Inmarsat has launched a customer experience platform for airlines, designed to monetise their inflight connectivity investments by bringing together various onboard services within a single portal interface, accessed using passengers’ own personal devices such as smartphones or tablets.
The digital platform, named OneFi, enables passengers to order food and beverages from their seats, as well as to purchase seat upgrades, receive flight and destination information, and sign-up to frequent flyer programmes – and all within an airline-branded environment.
In wider applications, passengers can use the platform to browse the internet, stream videos and audio, shop online and enjoy other ecommerce offerings. Airlines could charge for such access to high-speed inflight broadband, or offer it as a complimentary service, funded through OneFi’s sponsorship and advertising features. The system also enables airlines to target products at particular passenger types.
The launch of OneFi comes at a time when Inmarsat has identified that the global pandemic has accelerated passengers’ demand for digital inflight experiences. The company’s recent 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, a global survey of 10,000 respondents worldwide, found that passenger confidence can be boosted by digital solutions that keep them connected with the ground and that minimise their contact with cabin crew and fellow passengers. 41% of the respondents stated that they felt the importance of inflight wi-fi had increased after the pandemic.
“OneFi allows airlines to improve their brand experience and secure passenger loyalty, with the flexibility to incorporate their own services and use existing and new partners, such as content providers, advertisers and retailers,” stated Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation.
“We are in advanced discussions with leading airlines about adopting this innovative new platform and expect to see a rollout with our first OneFi customer by the end of this year,” he added.
In recent years, airlines have continued to increase their focus on unlocking new revenue streams through broadband-enabled ancillary services. Inmarsat cites a report from Valour Consultancy, stating that the market for digital inflight advertising alone is forecast to grow from $266 million today to $3.3 billion by 2030, representing a 10-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.9% between 2020 and 2030.
In addition, OneFi is network agnostic and uses open architecture, meaning it can integrate with any technology infrastructure and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) used by airlines, ensuring a uniform experience across mixed aircraft fleets. The platform is also scalable, giving airline customers the flexibility to add new third-party services over time and helping to future-proof their onboard offering.