File this story under the “what will they think of next” category. A German company is transforming inflight food and beverage trolleys into wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) systems that can be simply rolled onto aircraft.
Cabinnet Akkurt Group’s so-called intelligent IFE ‘iTrolley’ contains a server and wireless equipment. It is designed to run off of battery power for up to eight hours, but may also be plugged into the aircraft for power.
Company CEO Jörg Rombach tells the APEX editor’s blog that the IFE iTrolley has the capacity to wirelessly stream music, magazines and games to passengers’ PEDs on a 100-seat aircraft, making it a good fit for regional aircraft such as the Embraer 190. Larger aircraft would require additional iTrolleys placed elsewhere in the cabin to cover more passengers.
At present, the iTrolley does not support streaming video to passengers’ own devices, instead relying on overhead monitors if the airline opts for video. However streaming video – which requires studio approvals – is in the offing, according to Rombach.
He says Cabinnet Akkurt is currently in talks with two unspecified aircraft manufacturers to certify the iTrolley as linefit ready. In the meantime, the company is in negotiations with two Middle Eastern airlines and one US carrier to install the iTrolley system.
Cabinnet Akkurt expects to integrate the iTrolley into its first aircraft this year, and next year expects to add three to five additional aircraft.