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ISSUE TWO 2016

entertainment & connectivity

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ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

ISSUE TWO 2016

entertainment & connectivity

brought to you by

EDITOR

Julie Baxter WRITER

Richard Williams PUBLISHER

Sue Williams CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner DESIGNER

Louisa Horton PRODUCTION MANAGER

Clare Hunter EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

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s the team at Onboard Hospitality pulls together the news, views and product updates from which we create our magazines, website and e-newsletters, it is increasingly obvious that onboard entertainment and connectivity has become a vital differentiator in product development and a must-have for many a tech-savvy passenger. In some arenas connectivity is now being called 'a human right', or a 'hygiene issue'. It has become as essential as safety and fresh water from both an operational point of view and for what it can add to the passenger experience. The massive investments and huge steps forward in terms of innovation News speak volumes. The 'Internet of Things' is Latest deals and here to stay, the only challenge is keeping developments up! In this, our second review of the onboard entertainment and connectivity world, written Trends by Richard Williams, we aim to keep you up to date with commentary and insights from Innovations and insights those in the know.

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ONBOARD HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE'S ENTERTAINMENT AND CONNECTIVITY SUPPLEMENT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BMI PUBLISHING

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Headphones

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In conversation

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Case study

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Focus on

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Content in focus

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Julie Baxter, EDITOR

INNOVATIONS AND ACRONYMS The IFEC industry thrives on TLAs (Three-Letter Acronyms), and in this issue we've checked out, among others, High Throughput Satellites (HTS), the next generation of in-space networks, bringing a bigger, smarter broadband pipe to the mobile market; and Cognitive Hotspot Technology (CHT) – a solution developed to optimise onboard wifi systems, enabling Wireless Access Points (WAPs) to manage requirements against the available wifi capacity. With every innovation comes a new term to understand but also new opportunities for both operations and passengers. No doubt there will be yet more new jargon to bust in Singapore, where the industry meets for AIX Asia/APEX and FTE Asia Expos. I look forward to seeing you there!

Richard Williams, WRITER

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

Systems update Are you keeping up?

An evolving market making a real difference

Markus Gilges, VT Miltope

Are rail apps stealing a march on aviation?

SES and game-changing High Throughput Satellites

Who's watching what? 3


news update

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

News update

INSIGHT

GOOD TO KNOW NEWS AND REVIEWS FROM THE IFEC INDUSTRY

BRUNEI ADDS WIFI

Passengers boarding A320 aircraft on Royal Brunei Airlines’ regional routes now have access to RB Impian, the carrier’s new wireless inflight entertainment platform. Passengers download the ‘RB Entertainment Player’ mobile app, available from the Apple Store and Google Play, before boarding, to stream a variety of films, TV shows and music to their PEDs.

CHINA’S PANASONIC DEAL

 supply global broadband Panasonic Avionics is to

connectivity services to 84 China Eastern Airlines aircraft. This agreement follows one for 20 Boeing 777-300ERs and includes 35 line-fit aircraft and a retrofit programme covering 49 more planes. Panasonic’s eXConnect uses the company’s global Ku-band satellite network to deliver broadband connectivity to aircraft. The company's Global Communications Services are available on over 99.6% of the carrier's routes.

ASTRONICS IN-SEAT POWER

Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), a subsidiary of Astronics Corporation, will fit three major Asian airlines with its EmPower in-seat power system. The system provides 110 volts of power and USB charging for laptops, tablets, smartphones and other PEDs. EmPower will be fitted on 230 aircraft serving the Asia-Pacific region, with installations taking place between 2017 and 2021.

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AN AFRICAN FIRST Ethiopian Airlines has taken delivery of the first of 14 Airbus A350 XWBs, making it the first African operator of the wide-body jet. The Ethiopian flag carrier says its A350s have been linefitted with a new IFE system featuring seatback HD touchscreen displays and

onboard wifi.

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FINNAIR INVESTS Finnair is to extend its wifi offering across its long-haul fleet by May next year. The airline is launching wifi services on its new A350 XWB aircraft in late 2016, and will begin fitting its A330s in October. Wifi will be installed on the majority of the fleet by 2018 at a cost of around €30 million and will be free for Business, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers, and Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald cardholders. Economy passengers can buy access for €5 per hour, or €15 for the whole flight.

