APEX2011: IMS touts embedded and PED inflight equipment

Saying its new order from Air Transat signals the continued momentum behind “seat-centric” IFE growth, The IMS Company also touted its new deal with American Airlines to place Samsung Galaxy tablets on flights as it kicked off its participation at APEX 2011.Air Transat ordered the company’s RAVE IFE system for its 12 A330 aircraft, joining six other airlines that have opted for RAVE, including Brussels, Sri Lankan Airlines, Lufthansa, airberlin and others. The order increases the company’s backlog to more than 60 aircraft, a number that more than doubles should all options be exercised.A new concept in IFE, RAVE improves traditional inflight entertainment systems by leveraging the best attributes of traditional AVOD systems with the characteristics of portable-player IFE, said the company, which indicated the concept is gaining considerable traction in the inflight entertainment industry.Each seat-back display unit (SDU) contains all the content, applications and playback functionality to provide the passenger with audio and video on demand—just like portable solutions. In this innovative system architecture, the unit in the seat does not depend on large, complex networks and media servers to stream content, meaning any failures would be restricted to the individual unit rather than the entire server or area.It performs bulk content loads in the background while content is played to the passenger. It also distributes video in real time including safety videos and boarding music. It eliminates seat boxes and provides slim, light-weight, low-power seat displays for a lighter system which the company said is less expensive and more reliable than traditional IFE systems.The high-definition display SDUs with touch screens are fully interchangeable and easily replaced by a flight attendant in the event of service failure with no impact on any other seat. The SDU storage is solid state and the capacity is defined by each airline to fit its content strategy. The SDUs are easily upgradeable—up to 4 Terabytes—to meet the needs of each airline as its content requirements expand. The SCU has up to 12 Terabytes of storage capacity.IMS’s recent announcement with American Airlines to provide 6,000 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets launches its effort to replace its five-year-old workhorse PED at American which was its first semi-embedded PED. The clamshell design of the Fujitsu-based device opened to slide into a seat-back shell where the device connected to in-seat power, or could be removed and held on the passenger’s lap or tray table.IMS said that in choosing the Samsung solution, American continues its long-term relationship with the company as the systems integrator responsible for the repurposing and integration of the world’s thinnest large screen tablet into the inflight environment. American is the first North American airline to offer a branded tablet onboard its aircraft for inflight entertainment purposes.“American was the first airline customer for our very first portable media player in 2006,” said IMS’ CEO and founder Joseph Renton. “And we continued the relationship with the 10.6-inch ‘semi-embedded’ PED, followed by three versions of the ARCHOS portable media player. In addition, IMS has provided American with software development services and a range of content management, content acquisition and content loading services.“IMS’ focus in repurposing the Samsung Galaxy Tab for the inflight entertainment market was the Android operating system,” Renton continued. “In consideration of the increasing importance of the operating systems that support these devices, we have moved toward platform integration rather than device integration as the basis for our handheld service offerings.”

Kathryn Creedy, Inflight / Inflight-Online.com

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