INTERIORS: BlueBox confident after successful wireless IFE tests

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After successfully testing its wireless in-flight entertainment solution on a Boeing Business Jet and engaging in R&D on the Airbus A380 mock-up, BlueBox is confident it will shortly secure a launch customer for the so-called wIFE system.

The solution is distinguished by the fact that it combines a consumer-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based embedded IFE system, in which content is stored locally, with some wireless distribution.

"We've always taken the view to use wireless for low-bandwidth applications so we do it, for example, for a pause on the PA, call bell control, lights control. Since the content is stored on the devices itself, we don't stream content [from head-end servers]. But we use the wireless bandwidth on the ground for content update," says BlueBox joint managing director David Brown.

BlueBox expects to enter the wireless IFE market via retrofit, but ultimately wants to secure linefit offerability from airframers, which requires funding for qualification testing. "Strategically, we are going to make it happen, whether that takes external funding or internal funding through retrofit," says Brown.

Meanwhile, BlueBox has signed a memorandum of understanding with maintenance service provider Monarch Aircraft Engineering for the development of embedded IFE solutions.

"This cooperation aligns with our strategy to offer airlines a highly differentiated end-to-end retrofit solution," says Monarch sales and marketing director Ian Bartholomew.