 KIDS RULE WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline, has introduced a new family channel, Kidoodle.TV, to its IFE and wireless connectivity system, WestJet Connect. Kidoodle.TV shows are streamed wirelessly from onboard servers to PEDs. Passengers can also sign up for Kidoodle.TV Freemium (or upgrade to Kidoodle.TV Premium) at home or at their destination for access across connected devices.

 NAPSTER MUSIC ON BOARDCONNECT Lufthansa Systems is working with Napster to bring audio streaming to wireless IFE. Passengers will soon be able to stream selected Napster playlists and audiobooks to their PEDs through Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect wireless IFE platform.


ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

LIFESTYLE VIEWING

Award-winning producer of travel and adventure programmes, Pilot Productions, is unveiling a range of new lifestyle and travel documentaries for onboard screening. Titles include: Travelling in the 70s, The Story of Spice, The Story of Beer, The Story of Beef, The Story of Sugar, Tough Boats: Tanzania, and Tough Boats: Spitzbergen. The programmes focus on endurance travel and the mysteries surrounding some commonly consumed products.

LUFTHANSA EXPANDS ITS REACH

Lufthansa passengers on shortand medium-haul aircraft will be able to use a new broadband internet service from October. The carrier’s entire A320 fleet is expected to have the technology installed by mid-2018. Other airlines in the Lufthansa Group will follow. The service is based on Ka-band satellite technology with coverage through Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, and enables internet use, video streaming, and in future SMS and data transfer from smartphones.

CHINESE WHISPERS A SITA survey shows 98% of Chinese passengers carry at least one mobile device and 49% carry a tablet. Around 17% of them check-in using a mobile app and this is set to grow. A quarter of Chinese travellers see themselves as ‘hyper-connected’

IMG GETS OLYMPICS

Events company IMG did a deal with the International Olympic Committee for the international inflight and inship rights for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. IMG distributed live coverage of the Games to the airlines and cruise lines, but not on routes within the US. IMG also produced other non-live programming, including daily and weekly highlights and a Games review.

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

news update

EVENT IN FOCUS AIX Asia / APEX / FTE • WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia – the airline industry’s biggest autumn event for the passenger experience – is this year co-located with the APEX and Future Travel Experience (FTE) Asia Expos. • WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Aircraft interiors, onboard retail and the passenger comfort industry in the Asia-Pacific region. • WHEN? October 25-27, 2016 • WHERE? Luxury resort Marina Bay Sands in Singapore – a city rapidly becoming the premier aviation hub of the region. • WHY? Asia is a rapidly growing region for the aerospace sector - Boeing forecasts that Asia-Pacific will take most aircraft deliveries in the next 20 years. • WHO’S EXHIBITING? The co-location of AIX Asia with the APEX and FTE Asia Expos means that there will be over 150 exhibitors, creating the largest cabin interiors, equipment, passenger services and IFEC event in Asia. • WHO’S GOING? Representatives of more than 100 airlines will visit the show, including senior managers and directors responsible for cabin interiors, passenger comfort, and services onboard and on the ground. Over 3,000 people are expected to attend the event. • WHAT ELSE? Both APEX and Reed Exhibitions have a history of successful events. Get involved at: apex.aero; futuretravelexperience.com; aircraftinteriorsexpoasia.com

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trends update

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

Trends update GOOD TO KNOW NEWS AND REVIEWS FROM THE IFEC INDUSTRY

PASSENGERS PAY TO GET PERSONAL

A recent survey by Sabre UK suggests travellers are increasingly willing to pay ancillary fees to personalise their inflight travel experience. Some 69% want to receive recommendations tailored to their personal taste and preference history. Travellers spend an average of £70 on addons, with women more likely than men to spend on personalisation.

Markus Gilges, Director Business Development, VT Miltope

SNAPPY HAPPY

TURKEY RISING STAR

Turkish company Havelsan is challenging the primacy of the US and European IFEC solutions providers by pushing its SKYFE suite of products. Havelsan is one of the two largest defence and IT companies in Turkey, and offers wireless, tablet-based, or seatback IFE systems for widebody or narrowbody aircraft. The systems are aimed at airline clients looking for a low-cost system that is easy to implement and scalable. Turkish Technik can certify and fit the systems with just one agreement, and a STC is in place for the B737-800, with certification for the A319, 320, and 321 scheduled for October 2016.

