APEX2014: BoardConnect looks at seat-integrated tablets

Lufthansa Systems' Norbert Muller and BoardConnect.
Lufthansa Systems’ Norbert Muller and BoardConnect.

Lufthansa Systems is demonstrating a seat-integrated tablet solution for its BoardConnect Wireless IFE solution.

Instead of having embedded screens for IFE, BoardConnect offers to support off-the-shelf computer tablets mounted in the seat back. The tablet fits into a simple dedicated support frame that is then fitted into the seat back with two screws.

Lufthansa Systems’ Norbert Muller says the benefit is obvious. “There are huge cost savings to be made by using commercial off the shelf tablets for your IFE system – they are shipped in millions,” he said.

“If you specify an embedded IFE screen the chances are that it is out of date before it is delivered. Then you have to have it installed on the aircraft for seven or more years before it is replaced.

“By using a commercial tablet you get the best of both worlds – the latest technology and the ability to replace it cost-effectively whenever you want.”

The only wiring needed for the tablet is the power supply – the device receives its content via the BoardConnect Wi-Fi connectivity. Lufthansa Systems is demonstrating the system running with both Dell and Samsung tablets, but it will work with others.

The system gets around the Head Injury Criterion (HIC) tests, which ensures there would be no injury if the passenger’s head were to impact the screen in the event of an accident, buy having a simple slide-up protective screen.

This moves down out of the way during the take-off and landing phases.

The system is currently at prototype stage and Lufthansa Systems is talking to seat manufacturers and airlines to gauge interest.

BoardConnect delivers audio- and video-on-demand entertainment by streaming wirelessly to passengers’ own Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as notebooks, tablets, and smartphones.

The system has been selected by Virgin Australia, Lufthansa, Oceania-based Aircalin and Israel’s El Al. The latter announced at the show that it is to establish an entertainment and connectivity offering based on BoardConnect and ViaSat’s high-speed connectivity service “Exede In The Air”, in partnership with Eutelsat.


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