April 17 2013  |  Inflight Entertainment

Thales wins Crystal Cabin Award and announces several partnerships

By Maryann Simson

Aircraft Interiors Expo was a success for Thales Avionics. Not only did the company manage to pick up one of seven highly coveted Crystal Cabin Awards for their “Eye Tracking and Gesture Control” system, but also announced strategic partnerships with other major technology players including onboard retail payment technology provider GuestLogix, connectivity giant Gogo and music streaming social network, Songdish. 

Thales received the Passenger Comfort Systems trophy from Melissa Raudebaugh of Delta Air Lines on April 9th. The company’s winning in-flight entertainment system enriches the flight experience by enabling the passenger to control his or her entertainment program using eye movements and handgestures.

As inflight retail becomes increasingly important to airlines everywhere, Thales also announced during Aircraft Interiors Expo that it has signed a 10-year agreement with GuestLogix®, a leading global provider of onboard retail payment technology solutions for the travel industry. The GuestLogix Payment Card Industry (PCI) solution bring to Thales’ systems a compliant payment application that irreversibly encrypts credit card numbers and offloads all sales transactions to an airline’s selected payment gateway on the ground.

Payment brands, such as Visa and MasterCard, require merchants to demonstrate annual compliance with the PCI data security standards. The integration is expected to be complete in 2013 at which time the Thales system platforms will be compliant with the PCI and Data Security Standard (DSS).

Thales and Gogo, also announced a key partnership at the Expo in Hamburg. The deal will combine Thales' TopConnect in-flight entertainment cabin system with Gogo's connectivity solutions to offer line-fit solutions to carriers worldwide. Thales will benefit from Gogo's current solutions which are powered by Inmarsat's Global Xpress Ka-band satellite service, Ku-satellite and Air-to-Ground (ATG) technologies, and Gogo will benefit from an expanded global footprint.

"(The agreement) brings two best of breed capabilities together and will give airlines exclusive passenger experiences with an economical and global connection,” said Alan Pellegrini, president and CEO of Thales USA. “This gives us the benefit of accessing satellite-based connectivity services through Gogo's reseller agreements with its satellite partners as well as Gogo's ATG network where available."

A third partnership was announced by Thales during the Hamburg Expo, this one allowing passengers to follow their favorite artists, share content with their friends and purchase tickets for events. Thales and Songdish, a music streaming social network for fans and a business tool for the music industry, will develop, integrate and market a streaming audio application and service for the transportation industry.

The Songdish application will feature content cached on-board Thales TopSeries® system servers as well as streamed content for connected aircraft. Along with access to the ever growing Songdish library, the application provides information related to performers, concerts and destination event information. Airlines will be able to derive new revenue from a percentage of sales and advertising on all versions of the Songdish mobile apps and website.



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