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Wifi will become a 'hygiene factor', that is a need-to-have service, part of the basic infrastructure, a utility like water

New photo app technology is connecting British Airways passengers with their pilots for a souvenir cockpit picture from their flight. All BA’s 4,000 pilots now have the ‘View From The Flight Deck’ app loaded onto their iPads to take photos of customers visiting the cockpit before takeoff or after landing. The app automatically sends the photo, with graphic facts of the flight, to customers as a memento of their trip.

DOWNLOAD AND GO

SITA has installed technology at Heathrow’s T5 which allows passengers to download inflight entertainment before they fly. The ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks target passengers travelling on low-cost airlines without an inflight entertainment system and can be used to download movies and entertainment to their personal entertainment devices. They have also developed a new ‘e-media’ service for SWISS customers travelling from Geneva. A downloadable app lets passengers there read the daily paper, browse a magazine and enjoy programmes provided by Swiss Radio and TV, or play games. These can also be used onboard.

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM


trends update

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

THE INTERNET OF THINGS THE ‘INTERNET OF THINGS’ TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION IS DRIVING INCREASED INVESTMENT IN CONNECTED AIRCRAFT. RESEARCH BY SITA SHOWS...

46% of airlines believe CONNECTIVITY gives a better PASSENGER EXPERIENCE

37% of AIRLINES OPERATE CONNECTED AIRCRAFT, set to RISE TO 66% BY 2019

AMENITY KITS GO INTERACTIVE Emirates' amenity kits have gone interactive. Featuring Blippar augmented reality technology, the kit enables passengers to unlock immersive content on mobile devices. They download the Blippar app from the Apple Store or Google Play, and then scan the bag to unlock content including activities and health tips. Available content is refreshed every six months.

33% offer INTERNET via

 PASSENGER DEVICES 50% of airlines are expected to provide destination services and DUTY-FREE SHOPPING APPS in the next three years

70% of airlines plan to

 enable MULTIMEDIA FILE STREAMING on personal electronic devices

IT'S PERSONAL

79% of airlines are planning SMARTPHONE SERVICE LAUNCHES in the next three years

 

17% of airlines are doing RESEARCH in this area

75% plan to use SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY and PHYSICAL LOCATION as an opportunity to tailor personalised offers to passengers by 2019

Rail cabin designs are moving

Panasonic's Waterfront system now upmarket and drawing ideas from aircraft allows passengers to use their mobile cabins. Serco’s Mark 5 design for the devices to control an aircraft's built-in London to Scotland Caledonian Sleeper entertainment systems. From electronic trains, due to be introduced in 2018-19, boarding passes to last-minute bids on will include wifi internet and inseat power seat upgrades, personal devices are throughout. The sleeper will also include increasingly connecting airlines and airline business class-style pods, and the passengers before, during and materials used have a quality feel to them, after their flights. redolent of the latest premium offerings in

the airline world.

SMART FACTS CONNECTING WITH PASSENGERS VIA SMARTPHONE SERVICES CONTINUES TO BE A KEY AREA OF INVESTMENT FOR AIRLINES. RESEARCH BY SITA SHOWS...

RAIL FOLLOWS AVIATION LEAD

THE 4G EXPERIENCE

DPJ, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, is fitting its fleet of over 70 aircraft with Gogo Biz 4G. The new service promises a 4G experience, providing services such as Gogo Vision for movies, TV, flight tracker, and weather reports. Additional features include Gogo Text & Talk, allowing passengers to call and text with their smartphones, stream video and audio, email with attachments and browse the web on a reliable network in the US.

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

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systems

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

making choices

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ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM


ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

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ith new satellites being launched regularly, new High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in the offing, new air-to-ground (ATG) communication systems being planned, and a continuing battle between Ku and Ka band for global coverage, how do onboard entertainment and connectivity buyers keep up? We asked those in the know.

Q.

How do you first present your onboard solutions to an airline?

necessarily touch the aircraft. This keeps our partners future-ready and ahead of the curve. JG We would highlight the robustness of the system, the fact that it can offer full cabin coverage and streaming to more than 250 devices; that it is feature-rich with options including moving map, eReaders, games and survey; and the fact that it is a fully dynamic portal solution. Third-party API is also available to host and run additional applications.

