Panasonic’s New In-Flight Entertainment System Customizes Your Onboard Experience
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
While some people within the industry believe seat-back entertainment is on its way out — hello, American Airlines — others think it’s still full speed ahead. Panasonic is on the optimistic side, having announced a brand-new in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, dubbed “NEXT” at the Aircraft Interiors Expo earlier this month.
Panasonic’s system isn’t limited to the typical “take your seat and watch some movies to pass the time” experience. Yes, there will still be movies — lots of movies — but there will be so many more options available to passengers and the airlines on which you fly.
“We look at a number of trends in the industry and demographic areas. We look at them not for just innovation but what they can deliver to us and our customers. We’re looking at how those trends can be delivered to our customers,” said Panasonic’s Senior Director of Corporate Sales & Marketing, Jon Norris. Beginning in 2020, NEXT will have “the most comprehensive and integrated ecosystem in the industry.”
What is there to integrate, you may be wondering? Panasonic wants to tackle the passenger experience from start to finish. Imagine having your flight attendants knowing what you like to eat and drink on board your flight, bringing your favorite cocktail prior to departure without even being asked. How about the ability to sync your wearable fitness devices to your screen? If you’re willing to share this data with the airline, the cabin crew would be able to know when you’re too warm, or in need of some hydration. A flight attendant could offer you a glass of water, without you having to ask.
Apart from being able to serve loyal customers more intuitively, airlines could benefit from NEXT monetarily as well. “What really exponentially strengthens the value of the platform is the ecosystem,” said Norris. “We have probably the broadest, deepest, most comprehensive ecosystem in the industry, in terms of all the various elements that we can layer onto that platform.” The ecosystem could consist of advertising, sponsorship, pay-per-view, onboard services, duty-free purchases and even Wi-Fi.
Norris said one of the trends being evaluated by airlines is hyper-personalizaton. This is viewed from both the points of view of the airline and the passenger. “If what you want to achieve for your passengers is this ‘internet of me,’ because everyone wants to be valued, everyone wants to be recognized as an individual, with the enablers we have in the ecosystem, we can enable functionality to welcome back passengers by name, or make available their pre-ordered playlist, their pre-ordered meal.” These things can be done from home or even in the lounge just prior to boarding.
Panasonic is planning to make a suite of APIs available for airlines to come in and add their own functionality. Carriers would be able to message specific passengers aboard the flight in the instance of a trip disruption. For example, your flight is late and you will miss your connecting flight, the airline can let you know that it’s re-booked you on the next flight. NEXT is both modular and scalable, allowing airlines to pick and choose the features they want to offer to their customers.
During his product announcement speech, Norris said, “Just because one American airline [American Airlines] has decided not to have seat-back IFE on its  MAX, that doesn’t mean seat-back IFE is dead. That’s complete garbage.” Coincidentally, American is a Panasonic Wi-Fi and IFE customer on many of its long-haul aircraft. But Norris was onto something in his assertion that passengers would prefer to have IFE options in their seat, even if they choose to purchase Wi-Fi and watch content on the devices they’ve brought onboard.
NEXT is slated to first become available in 2020, aboard the Boeing 777X. As of the end of March, Boeing has delivered 1,333 777s, and has orders for 306 of the 777X, including 150 from Emirates and 60 from Qatar Airways. Norris disclosed one of those 777X customers would be installing 4K video screens — another Panasonic product — but would not share which airline had selected them.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees