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entertainment & connectivity

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entertainment & connectivity

brought to you by


Julie Baxter WRITERS

Richard Williams Roger Williams PUBLISHER



Louisa Horton Monica Notarnicola PRODUCTION MANAGER


Steve Hartridge


s the doors open on this year's APEX in Long Beach, the pace of change within the onboard entertainment and connectivity sector has never seemed faster or more critical to operator success.

Evolving technologies, increasing passenger expectations and the quest to offer an ever-more refined and relevant onboard experience is driving innovation and elevating the importance of onboard tech across a wide range of transport operations. In this, our latest review of the onboard entertainment and connectivity world written primarily by Richard Williams, we aim to keep you up to date with commentary and insights from those in the know. We've asked key players to do a little crystal ballgazing and predict what will come next; and we've spoken to leading providers standing by to help airlines, cruise and rail operators keep their tech up to date. News We've taken a look at how rail operators are Latest deals and now getting in on the act with their own developments entertainment and connectivity apps and we've asked those at the heart of change to help us navigate new infrastructure initiatives, Trends the plethora of acquisitions and partnerships in Innovations and insights the market and how technology can continue to enhance the passenger experience. Whether you're delivering content, working to inspire Future proofing engagement or launching satellites into space, we hope you find time to have a read. Onboard tech is changing

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fast. Be sure you keep up


David Clare



Julie Baxter, EDITOR


According to the recent Gogo Global Traveler study of 4,500 adult passengers, half always use inflight wifi when it is available, and 38% are prepared to switch airlines to get it. Passengers now expect it to be supplied and will use it. No wonder then that almost every contributor to this issue has mentioned the issue of monetisation of IFEC provision. Supplying connectivity is expensive, and there is a now a critical mass of passengers who can pay for it. This is likely to be a hot topic at the forthcoming APEX conference in Long Beach, and the session in the content strand on ‘How to monetise the passenger journey’ is going to be packed out. Passengers are not easily satisfied, however: 48% still expect inflight wifi speeds to be as fast as on the ground, and 45% expect a faster service if they pay for it!

Richard Williams, WRITER


How to...


On track apps

Get the best from IFE

Rail operators up their IFE app options


Focus on...


In conversation


Inmarsat's European Aviation Network

Alexis Steinman, GEE


Dave Nieuwsma, Rockwell Collins, looks ahead


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News updates




Boeing has added the Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) Airconnect 3.0 inflight wifi system as a factory installation option for its 737 MAX aircraft. This is the first connectivity system to be added as a linefit option for the 737 MAX. geemedia.com



Air China will use Panasonic Avionics eX3 inflight entertainment for its 10 Airbus A350s, the first to be delivered in December 2017. The eX3 service includes audio and video on demand, a content library offering up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, and a moving map. The A350 aircraft will also offer global connectivity services. Panasonic operates connectivity services in 210 countries, including China. panasonic.aero; airchina.co.uk


Portable wifi provider AirFi has teamed up with major UK broadcaster ITV to show its content onboard on the day of transmission. Now passengers won't have to wait to watch iconic programmes such as Coronation Street and Love Island. AirFi’s platform is browserbased, so passengers don’t have the hassle of downloading an app to watch the shows. airfi.aero

IdeaNova Technologies has a new multimedia player – INPLAY INSTANT. Airline passengers can use this system to quickly and easily play back any DRM content—such as Hollywood movies—on their laptop or any web browser, regardless of the supported DRM content decryption module (CDM). INPLAY INSTANT utilises a simple user-friendly installation process that does not require connectivity or installation of plugins. ideanovatech.com


FTS, a new provider of IFEC solutions, reports its Xstream wifi streaming system has received European Aviation Safety Agency Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. Certification was achieved following trials on Myanmar Airways International A319 test aircraft. fts-aero.com


Inflight connectivity provider startup SmartSky Networks will launch its terrestrial air-to-ground (ATG) network in mid-2018. 86% of the tower sites for its network of 250 ground stations in the US have completed initial on-site testing. The remaining ground infrastructure is being installed and commissioned as local permits are obtained. smartskynetworks.com


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APEX expo & conference/Aircraft Interiors expo/IFSA expo

Japan Airlines (JAL) is offering its domestic passengers free inflight connectivity. A “Free Flight Pass” button appears on the portal page as customers connect to inflight wifi. Video programmes are also available for free for viewing on customers’ own devices. Gogo is the supplier and will add its 2Ku solution to subsidiary JTA too in coming months. jal.com; gogoair.com



• WHEN? September 25-28, 2017 • WHERE? Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California • WHAT’S THE BUZZ? The APEX expo is co-located with the Aircraft Interiors expo and International Flight Services Association (IFSA) expo and conference. The Education Day precedes the show and features keynote speeches from industry leaders and informative breakout sessions.