NS NIELS STEENSTRUP: All airlines are having conversations about IFEC right now. Airlines recognise that IFEC has become a competitive advantage, and in some instances, a reason passengers choose to fly their airline versus a competitor. They recognise the value. For us, that conversation is about understanding their needs and helping them decide which solution makes the most sense. JG JAN-PETER GAENSE: We believe our How can airlines be confident BoardConnect is the most robust and versatile about their capacity and digital cabin solution out there and can offer coverage? NS One of the reasons we engineered 2Ku a complete solution for an airline wanting is that we believe it truly is the best solution to improve its IFEC offering. The platform is on the market, in terms of coverage and built to maximise ancillary revenues through reliability. 2Ku can advertising, affiliate leverage more marketing and its than 180 Ku-band ability to host third“The rise in passengers satellites in orbit party solutions. It using smartphones today and cover the also aids efficiency by globe, meaning the enabling operational offers an incredible technology is built uses. We highlight opportunity to personalise on redundancy and the smooth rollout the passenger and an airline doesn’t concept which content experience” have to hang their uses BoardConnect connectivity hopes Portable (no STC SITAONAIR on future satellite required), to provide launches. It’s also immediate, fleet-wide built to take advantage of advancements flexible wifi-IFE coverage to bridge the gap that happen in space over time so when until the full fleet is equipped. new HTS satellites and low earth orbit (LEO) What would you say are the constellations become available, 2Ku will be major strengths of your IFEC able to leverage those improvements. JG Outside connectivity still has limited solutions? NS When it comes to 2Ku, ours is the only bandwidths (albeit largely increased with solution in the market that’s flying today Inmarsat GX over other providers). We capable of delivering a ground-like experience compensate for this by using smart and around the world. Our system is also designed advanced caching technologies. to get better over time without having to

Q.

systems

THOSE IN THE KNOW

JAN-PETER GAENSE director project & certification, Lufthansa Systems

NIELS STEENSTRUP svp international sales, Gogo

Q.

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

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systems

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

Q.

How important is capacity or global route coverage to your customers?

I don’t think there is just ONE answer to this question, each passenger has different preferences when it comes to content. This can even vary between territories and the demographics of the airline (premium airline versus low-cost carrier; business traveller versus leisure traveller). I think any good mix of content caters to a large variety of ‘tastes’ and would include Hollywood movies, including ‘must-see movies’ and classics; TV shows, ideally some box sets of recent international and regional content (e.g. BBC for the UK); a variety of magazines and newspapers; short clips with news and sports updates; and useful destination and airport information. JG

NS When airlines look for an IFC partner, they look for both global coverage, and capacity. With 2Ku, we are capable of matching or exceeding the bandwidth of any other technology currently offered, and we can do it anywhere. Bandwidth isn’t everything though, and as you can imagine, global coverage means something. So does reliability. JG Both are important, but even more important are consistency and reliability. An airline wants to offer its passengers a good service throughout the entire flight. Solutions that fly ‘in and out’ of coverage or have to switch satellites frequently (e.g. the current Ku-band ‘patchwork’ of satellites) just do not do this.

Q.

Q.

To us, passengers will always want to access content in the air just as they are used to doing on the ground, and we are helping them to do that using their own devices in ways that will meet the needs of our airline partners. JG Given the use of data analytics and personalisation, we will probably be able to target the ‘taste’ of individual passengers much better in the future, so in a word: personalised! 

What sort of content is today's passenger looking for?

Passengers want to consume content as they do on the ground and Gogo, through its existing product offerings, has developed ways to do that. Whether that’s watching live television, video on demand like Gogo Vision, or providing enough bandwidth for passengers to access their own streaming services, we are offering airlines the opportunity to customise the experience for their passengers. NS

YOUR PASSENGER... A FEW ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT AND CONNECTIVITY FACTS: Understanding what is relevant to a specific passenger at a specific time, will ultimately deliver a more relaxing and enjoyable onboard experience and build brand loyalty.

