European airline prepares to launch geo-entertainment for its seat-back IFE

June 7, 2013

Ambiance, Multimedia

FP3D540x300 European airline prepares to launch geo entertainment for its seat back IFE

If Boris Veksler had any lingering doubts about whether or not his FlightPath3D geo-entertainment solution would capture the imagination of travellers both young and old, they were put to rest when he discovered that his eight-year old son had quietly snatched his tablet, and immersed himself in FlightPath3D’s image-based points-of-interest for 40 minutes. “That was a big eye-opener for me,” says the CEO of Betria Interactive, LLC. “This is someone who can’t sit still for five minutes, but he was able to rotate the globe, and go from one point to another. He found that interesting. If something can keep my kid’s attention, and it’s educational in nature, I find that very intriguing.”

It turns out that carriers are also intrigued. In fact, FlightPath3D has already attracted its first client – a significant European airline. The carrier will showcase FlightPath3D on the moving map channel of its new embedded inflight entertainment screens.

FlightPath3D globe 1 European airline prepares to launch geo entertainment for its seat back IFE

“FligthPath3D presents the passenger with a realistic and detailed rendering of their aircraft set against a full 3D earth background represented by combined satellite and stream map visual layers,” explains Veksler. “The passenger can follow the flight path as their trip progresses and select one of many interactive 3D views or use free roaming mode to investigate the world they are flying over. Rich media elements including audio, video, text and image-based points-of-interest can be added to augment their experience and create the ultimate geo-relevant infotainment service.”

But FlightPath3D is more than simply a high-functioning moving map; it can also engage passengers with a compelling destination information guide and concierge service. “With an easy to use Atlas style user interface, seamlessly combined with an interactive 3D earth background, passengers can explore their arriving terminal map, navigate city street maps, investigate points of interest across the city or region, watch and listen to media describing the destination, book tours and even order free city guides to be delivered to their smart phone upon arrival,” says Veksler.

FP3D2540x300 European airline prepares to launch geo entertainment for its seat back IFE

Additional modules for FlightPath3D are also available, including a new Kidz 3D Discovery Map, which allows children to explore interesting places, attractions and natural wonders from across the globe with the interactive 3D experience.

FlightPath3D is billed as being IFE system agnostic; in other words, whilst it will make its debut on embedded IFE, the software should play nicely via portable, overhead and wireless solutions. “Each FlightPath3D product is presented by combining the core engine with a configurable set of data and rules that creates the final user experience. This allows the product to be integrated and ATP’d on any platform one time and then updated through the FlightPath3D information update service,” notes Veksler.

In speaking to Veksler, it stuck me that FlightPath3D – combined with inflight connectivity and the ability to support real-time credit card transactions – could provide the basis for an onboard retail platform on steroids. “That’s the stealth element to the product so far,” he confides. Retail agreements would need to be forged, but Veksler believes airlines would also bring their current partners to the platform.

“Additionally, there are relationships that are much more local, destination specific, and those could be shared between multiple airlines in some ways.” So, for instance, he says Betria Interactive could approach companies at various destinations and say, “Hey, this airline is flying to your destination; several airlines fly to this destination. You can have your restaurant or event promoted across the passengers of those different airlines.”

Could the platform be used to bolster duty free sales on board, or allow frequent flyers to spend their points? Those are all “logical next steps”, says Veksler. FlightPath3D, he adds, is “really that roadmap, built far beyond what you see today”.

Betria Interactive is the latest in a growing list of companies now touting geo-entertainment offerings. Others include Airborne Interactive (working with the UK’s Royal Geographical Society’s Hidden Journey’s project), MondoWindow and GeoRadio (which has done some collaboration with Thales).

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About Mary Kirby

Editor in Chief - APEX Media Platform | Previously Senior Editor at Flight International where she led the magazine's coverage of in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) and aircraft interiors | Former proprietor of the highly-regarded Runway Girl blog, which focused on the passenger experience | Regularly speaks at industry conferences about airborne communications, ancillary revenue opportunities for airlines and social media | You can connect with Mary on Twitter, LinkedIn

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