Connectivity in the Cabin: Apios

Connectivity in the Cabin: Apios

The AIX team sat down with aerospace thought-leaders, market disruptors and established companies to discuss how Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) can keep up with changing passenger expectations.

The team spoke with Phil Hall, Co-founder and CEO, Apios.

What are your predictions for connectivity in the cabin in 2023?

“We see connectivity and the resulting opportunities in the cabin as the focal point of development and innovation in the coming years. In 2023/early 2024 specifically, it will be transitional where the newer high speed systems start to come online. What comes next, and how airlines understand, utilise and capitalise on this, is the really exciting part. It’s why Apios was founded.”

How do you see in-flight connectivity evolving in the next five years?

“I think we need to start thinking and striving toward innovation cycles more in terms of the consumer electronics industry timelines. At Apios we are committed to the ethos that hyper-personalised journeys are going to be key to the future travel experience on-board.

The new generation of in-flight connectivity and digital interface will facilitate that to a much greater degree than perviously seen. The passenger device and their personal digital entertainment profile are key aspects, as is the airlines’ ability manage the total relationship cycle with its customers.”

Some estimations have put the “take-rate” for on-board Wi-Fi at just 6%, with some lamenting the poor connection and inability to stream content.

How do you see the role of Wi-Fi changing in the cabin going forward?

“Being a passenger and using some of these “top end” systems myself I can see why. They simply just don’t perform to customer expectations, especially when compared to the ground experience. Being asked to pay for that level of performance and frustration just simply doesn’t work.

Moving forward, the connected cabin environment has to become indistinguishable from the ground experience and that means personalised content delivery wherever and whenever with speeds and stability to match.”

The demand to stream content including on short and medium flights has proliferated.

How will airlines ensure they continue to meet this demand?

“For short haul flights we think that the passenger device with USB power provision is an acceptable way to consume personalised content. Whether it’s downloaded prior to boarding or streamed will depend, to a very large degree, on the bandwidth available on the aircraft.

For longer duration flights, we see seat back displays as the key interface between passenger and airline.

Not the traditional systems but a new generation of system (just like our REFLECT system) that is focused on integrating the passenger device into the seat environment, that is more comfortable to view for prolonged periods (of course with power provision) offering them greater choice of their own content with the unique ability to cast their own DRM compliant content from their device to our seat back display – either downloaded or directly streamed with the appropriate connection bandwidth.”

The EU commission has unveiled plans for airlines to implement 5G technologies onboard for passengers.

Do you see this revolutionising onboard connectivity?

“For sure. This adds a new dimension of choice and opportunity and that can only be a positive development.”

Any other comments or insight you would like to share around the topics of digitalisation and connectivity?

“At Apios, we see cabin connectivity and the surrounding opportunities as the key area of development for the next 5-10 years, It has the potential to transform the journey from both a passenger and operator perspective. Leveraging the ability to provide a seamless hyper personalised on-board experience for passengers.

The capability to embrace ground-based practices of affiliate and partner-based marketing without being an intrusive part of the experience on board will transform the business case from traditional, past approaches, to on board connectivity and engagement.”

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) is the world’s leading cabin interiors event where airlines and the supply chain to meet and has been for over 20 years. AIX plays host to the latest innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries.

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