Inflight Workshop 2014: App-propriate content

In the final panel session at the 2014 Inflight Workshop at Aircraft Interiors Middle East the panel looked at the importance of in-seat power and if digital media could ever replace the inflight magazine.Liz Moscrop, editor of Inflight moderated the session with Peter Schetschine, VP customer affairs, KID Systeme; Richard Rawlinson, Editor in Chief, Spafax; Kevin Birchmore, Head of Technology, Dawson Media Direct and Dennis Markert, Director New Business Development, Astronics.Richard Rawlinson said that airlines are increasingly engaging their passengers via their websites, email and social media. He said: "It seems that media on the ground is so much more advanced. I had to learn about inflight connectivity problems to find out why print media is still so popular in the air."He added that airlines have a captive audience on the aircraft, but need to get passengers to download apps and information as they book their tickets. "The marketing journey starts way before they get on the aircraft," Rawlinson said.Kevin Birchmore said airlines are responding to the surge in passengers' use of their own devices. "There are challenges around providing content to passengers," he said. "A key part of our business is providing information, both digitally and in print."Dennis Markert said we are seeing a paradigm shift towards "Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD).""These systems all need power," he said. "If I get onto an aircraft and see that I only have 10% power left I may have to close my laptop. Passengers need in-seat power. They want the same experience they have at home."Peter Schetschine said the question is one of economics. "We had a discussion with a local airline and the question was not whether they should have in-seat power, but how much power we could supply."Statistics show that every passenger will soon have a smartphone device. Sales of tablets will outpace laptop sales by 2015 and in the USA last year the number of passengers using a device to do online booking increased by 40%.Kevin Birchmore said they are talking to a number of airlines in the Middle East about wireless distribution in the cabin, and the use of plus airline-supplied devices. This gets around the problem of providing early-window video content.Richard Rawlinson added that even without widespread inflight connectivity people are increasingly bringing tablets on board. He added that the tablet can be complementary to the embedded IFEC.Dennis Markert concluded by saying there is a trend towards high-power USB use. "Most airlines are going for the combination of 110V power and USB, but high-power USB equipment is half the weight and half the cost.Steve Nichols, Inflight / Inflight-Online.comDubai

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