Cabin networks and Wi-Fi feature in Crystal Cabin Awards 2017

Immfly's system running on a passenger's tablet - shortlisted in the Crystal Cabin Awards.
Immfly’s system running on a passenger’s tablet.

While no satellite-based inflight connectivity products appear in the shortlist for the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards, Wi-Fi and other networks do feature highly.

The Crystal Cabin Awards will be presented during the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in April 2017. For 11 years now, the awards have been the annual indicator of trends in aircraft cabins and passenger experience.

Some of the highlights of the shortlist, in terms of networking, include:

Immfly

Barcelona-based Immfly’s systems allow passengers to access an aircraft’s entertainment and services platform when connecting to a Wi-Fi network via their personal electronic devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops).

Once connected to Immfly, users can access a wide variety of entertainment content such as TV-shows, games, newsfeeds, kids channels, sport videos, movies, or newspapers.

They can also download in-flight city guides, or purchase onboard last-minute activities and transfer services within their destination and save the tickets in their devices.

Passengers can also access an in-flight chat and a real-time flight tracker to check the outside temperature, and the aircraft altitude and speed.

Immfly is installed on Iberia Express full fleet of 21 aircraft. It will launch onboard Volotea’s A319 fleet and XL Airways’ A330 aircraft with new product features before the end of 2016.

Lufthansa Technik’s niceview

Lufthansa Technik has introduced an interactive system called niceview MOBILE that lets passengers track their own flight live on their tablet or smartphone.

The 3D moving map uses real satellite imagery that allows passengers to select from a variety of customisable perspectives including information on altitude, speed and travel time.

Niceview MOBILE can run on iOS and Android devices. Flight guests can access it through the on-board Wi-Fi.

Airbus Wireless Avionics Intra-Communications

The Airbus A380-800 is so sophisticated that it requires more than 100,000 wires with a total length of 470 kilometres and weighing 5.4 tonnes. Of this electrical wiring, aircraft systems engineers believe that up to 30 percent could be substituted with wireless systems.

A specialised United Nations agency voted to grant a frequency band from 4.2 – 4.4 GHz for Wireless Avionics Intra-Communications (WAIC) systems.

This is “to allow for the heavy and expensive wiring used in aircraft to be replaced by wireless systems”.

WAIC consists of short-range radio communication (less than 100 metres) between two or more points of a single aircraft. Potential applications for this technology include sensors to detect smoke or to monitor cabin air pressure, fuel tank levels, humidity and corrosion.

Other possibilities include brake temperature and wheel speed sensors, detection of incidents due to electromagnetic interference and structural health monitoring.

Another advantage for customers is the added flexibility. Whenever there is a need to remodel the cabin or other installations, reconfiguration are much simpler using wireless systems.

Plus it’s also cheaper. Airbus is therefore shortlisted in the Crystal Cabin Awards for WAIC.

Air Caraïbes’ / Display Interactive’s IFEC ecosystem named iZivision.

Display Interactive says iZivision is a unique combination of seat-back IFE, cabin Wi-Fi, ground applications and broadband connectivity service, running on multiple technical configurations, integrated with an airline’s IT systems and updated in real-time.

iZivision has been developed as the result of a two-year strategic plan aiming to combine multiple technological components into a single, customer-centric, airline-controlled, strategic asset we called an ‘in-flight ecosystem’.

iZivision, powered by the UGO platform from Display Interactive, “brings together, and cross-fertilises, all components of in-flight service, independently of technical considerations”.

The company says features have been developed as a result of passenger surveys and a review of millennial travellers’ expectations throughout the globe.

Most of them are leveraging broadband connectivity through teasing mechanisms, for instance to send an eCard or a selfie, or to share the aircraft position with family and friends.

Features also leverage passengers’ devices in order to store digital “memories” from their flight.

Others

Other finalists that use wireless networking include the Diehl Aerospace Wireless Seat System that informs the crew automatically if a passenger does not fasten his or her seatbelt on time.

Meanwhile, Living Networks, created by the German technology company airtango offer passengers content that is tailored to their individual needs, including entertainment, destination-related information and customised services.

Also shortlisted is Axinom’s Content Delivery System (CDS), which simplifies the synchronisation between on-ground and on-board systems over cellular 3G/4G/5G networks, Wi-Fi, satellite distribution, and USB and SSD.

During the flight the Sync App automatically connects to the on-board server to synchronise and distribute the content and service packages.

Airtime Portal is a wireless inflight entertainment media portal that delivers content, connectivity and digital media services to passengers’ personal electronic devices.

Global Eagle Entertainment’s portal also provides an at-home experience for passengers travelling at 30,000 feet in the air. Passengers connect to the airline-branded portal to browse the internet, send and receive texts, stream live TV, read digital magazines and newspapers, listen to music, play casual games and watch on-demand movies and television series from their tablet, phone or laptop.

Lastly, Weigele Aerospace has a patent pending on Quahuay, an onboard live electromagnetic interference (EMI) monitoring system that will provide an instantaneous feed of the amplitudes and location of any radio source exceeding limit levels.

There are 85 contenders on the shortlist for the Crystal Cabin Awards 2017.

The Crystal Cabin Awards will be presented on the first evening of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (4 – 6 April, 2017) at a gala dinner in the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski in Hamburg.

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