The evolution of the in-flight entertainment market

Growth in the in-flight entertainment and connectivity market is being driven by several factors. Data usage has grown exponentially on the ground as well as in the air and the demand for large cabin business jets has increased.

Airlines are competing with each other to enhance the experience of their passengers. They are increasingly adopting seat-centric and wireless solutions.

The growth of onboard entertainment is being hindered by several factors, including high installation costs, content management and upgradation. Despite this, market players can benefit from growth opportunities offered by the increase in long-haul flights.

The major players in the in-flight entertainment market
Some of the big players in the onboard entertainment market are GoGo from the United States, Zodiac Aerospace and Thales Group from France and Panasonic Avionics from Japan. Viasat, OnAir and Digecor are some of the other competitors.

The demand for Wi-Fi bandwidth will outpace the supply
Airline industry experts feel that improvements are likely to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In the next decade, the demand for Wi-Fi bandwidth in aircraft will continue to outpace the supply. Although passengers have 4K televisions in their homes, they may not be able to view them while they are flying.

Inflight entertainment needs to be customized
Improvements in aircraft cabins need to be customized based on the preferences of customers. It has been reported that several passengers don’t take advantage of available onboard connectivity. Some feel that it is more important to improve the experience of passengers while they are on the ground.

Onboard lighting effects can boost customer satisfaction
Passenger satisfaction surveys have shown that lighting effects can boost passenger satisfaction by as much as 30%. The lighting schemes available in most airline cabins are almost infinitely adjustable. Aircraft cabins can have lights that can be altered gradually to simulate the sunrise or to match the branding colors of the airline.

The use of wearable technologies
Wearable technologies can help airlines to keep track of passengers from the moment they check in. Bracelets issued to passengers can serve as boarding passes and help airlines to provide a better onboard experience. Flight attendants can be alerted if a passenger is feeling too cold or too warm or is becoming dehydrated. They can adjust the temperature accordingly or offer a glass of water to the passenger.

Streaming video to personal devices
Experts feel that future in-flight entertainment technologies may turn out to be even more innovative than what’s available in our homes. Passengers may be able to stream video from their smartphones or tablets to the screen in front of them. They may even be able to finish watching movies on their own devices after the flight.

Gogo’s new inflight entertainment (IFE) system
Gogo Business Aviation has announced several enhancements in its in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, which is meant for business aviation. They include the ability to stream content to cabin monitors, more predictable pricing and free hardware that can be used for in-hangar content updates.

The new hardware will be provided at no cost and will allow customers to get automatic content updates in their own hangars. The content includes flight progress information, destination weather, news, moving maps and around 200 on-demand television shows and movies.

The content is transferred to an onboard server and streamed directly to cabin monitors and personal electronic devices. In the past, content could be streamed only to devices by means of Web browser software.

According to Gogo, their stored content solution is much more affordable than live streaming. Streaming onboard movies via a live connection from the ground consumes huge amounts of data and the costs are exorbitant. The system provides a complete in-flight entertainment (IFE) experience to passengers without unpredictable costs.