Airlines have known how much In-flight Entertainment (IFE) systems can improve the passenger experience for almost a hundred years. At first just a piano in a lounge on a blimp, soon In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity evolved. After World War II, it became more and more common for aircraft to have projectors that allowed passengers to watch a movie during their flight. By the 1990s, each passenger could expect to have his or her own headphone socket to enjoy better sound during the projection. Just a few years later, each passenger generally had his or her own private screen that was entirely independent of all the other screens on the aircraft, allowing each passenger to watch what he or she wished at any given time.
Today, people are accustomed to being connected to the rest of world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This creates a challenge for the airline industry to meet those complex connectivity needs. These efforts have resulted in evolving In-Flight Entertainment into In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity—IFEC.
IFEC offers more to passengers than ever before. Thanks to the newest IFEC, passengers will now be able to use their computers the way they would if they were on the ground—browse the internet, send emails, stream music and movies, and more. It will also be possible for passengers to make phone calls and send text messages to recipients in any country. On some aircraft, IFEC producers have also introduced various Intranet-type systems that allow passengers to call other passengers by simply keying in the other passenger’s seat number, play games with other passengers, and make contact with the flight attendants to request assistance or order food, drinks, or other products.
ICG (International Communications Group, Inc.) recently announced its cooperation with FDS. Together, both companies plan to create an enhanced in-flight entertainment solution that combines ICG’s powerful eRouter with Flight Display’s next generation JetJukebox wireless media streaming device.
ICG’s eRouter offers many features found in a typical corporate office networks, allowing business passengers to take care of their most pressing business affairs all throughout the flight. The JetJukebox wireless media streamer, on the other hand, is more for the passenger looking to relax during his or her flight. This state of the art system will allow passengers to stream and enjoy a vast amount of content in the best audio and video quality available. Supporting iOS, Android, or Windows, the entertainment possibilities JetJukeBox offers are virtually endless.
In short, IFECs are the inevitable future of air travel, and one that airlines have to take seriously to remain competitive over the next few years. With the enormous amount of content choices, exceptional audio quality and video resolution, and the unprecedented amount of entertainment and communication opportunities it offer passengers, every airline should already be thinking about how to implement IFECs on all of their aircraft.