Icelandair is partnering with ViaSat for EL AL is upgrading its fleet inflight connectivity and fast internet by acquiring 16 new Boeing 787 streaming on its transatlantic Dreamliners which will offer a new routes. ViaSat-2, launched in June service class, aimed at providing its above the Americas, will allow passengers with a premium experience. a total throughput capacity of Innovations will include a new advanced about 300 Gbps. Planes travelling AVOD entertainment system by further east will switch over their Panasonic, with HD screens for all and passenger connections to the high-speed internet provided by European KA-SAT network, a highViaSat from 2018. capacity Ka-band satellite system elal.com part-owned by ViaSat through its joint venture with Eutelsat. icelandair.co.uk; viasat.com


Qantas says an average of 32% of passengers are choosing to log-on while flying on its first internetconnected aircraft in Australia. It is offering the ViaSat-enabled service on its domestic Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s free of charge. Fine-tuning has boosted reliability to above 98%. Download speeds now are routinely above 12Mbps. Around 88% of customers liked their wifi experience. qantas.com

• WHO'S EXHIBITING? The co-location of the three shows makes this the largest event of its kind in the USA, with hundreds of exhibitors from the IFEC, cabin equipment and aircraft services industries. • WHO’S GOING? APEX expects 3000 industry professionals to attend, with representatives of 100 airlines and 300 content providers and other industry suppliers. • WHA WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA? The highlight of the show is the APEX Awards ceremony on Monday night. Perhaps more valuable to industry executives are the conference breakout sessions on Monday afternoon on Technology, Content, Passenger Experience, and Catering & Services. • CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS? The Technology strand promises ‘Future Connectivity and Deployment Roadmaps’ and ‘The Advance of Biometric Safety and Security’. Learn more at: expo.apex.aero; aircraftinteriorsexpo-us.com; ifsanet.com

Our team will be touring the expos keen to hear your news. Sue Williams, Publisher, Onboard Entertainment & Connectivity


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Trends update


The content universe is expanding in every direction, with an explosion in shortform snackable content Alexis Steinman, senior vp digital media solutions, GEE


A survey by Egencia, the business travel arm of the Expedia group, highlights an increasing desire from business travellers for technology access and cross-device integration throughout their travel experience. Technology which makes the corporate travel journey more productive and manageable ranked high on their wish list. Two-thirds (66%) want to manage and book their business travel on all mobile devices, not just smartphones; 41% believe artificial intelligence (AI) will improve future travel experiences. egencia.com


Inmarsat predicts 2017 will be the last summer holidaymakers travel in Europe TECH-OBSESSED BRITS without high-speed broadband The average UK adult takes at least three items of onboard as it partners tech on holiday, which is one more than they would GEN-C with Deutsche Telekom’s for an average day at work. A survey of 1000 Brits, 92% of 18-35 year European Aviation published as part of the UK Gadget Usage Report Network (EAN). Launch olds want to use their own 2017, said that 1 in 5 travel with at least five partner IAG Group owns device inflight for wifi gadgets in their luggage, totalling over £1,000 British Airways, Iberia, or entertainment of equipment. Technology most commonly Aer Lingus and Vueling 47% would pay for it taken on holiday is the smartphone, then iPads and has begun fitting 48% would swap carrier (23%), with battery or tablets (42%), then laptops (23%) its planes for launch in to get wifi (38%). Just 1 in 10 packs (38%) the second half of 2017. gogoair.com say they intend to have a It aims to have 90% of its holiday3. technology-free holiday short-haul fleet complete by electrictobacconist.co.uk electric early 2019. inmarsat.com


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IFEC ESSENTIALS The he majorit majorityy of global passengers now now see inflight infligh connectivity connec onnectivityy as a necessit onnectivit nec necessity, essity, not a luxury, essity, luxury,, ac accor according cording ording ding too the annual Inflight Inflight Connec CConnectivity onnectivity onnectivit tivityy Sur SSurvey urvey ey rec rrecently recen ecently ently tly published bby Inmarsa Inmarsat.. The Inmarsat he global survey sur ey rreveals: rev eveals: eals: Inmarsat.com Inma Inmarsat rsat.c rsat.com .com om

