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AIX: Panasonic urges industry to make travel the 'fourth place'

Panasonic Avionics believes travel will become people’s “fourth place” after home, work and social gathering areas – and has issued a “call to action” to the airline industry to work together to transform it into a place of enjoyment and comfort.

Following in the footsteps of Starbucks, which identified itself as the third place in people’s lives and focused accordingly on making its stores clean, spacious, comfortable and well-connected, Panasonic wants to lead the way for travel to become the fourth.

“If we want travel to become the fourth place, we have to make it a place people enjoy being,” Panasonic chief technology officer Dave Bartlett said during a media briefing at the show. “We can’t do it alone, so this is an action call to the industry as a whole to work together to make travel the fourth place.”

Bartlett believes the technology is all there to smooth out some of the rougher areas of travel, such as flight delays or cancellations, and says it is a case of joining the dots and creating an “open ecosystem” to make the whole experience seamless.

Technology holds the key to making the economy class flying experience more bearable by taking passengers’ minds off the limited confines of their seats, he says.

“How do you escape that seat? The only place you can escape is in your mind. That’s the fourth place,” says Bartlett.

For its part, Panasonic remains “super committed” to its Ku-band satellite network and is seeing “more and more adoption of our third-generation network”, says global head of marketing and product development Gaston Sandoval. A partnership on its new high throughput satellite (HTS), which launched in 2018, will be announced in the fourth quarter, and its first extreme throughput satellite (XTS) will be available over Asia in the first quarter of 2020.

Panasonic has not “changed our promises” on the previously-announced Loyalty, Marketplace, Wellness and Theatre solutions, all of which are supported by its NEXT platform. The company announced at the show that it is also adding a new integrated moving map product called Arc, as well as a data analytics platform known as Insights.

“All these layers are essential to activate transformation for our customers,” says Sandoval.

For more news, pictures and analysis from AIX 2019, visit our dedicated event page

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