September 21 2021  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Inmarsat launches e-commerce platform

By Rick Lundstrom

Inmarsat today announced the launch of its OneFi customer experience platform that helps airlines monetize inflight connectivity by bringing several onboard services together within a single portal interface that passengers can easily access using their own personal devices.

OneFi delivers airline-branded digital platform to enhance the passenger experience onboard flights. It allows passengers to order food and beverage, purchase seat upgrades, receive the latest flight and destination information, and sign up to the airline’s frequent flyer programs. In addition, passengers can browse the Internet, stream videos and audio, shop online and enjoy other e-commerce offerings, using high-speed inflight broadband that airlines could choose to offer free-of-charge, funded through OneFi’s sponsorship and advertising features.

The launch of OneFi comes at a time of accelerated passenger demand for digital inflight experiences. Inmarsat’s recent 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, survey found that digital solutions that keep passengers connected and minimize their contact with cabin crew and fellow passengers can go a long way in boosting confidence. In addition, out of the 10,000 respondents worldwide, 41 percent believed inflight Wi-Fi had increased in importance after the pandemic.

“For many years, Inmarsat has advocated the vast commercial opportunities of inflight connectivity,” said Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation. “However, until now, airlines have struggled to realise the full potential of the business model. OneFi is a step change for those looking to monetise their Wi-Fi services and ensure they keep pace with evolving passenger needs. It will empower a digital transformation in the cabin, which is especially important at this critical time for the aviation industry.

“OneFi allows airlines to improve their brand experience and secure passenger loyalty, with the flexibility to incorporate their own services and use existing and new partners, such as content providers, advertisers and retailers. We are in advanced discussions with leading airlines about adopting this innovative new platform and expect to see a rollout with our first OneFi customer by the end of this year.”

In recent years, airlines have continued to increase their focus on unlocking new revenue streams through broadband-enabled ancillary services. The market for digital inflight advertising alone is forecast to grow from $266 million today to $3.3 billion by 2030, representing a 10-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.9 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to Valour Consulting. The launch of OneFi is a significant step in turning that untapped commercial opportunity into a reality.

What truly sets OneFi apart is its industry grade targeting features, media inventory and calls-to-action that are made available to the airline and its partners. These ensure that content is contextual and relevant to the individual passenger. It also enables partners to engage in more meaningful ways with passengers and boost sales lead generation rates. The platform’s intuitive, user-friendly interface will enable airlines to boost passenger take-up rates and create a frictionless funnel to purchase.

In addition, OneFi is network agnostic and uses open architecture, meaning it can integrate with any technology infrastructure and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) used by airlines, ensuring a uniform experience across mixed aircraft fleets. The platform is also scalable, giving airline customers the flexibility to add new third-party services over time and helping to future proof their onboard offering.

Inmarsat is transforming global aviation by bringing complete connectivity to aircraft and flight paths across the world. It recently unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future, which will bring existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G to form an integrated, high-performance solution, unmatched by any existing or planned competitor offering. ORCHESTRA allows capacity to be boosted in high-density areas such as at airports, eliminating congested network ‘hot spots’ and ensuring the connectivity needs of aviation customers are met well into the future, with capacity scaled directly to match their requirements.

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