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57% think wifi should be offered off offer ered ed on more more flights fligh 50% say say they always alwaays alw ys use infligh inflight wifi if available av a vailable ailable onb onboar oar oard onboard


Inflight broadband is revolutionising passenger expectations of the onboard experience and even how they choose their airlines in the UK. According to the annual Inflight Connectivity Survey by Inmarsat, ALL 33% of British passengers who have tried AT SEA inflight wifi said they would stop using Cruise lines are upping their preferred airline within the next investment in onboard wifi, year if the wifi quality was poor. Some 74% of British passengers claim they texting and video options for would pay for connectivity even on passengers. Increasingly passengers short-haul leisure flights and 80% will be able to use their own said they would pay on medium-haul devices to access TV, T V, movies, flights, rising to 82% for long-haul games and special event flights. 36% say inflight wifi takes the telecasts.. telecasts anxiety out of flying. inmarsat.com gogoair.com

48% think inflight inflight wifi speeds should mirror speeds mirror speeds on the ground ground

GoEuro, a website and app for comparing and booking train journeys, buses and flights across Europe, reports that more than three quarters (78%) of the UK’s most popular routes now offer onboard wifi to their passengers. Out of the 150 most popular UK train routes, based on bookings made through GoEuro, 63 offer free wifi, 54 offer wifi at a cost, and 33 offer no wifi at all. goeuro.co.uk

45% expec expect xpectt inflight inflight wifi to to be fast if they faster they pay pa 39% rate ratee infligh inflightt connec cconnectivity onnectivity onnec onnectivit tivityy as importan impor important tant when choosing choosing carrier car carr arrier ier – above abo e the importanc importance impor tance attached ttached to to entertainmen enter en ent tertainmen ertainmen tainment ccon tainment cont conten onten ontent tent entertainment content 38% would would swap swapp carrier carrier to access acc access ess infligh inflightt wifi onboardhospitality.com

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Thinking ahead The inflight connectivity and entertainment sector is changing fast. Richard Williams asks key providers how airlines can keep up


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the ifeC business seems to be changing fast; what's happening? DE In the early 2000s people were talking about Web 2.0 and digital transformation. Now this is happening in IFEC. Now 10-15 years old, the IFEC market is taking what it has learned from its first phase, to redefine itself as IFEC 2.0 – and get into shape for the next 20 years. As a result we see some players stepping out of the market, being acquired, or redefining themselves. JN The industry is certainly dynamic and the pace of change is becoming ever-faster. Providers have to adapt to these changes and to new demands to remain relevant and innovative. With the technological advancements of the Delta, for example, recently announced modern portable device, be it smartphone or 500 aircraft all with embedded wearable, people everywhere are demanding more Panasonic IFE, while others are looking data to stay connected and informed. Passengers at wireless solutions or connections are searching for increased convenience and a to an IFC system. We believe wireless personalised, premium experience in the air as well IFE certainly has a place in the market as on the ground. and has opened up new business for Suppliers need to help airlines overcome us offering full wireless systems for the challenges by transforming typically rigid aircraft that are nearing the end of entertainment systems into flexible IFEC platforms their service life when an investment through products such as our NEXT platform, a in a new fully embedded IFEC system scalable solution that blends latest IFE technology, doesn’t make business sense. connectivity services and consumer technologies We’re also for airlines. This way airlines seeing airlines can maximise their investment embrace a by dramatically extending the lifespan of the IFEC The industry is certainly multi-screen platform and increase their dynamic and the pace of environment adding revenue through enhanced change is becoming wireless as a marketing intelligence and ever-faster complementary opportunities. feature to the Seatback screens still seem to IFE system to extend the onboard have their place but is wireless experience. BB Airlines are looking for ways to ife (Wife) really the future? DE We support airlines’ right to choose the best improve the passenger experience. solution for their passengers. SITA’s 2017 Passenger The advent of smartphones and IT Trends Survey found 52% of passengers would tablets has created a large addressable prefer to access onboard digital services through a market (90% of passengers carry seatback touchscreen, and 29% would prefer to use personal electronic devices on board) their own device. Whether or not an airline chooses for content broadcast over wifi. This WIFE will depend on its passengers’ profile, existing can also reduce the requirements for platforms, routes and aircraft. seatback entertainment on some midand long-haul flights. This can lead to JN Every airline has a unique personality. Some airlines want to have a fully embedded experience. a reduction in weight and obsolete




JON NORRIS Senior director, corporate sales & marketing Panasonic Avionics

BLANE BOYNTON vp of product management, Gogo


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technology. It also offers an entertainment option on short-haul. For aircraft that do not have seatback entertainment, Gogo Vision is a lightweight, customisable alternative. Gogo works with its airline customers to customise the web and mobile apps based on their specifications, including selection of features, design and branding if they wish. If airlines want to build their own applications, Gogo can provide assistance with specific components and experience.


