APEX Media spoke to Axinom’s CCO Stefanie Schuster to learn about the company’s new modular, customizable, future-proof platform that allows airlines to make the latest content available to passengers 50% faster.
Axinom has launched a content management solution to address airlines’ need for greater flexibility, adaptability and scalability in their in-flight entertainment (IFE) supply chains. Mosaic decouples workflow steps into modular services that can be linked together via front-end and back-end libraries, and with external services through APIs.
Feedback from airlines using the Axinom services, which now make up Mosaic, indicate that the IFE content preparation and deployment cycle time can be reduced to half of what it used to be. “The time is reduced because of the many streamlined and automated processes during ingestion, processing, asset management, packaging and targeting,” said Stefanie Schuster, Axinom’s chief commercial officer. “The transfer time is also reduced considerably by providing multiple communication channels and automatic deployment. A shorter content preparation cycle means that airlines can provide the latest content to their passengers much quicker.”
The core of Mosaic is the Onboard Cloud, which provides a containerized infrastructure capable of handling different software services, with a mechanism to handle the data they generate. “We called it Mosaic because what’s important to us is to not have one big thing which is just turnkey and inflexible. We wanted to separate different services into mini modules that the airline can pick and choose, which come together to form one Mosaic,” Schuster explained, adding that there are two types of modules: managed services and customizable services.
“A shorter content preparation cycle means that airlines can provide the latest content to their passengers much quicker.” – Stefanie Schuster, Axinom
Managed services are standardized services, which can be cloud-based, comprising Axinom Encoding, for ingesting and encoding video; Axinom DRM, for protecting digital video assets; and Axinom Admin, for managing stakeholder sign-ups. There is also Axinom Sync, which securely synchronizes content and service data between on-ground and on-board servers using standardized protocols.
Customizable services can be adapted and scaled to fit each airline’s workflow and needs. These include Axinom Ingest, for securely ingesting assets via APIs from 3rd party systems; and Axinom Monetization, for creating business models such as AVOD, and TVOD, and for managing regions, pricing and currencies. There’s also an additional facility for airlines to build and integrate bespoke services using a base template that ensures integration with other Mosaic modules.
This pick-and-mix approach means Mosaic can provide airlines with the back-end for IFE systems, as well as for connectivity portals, live TV or cabin IoT, which is coming into play with the introduction of smart cabins. “All the visualization is in one user interface, where airlines can control IFE assets, connectivity portals and data from IoT devices,” Schuster said.
Some elements within Mosaic – such as DRM, encoding, sync and also the Onboard Cloud services – have been in development for many years. The company researched various technologies to ensure future-proofing, so that if a client decides to separate any of the services, these can still function and communicate with each other securely. “Like all technologies, you need to think about if you decide to separate the services into micro services, and this is possible in the Mosaic framework – this is something we’ve been working on for the last three years,” Schuster said.
With evermore pandemic-induced pressure on airline finances, Schuster expects the IFE market to move more towards standardization. “Take DRM for example,” Schuster said. “Digital rights management is always the same, there might be small adjustments, but the core is really the same. If you have Axinom’s Encoding to process the content, standard format content can be sent on board using standard communication pipelines with Axinom Sync.”