Contributing editor Colette Doyle hears from Panasonic’s VP of digital solutions on how the company is transforming the on-board entertainment experience. Elsewhere, Inflight Dublin shows that it has game; Qatar Airways takes touchless tech to the next level; and Delta brings a fresh new approach for spring

    This piece first appeared in the May/June issue of Aircraft Cabin Management, you can read the full magazine here. 

    The flight path to digital transformation

    Andrew Mohr VP of digital solutions Panasonic Avionics

    Evolving passenger expectations are reshaping the in-flight entertainment and communications industry, but how companies are meeting the needs of the airlines they serve is open to interpretation. Covid-19 has shifted these expectations toward the critical need for cleanliness, sanitation and digital innovation. 

    Over the past year, Panasonic Avionics has introduced new solutions to help airlines ensure the safety of their passengers. To be at the forefront of innovation and safety, the team at Panasonic Avionics is constantly asking itself: How can we blend the technology experience on the ground with the travel experience in the air? 

    According to data from IATA, millennials will become the largest air travel-spending segment by 2025. They expect well-designed, authentic and easy-to-consume experiences. These expectations, and our industry’s response, will provide all generations with newfound inflight digital experiences. In order to surprise, delight and inspire our airline customers and their passengers, Panasonic Avionics is developing new ways for IFE&C to help redefine the highest standards of customer satisfaction and confidence through technology. 

    Mapping the inflight experience 

    One of our most popular digital solutions is our Arc inflight map platform. Celebrating the second anniversary of its launch just last month, this 3D inflight map application brings a wide range of innovations to the traditional map experience. Since its launch, Arc has experienced one of the highest adoption rates of any Panasonic Avionics digital solution, with confirmed deliveries to 17 global airlines.

     

    Arc is inspired by contemporary design thinking from new digital and gaming experiences. By leveraging the high viewership of inflight moving maps, it takes the experience to a the next level by inviting passengers to engage in their travel experience. Arc’s omni-channel platform provides airlines with monetisation opportunities via the seatback or portable electronic device. 

    New digital solutions 

    Panasonic’s newest digital solutions are two new Arc features: the Dino Kids Map and integration with OneMedia. Both of these debuted recently on Vistara, Arc’s launch customer. 

    The Dino Kids Map is the first in a series of features targeted at young travellers. It brings them back in time, enabling them to explore the world as a Jurassic-era flying dinosaur. Points of interest are replaced by oversized dinosaurs, revealing trivia, fun facts and animations about the giant beasts that roamed the earth millions of years ago. 

    Arc’s integration with OneMedia, Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight advertising platform, creates new advertising inventory across the wide range of map views and tie-ins to cross-IFE advertising campaigns. Panasonic Avionics has designed Arc as a flexible, creative and evolutionary platform. We are currently developing further enhancements that we will be unveiling in the months ahead. 

    As the world’s leading IFE&C provider serving over 300 global airlines, we are committed to accelerating our business transformation to a digital solutions provider. We are systemically evolving our business, operations, and infrastructure to grow and create valuable experiences for both our airlines and their passengers. 

    Inflight Dublin ups its game with new rev-gen partnership

    Inflight Dublin, a global supplier of inflight entertainment and wireless solutions, has announced its new partnership with innovative inflight games provider, Gladi8tor Gaming. 

    Gladi8tor’s compelling gaming environment can now be hosted on Inflight Dublin’s wireless IFE platform, Everhub, allowing passengers to play a wide range of games on their own devices. As well as playing, passengers can also watch video streams of top gamers checking out the latest games and keep up to date on news from the gaming community. 

    In addition to providing an enhanced passenger experience, the gaming platform enables airlines to generate ancillary revenue through game sales and advertising. An integrated on-board shop allows passengers to order games for multiple platforms that are fulfilled and delivered after the flight. 

    The full gaming catalogue is being deployed on board Inflight Dublin’s client, Condor. This includes a car game that has been branded for SIXT car rentals, generating additional advertising revenue for the airline. 

    Inflight Dublin is offering a six-month free trial of Everhub; airlines that have recently signed up for the trial include Korean Air and Widerøe, the largest regional airline operating in the Nordic region. From the start of May, Inflight Dublin will also equip Korean Air’s legacy fleet with the DO-160G certified Everhub portable wireless server. 

    The Everhub software platform will be accessible to Korean Air’s passengers through Inflight Dublin’s web-based passenger application, which features a brand-aligned Graphical User Interface (GUI) available in up to 12 languages. The content package consists of Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows, selected international content, documentaries and games.  

    Qatar Airways offers passengers touch-free technology

    Passengers travelling on board Qatar Airway’s Airbus A350 fleet will soon be able to access the award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system through their own personal electronic devices, thereby minimising the risk of Covid-19. The award-winning airline will also become the first airline in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to offer passengers the option to pair their personal Bluetooth headphones with the seatback IFE system in all cabins on the Boeing 787-9 fleet. 

    The Zero-Touch technology, introduced in partnership with the Thales Avant IFE system, will enable A350 passengers to pair their personal electronic devices (PEDs) with their seat-back IFE screen by connecting to Oryxcomms wifi and simply scanning a QR code displayed on the screen. They can then use their PEDs to navigate and enjoy more than 4,000 options on offer through the airline’s award winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system, limiting the frequency of on board surface contact and providing greater peace of mind throughout the duration of their journey. 

    Qatar Airways is also set to become the first airline in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region to offer passengers in Business and Economy the option to pair their personal Bluetooth headphones with the on-board seatback IFE system in all cabins on the Boeing 787-9 fleet. 

    Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system, offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board wifi and GSM service. 

    Delta refreshes IFE content

    Delta Air Lines has launched an all-new suite of curated in-flight entertainment content on its IFE system, Delta Studio, featuring hit movies and TV shows from top studios including Disney Media, Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Hulu and more. 

    The new content, which began loading earlier this year, marks Delta’s first refresh since the Covid-19 pandemic forced the airline to pause new content loads in April 2020. Among the 300-plus new items that customers can now watch from the comfort of their own personal cinema at 30,000 feet are 89 new films, including 30 new releases from the past year, such as Tenet, Mulan, The Invisible Man and The Call of the Wild. 

    Seatbacks will also feature new premium series, including hits like HBO’s The Undoing and The Third Day and Hulu Original Little Fires Everywhere. Customers can also take in brand new episodes of favourite Hulu shows, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Wu-Tang: An American Saga and Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi, as well as newly released films like Palm Springs. They can also enjoy more than 40 titles across a variety of original series and specials featured in an HBO on-board channel. 

    Delta’s focus on offering great in-flight entertainment is said to be strengthened by its industry-leading commitment to add seatback screens across its fleet. The airline’s entire mainline fleet (excluding 717 aircraft) is now equipped with seatback entertainment. 

    In 2019, Delta Flight Products, Delta Air Lines’ subsidiary, began installation of the industry’s first wireless seatback IFE system on select aircraft. These involved state of-the-art displays developed in-house to deliver a more interactive and cost-effective entertainment platform.