FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME
FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME

The Key Spot for HMDs like Facebook’s Oculus Rift

​With news rolling in on a daily basis about the latest editions or new features of HMDs like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or the Sony Morpheus, people have become confused about who will be the key market or users of these devices and technologies. A colleague recently discussed the use case for aircraft drones capturing pictures and videos of potential views from new tall apartment buildings and skyscrapers. Potential tenants could view the footage of their surroundings by floor, not by via a TV or computer monitor, by donning a pair of HMDs and doing circuits of the building layout. These new uses are astounding but will confuse the vast majority of consumers.

In Valour Consultancy’s latest report on HMDs, five key applications are outlined – education, entertainment, gaming, medical/healthcare and others (including applications such as above). We anticipate gaming and entertainment will remain the primary market for HMDs, creating a greater immersive experience for users. Point and shoot games like Call of Duty could be significantly enhanced by using HMDs, or playing as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on FIFA football would definitely be an enthralling experience.

Also, HMDs can benefit the education and medical industries substantially. It is easy to see how HMDs could benefit educating students – the device shuts out external distractions, and could provide customised learning methods or speed for students. At a Spanish University in Madrid, la Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), they tested a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses for lecturers. The class lecturer wore the glass which was linked to a system that allowed students to indicate whether they understood specific concepts discussed during classes via their smartphones.  The lecture was able to help students who were unable to understand certain points. The demand for HMDs in the education and medical application sectors is projected to increase from 25% of total HMD market in 2014 to 44.5% by 2024.

The others application is anticipated grow steadily over the next six years as the number of different point of view operations such as drone aircraft or other simulation experiences that can be undertaken on a HMD. Also, the way in which VR and adult entertainment will undoubtedly intersect is demonstrated by the increasing number of news articles appearing around this theme. Indeed, Vice, an online media agency, produced a short documentary on how VR and HMDs could affect our love lives and also the implications for the adult entertainment industry. Meanwhile, SugarDVD, an adult content vendor, has partnered up with both visual effects studios as well as top porn studios to develop content for Oculus Rift. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s latest report on HMDs click here.

-
[fusion_text]​With news rolling in on a daily basis about the latest editions or new features of HMDs like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or the Sony Morpheus, people have become confused about who will be the key market or users of these devices and technologies. A colleague recently discussed the use case for aircraft drones capturing pictures and videos of potential views from new tall apartment buildings and skyscrapers. Potential tenants could view the footage of their surroundings by floor, not by via a TV or computer monitor, by donning a pair of HMDs and doing circuits of the building layout. These new uses are astounding but will confuse the vast majority of consumers. In Valour Consultancy's latest report on HMDs, five key applications are outlined – education, entertainment, gaming, medical/healthcare and others (including applications such as above). We anticipate gaming and entertainment will remain the primary market for HMDs, creating a greater immersive experience for users. Point and shoot games like Call of Duty could be significantly enhanced by using HMDs, or playing as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on FIFA football would definitely be an enthralling experience. Also, HMDs can benefit the education and medical industries substantially. It is easy to see how HMDs could benefit educating students – the device shuts out external distractions, and could provide customised learning methods or speed for students. At a Spanish University in Madrid, la Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), they tested a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses for lecturers. The class lecturer wore the glass which was linked to a system that allowed students to indicate whether they understood specific concepts discussed during classes via their smartphones.  The lecture was able to help students who were unable to understand certain points. The demand for HMDs in the education and medical application sectors is projected to increase from 25% of total HMD market in 2014 to 44.5% by 2024. The others application is anticipated grow steadily over the next six years as the number of different point of view operations such as drone aircraft or other simulation experiences that can be undertaken on a HMD. Also, the way in which VR and adult entertainment will undoubtedly intersect is demonstrated by the increasing number of news articles appearing around this theme. Indeed, Vice, an online media agency, produced a short documentary on how VR and HMDs could affect our love lives and also the implications for the adult entertainment industry. Meanwhile, SugarDVD, an adult content vendor, has partnered up with both visual effects studios as well as top porn studios to develop content for Oculus Rift. For more information on Valour Consultancy's latest report on HMDs click here.[/fusion_text]

Contour and iON Consolidation

It was announced earlier this week that iON and Contour, two American wearable camera companies, are merging and would be known as Ion Contour.

