James Andrew Felts, co-founder and CEO of Moviebill, presents Inflight powered by Moviebill to industry peers during the FTE APEX Ancillary Virtual Event.

James Andrew Felts, cofounder and CEO of Moviebill, presents Inflight powered by Moviebill to industry peers during the FTE APEX Ancillary Virtual Event.

Moviebill, the exclusive augmented reality (AR) partner to Regal Cinemas in the US and content creator for major studios like Disney, Paramount and Warner Brothers, has launched a solution that gives airline passengers touchless access to safety cards, menus and in-flight magazines. Founder and CEO James Andrew Felts said that, as well as catering to the “COVID moment,” which has spawned the need for more touchless solutions, users of AR have longer dwell-times and higher clickthrough rates.

At the 2018 APEX EXPO in Boston, cofounder of APEX member company Captive Entertainment Paul Poste and founder and CEO of Moviebill James Andrew Felts came together to showcase a new augmented reality (AR) solution for in-flight literature. “I think it was a little ahead of its time. People felt that it was a bit gimmicky and there wasn’t really a need for it,” said Poste.

Then, about a month ago, Felts reached out to Poste again to let him know that Moviebill had come a long way over the last two years and asked if Poste would like to help him try and bring it to the airline market again. Poste agreed. “I thought, you know what? This is no longer a want – it’s a need in the COVID-19 era.”

“Users of AR have increased dwell times and clickthrough rates.” – James Andrew Felts, Moviebill

Felts did a brief presentation on the airline-focused version of his company’s AR solution, Inflight powered by Moviebill, during the recent FTE APEX Ancillary Virtual Event. “It provides touchless menus, safety cards and magazines,” he explained. “It addresses the COVID moment, but it also prepares your business for the future, which is certainly 3D, artificially intelligent and augmented.”

The solution allows passengers to access the AR content on their mobile devices by scanning a marker on the tray table or the seatback, which Poste said could simply be an airline logo. Inflight powered by Moviebill uses an SDK to integrate the content directly into the airline’s app, so for airlines without connectivity, the app would need to be downloaded prior to the flight. This would be the airline’s responsibility to communicate, but would fit in well with other hygiene-related messaging currently being introduced.

Felts argues that the solution can not only reduce the touchpoints between passengers and crew, improving hygiene, but that it would reduce weight in the cabin and potentially generate increased revenue using it’s “showcase view” option, which would allow passengers to “virtually try on a watch,” for example.

Moviebill is already the exclusive augmented reality partner of Regal Cinemas in the US, and has created content for major studios like Disney, Paramount and Warner Brothers. Through its work with Regal Cinemas, Felts said Moviebill has seen that “users of AR have increased dwell times and clickthrough rates.”

Following the FTE APEX Virtual Ancillary Event, Inflight powered by Moviebill is in discussion with multiple airlines. Felts said during his presentation there are no start-up fees and a low cost per aircraft per month. According to Poste, the basic package covers the safety card and in-flight menu, which can be made into AR content in three days, but the in-flight magazines or custom-built brand experiences will take longer to create and come with additional fees.

“With an in-flight magazine there are numerous options,” Felts explained. “Once the first template is done, we can let the airlines have control, plug in the new content and update it immediately, or they can provide us or their content service providers (CSPs) with the materials. We’ve been actively discussing this solution with CSPs and they’re very excited about it too.”

Felts also said that Inflight powered by Moviebill is looking forward to creating other AR content for airline apps in the future: “For example, I could scan my luggage, and the app could tell me whether it will fit in the overhead bin on a regional connection.”