Previously, we took a look at the state of the in-flight entertainment (IFE) industry and the perfect storm of changing technology and consumer expectations driving airlines and IFE providers alike to fundamentally reconsider the concept of in-flight services. We thought, as a user experience design studio unbiased and unburdened by airline regulations and industry conventions, it'd be fun to weigh in on the future of IFE and explore a blue-sky concept that would let the experience live across multiple platforms and provide equal benefit to both passengers and airlines alike. This is what our crack team of interaction, visual, and motion designers came up with:
Oceanic Airlines: “Concierge” Concept Sketch
“Concierge” by ustwo™ is a service which enables “Oceanic Airlines” to care for its passengers every step of their journey—on and off the plane. Concierge is a fully personalised travel and in-flight entertainment service available to passengers from the moment they book, right through to when they reach their destinations. It is delivered as a cross-platform service available on the web, downloadable onto passengers’ own mobile and tablet devices, and is integrated with the airline’s reservation system, loyalty program and cabin services.
Concierge takes advantage of the growing number of passengers who have their own personal devices which they use on board for both business and pleasure. We offer passengers the choice to use this device whilst on board instead of a embedded device within the seatback.
The Concierge interface is adaptive to the current stage of the passenger’s journey, showing an interface that is directly relevant to their current needs. This enables Oceanic and its affiliate partners to guide the user through a comprehensive range of pre, during, and post-flight service options such as arranging transport to-and-from the airport, promotional deals in the airport terminal itself, passenger check-in, meal selection, and on-demand entertainment from the passenger lounge. Although not shown in the video, this same concept could also be extended to other services such as baggage status, flight tracking, on-board retail, hotel reservations, destination activities such as concert tickets, and enable the cabin crew to give extra care to special needs passengers or frequent fliers.
Taking advantage of new in-flight networking standards means passengers are treated to a full personalised experience. Passengers are greeted at the seat once their device is connected to the aircraft’s LAN. Traditional issues with integrating IFE into seats are reduced: Seat manufacturers only need to configure connectivity and housing that a tablet may sit in.
For passengers who do not wish to bring their own devices, the use of modern discreet tablet devices using common software platforms means airlines can offer a rich UI experience experience to passengers on up-to-date hardware that is cost effective, easily upgradeable and maintainable—simply swapping out devices when a defect occurs or the system is due an upgrade. Software updates can be delivered via enterprise deployment. On-board servers supply on demand content and manage on board commerce.
ustwo™ attended the Cabin Innovations & Strategies for the Future Conference as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo held in Hamburg last month and we were excited to see how everyone from relatively new IFE and connectivity players such as Gogo, Bluebox Avionics, Mezzo, and Row 44 to the established giants Thales and Panasonic Avionics are all exploring different ways IFE can be delivered to achieve a more cost-effective yet enjoyable passenger experience.
Centering the design of in-flight services around the whole passenger journey, from booking to post-flight, enables us to consider opportunities for airlines to increase their brand presence beyond the cabin and hopefully make the experience of airline traveling a little more enjoyable for all of us. See you on-board soon!