Giovanni Tomaselli, CEO of iON Cameras will remain the CEO of the co-joint company, whilst Contour’s present CEO James Harrison will become a president within the organisation.

iON Contour is estimated to be worth approximately $100 million, and Valour Consultancy calculates the combined companies accounted for approximately 6.6% of action camera shipments in 2014.

The overall total point-of-view wearable camera market was worth $2.8 billion in 2014, and market revenues are anticipated to grow by 21.8% in 2015.

Ion Contour will keep its iON and Contour brands in the short-term.

Contour was one of the early pioneers in the point-of-view wearable camera market, almost rivalling GoPro, before it hit financial trouble. Contour, based in Utah, has been through a number of peaks and troughs, closing and re-opening in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Nevertheless, the company has maintained a strong support for its camera products, particularly in the high-end segment of the markets in the US and Europe.

It is believe iON will continue pursuing the budget consumer wearable camera market, however, with a horde of Chinese companies like SJCam and AEE technologies; the market potential for the brand is relatively limited and extremely competitive. The recent launch of iON Snapcam, a lifelogger camera, does look interesting, with that segment of the market projected to grow substantially in the coming years.

One of the key message taken from the merger is its focus on live streaming, a feature that hasn’t yet really taken off in today’s wearable cameras. Giovanni stated he wanted to use the live streaming connectivity feature in other markets that iON operate within, such as home monitoring and in the car as black box monitoring.

-
It was announced earlier this week that iON and Contour, two American wearable camera companies, are merging and would be known as Ion Contour. Giovanni Tomaselli, CEO of iON Cameras will remain the CEO of the co-joint company, whilst Contour's present CEO James Harrison will become a president within the organisation. iON Contour is estimated to be worth approximately $100 million, and Valour Consultancy calculates the combined companies accounted for approximately 6.6% of action camera shipments in 2014. The overall total point-of-view wearable camera market was worth $2.8 billion in 2014, and market revenues are anticipated to grow by 21.8% in 2015. Ion Contour will keep its iON and Contour brands in the short-term. Contour was one of the early pioneers in the point-of-view wearable camera market, almost rivalling GoPro, before it hit financial trouble. Contour, based in Utah, has been through a number of peaks and troughs, closing and re-opening in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Nevertheless, the company has maintained a strong support for its camera products, particularly in the high-end segment of the markets in the US and Europe. It is believe iON will continue pursuing the budget consumer wearable camera market, however, with a horde of Chinese companies like SJCam and AEE technologies; the market potential for the brand is relatively limited and extremely competitive. The recent launch of iON Snapcam, a lifelogger camera, does look interesting, with that segment of the market projected to grow substantially in the coming years. One of the key message taken from the merger is its focus on live streaming, a feature that hasn't yet really taken off in today's wearable cameras. Giovanni stated he wanted to use the live streaming connectivity feature in other markets that iON operate within, such as home monitoring and in the car as black box monitoring.

Update on IFC Equipage at Turkish Airlines

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to fly Turkish Airlines for the first time as I made my way to the Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) exhibition in Dubai. You might be wondering why I am writing about this now given the event took place at the beginning of February and the answer to that conundrum is that I have simply been ever so ridiculously busy of late. Alas, I have vowed to make blogging a more frequent part of my work week and would therefore like to bring you all up-to-date with a quick summary of the in-flight connectivity on offer on Turkish Airlines.

I must admit, I was particularly looking forward to flying with Turkish after learning it had been named “Best Airline in Europe” for the fourth consecutive year at the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards. This, and the fact that I was sure that the Istanbul to Dubai leg of my journey would be Wi-Fi-enabled after our recently-published Aeronautical Connectivity study revealed that around 30 Turkish Airlines aircraft were equipped with Panasonic’s Global Communications Services (GCS) by the end of the 2014. A cursory glance out of the terminal window before boarding confirmed the existence of a distinctive Ku-band radome atop the fuselage (see blurry photo below) and had me looking forward to getting some work done en route.

Radome-min

Unfortunately, I quickly learnt that there was no Wi-Fi network for me to connect to and naturally assumed that the service had been disabled for one reason or another. In spite of the existence of the aforementioned radome, I began to doubt myself and wondered if Turkish had actually announced a rollout plan for in-flight Wi-Fi on its A330 aircraft after all (as this press release from 2010 shows, they have). Flicking through the IFE section of the in-flight magazine whilst chomping on the delicious and complimentary Turkish delight confections served during boarding, I then came across some interesting information stating the in-flight Wi-Fi would “be activated following completion of final certification processes”. Had Turkish installed in-flight connectivity on its aircraft and not yet activated the service? If so, for how long had these aircraft been flying around with this dead weight? Were my statistics wrong?