Are there ever going to be enough satellites to satisfy passenger demand for fast, reliable connectivity in the air? DE Satellite vendors are very positive about the provision to support inflight connectivity but its clear user expectations will quickly consume the current capacity. It’s human nature to always look to the next wave of technology, and when that wave comes, the experience of providers like SITAONAIR to enable airline industries to optimise and deploy these technologies, will remain beneficial. JN Today, Panasonic has over 1700 aircraft connected to its global inflight connectivity service. We have delivered over 1800 systems and have a total order book of almost 4,000

aircraft. By 2025, we expect to have commitments for over 12,000 aircraft. From our perspective, we’ve reached a point where passengers expect to be connected every time they fly, and the industry is responding. Passenger habits are also evolving. They are consuming more and more bandwidth as they connect multiple devices onboard. So we’re looking at this from multiple perspectives. We are upgrading what we offer, adding coverage and capacity, and are currently exploring HTS (high-throughput satellite) and even XTS (extremethroughput satellite) solutions, so that we can add massive amounts of capacity in the right region and at the right price. A great example of this is the launch of Eutelsat’s 172-B which will deliver increased capacity to the Asia-Pacific region. Notably, E172B is the first HTS satellite to use a multi-port amplifier, which allows power to be dynamically moved among the HTS beams to meet demand. This ability for the HTS beams to ‘follow’ aircraft and other mobile users allows Panasonic to better meet customer demand and cost-effectively ensure consistently high levels of service in a way that other service providers in Asia are unable to. BB Satellite companies often measure capacity in terms of theoretical raw data available on any one given satellite. You’ll often see satellite providers quote numbers like 100 Gbps of total capacity. These numbers are typically theoretical and sometimes include bandwidth reserved for remote home internet subscriptions. It also includes capacity in areas that serve no useful purpose for aviation. Keep in mind that most satellite companies serve many markets so all the bandwidth is shared. The total bandwidth calculations of certain satellites are also sometimes made using massive backyard satellite dishes, which greatly inflates the total capacity numbers. What’s important for the inflight connectivity market is capacity to serve aviation and a way to get that bandwidth to the seats in a usable way. For that, we’ve developed innovative antenna designs and a highly specialised in-cabin network that includes a modem and wireless access points.


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Are ground-based initiatives a great solution for business aviation aircraft, key to the mobile connectivity commercial regional jets and select narrow-body of the future? aircraft operating within the US and Canada. The new network will use unlicensed spectrum in DE The European Aviation Network (EAN) and SmartSky networks are components of the the 2.4 GHz band and will leverage a proprietary mobile connectivity landscape, and will further modem and a new beam-forming antenna. It will enrich the diversity of options available and we utilise LTE technology and leverage our existing envisage increasing numbers of 250 cell sites and fibre backhaul connectivity options to come. network, making it economical to Their adoption by airlines will deploy. It is backward-compatible depend on where they fly, their Passengers will pay with our first-generation network, needs, fleet technologies, etc. if the service meets which means an aircraft will A rich range of connectivity be able to seamlessly switch their needs options which can be integrated between networks similar to consistently across different how a cell phone on the ground digital platforms is the way forward for the industry connects to the fastest available network. This and key to our open platforms vision. makes the network highly reliable. BB As the originator of the air-to-ground network in What is the North America, Gogo definitely sees them as a key best way for component of mobile connectivity for business and airlines to commercial aviation. We plan a second-generation monetise their IFEC ground network in North America to better serve service? the business and commercial aviation markets and have a new technology that will deliver a ground-like DE The best way for an airline to maximise its ROI is experience, including the ability to stream video, to really get to know its passengers’ that’s capable of delivering peak-speeds of more digital expectations and practices. than 100Mbps to an aircraft. We already are testing Passengers will pay, whether directly speeds of 134 Mbps in our lab now and will be or indirectly, if the service offered launching in 2018. to them meets their needs. It The performance of ground-based technologies in general has certain operational advantages when is therefore vital for an airline to integrate the IFC experience compared to satellite technologies and remains



