October, 26, 2016 — Panasonic Avionics is having a busy time at APEX Expo, with several announcements being made. Here’s a roundup of the latest from Panasonic…
A major Airbus deal…
The company announced that it has been selected by Airbus as lead supplier for high bandwidth connectivity (HBC) technology on its A320, A330 and A380 platforms.
Panasonic’s Global Communications Service uses a Ku-band satellite network to deliver high-speed communications services on a claimed 99.6% of all air traffic routes, which also enables Panasonic’s eXTV global inflight television service.
Over 70 customers have selected Panasonic’s Global Communications Service for more than 3,500 aircraft. The company estimates that an additional 12,000 aircraft will be committed to its high-speed network by 2025.
Chris Lundquist, VP of OEM accounts, corporate strategy and business development for Panasonic commented, “Over the past six years, Panasonic has delivered more than 60 high-speed wireless connectivity systems to Airbus for line-fit installation across its A380, A330 and A350 platforms. We are pleased to extend this capability to A320 and thus across all Airbus platforms”
Panasonic’s ZeroTouc service was launched, a unique service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience.
Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “Using the ZeroTouch service, our customers gain a seamless and efficient method to operate and manage their aircraft from any location, at any time. They’ll have real-time visibility into fleet performance. They’ll use a robust infrastructure that lets them continuously and seamlessly improve their operations and the passenger experience. In essence, they’ll be able to solve real business challenges.”
ZeroTouch will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch its aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – wi-fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.
When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic IFEC system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more can be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet.
Panasonic is currently in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700MB to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day. By the third quarter of 2017, Panasonic expects to enter a Phase Two trial, which will leverage a more robust and more efficient core infrastructure and an enhanced management console. During this time frame, the company will also introduce the Enhanced Cell Modem with advanced wi-fi capabilities that will open up a third communications pipe to the aircraft.
Full commercial availability including content, media and software loading as well as operational data offloading is expected to immediately follow the Q3 2017 trial.
An inflight marketing platform
Panasonic has also launched Captify Inflight Marketing and Advertising Services (Captify). Captify, an advanced inflight marketing platform which comprises the software tools and support teams that power what the company describes as “the largest inflight marketing solution in the world” – reaching 1.3 billion travelers a year.
Captify enables airlines to target by seat class, route, device, language, and passenger data. With no changes to on-board media, it can increase or decrease ad loads, cap the frequency of marketing campaigns, and deliver detailed usage data in real-time. This allows airlines to optimize promotions for a wide range of optional services, partnerships, loyalty programs, and paid advertising all within a compelling passenger experience. The platform delivers video, native display, and sponsorship options for high-impact, fraud-free marketing with best-in-class targeting and results.
Using this information, Captify helps airlines and their marketing and sales partners learn more about their customers by bringing together all the passenger and behavioral data, so airlines can gain intelligence and inform business or service strategies. That means marketing and media data that are accurate, integrated and actionable in real-time.
A multi-year partnership was signed with Flight Level Media (FLM) to offer a suite of complimentary in-flight social media applications, including a Facebook inflight posting app that will enable passengers to post unlimited one-directional free messages throughout a flight.
Messages will include real-time flight data showing the aircraft’s altitude, type, air-speed and other flight-specific information. Each message – both on and off aircraft – will also contain promotional and advertising opportunities with click-through capabilities including “opt in” data capture fields.
The initial launch will be followed by applications for Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
In other news, Air Tahiti Nui is fitting its B787-9s with Panasonic’s eXConnect wi-fi service as well as its eX3 IFE system; China Eastern Airlines has selected eX3 and Global Communications Services for its fleet of 35 new A350s and B787s; Aeromexico is fitting 60 B737 MAX aircraft with the eX1 IFE system; and Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Biman) has selected eX3 for its new fleet of four B787-8s.