We talk a lot about inflight connectivity constraints on the APEX Editor’s Blog. One need only enter “the matrix” that is Twitter to appreciate the fact that passengers want more bandwidth on board…and they want it now.
We also know that connectivity stakeholders are working diligently to keep pace with demand. Some players in the wider ‘passenger experience’ space are optimistic that they’ll succeed.
Take Zodiac Aerospace, for instance. I recently got the chance to speak with Zodiac VP sales and marketing Robert Funk about connectivity, and here’s what he said: ”These [IFC] companies aren’t dumb, and they’re spending their money right now trying to sort out that problem. I believe that in the next three to five years, that will be sorted and bandwidth won’t be an issue. I’m a positive thinker.”
Funk also sees himself as a realist. “Consumer electronics – in my personal opinion, not necessarily Zodiac’s – but in my personal opinion will drive what happens in connectivity and seat-back [IFE] activity long-term, not necessarily this year or next year, but ten years from now. When I fly, and I fly a lot, virtually on every triple seat today, there is at least one passenger with a handheld [device] or a Kindle or whatever. That’s only going to keep going up. So [now the question is] how do you pump movies and content to those devices?”
Do you agree with Funk, and think embedded IFE has perhaps a ten-year lifespan? Or do you think those seat-back screens will continue to play an integral role in the passenger experience for decades to come? The answer to that question could very well depend on whether Hollywood studios will ever decide to permit the streaming of early window movie content to passengers’ own devices (to date, they’ve certainly given no indication that will happen).
Content consumption, passengers’ PED use during critical phases of flight, and the gradual rollout of inflight connectivity across the world fleet are just some of the topics that will be vigorously discussed at the forthcoming APEX EXPO, which will be truly integrated with IFSA in Anaheim, California.
The keynote address at the EXPO will be presented by none other than Fox CFO and executive VP Dean Hallett, who will discuss the accelerating pace of technological change, the challenges and opportunities this presents for the filmed entertainment business, and Fox’s approach to leveraging new technologies in its production, marketing and distribution strategies. I do hope that you can join us!
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