54% play games

How do you see content changing in the future? NS

86% bring a smartphone onboard

will use wireless networks to view movies on their own device if available

listen to music

48% read from their device

SOURCE: SITAONAIR

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65%

68%

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

44%

view movies on an embedded system


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headphones

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

lend me

your ear Do you know your inner from your outer headphone? The difference between noise reduction and noise cancellation? In a constantly evolving market Cameron Roberts checks out a selection which covers all the bases

 Bose Widely recognised for creating high-end and hightech audio solutions, Bose brings the QuietComfort 25 to the table, with Active EQ and TriPort technology that allows for better sound quality onboard. The headset also boasts the ability to cancel out ambient noise. BOSE.CO.UK

 GIP

 Linstol Linstol has created a new noise-cancelling headset to debut at APEX Singapore. Noise cancellation requires the headphones in use to create a sound opposite to that present in the cabin, thus cancelling out ambient noise. The headset, named the PE-95 earbud, boasts a unique blend of materials that can be changed to suit the needs of specific airlines. Mark Russell, vp of Linstol says: “The new premium PE-95 headset remains true to our design principles and is on-point with the trend of airlines to enhance all aspects of the service offering in their premium cabins.” LINSTOL.COM

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With a range covering premium to economy, Global Inflight Products' newest delivery includes the NC311 noise-cancelling headphone and the EBSC in-ear economy earbuds. The NC311 headsets are designed for comfort and fit as well as for noise cancellation capabilities, while GIP says "ESBC offers sound-quality and comfort for a cost-effective price." GIPUSA.COM

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

 Avid AVID is well established in the headphones market, since developing the pneumatic headset in 1951, one of the world’s first IFE headsets. Since then the company has moved on and now creates premium headphones from the noise-cancelling variety to standard earphones. The company offers fleetwide solutions to airline operators across the globe. AVIDCAREPRODUCTS.COM


ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

headphones

 Buzz Buzz continues its partnership with Delta Airlines and musical giant Billboard to create luxury inflight ear buds for the musically-inclined traveller. The ear buds are created by Billboard, and packaged by Buzz, and offered as a take-home item. They are available on Delta flights worldwide. BUZZPRODUCTS.COM

 Inflightdirect InflightDirect has brought two new in-ear headphones to the market, with the ID-90 and 91. The company aims to provide style and substance. The ID-90 has an angular eartip designed for greater comfort and noise reduction, while the ID-091 has a modern, eye-catching design. President of InflightDirect Thomas Mockler said: “Customers get unique and quality items, 36 years of experience and factory-direct pricing with InflightDirect." INFLIGHTDIRECT.COM

 Sennheiser Focused on quality headsets for the business traveller, British Airways has partnered with Sennheiser to offer the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headset. Available on Business-only flights between London City and New York, the headset is controlled by a specially-developed iPad which allows the user to change the amount of noise cancellation throughout the flight. Dr. Christian Ern, Sennheiser’s head of portfolio management, Select, says: “Our PXC 550 wireless headphones address the need of frequent travellers, providing supreme audio quality and allowing them to enjoy their trip free from any distractions.” SENNHEISER.COM

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

 SZIC Specialising in lightweight ear buds, SZIC Industrial Company aims to provide comfortable solutions that are easy to use and have universal applications within the audio world. It says: "The ELC-214 range has great sound quality for an ear bud, the series is also fullycustomisable, allowing for brand imagery to be added with ease." SZICINFLIGHT.COM

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in conversation

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

Markus Gilges DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, VT MILTOPE

Richard Williams discovers Gilges' vision of the future beyond the seatback

V

T Miltope builds wireless access points (WAPs) for onboard infrastructure and is now engaged in fourth-generation smart technology through Cognitive Hotspot Technology (CHT) through its nMAP2. Q. What is cognitive hotspot technology (CHT) and why do we need it? A. Satcom is growing and growing, with new Ka- and Ku-band capacity entering the market as well as new air-to-ground (ATG) solutions. This will obviously result in increased connectivity to the aircraft. However, the bandwidth hunger in the cabin will grow exponentially as well. The ever-increasing demands on wireless networks in aircraft cabins, from passengers,

That is why Miltope developed not just next-generation access points that transmit in 802.11ac, but also the CHT solution to optimise the throughput of the wifi system by making the access points manage jointly and dynamically all client requirements and the available wifi capacity. This system is also ready to cater for 802.11ac Wave 2.

Q. What are the advantages of satcomenabled wifi IFEC over a seatback system? A. For long-haul flights, airlines often operate a dual system, i.e. some sort of embedded IFE, plus an external connectivity system; the latter mostly delivered through a wifi network. Passengers can use their own personal electronic devices (PEDs) as a second screen, do their emails, chat, etc.

