April 24 2015  |  Inflight Entertainment

Tapping the tablet for IFEC

By Rick Lundstrom

Immfly's IFE solution designed for short haul flights

The halls of the Hamburg Messe teemed with visitors and companies offering a wide variety of new solutions and programs that will put inflight entertainment and connectivity in the hands of passenger on flight long and short

One of the first announcements of a new airline customer was Skycast Solutions’successful launch its Windows-based portable inflight entertainment tablet on Alaska Airlines.

The Windows device features the 8” Toshiba Encore 2 tablet running Windows embedded 8.1 with an Intel® Atom™ processor and a lightweight security shell/stand that weighs less than one pound. Alaska Airlines is offering use of the tablet complimentary to passengers in the First Class for rent to passengers in coach. The airline offers the tablet on most routes more than 3.5 hours.

In addition to entertainment offerings such as early-window movies, new releases, TV, music, digital magazines and an “XBOX Game Center,” the tablets give users seamless Wi-Fi access where it is applicable, easy integration with Alaska’s onboard server streaming content and simultaneous multiple screen operation analytics reporting with Microsoft’s Azure Data Factory.

Skycast and Microsoft worked with Ratio – a multi-screen agency with Windows 8 expertise – to develop a user friendly user interface and configure the tablet for inflight entertainment and can be easily updated with content and software.

A new company from Barcelona called Immfly has developed an entertainment and communication network for short and medium haul flights.

The company states that fewer than 5% of aircraft that operate over a short or medium distance in Europe offer any form of in-flight entertainment or connectivity. Immfly allows passengers access to digital content during their flight via their own electronic devices.

Pablo Linz and Jimmy Martínez von Korff, started the company in 2013. Iberia Express is the first airline customer for Immfly. It is available on board three of Iberia Group's A320s. Currently, Immfly is negotiating with the entire IAG group to offer its passengers entertainment services.

Immfly is available in English, Spanish and German and provides the management of digital content carefully selected – in accordance with the Iberia Group. The service is accessible via four Wi-Fi points installed on the aircraft that allow all passengers to connect at the same time.

Once connected to the network, the passenger can access a selection of global newspapers or can choose between a large list of national and international video content in addition to general information, sport and business networks.

In order to improve user experience, a selection of this digital content is offered free of charge.

In Flight Solutions, from Portugal announced in Hamburg that it is offering the industry’s only tablet based IFE solution with full ground handling and logistics support – all for one low single fee per flight. The company also presented a design edge solution for tablet transportation, charging and storage with no need for airworthy certification.

The company calls its zero-touch/one-stop shop IFE 360º.

“Our 360º concept help us to truly offer a turnkey entertainment solution to provide the greatest value to our airline clients,” said Bernardo Fonseca, President of the In Flight Solutions Group in the announcement at Hamburg.

The 360º concept is designed to ensure up-to-date quality entertainment for passengers on flights of any size, said Fonseca. “We are looking forward to revolutionizing the world of IFE.” 

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