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Image: Maxim Sergienko

APEX Insight: Over the past three years, digEcor has focused on developing its hardware portfolio, and now the company is strategically looking to enhance its software offering.

Over the past year or so, digEcor has celebrated several firsts. In February, EuroAtlantic Airways became the first European customer for the company’s embedded in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution, GLIDE, and at APEX EXPO in Singapore, the provider announced that it had been selected by Mirus Aircraft Seating to supply its GLIDE in-seat power product for AirAsia. While the hardware-focused deals mark a significant coup for the company, especially in a sector that’s been traditionally dominated by larger multinational conglomerates, digEcor intends to broaden its horizons by branching into software development.

“We spent the last three and a half years building out a huge amount of product,” says David Withers, the company’s chief executive officer. The hardware component of digEcor’s portfolio is diverse, including embedded and portable IFE players, LED lighting solutions, in-seat power options and more. “Having fulfilled that hardware component, it’s time to add layers on software application and increase the value for our customers,” he says.

“It’s time to add layers on software application and increase the value for our customers.” — David Withers, digEcor

Driven by the Apple revolution, which with the first iPod demonstrated the benefit of seamless hardware, software and service integration – a combination used to define the term “meta-products,” coined by Dick Powell, cofounder and chairman of Seymourpowell – hardware manufacturers have been rethinking their product platforms. According Powell, companies that don’t appreciate the need to shift toward meta-products will be left in the wake of those that do.

In the airline industry, where the slow turnaround of hardware often leads to systems looking out of date before they’ve even been installed, the importance of software, which can refresh a product with the push of an update, has even more bearing. Announcements from Panasonic Avionics and Thales at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this week underscore the growing importance of sophisticated and connected software platforms.

DigEcor hopes that its software piece will add a holistic framework to its product portfolio and service offering. “It’s really about looking at how you can leverage the user interface, leverage the applications on devices both for the passengers’ benefit, the crew’s benefit and the airline’s benefit,” says Withers. While still in the talks and development stage, Withers says that digEcor will likely have software-focused news to share by APEX EXPO in September. “We’ve got some exciting things coming up. Watch this space.”

Katie is a writer for APEX Media, based in Paris, France.