INTERIORS: Panasonic offers upgrade solution to legacy IFE customers

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Panasonic Avionics' massive installed base of legacy IFEC customers can rest easy knowing they need not replace aging systems to obtain next generation functionality, as the manufacturer has launched a simple upgrade path called eXK.

Inserting new LRUs into Panasonic's older "K" series platforms, including a modified seat box, "you can do all the Android apps and all the content management that you can do with our X series", said Panasonic Avionics executive director of corporate sales and marketing Neil James.

"We're making sure airlines don't have to rip the seats apart, which is their biggest fear," he added. "By not touching the seats and leaving the monitors in place, the only restriction - if any - would be on resolution of content, but you can have all the same games, Android, all the apps from the 'App Store', served from this new special seat box. This deals with the obsolescence of older equipment."

Cedric Rhoads, Panasonic Avionics director of product management, pointed out that eXK "gives airlines an affordable proposition to get them to that new set of features but spares them the cost and expense of seat recertification to have those capabilities".

With its large portfolio of products - which now includes wireless IFE, seat-centric IFE for the retrofit market, and the new eXK solution - "we want to make sure we're acknowledging the past, the present and the future", says James.