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JN As well as being pivotal to passenger experience, IFEC is a crucial business platform for airlines. If connected and personalised, it opens up a lot of opportunities to offer passengers services which have been uniquely tailored to their travel. In turn, these services can be monetised to optimise ancillary revenues for airlines. Relevant applications of IFE might include: concierge services e.g. renting a car at your destination through IFE; personalised destination services and promotions; targeted advertising based on passenger profile and pay-perview movies and content. BB We see more and more free-to-passenger offerings coming to the air as well, but different airlines will make different choices about what to give away to whom. The trend is about driving internet enablement to every passenger through a mix of services and distribution and all of this is done within into the passenger's digital experience starting the construct of meeting the goals of airlines and from the ground, where a passenger will be able their partners. The biggest enabler of this trend is to preselect his or her meal for the next flight, or bandwidth abundance and that means a world of pre-order or access IFC from its airline app. It will possibilities. In addition to bandwidth, the other key be important as well to integrate the passenger IFC enablers are systems integration and business model experience within the full flight experience that the flexibility. And that brings us to multi-payer because airline wants to offer to the passenger, such as being we’ve clearly proven that a small percentage of the able to interact inflight with cabin crew to pre-select plane is willing to pay almost anything. But everyone meals or to review the duty-free wants to be connected – and that catalogue, for example. means evolving the model. Airlines can explore various There will be more free to avenues for growing ancillary passenger – some from airlines A small percentage revenues, such as working and some from third parties. We of the plane will pay have created and will continue with chosen partners to deliver almost anything free wifi sessions or deliver to create more and more onboard shopping promotions. levers. Services will range from Monetisation aside, it’s important to note that messaging, to browsing to streaming; pricing will airlines have multiple motivations for adopting range from free to all to free to some, tiered and paid; IFC, including – and this is a big targeting will become more relevant – by passenger, one – supporting its brand’s or device or even route or time of day. perception of delivering a For example: almost all of Gogo's airline partners distinctive onboard service to pay for Gogo Vision IFE content and offer that content passengers. Last but not least, free to passengers. Entertainment has been a popular there are other ways to gain return giveaway at Delta and American. on investment out of IFC, that Another class of service – messaging – has proven can extend beyond passenger popular from T-Mobile and from Alaska. Having third connectivity, such as enabling players sponsor wifi for passengers allows these cabin crew to be connected, or partners, such as Citi Card, the chance to reach a pilots to access the latest weather captive target audience. Gogo also has a partnership information through IFC links, with US mobile carrier T-Mobile that allows T-Mobile delivering significant business case customers to gain free access for an hour to the improvement or optimisation. Internet on Gogo-equipped planes. 


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Travel experience is our world

Discover more at globaleagle.com

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Ultra-fast internet service Premium content with global reach Live & on-demand entertainment

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HOW TO... / 15

How to...

...get the best from IFE An IFE system is only as good as what it’s showing. Barry Flynn, chief commercial officer of content provider Inflight Dublin, explains how to make yours stand out TALK TO EXPERTS As the world’s largest content service provider (by airline clients and turnover), Inflight Dublin has great expertise to share. It has been in business 33 years and has five offices worldwide. KEEP IT SIMPLE The development of wireless streaming to passengers’ own devices, with or without satellite or ground connectivity, means IFE has become a lot more complicated than just providing a wide selection of movies and audio. Content service providers (CSPs) can help, and Inflight Dublin for example now offers content services (the core service), wireless IFE (innovative BYOD solutions), digital services (including ancillary revenue opportunities and advertising), and a creative design studio. It aims to provide a simple and seamless turnkey IFE experience for airlines.

FOCUS ON DIFFERENTIATION IFE can become a key point of difference. Flynn adds: "We tailor the offering as much as possible to be as innovative as we can. Ultimately, we support the airline’s vision for differentiation.”

CUSTOMISE YOUR CONTENT Customising content is key. Flynn explains: “First, we analyse the client’s passenger demographic, route network and corporate objectives in order to optimise their IFE portfolio. This not only applies to the content we provide, but to the value-added services, such as microsites, mobile apps, boarding videos, safety videos and other design services. Then we suggest customised IFE solutions based on the client's culture and brand objectives. Clients then pick from the in-depth array of personalised IFE platforms of their choice.”