Upon reaching land (and connectivity) I did some quick checks and found a review of the Panasonic-provided system from 2012. Clearly then, there are some aircraft with in-flight connectivity installed and activated and some where the service is not yet activated. I got in touch with Turkish Airlines to confirm current equipage numbers, which are as follows:

4 A330s and 20 B777s with GCS (Wi-Fi and TV) installed and activated
17 further A330s with GCS (Wi-Fi and TV) installed but not yet activated
Mobile phone services (from AeroMobile) will be activated soon

As mentioned in my last blog, Turkish Airlines is also trialling a Wireless IFE (W-IFE) solution from its MRO centre, Turkish Technic, and software partner, HAVELSAN. With Astronics Corporation’s EmPower in-seat power supply also present (on my flight at least – see photo below), Turkish is well set to tackle one of the main challenges associated with relying on passenger-owned devices for IFE – poor battery life. Time will tell if the airline also opts to spare passengers from neck ache and offer some form of PED storage. Having somewhere to comfortably place a smartphone or tablet inflight is undoubtedly a growing trend and the big news before this years’ Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg was Astronics entering into an exclusive distribution partnership with PED table innovator SmartTray.

Inseat power-min

So there you go, that’s a brief update on what’s happening in the world of W-IFE and IFC at Turkish.

-
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to fly Turkish Airlines for the first time as I made my way to the Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) exhibition in Dubai. You might be wondering why I am writing about this now given the event took place at the beginning of February and the answer to that conundrum is that I have simply been ever so ridiculously busy of late. Alas, I have vowed to make blogging a more frequent part of my work week and would therefore like to bring you all up-to-date with a quick summary of the in-flight connectivity on offer on Turkish Airlines. I must admit, I was particularly looking forward to flying with Turkish after learning it had been named "Best Airline in Europe" for the fourth consecutive year at the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards. This, and the fact that I was sure that the Istanbul to Dubai leg of my journey would be Wi-Fi-enabled after our recently-published Aeronautical Connectivity study revealed that around 30 Turkish Airlines aircraft were equipped with Panasonic's Global Communications Services (GCS) by the end of the 2014. A cursory glance out of the terminal window before boarding confirmed the existence of a distinctive Ku-band radome atop the fuselage (see blurry photo below) and had me looking forward to getting some work done en route. Radome-min Unfortunately, I quickly learnt that there was no Wi-Fi network for me to connect to and naturally assumed that the service had been disabled for one reason or another. In spite of the existence of the aforementioned radome, I began to doubt myself and wondered if Turkish had actually announced a rollout plan for in-flight Wi-Fi on its A330 aircraft after all (as this press release from 2010 shows, they have). Flicking through the IFE section of the in-flight magazine whilst chomping on the delicious and complimentary Turkish delight confections served during boarding, I then came across some interesting information stating the in-flight Wi-Fi would "be activated following completion of final certification processes". Had Turkish installed in-flight connectivity on its aircraft and not yet activated the service? If so, for how long had these aircraft been flying around with this dead weight? Were my statistics wrong? Upon reaching land (and connectivity) I did some quick checks and found a review of the Panasonic-provided system from 2012. Clearly then, there are some aircraft with in-flight connectivity installed and activated and some where the service is not yet activated. I got in touch with Turkish Airlines to confirm current equipage numbers, which are as follows: 4 A330s and 20 B777s with GCS (Wi-Fi and TV) installed and activated 17 further A330s with GCS (Wi-Fi and TV) installed but not yet activated Mobile phone services (from AeroMobile) will be activated soon As mentioned in my last blog, Turkish Airlines is also trialling a Wireless IFE (W-IFE) solution from its MRO centre, Turkish Technic, and software partner, HAVELSAN. With Astronics Corporation's EmPower in-seat power supply also present (on my flight at least – see photo below), Turkish is well set to tackle one of the main challenges associated with relying on passenger-owned devices for IFE – poor battery life. Time will tell if the airline also opts to spare passengers from neck ache and offer some form of PED storage. Having somewhere to comfortably place a smartphone or tablet inflight is undoubtedly a growing trend and the big news before this years' Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg was Astronics entering into an exclusive distribution partnership with PED table innovator SmartTray. Inseat power-min So there you go, that's a brief update on what's happening in the world of W-IFE and IFC at Turkish.

