Passenger Experience Week to highlight IFEC solutions
The following article, provided by the organizers of 2019's Passenger Experience Week, looks at the current IFEC landscape and how the PEW team is working to bring the latest in innovations and options to its guests when the event hits Hamburg this April. For more information or to register for the event (comprising Aircraft Interiors Expo, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Passenger Technology Solutions), please visit the Passenger Experience Week website.
The advent of the A350 and 787 Dreamliner has ushered in a new era of long-haul travel, with Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Qantas all introducing 17 hour-plus flights this year. And these fuel-efficient aircraft are driving the inflight entertainment industry to introduce innovative new systems that deliver an exceptional experience to passengers who are now on board for almost an entire day.
Advances in technology and the proliferation of inflight connectivity continues to drive revenue capabilities, with ancillary revenues increasing to US$82.2 billion across the airline industry, accounting for almost 11% of global revenues. Here, IFEC solutions are proving increasingly essential – going beyond passenger entertainment to enhance onboard operations.
As a result, the In-Flight Entertainment & Communications (IFEC) Zone at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) – part of the Passenger Experience Week series of events – will be a hive of activity when it returns from April 2 to 4. More than 100 leading suppliers will be present, including Panasonic, Bluebox Aviation Systems, Gogo, Honeywell Aerospace and Thales, providing those responsible for designing cabin spaces with a unique opportunity to source new systems that will enhance their passengers’ experiences.
Driving experiential passenger experiences
Demonstrating how cinematic virtual reality can transport premium passengers to their own private movie theater, SkyLights will reveal how operators can set themselves apart from the competition and enable passengers to enjoy the latest releases in 3D, 2D and 180° VR. Its AlloSky VR Headset model is both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, as well as being tether-to-seat ready.
However, while virtual reality (VR) offers passengers a new immersive way to consume entertainment onboard, seatback devices continue to satisfy passengers' entertainment needs, as well as delivering ancillary revenue opportunities.
Research by IATA* has revealed that 54% of passengers would choose to watch digital content on a seat-centric system, rather than their own device (36%). And a number of leading suppliers will showcase their latest solutions in the IFEC Zone, including digEcor which will demonstrate its GLIDE embedded inflight entertainment system. Complete with a customizable, open platform system that is easily integrated with in-seat power, LED lighting and cabin crew services, it can be adapted to any airline’s technology requirements.
Personalization driven by technology
IFEC hardware and software is also playing an integral role in creating a premium, personalized passenger experience. Significant improvements in real-time data analytics are enhancing the ability of operators to drive ancillary revenues through customer targeting and onboard retail opportunities.
Demonstrating the importance of a connected travel experience, Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) – which moves from the A Halls to the B4 Upper Hall when it returns to Passenger Experience Week 2019 – will further demonstrate innovative ways to enhance the end-to-end passenger journey. The move positions the show closer to the popular IFEC Zone and demonstrates the growing importance of big data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and VR solutions in personalizing the passenger experience and delivering innovative inflight entertainment services.
A one-stop shop to improve passenger experience
Completing Passenger Experience Week 2019, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) will see more than 350 suppliers of travel catering, onboard retail and passenger comfort products welcome rail, airline and cruise buyers looking to source new products. Meanwhile, the revered Passenger Experience Conference, running on April 1, will deliver the latest trends and insights that will shape the future of the industry.
Polly Magraw, Event Director of AIX, said: “The passenger experience industry continues to undergo a transformation, driven by passenger expectations and new technological innovations. From improved inflight entertainment and connectivity to the opportunities to use data to personalize the service provided onboard and drive ancillary revenue. We look forward to welcoming representatives from the leading airlines to Hamburg from April 1 to 4 to help them redefine the future of the passenger experience industry.”
* 2018 Global Passenger Survey Highlights. International Air Transport Association