TALK TECH Inflight Dublin has focused on hardwareagnostic software to deliver content to passengers' own devices but also works with a strategic partner to offer a hardware solution for wireless streaming to passengers on the plane. Flynn says: "We have developed our own unique Everhub wireless IFE software to deliver content to passengers' own devices. Everhub delivers a wide variety of engaging services to passengers, whatever their devices. It combines all the elements of the innovative IFE platform." Inflightdublin.com 

FACT FILE Inflight Dublin has its HQ in Dublin plus offices in Kenya, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and France. The company specialises in supporting airlines but believes its entertainment and connectivity model

and technology is transferable to rail and cruise scenarios too. Inflight Dublin has been in business for 33 years. It divides its business into four strands: content services; wireless IFE; digital services; and creative design.


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On track connections Roger Williams takes a look at how rail operators are getting in on the onboard entertainment and connectivity act across Europe

Deutsche Bahn Offers free wifi to all passengers with entertainment streamed to their devices through its ‘ICE’ portal which features films, audio books, games and magazines. The operator uses a tech solution built on Icomera’s X-Series open application and connectivity platform to support passenger wifi requirements. Icomera is one of the fastest growing Swedish technology companies with mobile internet solutions connecting tens of thousands of vehicles and millions of passengers every week.

SJ Sweden The SJ app allows multiple traveller ticket purchases, easy seat selection, personalised journey information and digital access to the SJ Prio card,

accessing reward points and privileges which can be used onboard for food and drink purchases. To date it has 800,000 users, 15% of which use it every day. The services are free to use in First and for loyalty club members with a €2 charge for 20Mb downloads, €4 for 100Mb.

Great Western Railways This UK operator promotes a free highspeed wifi system easily connected to via a wifi log-in page and provides helpful user advice. The service is available on most trains and at many stations.

Eurostar The cross-channel operator’s onboard entertainment system features over 300 hours of free films, TV programmes and games. It has also pioneered an on-train virtual reality experience. ‘Eurostar

Odyssey’ which uses specially designed headsets for a fully-immersive under sea adventure onboard the train – as pasengers travel under the Channel in the tunnel! Eurostar’s commercial director Nick Mercer, said: “Travellers are always asking if they can see the fish when travelling through the tunnel and we’re really excited to make it possible”.

OBB Austria Offers free wifi and streamed content including live TV, 120 on demand TV shows, sporting fixtures and films for free. A five-minute streaming buffer prevents the signal dropping out. Live TV was particularly well received during EURO 2016 when 66 hours of football matches were available. OBB has invested in a new technology for this live event coverage and simultaneously


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provides interruption free Austrian TV video on demand to a high quality. This technical solution enables automated synchronisation and storage of video content from ORF (the Austrian TV network) on a local buffer memory located on Railjet trains, with content transferred from this cache to the user’s device.

France SNCF This operator offers passengers a digital news service to keep them current as they travel, and aims to keep younger travellers occupied with access to eight kids games.

Virgin Trains This UK rail operator encourages passengers to download its Beam app to access free films and TV.

Spain RENFE Offers free wifi in First and to loyalty members with streamable downloads at a charge. It is working with Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica to roll out high-speed internet access on all its AVE services by the end of 2017. Already available on Madrid-Seville and Barcelona Madrid, a minimum service (20Mb) is available free to all passengers subscribed to the +Renfe scheme and those travelling Preferente class. A high speed connection and 100Mb download is available for €4. The PlayRenfe premium service comes via a satellite connection and 4G to offer films and television through a Movistar package.

SBB Switzerland SBB is avoiding wifi onboard completely and investing instead in 4G and mobile

signal amplifiers and repeaters. The operator argues that the repeaters already offer a good signal strength and reception on the move and that wifi would offer very little bandwidth. If installed, wifi would be in addition to 4G and at extra cost to the customer so why bother? It believes Swiss travellers will only use free wifi which would effectively mean it had to subsidise passenger communications – something they resist as a publicly-funded organisation.

