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“as if you were actually flying over mountains, rivers and cities”, for
example. Passengers are also able to switch between the window
view and the cockpit view.
At the recent Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Expo in Sin-
gapore, Lufthansa Systems also launched a new CityGuide module
for its mCabin crew app.
Lufthansa Systems is adding new partners, which is one benefit of
BoardConnect being an open platform, allowing airlines to choose
from numerous apps, says Muller. An open platform architecture is
going to be increasingly important for the future, he adds, allowing
airlines to keep up with the speed of change. “Our large partner net-
work enables airlines to customise their IFE platform. This means they
can tailor their offer to the needs of their target group, which ensures
satisfied passengers and brings in additional revenues,” says Muller.
A recent addition is Touch Inflight Solutions as preferred content
service provider for streaming services. For audio entertainment,
Lufthansa Systems works with Napster; HTL5 games come from
GUE Tech; digital magazines from Media Carrier or Zinio; while
GoGobot is supplying infotainment in the form of destination rec-
ommendations based on personal preferences.
Behind the scenes, Lufthansa Systems has
also improved the system’s baseline archi-
tecture. The manufacturer believes with the
BoardConnect and BoardConnect Portable,
the latter which is a single-device system able
to be quickly and easily installed on an air-
craft, it has a modern and robust platform. The
system is proven in operation and is suitable
for any type of airline or installation — from a
low-cost carrier portable solution up to a full, widebody installa-
tion, says Muller. Recently, for example, BoardConnect Portable
was installed on 70 Eurowings aircraft in one weekend with no
operational issues, he adds.
The German manufacturer also believes BoardConnect is the
ideal enabler for broadband connectivity and it has a long-term
partnership with Inmarsat to support its Global Express (GX) service.
But while looking forward to the connectivity opportunities that
GX brings, Muller adds that Lufthansa Systems is agnostic when it
comes to connectivity and is also partnering ViaSat.
Relative newcomer to the in-flight market, FTS Technologies, is
making in-roads with new orders for its Cabin Wireless Solution and
plans for development. The company started out as a provider in
China of high-speed Wi-Fi for the country ’s rail network.
It is building an impressive management team of IFE industry
experts, including Darrel Chua, formerly of Singapore Airlines,
Matsushita (now Panasonic) and IFE Services; industry veteran
Rich Salter, co-founder of Airshow and most recently co-founder of
Lumexis, is the chief technology officer; and Ben Fuller, ex-DigEcor,
is director of marketing for the Americas.
FTS’ Cabin Wireless Solution is a lightweight, FAA/EASA-com-
pliant system providing entertainment and information, including
streamed HD video and audio, games, news, flight progress and
shopping. The system is designed and manufactured in-house.
Installation on a narrowbody aircraft requires only a single cabin
wireless access point to cover the whole aircraft. It comprises a gen-
eral network server to support HD media streaming and a terminal
wireless cellular unit which provides cellular data communications
when on the ground for content updates and offloading usage data.
Passengers access entertainment via the system on their own
devices, with analytics tools allowing airlines to better understand
their passengers’ IFE needs. “F TS is not your average IFEC vendor.
We are partners to the airlines. We are confident that our business
models will help airlines maximise revenue generation potential and
these strategies will revolutionise the IFEC industry,” says Chua. “ We
provide a one-stop shop — we sell the hardware and provide all of
the software,” he explains. The service is branded for the airline and
FTS also provides its customers with a revenue generation service
to boost ancillary revenues.
The company is initially focusing on the narrowbody and low-cost
carrier market, says Chua, believing there currently isn’t a good IFEC
solution for small airlines. It has had considerable success to date.
Two undisclosed regional airlines in Southeast Asia have already
selected the system for Airbus A319s/A320s, in addition to a North
American carrier for installation on four Boeing 737s. Last year the
system conducted successful certification test flights on a China
Southern Airlines 737-800.
The company has also developed crew apps through smartwatch
integration and is working with additional content providers such
as TripAdvisor. The next development will see expansion of the
connectivity options, with trials with a customer planned for the
end of this year.
Arconics, which was recently acquired by ViaSat, is building on its
airline solutions and adding to its customer list. The Dublin-based
company ’s products include the CloudStore wireless IFE platform,
as well as operational solutions such as the AeroDocs platform for
document management, AeroEFB electronic flight bag and PaxApp
cabin management app for flight attendants with tablet, smartphone
and smartwatch connectivity. Airline customers include Qatar Air-
ways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, SpiceJet, Tigerair Australia
and Philippine Airlines.
Tigerair Australia is flying with CloudStore on four aircraft, with
plans to go fleet-wide by the end of 2018, says Michael Reilly, vice
Our large partner network enables airlines to customise
their IFE platform. This means they can tailor their
offer to the needs of their target group, which ensures
satisfied passengers and brings in additional revenues.
NORBERT MULLER, BOARDCONNECT.
23/02/2017 5:18:12 PM
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