By Gina Michelle Francis
Are you considering switching to a digital IFE system? If so, here are some of the things you may need to consider.
• Your first considerations should be regarding the size of your fleet and your budget. Investing in leading technology and content is often a sensible option for large worldwide carriers, but may not be cost-effective for small domestic airlines with smaller aircraft.
• Think about the expectations of your passengers. If your airline caters for high-end passengers, they are likely to expect the very best technology and content. In this instance, quality could be key to the satisfaction of customers and the long-term relationships you hope to forge with them.
• One thing to consider is how to ensure there is minimum disruption while the move from analogue to digital is being undertaken. You may wish to consider handheld devices in the interim.
• One of the biggest challenges of the transition is becoming acquainted with the acronyms and jargon involved. By identifying an experienced and knowledgeable content service provider (CSP), this process should be far smoother. They’ll explain everything clearly and help you to make informed decisions about the technology you use.
• Consider the duration of flights, so that digital content can be chosen appropriately. Longer-haul flights may require a movie-bias, while short-haul flights may be more focused on audio and TV shorts.
• Another consideration is regarding the costs to the passenger. Is this a complementary service or something that will be used to generate revenue? Your preference will have an impact on the design and structure of the media that your content service provider will recommend.
• Capacity for each system varies, so you’ll need to think about what content needs to the there and how often you’ll keep it before replacing it with something fresh.
• The type of system you choose will also be dependent on whether it will be broadcast on overhead screens or via seat-back screens. This could differ from economy to business class.
• If you’re using seat-back screens, you may wish to have an AVOD interactive menu (GUI) and so will need your content service provider to help you design it to your exact specifications.
• You’ll need to define the roll-out schedule, as switching from analogue to digital could result in a shorter schedule mindset when ordering and deploying content. The lead-times for digital can also be longer for digital, so careful scheduling and management will be required to ensure content is fresh.