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The Future of Aviation

From IoT to Personalized Services

Today consumers expect seamless connectivity, choice, and flexibility in everything they do. Be it the food they eat or the movies they watch. The same is true when they travel as the choice and flexibility are expected from the airline. Traditionally, this has been hard to achieve in the aerospace industry due to the notorious strict regulations and long certification cycles. Even non-safety critical software has to go through the rigorous certification process, stifling the innovation and agility required for getting passenger-focused content and services on-board quick.

At the same time, on the ground, best practices in the software industry have given us the means to solve such challenges. These practices and tools are rapidly getting adopted in the automotive and media industry. But shaping these tools for the aviation industry's needs is the real hurdle.

Axinom's decade of experience in aviation and even longer experience in the software industry has allowed us to develop tools to solve these challenges. Axinom Mosaic is a platform that includes all the components required to centrally manage own or third-party digital content or services both on-ground and on-board. It opens up the tightly regulated digital services in aerospace to innovative applications and on-board services. It simplifies and unites the various digital passenger, cockpit, cabin, and crew services and systems, including IFE (In-flight Entertainment), connectivity, IoT (Internet of Things), and ancillary services.

Using Axinom On-board Cloud, we enable the benefits of cloud services on-board an aircraft. It ensures true isolation of all applications and services by encapsulating them in separate Docker containers.  All digital services and UMS (user-modifiable software) can get on-board and operate without the hassle of long certification cycles. Of the many possible use cases for Axinom On-board Cloud, the most prominent one is smart cabin services enabled by the different sensors and other on-board IoT devices.

“Axinom On-Board Cloud opens up the tightly regulated digital services in aerospace to innovative applications and on-board services.”

Smart Cabin Services and On-board IoT

When we’re talking about smart cabin services and IoT sensors, we’re talking about connected seats with sensors that tell the crew if the seat is occupied, the seatbelt fastened, and the tray in the upright position. The same data can be used for better seat planning, mapping, and up-selling opportunities.

Same with connected overhead bins. Knowing which bins are full and which have room leads to a speedier and more efficient passenger boarding experience. All of this ultimately translates to less time spent on the ground and more time flying.

Smart and connected services on-board for both passenger and the crew

Destination services that help generate ancillary revenues are another example. Think pre-booking of hotels, tours, drivers, but also itinerary planning with travel guides, maps, and more, all done from the comfort of your own seat using the wireless seatback or your own device.

Smart cabins empower flight attendants to have a higher level of knowledge and control over what’s happening on-board an aircraft while airlines can reap greater operational efficiency through predictive maintenance, waste avoidance, and better crew management. Apart from new functionality enabled by sensors and other IoT devices, there are a host of things that the Axinom On-Board Cloud can augment and make better. Another novel use case being the IFEC experience.

A Truly Wireless Seatback IFE

Seatback screens usually require a lot of extra hardware and kilometers of wire harnesses. But that's not the case with Axinom Wireless Seatback (WSB). It uses tablet devices and a single and often already existing wireless infrastructure on-board the aircraft. The tablets are embedded into the backside of passenger seats much the same way that traditional IFE screens are.

Using Wi-Fi simplifies the IFEC system and eliminates the need for a heavy and complex wire harness. By removing unnecessary seatback wiring and using Axinom WSB, one early adopter, a leading US carrier, has realized substantial weight savings and lower maintenance costs. Stefanie Schuster, the chief commercial officer at Axinom adds, "Wireless Seatback IFEC solutions give freedom and flexibility to operators for choosing software and hardware components that fit their needs and allow them to support passenger devices with the same setup easily. We specialize in the software and are happy to see how the industry is taking up those new opportunities while defining their next-generation systems.”

Seatback IFE screens that work wirelessly and provide access to on-board services

But relying on any one technology, like Wi-Fi, does come with inherent limitations of that technology. After all, an aircraft full of passengers streaming movies all at the same time will put a large load on the Wi-Fi network. To combat this, smart content pre-positioning is used. This means that the most popular and liked content is stored in whole or in parts on the limited onboard storage of tablet devices. This ensures a seamless experience for passengers.

For On-Board Cloud, wireless seatback IFEC is just another service running along with many other passenger and crew services. A host of other applications, also hosted as services, can be integrated with the IFE system to create a wholesome and rich experience. Applications such as e-commerce, destination services, moving maps, live TV, captive portals, advertising, and more open up limitless possibilities for personalization.

All services have their own Docker container and thus are isolated from each other. When everything is run in isolation, the risk of apps and services interfering with each other is considerably reduced. Wireless Seatback, connected overhead bins, and connected seats are a small selection of use cases of Axinom Mosaic and Axinom On-Board Cloud. There are a plethora of new innovative apps, services, and solutions that Axinom services open up.

The future of aviation is hyper-personalization powered by data and pro-active services that offer content, entertainment, connectivity, and the 'smart' that the industry has waited for long.

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Axinom powers the wireless seatback IFEC, smart seating, and much more. Ask us how!

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