Alaska Airlines showcases Microsoft’s IFE capabilities

tAfter deploying 7,000 Toshiba Encore 2 tablets equipped with a new Windows in-flight entertainment (IFE) system across its fleet, Alaska Airlines has confirmed the roll out of more devices to accommodate its aggressive route growth and customer demand.“There’s split screen viewing for simultaneous content experiences, whether it’s an Xbox game, a new release movie or catching up on the latest TV series,” said Curtis Kopf, Alaska’s VP innovation. “The launch with our Windows 8.1 devices has gone well and we’re excited to see how Windows 10 can enhance the solution.”Whilst Microsoft 10 is yet to be released, the tablets run Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry software and are operated by Skycast Solutions, Microsoft’s partner on the ‘Alaska Beyond’ IFE programme.

“Moving to Windows tablets enables us to provide a cutting edge experience for Alaska’s travellers,” explained Greg Latimer, president, Skycast Solutions. “In particular, the robust security capabilities allow us to work with Hollywood studios to load early window movies that wouldn’t be available without similar safeguards.”Alaska Airlines has also teamed up with digital engineering and design partner, Ratio, to integrate technologies, develop entertainment apps, and design an embedded experience for the passengers. To improve the experience for their guests even further, Ratio aggregates user information to deliver real time analytics through Azure Data Factory, helping Alaska better understand content use case scenarios.“The Ratio telemetry, powered by the Azure Data Factory, allows Alaska Airlines to understand the entertainment scenarios that its guests prefer and track content popularity,” explained Russ Whitman, Ratio’s chief strategy officer. “Enabling Alaska to curate content that best serves the traveller is a perfect demonstration of what’s possible when you bring together amazing partners committed to creating an exceptional user experience.”The new ‘Alaska Beyond’ IFE offering will also see the airline introduce power outlets at every seat on 70% of its B737 passenger aircraft by mid-April.

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