Tablets were hot on the trade show floor at this year’s APEX/IFSA EXPO. Bluebox Avionics, a partner in platform innovation with DMD Phantom had a busy trade show, showing off their new Bluebox hybrid, an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system that allows streaming to integrate with pre-loaded early window content. This highly secure functionality gives movie providers the peace of mind that their content is exclusive and passenger the freedom to be connected while still enjoying the airline perks of newly released entertainment.
Bluebox Ai is the award-winning secure IFE application for iPad and iPad mini, run on airline-owned devices, allowing airlines control of their content. Bluebox wiFE is the unique cabin streaming solution co-developed with Cobham Aerospace Communications. Together these applications offer high quality entertainment experience for passengers either fitted or portable locked in, secure content for airlines.
Kevin Clark of Bluebox took us through the application demonstrating the games, magazines, audio and visuals securely loaded onto the tablet. Airlines are able to brand the software to align with their image giving passengers a holistic experience and no shortage of entertainment options. It was a busy EXPO for DMD Phantom and Bluebox, “never a dull moment on the trade show floor,” laughs Clark.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced their continued partnership with OnAir on September 17th at the APEX/IFSA EXPO to bring Wi-Fi and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) onto all of their A330 and select A340 fleets. They have started removing embedded in-flight entertainment in business class on A330s in favor of the new connectivity service. Passengers can access a range of movies and television programs onboard through the wireless system using their own devices, and so far the response from customers has been positive.
Ana Leah Rodriguez, head of Marketing and Ancillary Revenue for Philippine Airlines, explained that for certain markets like the Middle East this is the right option for the company. “On selected routes and aircraft, OnAir allows PAL to give a different type of service and concept in business class,” Rodriguez said.
CEO of OnAir, Ian Dawkins, agrees with Rodriguez and believes this change is the way of the future. “I believe Philippine Airlines are setting the benchmark which other airlines will follow in coming years,” Dawkins said.
OnAir Play, a wireless entertainment media solution, was introduced onboard PAL in May this year, and PAL’s B77-300ER aircraft are also equipped with Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir. As Dawkins adds, “There is no better proof of an airline’s confidence in your products than a follow-on fleet extension order within a short timeframe.”
TEAC was founded in 1953 producing magnetic and optical recording technologies and in the 1970s, began working with the military. In-flight-entertainment wasn’t even a thought as they serviced military planes, building the world’s first videotape cassette in 1972. When the company realized their robust, rugged, turbulence-proof hardware, which comes with a 21-year guarantee, was successfully surviving military missions they wondered if there might be other in-flight opportunities where their products would thrive.
Since their early days TEAC has been an innovator, developing advanced state-of-the-art technologies and products designed for audio, video and data recording markets. TEAC entered the world of in-flight entertainment (IFE) in 1996 with products based on NASA certified technology. Quality, performance and reliability were their focus then and remain their focus today.
David Husted, senior vice-president of Strategic Business Development for TEAC, is excited to be back in the commercial airline arena. He explained to us that for the last 10 years TEAC explored other ventures. TEAC never left IFE but that the company’s marketing efforts were elsewhere and now they’re back in full force at events like the APEX/IFSA EXPO and other key trade shows around the world. Their plug-and-play hardware is easily adaptable, easy to upgrade to stay with changing IFE demands and cost effective.
APEX/IFSA EXPO was a great opportunity for TEAC to reconnect and be the new kid back on the block, again, but this time with a wealth of experience to back them up.
On the last day of the APEX/IFSA EXPO, KID Systeme announced the launch of the trial of SKYfi, its wireless in-flight entertainment system, on five of Cebu Pacific Air’s A330 aircraft. They also found out that they’ll soon be able to announce a new deal with an unnamed Gulf carrier. We caught up with Maren Muente, PR & Communications for KID Systeme, to hear about her experience at the show.
How has the APEX/IFSA EXPO been for you?
What do you hope to get out of the EXPO as a vendor?
Coming to the APEX, it has a conference character, and because it’s a B2B market and especially a niche market, you know that you will find exactly the right people to talk to. You know who will be there, and you know you will have progress at the show and meet the people you need. That’s always what we know to expect from APEX, it’s always a very good show.
How has this EXPO been different from previous EXPOs?
This exhibition was constantly strong, from the first to the last day. I didn’t attend the educational sessions, so I don’t know how that was, but the exhibition was great. We had a nice flow – a lot of airlines, and super good conversations with the right decision-makers. We had a lot of press interest, we had a good spot here in the hall, the organization was professional, and the people are great. So, this EXPO was different because there was a constant flow over the whole three days, our product got promoted, and we are very happy.
Were there any standout moments or highlights?
Yes, a special moment for KID Systeme of course was the last day due to our press release; we announced our trial with Cebu Airlines, which was great. There was also a lot of progress in how people present themselves, how they present the companies, the booths, and the technology – you can tell there was a ramp up. And there’s competition of course, which is good! I passed some stands and I’m amazed by how good everything looks and how well everything works – it’s nice, it’s good progress.
Do you have any feedback?
The concentration on in-flight entertainment (IFE) is exactly the right thing and exactly what people need when they come to APEX. It’s nice that there are side topics like catering and comfort, but the main topic should always be IFE. It is the essential marketing topic for the passenger cabin and experience and important for the airlines, it should always be key.
Would you say IFE is the most important topic in the industry right now?
IFE is very important because it’s something that is experiencing a revolution at the moment. But looking at aircraft interiors all in all, everything is important. You have to work on seats, you have to work on comfort. The passenger needs to be comfortable; traveling should be comfortable. But at the moment IFE is so revolutionary, that it is a focus.