Wifi will become a 'hygiene factor', that is a need-to-have service, part of the basic infrastructure, a utility like water crews, maintenance teams, sensors etc., means the wireless environment becomes very heavily utilised. This is combined with a high density of passengers, for example, 180 in around 100 square metres, in a congested metal tube. The central question Miltope was facing was: how can this growing bandwidth hunger and the multitude of additional applications that use the wireless network be accommodated in this confined space?

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At the same time they can have the movie running on the seatback screen. On short-haul the embedded IFE system is a more difficult proposition in terms of costs. Airlines are best advised to go for a wifi IFE system for use with personal devices, possibly augmented by external connectivity for email, etc. Passenger behaviour on the two types of flights is somewhat different. On a shorthaul flight the passenger is resigned to the

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

fact that there probably won’t be much embedded entertainment. They will bring their PED and perhaps hope to be able to get online and read their emails. On a longhaul flight they may additionally be looking forward to some me-time, catching up with movies or TV. So for the long-haul they are probably more prepared, which is where airline IFE apps come in handy. Passengers can choose films and other content before the flight and watch them on their own device or on the seatback screen. The in-seat utilisation intelligence resides increasingly in the passengers’ own device.

Q. How are inflight activities changing? A. Passengers can now use the flight as preparatory time for their holiday. They research where they are going, book cars, events etc. They see this as productive time. Airlines want flights to be enjoyable and entertaining and if they can provide this, it has a positive brand impact.

Q. Are airline apps genuinely useful and attractive to passengers? A. The airline wants the passengers’ attention, possibly to analyse behaviours, and this can be a challenge. A powerful wifi network enables the passenger to use their time most effectively but may distract them from the airline's own brands and services. They have to offer a wifi environment that keeps the passenger engaged in the airline’s domain, and pre-flight apps could be one way of getting there. The younger generation already widely uses apps; if this trend becomes more


ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

in conversation

widespread airline apps will have a good future, binding passengers to the airline.

Q. What are the disadvantages of apps? A. Well, you need to make them work for the less tech-savvy, and make people want to use them. There’s a generation issue in the IFEC world. Getting the millennials to use apps is not a problem. Getting 60-plusyear-olds to do it is more challenging. The industry needs to actively tackle that.

Q. Is wifi ever going to be free onboard? A. Yes. It will become a 'hygiene factor', i.e. a need-to-have, part of the basic infrastructure, a utility like water. Especially for the younger generation – it's a must-have. If you have to pay for it, and it’s a bad service, this has a substantial impact on the customer’s perception of the airline. Unbundling it might perhaps work on short-haul routes. On long-haul routes you certainly have to provide some form of entertainment, and you probably have to have some form of connectivity.

Q. Are we going to get reliable global connectivity on planes? A. When connectivity in the aircraft was first marketed (Connexion by Boeing in the early 2000s), the key issue was to get connectivity from the satellite to the aircraft. The wireless distribution within the cabin was an afterthought. Now more and more airlines are using the wireless network within the cabin, independent of whether they have external connectivity or not. The wireless network in the aircraft therefore becomes a much more important element of the airlines’ onboard product. It offers a very versatile architecture, high added value in terms of the passenger experience, and is easy to install. Such an architecture is valid for short-haul and long-haul fleets. In summary, as the connectivity to the aircraft becomes increasingly more reliable, Builds wireless (WAPs), for onboard offering higheraccess and points higher bandwidth to the infrastructure and is now engaged in fourthaircraft, the question of reliability shifts more generation smart technology through Cognitive towards the distribution within the cabin Hotspot Technology (CHT) through its nMAP2. rather than the pipe to the aircraft. 

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case study

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

Beaming onboard Virgin Trains is leading the way in offering UK rail passengers Netflix-style entertainment via a new app called BEAM, which is seemingly leap-frogging airline offerings, says Benjamin Coren

