Out of the cool room and into the passenger experience

Panasonic Avionics has been picking up awards left and right for its Integrated Smart Monitor (formerly known as Fusion) and its event-driven neXperience software for in-flight entertainment (formerly known as FlightPath), including scoring International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) for both.

But what’s with all the name changing of these game changers?

We know Panasonic changed Fusion to Smart because of the similarity in name to Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system.

FlightPath 1.JPGA quick Google search of ‘FlightPath’ uncovers a suite of “highly engineered” aircraft and weapons models known as FlightPath, a UK-based air fares web site called FlightPath as well as a FlightPath consumer group that monitors expansion at London Biggen Hill Airport. Suffice it to say that Biggen wants to remain little-en, ahem. There is also a FlightPath digital marketing agency in New York.

Panasonic’s FlightPath was quietly shown to airlines in the firm’s “cool room” at last year’s World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition. Anything in the cool room is a concept that may or may not make the light of day, but FlightPath was situated on the edge of the cool room, which meant it was headed for the light.

When a product moves out of concept phase and into the real world, Panasonic has to generate a formal product name for it. That’s when the firm’s legal team gets involved to make sure the working name isn’t already taken. FlightPath, quite clearly, was already taken.

FlightPath 2.JPGFor marketing purposes, Panasonic might do itself a favor by settling on a name in advance of touting the product. But these things are easier said than done.

So what do you think of neXperience? The software takes the passenger experience to the next level, so I can only assume that “n” refers to “an” and the passenger is going to have “an experience” with it…hopefully an awesome one.

The launch also comes at a time when the WAEA is rebranding as the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). And the capital X syncs nicely with Panasonic’s other X products, such as the eX2 platform that neXperience will run on (as well as future platforms), or the eXConnect in-flight connectivity solution that will ensure neXperience’s apps are fully connected. 

I recently spoke to Panasonic Avionics director of corporate sales and marketing Neil James about neXperience. Here is why he thinks it is so special (award-winning even):

FlightPath 3.JPG“Historically, with IFE systems, if you’re in a movie and you stop the movie and exit, you’re lucky if the system will remember to resume. Then you might open up an app called ‘seat chat’ and start to chat. But with FlightPath [neXperience], all the apps are interrelated so everything is happening concurrently not just from a picture to picture perspective, but it is aware of where the movie is, and of the metadata, and location awareness is a really important part of it. It starts to take on a life of its own. Some airlines want the [baseline] concept, but there are others who want to customize their cities, so we’ve recognized that we have to accommodate both, so we’ll have design language if you want to design your own city, or you can pick from a catalog. Airlines will have their own brand partners and will want to show those.”

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One Response to Out of the cool room and into the passenger experience

  1. Coolroom July 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow… This is definitely a huge improvement. We all know what a nuisance it is to stop a movie and restarting it from the begining. Well done Panasonic.