December 8 2020  |  Inflight Entertainment

Airbus' wireless IFE takes off with first launch customer delivery

By Jane Hobson

Airbus announced today, on day one of FTE APEX Virtual Expo, that it has delivered the first commercial aircraft line-fit equipped with its integrated wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) communications architecture called “Open Software Platform” (OSP).

According to the December 8 press release, this marks the next step in the "coming to life" of the Airbus Connected Experience onboard IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem approach. The OSP features Airbus’ embedded servers, routers, Wi-Fi access points and the software platform itself. This first aircraft equipped with OSP, an A321LR, was delivered to Titan Airways, one of five launch customers, which include lessors and airlines for both line-fit and retrofit of Airbus’ single-aisle and widebody aircraft families.

The OSP provides flexibility to choose from a growing portfolio of W-IFE partners who provide the software and content (including ‘airline native’ apps) to load onto the Airbus platform for their passengers. Several W-IFE content partners are already subscribed to OSP, including Bluebox Aviation Systems, Inflight Dublin, Collins Aviation, Display Interactive and more. For Titan the W-IFE content is provided by Bluebox Aviation Systems.

Under this new OSP-hosted W-IFE model, the software and inflight apps – chosen by the airline – are pre-loaded onto the platform for passengers to experience. In doing so, airlines are able to customize their onboard W-IFE passenger experience, offering, without any hardware or certification impact.

The W-IFE hardware does not take up bin space or other personal space. Going forward, Airbus and its partners are working to extend the platform’s scope for IoT-based value-adding services as part of the Airbus Connected Experience, previously showcased as a mock-up demonstrator at APEX EXPO.

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