Panasonic NEXT AIX

Jon Norris, senior director of Corporate Sales & Marketing at Panasonic Avionics introduced the company’s new in-flight entertainment and connectivity platform NEXT at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg today. Image: Kristina Velan

APEX Insight: Panasonic Avionics introduced its new in-flight entertainment and connectivity platform at AIX today. NEXT, which it describes as the Internet “wrapped around” the X series, was developed with hyper-personalization in mind and is expected to launch on the Boeing 777x in 2020.

Panasonic Avionics introduced its new in-flight entertainment and connectivity platform at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg today. Jon Norris, senior director of Corporate Sales & Marketing at Panasonic Avionics, described NEXT as the Internet “wrapped around” the X Series.”NEXT isn’t another iteration in the X Series. It has all of the constituent parts of an IFEC system: platform, hardware, core software, operating features and functionality,” he said. “The industry tends to think in verticals (IFE systems, connectivity systems, support systems, applications)…NEXT is a departure from that.”

Panasonic touts targeted advertising and the ability to modify Wi-Fi price points in order to maximize revenue as some of the benefits NEXT could provide for airlines. “We’re changing the whole language in how we talk to airlines,” said Norris. “Through scalability and modularity, we’re showing how we can add ancillary revenue and operational efficiencies, how we can influence ticket price and load factor by providing the right solutions, and how we can aid passenger loyalty and reputation.”

“We’re changing the whole language in how we talk to airlines.” Jon Norris, Panasonic Avionics

Hyper-personalization and the Internet of Me steered the development of this concept.”The phone is now the trusted token, so how can the system interact with the personal data in passengers’ phones to provide the features and functionality that passengers want, while also acting as a path for airlines to connect with their passengers,” said Norris. With NEXT, passengers can continue watching a film from a previous flight, receive customized content recommendations and be informed when their hydration levels are low, for example. NEXT also allows passengers to sync their accessibility settings – APEX is working to regulate closed captioning and descriptive audio for in-flight entertainment via the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ACCESS Advisory Regulatory Committee.

When asked about privacy concerns, Norris said that passengers can decide how much data they feel comfortable sharing on the system and, after the flight, it effectively disappears. “Passenger data isn’t stored on the system,” he explained. “The NEXT platform syncs with passengers’ phones and dynamic backend information from the airline, allowing data to be visually displayed during the flight, then it is erased.”

Actionable analytics – turning data into knowledge and doing something useful with it – is one of NEXT’s key components. NEXT integrates with Panasonic’s data-driven airline operations platform ZeroTouch to enable airlines to react to viewership trends in real-time. “[Airlines] can dynamically remove entertainment content that has low viewership, resulting in reduced licensing fees,” said Norris. “Many airlines are moving away from bloc purchasing to individual viewing. As the whole licensing dynamic changes, our system will have the flexibility to adapt.”

According to Norris, “airlines are less interested in what the IFE hardware is, and more interested in what it does. NEXT is technology with a purpose.” NEXT is expected to launch on the Boeing 777x in 2020.

Kristina is digital editor of APEX Media. Plane and simple.