B

EAM was born as Virgin Trains looked to improve the passenger journey and saw from surveys that passengers wanted the company to be greener (perhaps providing newspapers in a digital manner) and to provide some on-rail entertainment. John Sullivan, chief information officer, Virgin Trains West Coast, said: “Customers aren’t used to receiving onboard entertainment on trains so they weren't exactly asking for it but we’ve given them something they do really want before they even knew they wanted it! It’s a fantastic innovation. Customers didn’t know it was a possibility but now they are loving it.” BEAM allows passengers to stream films and TV shows, play games and read magazines on their own mobile device free of charge and regardless of class of travel. The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play and the service is uninterrupted even through tunnels. A local area network is created so anyone can connect to a central server on the train where content is stored locally. So regardless of what is going on outside, BEAM is accessible. Virgin Trains partnered with three companies to develop BEAM. GoMedia developed the app and the software that integrates with the train technology infrastructure; Nomad Digital helped with the train infrastructure and set-up; and Dawson Media Direct (DMD) was the media content aggregator. DMD will Pictured: Customers can download the BEAM app before boarding and stream entertainment to their own moblie device

be working with Virgin Trains to update content monthly, adding more titles to the TV and movie library. “We want to disrupt the train industry for the sake of improving the customer journey,” said John. “I think when a customer gets on the train they will ask, ‘well, what technology can I get onboard?’” Virgin Trains believes the level of personalisation and breadth of content rivals and even surpasses what passengers have come to expect on long-haul flights. “For the train industry to actually jump the aviation industry in terms of entertainment service is massively exciting. I know some planes are starting to offer this kind of app, but we’ve got it on pretty much all of our trains already. Passengers bring their own

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

device; it’s the most personalised piece of equipment that they’re ever going to have onboard. “I think we’ve started a new digital channel, which will ultimately be as important as our website or our mobile sites in the future.” Magazines and games are currently also available through the app on Voyager services on the West Coast, and the full BEAM service is also available on the entire East Coast fleet. virgintrains.co.uk 

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focus on

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

TECH SUPPLIER: SES PRODUCT: HIGH THROUGHPUT SATELLITES (HTS)

Aiming high High Throughput Satellites are set to be a game changer for connectivity onboard. Richard Williams discovered why

A

record 3.6 billion passengers worldwide will board airline flights this year, most carrying their smartphones, and with expectations of a connected experience. They want high-speed wifi, video streaming, texting, social media, and premium live television and their dreams of swift global connectivity could be about to come true with the delivery of High Throughput Satellites (HTS). Leading satellite operator SES is launching three HTSs in 2017 alone and has already done Ku-band HTS capacity deals with the major inflight entertainment and connectivity providers. Its global fleet of over 50 satellites is enabling connectivity for millions of passengers aboard thousands of flights. NEXT GENERATION Gez Draycott, vp of mobility solutions for SES, says: “SES has a sweeping global HTS strategy at the heart of the development of next generation HTS systems. Our teams and technology partners are

We are constantly pushing the technology envelope, to provide much higher throughputs at lower costs not only building the best, most reliable hybrid High Throughput Satellites, we’re also designing and implementing intelligent, robust HTS ground infrastructure critical to ensuring airlines have the bandwidth whenever and wherever they need it, to provide a great passenger experience and vastly improved operational efficiencies.” SES has several hybrid HTS satellites scheduled for launch next year. SES-12, SES-14 and SES-15 HTS

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satellites will deliver a powerful mix of wide beam and spot beam Ku-band capacity and coverage over much of the world’s busiest air travel routes. The combination of wide beam and spot beam coverage is a major differentiator, allowing SES to focus and tailor capacity where it’s required by its customers serving the inflight connectivity market. A NEW AGE Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE), Panasonic and Gogo have already struck major Ku-band HTS capacity deals aboard these satellites and Draycott adds: “These providers are putting their trust in SES – tapping our conventional Ku-band and upcoming HTS bandwidth across our growing global fleet of satellites to secure their current and future business in an ever-evolving technology market.” HTS delivers a bigger, smarter broadband pipe to the aircraft, allowing passengers to connect to high-speed wifi, stream video entertainment, text, and catch up on email and social media. HTS satellites and groundbased systems are fuelling the IFEC boom, enabling airlines and inflight connectivity providers to offer more intelligent capacity that can dynamically shift


focus on

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

coverage to meet peak air travel demands. Draycott believes airlines also have big plans to utilise inflight connectivity to make their operations more safe and efficient. For example, connectivity can give pilots, cabin crew and ground staff access to weather and passenger information, engine maintenance and fuel saving programmes. SUPER HTS “By layering conventional and HTS coverage over the busiest travel routes, we can enable airlines to meet passenger demands for bandwidth-hungry services seamlessly throughout the flight with what’s being called Super HTS. The latest studies show more airline passengers are booking flights and selecting airlines based on the availability of high-speed wifi. HTS is the key enabler allowing airlines to differentiate their brands with a new level of passenger service and operational efficiency,” Draycott says. The costs and efficiency of satellite connectivity

