A marketplace targeted at in-flight entertainment (IFE) and communication system B2B developers is being launched by Panasonic Avionics and AirPlay software firm CoKinetic Systems, in a landmark move that aims to attract innovation in the sector.

The so-called AirPlay marketplace will provide easy access to Panasonic system features, usage reporting, payment capture and aircraft on-load/off-load solutions, enabling developers to focus on applications and advertisements.

In essence, it "creates a model where little ideas can play as much as big ideas," CoKinetic Systems CEO Kris Stevens said last week at the World Airline Entertainment Association's conference and exhibition in Long Beach, California.

Among the developers expected to be engaged are software companies both inside and "well outside" of the IFE industry and "people with a social agenda", says Stevens, noting: "We're going to create a lot of really fun stuff."

Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis says the marketplace concept "is an essential element of our long term innovation strategy" as it "provides a means for advertisers, merchants and application publishers to develop and deploy new and exciting features" and "opens up our platform to many more developers".

CoKinetic is perhaps best known for supplying its AirPlay software to Virgin America's "Red" system and Emirates' "ice" system, which use Panasonic hardware to provide information, communication and entertainment. Air New Zealand and United Airlines are among other customers.

Agreements to provide AirPlay software to other Virgin-brand carriers are "still pending", says Stevens. He also reveals that customer announcements are expected from China, Latin America, Europe "and another major domestic [US] carrier before the end of the year".

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news