In flight entertainment, also referred to as IFE, is the entertainment provided to passengers traveling in an air craft during the flight. The entertainment services comprise of food and drink, along with availability of different entertainment media including individual television sets for every passenger, reading material such as magazines, and music among others.
Growing competition in the airlines industry and increasing demand are the two major forces driving the market growth. Fast paced life and growth in per capita disposable incomes have enabled people to increasingly opt for airlines as a preferred mode of traveling. Thus, there is significant growth in number of people travelling via flights. This has increased the competition among the airline companies. Thus, these companies are looking at ways to differentiate themselves to gain competitive advantage by offering a wide range of in flight entertainment services.
The global market for in-flight entertainment and communication can be segmented as follows:
Audio and video entertainment segments comprise of music libraries and a wide collection of movies and videos. Communication media such as Wi-Fi and mobile telephony helps in keeping in touch with people on the ground. With growing competition in the aviation sector, it has become important for airline companies to provide maximum benefits to passengers to attract more number of customers. In-flight entertainment and communication systems augment the experience of passengers.
Airline companies are continuously making developments in in-flight entertainment technologies to keep up with the changing trends. Emerging IFE technologies include on-demand video entertainment that enables passengers to view videos or movies at any time, not depending on the master schedule. In-flight gambling, broadcast television, exterior mounted video cameras for displaying outer flight view to passengers, in-seat power outlets for notebook computers are among some of the newer IFE technologies.
Implementation of ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) is a recent development in IFE technology. These ATMs are capable of dispensing cash for all the major bank credit and debit cards and converts U.S. dollars to other currencies. These ATMs are also capable of determining the daily exchange rates via satellite feed.
Some of the major manufacturers of in-flight entertainment and communication equipments include Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Thales Group, and Live TV.
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