Czech Rep CD Has an onboard portal and offers the option of ordering food via a downloadable app supplied by JLV. Based on a survey of operators by Harriet Williams of ECL June/July 2017. For more details please contact roger@thecateringexplorer.com 


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Inmarsat EAN

Connecting Europe Richard Williams talks to Inmarsat's Frederik van Essen, as they watch the first European Aviation Network satellite go up 2017 ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE


nmarsat now has 13 satellites in operation supporting Global Xpress wifi connectivity and certified cockpit services, Classic Aero and SB-Safety. The launch of its EAN satellite in June was the latest in a series of impressive developments. The EAN is made up of a satellite component and an Air-to-Ground (ATG) component. Following the launch of the S-band satellite, the rollout of the complementary ground network with Deutsche Telekom is going to plan. When completed, the infrastructure will be made up of around 300 sites, with the antennas installed on existing LTE cell tower masts. Frederik van Essen is Inmarsat's senior vp, strategy and business development, and says: “European air traffic is forecast to double over the next two decades, and demand for inflight connectivity, capacity and bandwidth is rising even faster. The EAN is designed to grow capacity using easily deployable LTE cell tower technology in line with leaps in satellite evolution. Providing coverage both from above and below ensures a robust, high-quality service, even during rapid aircraft manoeuvring, with speeds of over 75Mbps.” In addition, the small and lightweight EAN antennas installed on the aircraft

are quick to install and low-cost to system, dependent on which maintain, making the service a costconnection is best at the time,” van effective and future-proof choice for Essen explains. onboard wifi. EAN will provide total coverage of International Airlines Group (IAG) all 28 European member states, plus was the launch customer, with 300 Aer Norway and Switzerland, with many Lingus, British Airways, other countries and Iberia and Vueling partners showing aircraft due to be interest in the EAN is designed technology. equipped. BA expects to grow capacity its first commercial Inmarsat has also using easily service to offer the awarded a $130 deployable LTE service in 2018 and million contract for 90% of IAG’s shortthe construction of cell towers haul fleet will offer it an additional Global by early 2019. Xpress satellite to Thales Alenia Space. “Just as mobile phones switch The satellite is scheduled for launch in automatically between cell towers; 2019. Two more satellites, combining aircraft operating inflight connectivity Global Xpress and safety services, are with EAN will switch automatically on order from Airbus for launch in the between the satellite and ground early 2020s. 


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Richard Williams asks about GEE’s recent awards, acquisitions and partnerships and what they mean for the business


EE is broadening its product options and content choices, and winning awards for new easy-fix connectivity solutions in both aviation and maritime sectors.

Q. What’s so special about the new Airtime portal and how is it different to what has gone before? A. Our creative and talented team devoted countless hours to fine-tuning this IFE package and we have put a lot of effort into execution and detail. It is our third generation entertainment and connectivity portal, created through engagement with 48 participants from six continents through user-centered design. We identified and followed best practice in e-commerce sites. Airtime is a digital mobility platform which extends pre- and post-flight. It links to an entire suite of Airtime solutions too. You can pre-browse options pre-flight, pre-buy wifi and use a single login to stream video onboard or in lounges. Just over 900 aircraft plus maritime and land customers are using the system. Another differentiator is monetisation. We seek out sponsors, advertisers and brand partners that bring value, and our proprietary ad platform enables rich airline campaigns across the user interface, tailored to passengers and routes. A lot of the value to airlines lies ‘under the hood’. Our big data analytics and reporting platform is often cited as the gold standard. Our software and content are loaded to aircraft through satellite, with a touchless

process. We also have patented technology for high-speed browsing. Airlines can deliver a unique quality of passenger experience.

Q. Tell us about Content-to-Go. A. Simply put, Content-to-Go is a mobile

app solution that delivers low-cost IFE. Passengers download their personalised IFE selections to their preferred device any time prior to take-off, and then enjoy it inflight. With the flexibility of digital mobility, our airline partners are quickly embracing the fact that they can break free from the cabin

Content is going to be more personalised and more intuitive and cover a passenger’s entire journey, adding on anything digital: newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, IFE listings (i.e. prebrowsing IFE options to create playlists), and most interestingly, all kinds of cool video content available on the ground to make time fly during that four-hour layover. Available for iOS and Android, Contentto-Go can be deployed as a stand-alone service or integrated seamlessly into the airline’s app. As an example, check out what Qatar Airways offers through its Oryx One Entertainment app.

Q. What sets your content offerings apart from other providers? A. Our close relationships with major studios, TV networks and content creators give us an edge in terms of exclusively distributed content. We remain very focused on internationally sourced content, which is key for airlines. In the last 18 months, we have also invested heavily in global live events and sports rights.We have 30 live channels delivered to planes and ships globally and have been a first mover in the liberal definition of IFE content, including deals for short-form and other snackable content. Q. How has the acquisition of EMC affected your business? A. We see tremendous synergies and opportunities for technology transfer between aviation and maritime sectors. Live programming and channels are typically licensed for both markets. We are already deploying the Airtime portal on one of the biggest global cruise lines, and other cruise lines will follow. Q. How are you working with Skylights Theater on the passenger experience?

