News | Technology | OnlineA roundup of digital developments for in-flight servicesThis article was originally published onBy Marisa Garcia | April 7, 2017 Digital has extended its reach in the cabin space as airlines look for new ways to reduce costs and increase revenue.The rise of digital cabins and connected aircraft can multiply the return on limited real estate far better than air fares.Seat-back screens and wireless entertainment are portals for cross-branded content and ancillary sales. Manufacturers are also keen to help airlines gather and share data to lure advertisers and brand sponsors.Panasonic Avionics reveals data can mean big money with NEXT Panasonic Avionics revealed a new cabin technology platform, NEXT, which includes a service to help airline seats become attractive consumer study and advertising portals. Panasonic touts its Integrated Marketing Services (PIMS) global marketing platform as "the largest inflight marketing solution in the industry.PIMS can capture granular data of passenger activities by seat. Airlines can apply their own passenger data for highly targeted marketing of products and services to passengers, their own as well as third-party brand partners boosting retail onboard and on the ground.Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: "It is about innovating with purpose to create a bespoke offering that is aligned with our customers’ business models, increasing their efficiency and enhancing their inflight experience."Share this quote Thales Vision 360º opens developer portal to the worldThales has new opportunities for creative developers to gain real estate space on the seat-back screen by opening up its Android developer portal as part of the refinement of Thales' new Vision 360º digital ecosystem.Thales InFlyt CEO Dominique Giannoni explains: "Any developer can subscribe, download the SDK and upload their application. Once vetted by us for cybersecurity, airlines can see the application on the full package, without our getting into the detail testing of the application. We have hundreds of applications that registered in this portal. Just under 100 are already flying, integrated in our in-seat system and that we did not develop and were seamlessly integrated through the process of the Thales application portal."Share this quote Thales expects that welcoming outside developers can help airlines keep up with the dynamically changing consumer digital landscape and find new ways to monetize their In-Flight Entertainment.The majority of new developers have introduced games, but some have focused on ancillary opportunities, including in-flight retailing.Airlines could merge these two, adding branded advertising to in-flight games, in exchange for tokens, or creating branded Android device games which consumers will want to play off the plane too.Zodiac Aerospace's Iconnz digital cabin makes planes self-awareZodiac Aerospace showed off its Iconnz digital cabin concept at the Aircraft Interiors Expo which encompasses the gamut of operations activities pre-flight and in-flight, as well as common aircraft maintenance issues.Smart sensors on seats can assure crew that all passengers have their seat belts buckled and identify the seat of any passenger who doesn't, seats can also be marked to confirm that a life jacket is present in the secure container (theft has long been an issue for airlines).Digitalized overhead bins can report on their load status, alerting gate crew when they need to begin checking passengers' cabin luggage and ensuring no luggage bin space is wasted. Cabin data can be immediately transmitted to airline operations and partners for quick planning of maintenance response.But the system can also be a boost cabin retail. Galleys self-report on catering stock available, and can connect to seat-back screens on which snacks and beverages are sold. The data gathered can be shared with caterers for fine-tuning of menu offerings, pushing for better optimized product development more likely to sell out.Airlines might also push promotions of items available for sale to passenger screens and personal electronic devices.Output 42 App reduces cabin check costs and delays with point and click reportingIndependent aviation software developers, Output 42, have simplified post-flight cabin checks with the fully digital Cabin Survey app, which works on any mobile device including Android, iOS, or Windows.This mobile app allows airline cabin maintenance staff to record and report faults on board in 10-15 seconds using a simple photo and marking interface. The app works both offline and online, and is automatically synchronize through the cloud to integrate with the company's MRODoc maintenance tracking platform.Output 42 counts easyJet among its Cabin Checks app users.SkyGuru goes Android after successful Kickstarter. Developers SkyGuru, which created an iOS app to help users combat their fear of flying by predicting and explaining flight conditions in real-time, will release an Android version this summer after successfully completing the Kickstarter campaign to cover development costs.The existing iOS version of SkyGuru has been downloaded by more than 30,000 nervous flyers around the world.SkyGuru buys professional information and data regarding previous flights, airport operations, and weather and meteorological data from its partners, in order to give accurate predictions and helpful comments on the ups and downs of flights to app users.SkyGuru does not collect or store any personal data from users and relies only standard location services through GPS data. As with other location-based apps, users can decide to switch this feature off in their smartphone settings.NB: In-flight image via Pixabay.