and ground staff. Due to a Single Sync transaction process and modules like Document Management, eForms and eBriefing / EFF, Logipad reduces paperwork. DextraData’s portfolio includes: Business Consulting, Cloud & Managed Services, IT Service & Enterprise Management, Next Generation Infrastructure, Modern Work / Software Infrastructure and Program & Project Management.