Last year a project team at the ITT Institute of Design was tasked by Boeing to explore the future of in-flight entertainment (IFE), a space that the airframer "was interested in pursuing", says the group. After a 15-week period of research, the team concluded that the term "IFE" may no longer apply, and instead envision a system that would serve as an air travel experience platform.
Some members of the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) are still not convinced that the organization's rebranding as the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is the right direction for the group. Yet, it's clear that even Boeing (which usually stays rather quiet on these subjects) is re-evaluating the role of IFE in the larger context of the passenger experience.
Key pars from the ITT Institute of Design:
"Unfortunately, Boeing's Connexion system, which provided high-speed Wi-Fi for $9.95 an hour or $26.95 for an entire flight, briefly debuted and then shut down in 2006 when the service was not commercially successful. Despite this recent failure, it's clear [that] Boeing is willing to experiment with IFE to enhance the customer experience. But currently, all of their IFE-related offerings are all focused on the in-flight experience ...
"But IFE's real potential lies in its ability to address additional stages of the experience. While in-flight is the portion of the trip that may be most relevant to Boeing currently, as an aircraft manufacturer, for passengers the in-flight experience is only one of several stages in their air travel experience. It's possible that, to truly enhance revenue and customer loyalty, the definition of in-flight entertainment needs to evolve. Imagine a technology-based system with touch-points throughout the travel experience that helps passengers stay connected, informed and entertained at the airport, at the gate and on the plane. Such system is well within Boeing's reach given its existing competencies and industry partnerships."
Check out the institute's entire presentation. There is some fascinating stuff in here.