is improving too says Draycott. “The future of connectivity isn’t about one big idea or one big satellite. There’s been a lot of talk, for example, about the 1 Terabyte satellite. That’s something we can already fathom today and put on a mediumsized platform. Our focus is on the development of customised payloads capable of evolving and serving specific applications, such as IFEC. SES is constantly pushing the technology envelope, developing satellites and solutions that provide much higher throughputs, lower cost per bit, and the ability to rapidly scale and deliver customised services. We keep our minds and systems open to the possibilities. "SES is actively involved in the development of revolutionary Ku- and Ka-band HTS satellite architectures, built in half the time of conventional satellites and ready to provide massive gigabit and terabit capacity levels where needed." 

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ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

The changing face of content

They say content is king and certainly the onboard entertainment offer is a rising star in the passenger experience. We asked some leading figures in onboard entertainment just how and what airlines are choosing when it comes to content

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one are the days when airlines offered a few games, some audio choices, and a selection of movies in a few languages as their inflight entertainment. As storage capacity has increased, so has the choice being offered to passengers and the challenges to suppliers and airlines.

The content Greater diversity of content, including foreign language films, documentaries, destination guides, and short segment films are becoming a part of the unique selling proposition for content suppliers and airlines alike. Christelle Cuenca, vp content

programming and acquisitions, Global Eagle Entertainment, says: “Evolving systems are now capable of storing much more content. We now have the ability to programme larger content sets which include more of the newest and catalogue movies, TV box sets, short versions of viral content, and more niche content and speciality subjects. We can also include enhancements in language availability including closed captions - audio descriptions for the visually impaired. David Withers, ceo, DigEcor adds: “The industry constant is the continuing demand for more content and more variety to answer the passenger requirement for more choice.

ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM

"Today’s systems can cope with such demand but the licensing cost for traditional content sets is prohibitive in such volumes. Early Window (EW) movies remain the most popular content choice but there is now a drive for more diverse, lower-cost additional content options. Such content is more akin to the richer variety consumed at home and on mobiles, and includes social content and integrated apps, TV box sets (feeding the binge-watching trend), more local regional content, fresh news, and live sports."

Storage Perhaps it is inevitable that the demand for more choice and viewing

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content

ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY

trends on the ground are finding their way into the onboard offering. Cuenca explains: “What is happening on the ground with streaming video aggregators is also occurring in the air, enabling people to access more specialised content suited to an individual’s unique content wants. "Evolving technology means past storage issues are becoming less of a problem. Withers says: “An airline now gets more hours of secondary content choices for the same budget, as storage is no longer an issue. Our technology keeps up with requirements by offering terabytes of storage.”

The challenges Curating content from nonmainstream suppliers does have its

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challenges. Withers highlights language requirements (dual language dubs and subtitles), the editing of content for certain markets, ensuring the quality of content meets the standard expected, ascertaining who holds the inflight rights, or negotiating inflight rights for content in each region.

What's next So is the day coming when everything will be available on satelliteenabled wifi? Cuenca doubts it: “We still see seatback as being onboard for the foreseeable future. We just see a lot more space on servers, enabling airlines and their content service providers to curate an amazing library. However, streaming wireless is going to be onboard international airlines, perhaps alongside

that seatback experience, for second-screen capabilities. And it won’t be going away anytime soon for shorter haul airlines, and low cost carriers.” Withers concludes: “Airlines are increasingly looking at their inflight entertainment platforms as a way to differentiate themselves, drive ancillary revenue, retain customer loyalty and tell their stories. Curation, personalisation and meaningful experiences will drive the content. Everything but EW content will be available on satellite-enabled wifi.” 

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Onboard Entertainment & Connectivity September 2016  

Onboard Hospitality Magazine's Entertainment And Connectivity Supplement. This Edition: Latest deals and developments • Trends • Headphones...

Onboard Entertainment & Connectivity September 2016  

Onboard Hospitality Magazine's Entertainment And Connectivity Supplement. This Edition: Latest deals and developments • Trends • Headphones...