September 10 2021  |  Inflight Entertainment

IdeaNova keeps passengers together in tech

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX Tech’s September 2021 AIX Virtual digital edition, on page 56.

The IdeaNova WeWatch feature in Inplay

In a time when tech has tethered people together to help them endure months-long lockdowns and quarantine periods, the desire to keep connected is more acute than ever. Technology that fills that need is also being developed for the aircraft cabin to help passengers become more comfortable with travel again.

Following the successful launch of its Video Chat function, IdeaNova announced in August the official addition of the WeWatch feature to its Inplay IFE streaming platform.

WeWatch allows passengers to select a movie or show that can be enjoyed simultaneously, but from different seats and screens. Passengers can check out what others are interested in via chat, then use the WeWatch function to enjoy the show or movie together. Together the functions aim to help passengers stay connected inflight even if they are not sitting together. It also adds a sense of socializing as passengers can sync up with groups and other individuals for a heightened film sharing experience and more engaging flight.

“The pandemic opened doors to stream media with friends and family from different locations, so why not do it in the sky as well,” says Juraj Siska, Chief Executive Officer at IdeaNova. “We believe people travel to reach new destinations and they almost always want to stay in contact with each other. The purpose of these new products is to make their experience more enjoyable, while respecting social distances and overall convenience that many of us are accustomed to on the ground.”

While the WeWatch function is a technically complex update to the platform, IdeaNova makes new product lines such as this one as convenient as possible for the airline and passenger. Airlines are offered each new product line and can customize their choices. The company ensures that all of the Inplay Portal components integrate well with chat and video.

“For example, when the user starts watching content and would like to use the text or video chat functionality, the player automatically pauses, allowing the user to concentrate on the chat message. This is not the case for WeWatch, where the goal is to synchronously watch and chat with your friends,” Siska explains.

IdeaNova can easily onboard new content to Inplay to keep it fresh. Passengers can access popular content, user-generated content, such as YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok.

The Inplay streaming platform is IdeaNova’s most popular product, but Siska says many airlines are also interested in integrating the inflight social networking tools, such as Chat and Web Conferencing.

“Safety is the primary focus. We provide safe and efficient ways of communicating between passengers and crew members, thus removing yet another friction point that might be raising concerns while flying,” Siska says.

Along with this product line, IdeaNova also offers other services, such as Intouch, a virtual meeting platform. Siska said IdeaNova predicts this service will continue to be popular for airlines as it encourages business travel with the ability to stay up to date with colleagues on the ground.

“With Intouch, airlines have yet another incentive to provide an efficient and bandwidth-sensitive way of communicating,” Siska explains. “It also gives airlines an opportunity to monetize business options and therefore boost their revenue.”

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