Android-Based IFE Systems May Revolutionise the In-Flight Entertainment Industry by andi.susanto02x


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									The past 18 months has seen in-flight entertainment (IFE) conferences
focus on the opportunities and significance of in-flight internet
connectivity and wireless IFE. There's no question that its potential
could change the face of in-flight entertainment and the overall
passenger experience but there's another development which looks set to
have its say on the industry's future.

Android-based IFE systems, the latest in in-flight entertainment hardware
technology, will give passengers access to apps via their seat-back
screen. For passengers familiar with downloading and using apps on their
mobile devices, especially those that use an Android operating system,
the learning curve for this technology will be gentle. As a result, the
arrival of Android-based IFE systems seems like a natural fit.

Thales, one of the companies pioneering this technology, says the system
will start with a small pool of apps that have been tested and proven to
be useful for in-flight systems. While there may be opportunities to
provide access to a larger portion of the app market in the future, the
firm is keen to ensure performance and compatibility is as high as
possible - which means apps that require a camera, GPS or Bluetooth are
likely to stay off the list.

For IFE content service providers, there will be an opportunity to
partner with app developers to bring their content to the Android
platform, while they will have an opportunity to create their own apps
for airlines.

Meanwhile, for airlines, there are suggestions that the system could help
create fresh revenue opportunities through branded apps or by hosting
retail partner applications. More is likely to be revealed when Thales
and other hardware companies discuss Android IFE systems at the APEX show
in Long Beach, California this September.

Another of the big taking points will be whether the arrival of Android
systems will conflict with or support internet connectivity through a
passenger's own device. One theory is that passengers will be given the
opportunity to enjoy content from their devices through the larger,
arguably better-positioned seat back screens.

Another possible scenario could see passengers synchronising their own
devices to the Android systems to access a more personalised in-flight
entertainment experience. For people who travel regularly, this could
open up considerable opportunities for a more helpful and informative
flying experience.

According to Thales, there may even be opportunities for airlines to
provide passengers with previews of the in-flight entertainment prior to
boarding via an app for their mobile device. It could give them the
opportunity to create playlists of in-flight content that could be
enjoyed during the flight.

The outlook for passengers, airlines and in-flight entertainment
providers is undoubtedly very exciting. Both Android IFE systems and in-
flight Wi-Fi look set to play a major role in shaping the future of the
airline industry, enhancing the passenger experience and opening up new
opportunities for those that provide it.

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