Interiors: Accessibility key driver for tablet IFE

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Increasing use of tablet PCs - whether airline-supplied or those brought on board by passengers - to access in-flight entertainment (IFE) content is “inevitable”, says Mark O’Brien, co-founder of Solid State Inflight (stand 61B31).

“Ultimately, this is going to happen,” he says, “and considering how long airlines hang on to their technology, once they have tablets, they will be around for a long while.”

A key factor that will make tablets more attractive than embedded IFE, O’Brien suggests, is the drive to increase the accessibility of systems for all passengers. “It is becoming an increasingly important issue for IFE. It’s not something that has previously been pushed to airlines because seat-back IFE just hasn’t been able to offer those tailored kinds of services.

“Obviously there are closed captions for the hearing impaired, but there is a lot of work to be done for low-vision, no- vision, colour blindness, Aspergers, you name it. We’re working with the Digital Accessibility Summit to modify our user interface to have as many accessibility features as you need. It’s amazing what can be done and what is already out there for our use.”

The UK-based company launched earlier this year with the aim to supply full-serviced iPads to airlines with pre-loaded content – early release Hollywood films, TV shows, games and magazines.

Its launch customer is the Swiss high-end charter operator PrivatAir and it will announce a second customer, a European short- and long-haul carrier, in the coming weeks.