In the current period we live in, technology is constantly upgrading and evolving. In the travel sector this not only applies to the technology used within the mode of transportation itself but also in the on-board entertainment and connectivity systems that are available. The in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) industry is going through an exciting time of transformation with systems becoming more and more innovative.
Some of us may not even remember the days that there was one television at the front of the plane but IFEC has moved on greatly since then. There are many different ways that IFEC systems are moving forward these include embedded, wireless, BYOD, immersive or a selection of all.
An important aspect on inflight entertainment that is becoming increasingly important, is not only the screen in front but also the passengers’ own personal device. This is often referred to as Bring your own Device (BYOD). Recently we have seen airlines such as Qantas announcing free on flight Wi-Fi which is just one of the many indications of how important it is for travellers to be able to work and be entertained on the go using a device of their choosing. Wireless is not the only important aspect when considering BYOD performance on airlines. There is also a push for more connectivity, between devices and on-board screens allowing for a more comfortable space for working whilst travelling.
All of the major companies within the connectivity industry, such as Gogo, Panasonic Avionics and ViaSat, are increasing their investments on providing an in-flight infrastructure that will allow passengers the same level of connectivity that they experience at work or home.
Airlines continue to look to the future for their IFEC systems. With technology becoming more innovative and experimental, IFEC continues to move at a fast rate of growth. Companies such as Qantas and Transavia have already started to explore the possibilities for virtual and augmented reality alternatives. However there are many issues that come with virtual reality such as how it can be implemented. Many virtual reality products are large and cumbersome therefore it is important when looking forward that any sort of virtual reality solution must be light and comfortable to allow for optimal passenger immersion and comfort.
Overall the growth in the IFCE industry is in attempts to secure a higher level of service and an overall increase in the passenger experience.