Mark van Berkel, CEO at TrueNorth Avionics, discusses the impact of PEDs on IFE

Are new functionalities and user interface ideas being carried over from PEDs?

Newer IFE systems, including our Optelity Experience (OE), offer intuitive interfaces that have a similar look and feel to the applications people already have on their PEDs. This makes accessing IFE simpler because it’s just like using any other app.

PEDs are also redefining what constitutes entertainment; people are watching more and more content delivered via the internet, whether it’s streaming YouTube or Netflix, and users expect the same experience when they fly. The added advantage is that a PED can be used for email and other applications besides IFE. This is what TrueNorth calls convergence – the merging of information, entertainment and communications on one device.

Have you noticed more demand for IFE that works on PEDs?

People prefer to use their own devices, and a number of companies are offering IFE on PEDs. The costs associated with maintaining a system that can accommodate the ever increasing variety of PEDs being brought on board business jets could be prohibitive. This is why the Optelity product family is designed to accommodate new PEDs through software.

Additionally, the lifecycle of PEDs is measured in months versus traditional IFE, which has a lifecycle of years, if not decades. This frequent refresh cycle for PED hardware means IFE based on PEDs is always state of the art, and not encumbered by obsolete hardware. The downside of PED-based IFE is that it lacks the lure of being built-in, and has some cumbersomeness about it. The user needs to be a bit more tech savvy with a PED-based IFE solution.

Are PEDs a competitor for traditional IFE infrastructure and content?

PEDs could be viewed as a competitor to traditional IFE structure, but they could also be complementary, and they certainly can be considered disruptive. What PEDs can offer to the traditional market is bespoke content, where the customer has more control of what they want to watch, and is able to personalize it. Successful future IFE systems will incorporate flexibility and focus on the user’s needs, while also recognizing the PED’s potential for convergence of information, entertainment and communications.

How does your system and ongoing development work take these trends into consideration? 

Optelity Experience addresses the new realities of users boarding business jets with their own devices, and takes it to the next level through exclusive content, flexibility and simplified upgrade paths. New concepts, such as team rooms where people can collaborate, sharing corporate and personal content, and concierge services, where they can partake in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, are ways in which TrueNorth and our partner Display Interactive are building the new breed of IFE. Optelity Experience is a convergence of information, communication and entertainment.

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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