It's day 3 of the Paris Air Show and I must admit I'm dragging a bit. But no worries, that's not going to stop the IFE&C news from flowing, baby. I've asked Panasonic to update us on some of its key programmes. This is all good stuff, but I'm particularly keen on the company's plan to have its iPod merge product ready by September. Check it out.
Has the eXConnect trial on the BBJ started and, if so, how is it going?
We have 5 customers committed and we are seeing strong interest by airlines for Connectivity. We have obtained more regulatory approvals with more countries (~70% world/160 countries). There is a couple month slide due to customer schedule. However, we anticipate the BBJ testing in late-Summer.
We have additional airline customers but can only name the ones that are flying publicly (Singapore, United, Avianca, Air New Zealand, Swiss). We do not have permission by launch customer yet to discuss details. However, the iPod merge solution is estimated to be completed later this year (~ September 2009).
(For the uninitiated, here's a quick update on iPod merge or check out my video blog on the subject...when the vlog was in its early days). Panasonic's technology roadmap calls for introduction of iPod merge, which goes a step further then basic iPod connectivityby allowing content metadata to be integrated or "consumed" into the graphical user interface (GUI) and displayed to the passenger via the IFE screen.
Also, IMDC had some pretty dire predictions about IFE expenditure (last week in Vancouver). How is Panasonic faring?
What is most interesting right now - despite the slowdown in other areas of the airline industry - is the rapidly growing demand for in-flight connectivity. 2009 continues to be very busy for Panasonic with this new and popular technology. As the leader for 30 years, we always have to adapt to the market conditions while meeting the marketplace demand for new technology.