A. We have established a strategic

relationship with SkyLights, which has developed a proprietary headset delivering a premium immersive cinema experience. Under the agreement, our EIM distribution subsidiary will provide SkyLights awardwinning content from our extensive catalogue. We will also work collaboratively with SkyLights to bring to market immersive


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entertainment solutions that will give airlines a competitive edge. VR and AR – virtual and augmented reality applications – are going to advance rapidly in the next two years.

Q. Will seatback IFE make a comeback as electronic devices face a cabin ban? A. The number of aircraft equipped with seatback screens continues to go up, not down. That is particularly true on medium and long-haul routes. Most people don’t see that changing. We have definitely reached the tipping point for connectivity – most major airlines are equipping their wide-bodies with connectivity, or seriously considering it. It is also clear that for narrowbodies – especially thousands of ‘dark aircraft’ with no IFE or connectivity – airlines now have a much broader set of solutions to choose from, ranging from Content-to-Go to fully connected wifi and seatbacks. Q. What new types of content will passengers demand in the future? A. The content universe is expanding in every direction, with an explosion in shortform and snackable content, more highquality TV series than ever, emerging VR and AR content, and clever content marketing that allows brands to tell stories to a highly engaged audience. Content is going to be more personalised and more intuitive. This is catching on quickly with mobile IFE, followed by wireless systems and even seatback screens that support device pairing and some connectivity. Live programming – including news and sports – is becoming key and can be delivered cost-effectively over satellite, freeing up bandwidth for other time-sensitive or social applications. The various delivery mechanisms and rights schemes are getting more complex, but this is exciting for us as we have the relevant expertise. None of this plumbing should matter to passengers – it is our business to provide the best experience and the broadest infotainment options, in the most efficient way. 


As senior vp, digital media solutions, Steinman is in charge of running one of Global Eagle Entertainment’s most challenging and innovative divisions. The company is a leading provider of passenger experience-based satellite connectivity and content to 150 airlines, with other major customers on sea and land.


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Dave Nieuwsma

Connected vision Dave Nieuwsma is senior vp of information management systems at Rockwell Collins where he leads the IMS business, formed following the acquisition of ARINC. Here he shares his vision of how connectivity will enhance the passenger experience

The aviation industry is at the beginning of a transformation, one that’s focused on efficiency, safety, and more enjoyment for people as they connect to the world wherever they are. Much of this is made possible due to the airline industry’s rapid adoption of aircraft broadband connectivity and airport technologies that enable a seamless passenger journey.

The end of bottlenecks This seamless journey begins even before the passenger arrives at the airport. Booking details and associated information travel over a Smart cabins protected private network, ‘Smart cabins’ offer the security hardened to meet opportunity to further The opportunities are demanding Transport enhance the passenger there to dramatically Security Administration experience. Passengers improve the passenger could pre-order drinks (TSA) requirements. experience as we know it and snacks ahead of time At the airport, the traditional bottlenecks from their smartphone. associated with transitioning – from the kerbside Or advanced sensors could allow lighting that through check-in, and then through security adjusts automatically with each stage of the to the airline departure gate – will quickly flight, or that determines the need for changes based on time of day or external weather disappear. Self-service check-in conditions. These are just a few examples, and and bagdrop can be integrated the potential for fully connected aircraft makes with passengers’ unique this a very exciting time. biometric data to enable ease of passage through the airport, from security to aircraft Lower ticket prices? boarding. General operations, pre-flight checks and more can Once onboard the broadband be easily synced with ground operations to bring equipped aircraft, passengers a new level of productivity that results in better are able to stay connected economics, or lower ticket prices. Pilots will benefit through their personal from new applications such as real-time weather devices for entertainment information that will increase on-time departures or work. Cabin crew can and make flights safer and more comfortable. use the same connection The opportunities are there to dramatically to provide differentiated improve the passenger experience as we know experiences for passengers it, and we are at the forefront of reimagining it travelling in all classes. every step of the way. 


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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Onboard entertainment & connectivity September 2017  

Latest news and products used onboard

Onboard entertainment & connectivity September 2017  

Latest news and products used onboard