Content service provider Global One Media has announced two hardware partners at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) to help it deliver in-flight entertainment to airlines.
The first partnership, with ECA Group, is for its Aircraft Wireless Access Point With Media Server (aWAP-MS), a system that combines a wireless access point (WAP) and a server that stores content, in one. “Generally, the server and WAP are separated, but this one brings them together,” said Olivier Holin, product manager of ECA Group, adding that there’s no other product like it on the market.
With less equipment, there’s also less cabling and less weight, which is a good thing “from a LRU [line replacement unit] point of view,” said Holin. Still, the primary benefit of the aWAP-MS is the ability to scale up connectivity.
“You could have a chain of WAPs, synchronized with one aWAP-MS,” said Holin. ECA’s solution minimizes the equipment required to offer onboard content, as well as provide connectivity – two services which are increasingly coming hand-in-hand. “And with our partners, (GlobalOne for the content and PXCom for the graphical user interface) we can offer a turnkey solution,” Holin said.
Global One’s second hardware partner is Japanese electronics company TEAC, which will be offering its portable wireless IFE solution, the PortaStream PS-V50. It contains a 500-gigabyte built-in SSD drive, which can serve 50 passengers at a time, and a 4G connection that allows for the transmission of data, software and content updates when the aircraft is on the ground. PortaStream doesn’t require any installation, as it runs on a battery, which TEAC says lasts 15 hours after a four-hour charge.
The PortaStream system started flying on Japanese low-cost carrier Ibex Airlines earlier this week. Global One Media CEO Mohamad ElAssad is confident about the product, emphasizing that TEAC looked at every facet of the portable wireless IFE solution and tested every aspect – down to the process of how the box would be carried on and off flights by flight crew – to make sure they got it right.
“They started working on the product about 18 months ago,” ElAssad said, adding that he had hoped they could bring it to market earlier. But the TEAC team wanted to ensure equipment safety and security above all else, causing a delay in its release.
“This is not a PED [personal electronic device] in your pocket with a hotspot that you simply activate on board,” said ElAssad, who previously worked for airlines. Referring to the makers of competing portable wireless IFE solutions, who treat it as such, he said, “TEAC has rejected this concept [with its rigorous testing].”