September 14 2023  |  Inflight Entertainment

Go with the flow with IdeaNova

By PAX Tech Magazine Staff

This is a special feature from PAX Tech’s September 2023 APEX EXPO issue on page 10.

IdeaNova’s Inplay Flow gives passengers the best of both worlds by allowing them to share content between PEDs and seatback screens

The rise of streaming services has changed the way media is consumed both at home and in flight. With the ability to download content onto personal electronic devices (PEDs) and watch when they like, passengers now have more entertainment options when they fly.

This has prompted some commentators to predict the demise of the embedded seat-back screen.

For some airlines, this has also meant choosing between one option over the other. But now a new software solution from IdeaNova Technologies is aiming to change the relationship between seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) and wireless IFE from competitive to complementary.

Picture this: you are a busy passenger flying across the world for an important meeting. On the flight, you have a few hours to perfect your presentation in order to land a deal. This is a common situation many frequent flyers find themselves in. With limited space, how can one best leverage the use of what they have?

Juraj Siska, Co-Founder, IdeaNova

Enter Inplay Flow.

Giving passengers “the best of both worlds,” IdeaNova’s Inplay Flow, which debuted during this year’s AIX 2023 in Hamburg, Germany (June 6 to 8), was developed to allow passengers to share content including movies, TV shows, pictures, or documents between their PED and their seatback screens. This includes pre-downloaded content and, if allowed by the license usage, content stored locally from popular subscription video-on demand platforms.

This content sharing can help budget-conscious airlines reduce their costs for licensing content. Meanwhile, passengers on airlines that already provide licensed content can benefit from a wider selection that combines their own and airline-provided content.

Inplay Flow can leverage any current (LAN (local area network) or Wi-Fi) based networking or future networking options such as LiFi or Wi-Fi 6 technology. A special aspect is that digital rights managed (DRM) encrypted content can also be shared, as long as permitted by the content owners and studios.

Inplay Flow was developed “based on passenger feedback and our IFE expertise in customer scenarios, including back-end streaming software on headend aircraft servers, seatback displays, and customer-facing applications beyond traditional content-watching experiences,” said Juraj Siska, Co-Founder of IdeaNova, in a media statement. “Customers wanted more than an either-or scenario — seatback vs PED.”

Here is an example of what a passenger’s screen would look like just before casting their own device onto a seat-back screen

IdeaNova’s content sharing tool can help budget-conscious airlines reduce costs for licensing content

Speaking to PAX Tech ahead of the June release, he added, “Inplay Flow unleashes greater opportunity for immersive in-cabin entertainment and the elevation of business productivity tools, while reducing infrastructure and content cost.”

Siska continued: “Inplay Flow allows business passengers to leverage the seatback as their second screen, improving the work environment while flying, thus improving productivity. Passengers can, for example, cast their spreadsheet on the seatback display while working on an email from their personal devices, cross-referencing data form the spreadsheet.”

Security is also top of mind for IdeaNova. Passengers can stay assured that the “pairing” of a personal device and a seatback screen is done in a secure way through mutual authentication to avoid the potential of displaying user content on the wrong display. The two current options available for authentication are QR codes and numerical authentication tokens — methods that are similar to Apple AirPlay screen sharing.

The implementation of InplayFlow has the potential to significantly reduce the of cost of IFE content for budget conscious-airlines. With the technology, an airline has the chance to rapidly increase its available library by allowing passenger-owned content to be displayed on the seatback.

IdeaNova has been in the industry for 15 years and has acquired many satisfied customers by understanding the intricate nature of deploying software for aviation. “We are the glue between technologies from Apple and Google, content providers such as all major Hollywood studios and airlines with their unique constrains,” Siska tells PAX Tech.

PAX Tech Publisher Aijaz Khan (left) with Juraj Siska, Co-Founder, IdeaNova (right) at the PAX Readership Awards in Hamburg in June 2023

Award-winning technology
As a testament to its powerful potential, Inplay Flow won a PAX Tech Readership Award at a ceremony held in Hamburg this past June at the Radisson Blu Hotel. It was the second consecutive year that PAX readers recognized IdeaNova for its next-generation technology. Inplay Flow’s predecessor, Intouch Nearcast, won a Streaming Media award last year in Huntington Beach, CA. “We knew that we were on the right track after successful deployment of Intouch Nearcast with a luxury airline and receiving high marks from passengers,” Siska says.

Inplay Flow is a unique solution that bridges the gap between IFE delivered to seatback display and personal electronic devices (PEDs). It gives passengers the best of both worlds by allowing them to share content between PEDs and seatback screens.

The PAX Readership Awards recognize the efforts of airlines, caterers, and suppliers from around the world as voted by the ever-growing readership. The Readership awards have been running for 16 years.

Key features of Inplay Flow include:

  • Can leverage any current (LAN or Wi-Fi) based networking or future networking options such as LiFi or Wi-Fi 6 technology.
  • Three modes of operation. Sharing from device native applications (e.g. photos), the player can provide screen sharing options for playback of video or Inplay Flow can share any screen or application (similar to web conference screen sharing) triggered from a web based interface — productivity mode.
  • DRM encrypted content can also be shared, as long as permitted by the content owners and studios.
  • It is important to note that none of these options require download of a native application or installation of special software on passenger devices. The pairing of a personal device and the seatback is intuitive and does not require any special tech skills. If a passenger has screenshared before with Apple Airplay or Google Chromecast they will be quick to pick up Inplay Flow.
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