Contemporary Retrofit: Boeing Digital Direct Marks Company’s Entry into Wireless IFE Space


Image via Boeing

Boeing is adding something new to its suite of aircraft modification solutions: A wireless IFE and digital services platform with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. This article originally appeared in the Expo Daily Experience: Preview. Read the full issue and register for FTE APEX Virtual Expo.

Boeing’s maintenance and engineering staff are adept at carrying out interiors and performance upgrades on the company’s more than 10,000 commercial jets in service. Now the airframer is offering a wireless in-flight entertainment (wIFE) solution that non-Boeing operators can access as well.

Boeing Digital Direct can deliver IFE to passengers in the form of video, reading material and games, regardless of the aircraft. It also includes a COVID-19 channel where airlines can share safety guidelines and updates. In-flight retail integration for in-seat food and beverage ordering, destination experience sales, sponsorships and targeted advertising are all possible, along with analytics, a remote management system and 24/7 support.

Passengers are not required to download an app to access Boeing Digital Direct offerings: All content is stored on a server and distributed via wireless access points throughout the cabin. Boeing Global Services installs the hardware in the overhead bin as a retrofit. It is powered by the aircraft, making it a suitable option for those interested in moving away from rechargeable batteries. It comes with a cellular modem, but airlines with existing in-flight wireless network infrastructure can request a digital-only version of the product.

Boeing spokesperson Brian Rantala says the solution came about because the company was interested in improving the passenger journey and addressing IFEC pain points. In February, it invested in in-flight digital services and entertainment provider Immfly via its HorizonX venture arm and the companies became partners. “Boeing Digital Direct is uniquely built upon Immfly’s digital creativity, media sales and advertising strength, bringing true ancillary revenue generation to our customers,” Rantala says. He notes that Boeing is in talks with several potential airline customers.

Virtual Expo Connection

Check out a demo of Boeing Digital Direct at the Boeing stand in the Exhibition Hall.