How’s the (new) W-IFE?

George Harrison once remarked that Hamburg was like an apprenticeship for The Beatles – a place where they learnt how to play in front of people. And so it proved; by the time the band returned for their sixth and final visit in 1966, they were a worldwide phenomenon. When I left the recent Aircraft Interiors exhibition (AIX) in this very same city, I did wonder to myself how many of the new providers of wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) that have seemingly cropped up overnight had fine-tuned their act enough to earn a second trip this time next year.

I must admit, the likes of Immfly, Northern Avionics, Sky FE, Pax Life, and Flow IFE, were all names that were new to me on arrival in the expanded IFE zone and I can only assume they were new to many airlines in attendance, too. When you throw into the mix the presence of in-flight connectivity vendors, providers of more traditional embedded systems, those offering portable solutions and then the arguably more established disruptors like Media inMotion (formerly AeroFi) and MI Airline (now AirFi), its little wonder that confusion abounds when it comes to choosing an IFE system.

So who are the new kids on the block?

Let’s start our retrospective journey at stand 2D15 with Immfly which says it aims to “provide passengers with entertainment and destination deals content via personal electronic devices”. Founded in 2013, detailed information on the Barcelona-based start-up is hard to come by. However, we know that since December of last year, Iberia Express has been incorporating Immfly technology on its aircraft. In addition to an additional as yet unnamed airline customer, I understand that Vueling is also on the firm’s books. Focusing on the short-haul and mid-haul markets, Immfly’s W-IFE solution is currently more of an intra-cabin network which passengers can use to read digital publications, view destination information and make reservations through third-party partnerships. For now, movies are not yet offered but this will apparently change in future.

Close to Immfly at stand 2C20 was Northern Avionics, a company known more for providing bespoke solutions to specific customers in the VIP sector. The firm was showing off its new WAvES (Wireless Avionics Entertainment System), which has been designed for helicopters, business jets and now, commercial airliners. A company representative told me that they’d had a lot of interest in the system since the Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) show this February and I certainly saw ample evidence of inquisitive airline representatives during my limited time on the stand.

Just round the corner on 2E30B we found Turkish Technic, which has partnered with software company, HAVELSAN, to create the Sky FE W-IFE system. No prizes for guessing that the launch customer for Sky FE is Turkish Airlines. After undergoing tests in October 2014, a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of the system on Boeing 737-800 aircraft (Turkish has 68 of these according to Planespotters) is expected to be issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) imminently. With the help of Google Translate, the additional information I have managed to find indicates the joint venture will apply for certification of Airbus models and business jets in the future. Interestingly, Sky FE is also offered as a wired seatback offering which was on display at AIX.

According to the handy routeplanner exhibitor directory I picked up on day one, stand 4E20 was home to a company called Pacific Inflight. It turns out the correct name for the company is PaxLife which is the software remnant of the Pacific Avionics (formerly Flight Focus) business acquired by Rockwell Collins in March 2015. That would certainly explain the presence of banner stands endorsing the PAVES IFE system as Rockwell is PaxLife’s preferred supplier of the hardware on which its new W-IFE proposition runs. Central to this offering is the PaxLife app which seeks to bring data-mined passenger information to a network of airlines before, during and after the flight. I am led to believe at least six airlines have joined the network already and that we’ll hear more concrete news in the not too distant future.

Last but not least on this Magical Mystery Tour (I had to get another Beatles reference in before summing up) was Flow IFE, a British firm located at stand 2C20 and fronted by Leon Codrington, once of Global Eagle Entertainment. Each server in the “Flow Cost” W-IFE system can serve 30 passengers and in the narrow-body market, airlines would have one situated at each end of the cabin. Flow IFE also has its eye on premium offerings in business class on wide-bodies. The company showcased Flow VR, a prototype virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) that would offer a personal immersive entertainment experience not available with PEDs or seatback systems. As well as allowing passengers to explore their destination prior to arrival, a key benefit of the system is its ability to reduce air sickness by introducing a false horizon that mimics the movement of the aircraft.

Flow IFE is, of course, not the first company looking at the use of HMDs for IFE. In January, Qantas launched a trial entertainment service that sees passengers in select A380 first class cabins given the Samsung Gear VR headset. At AIX, Honeywell and OnAir were also showing off various HMDs, while Gogo recently released a whitepaper on the implications of the technology for IFE. It seems pretty clear then that VR will likely play an important role in entertaining passengers and also, improving comfort as Dr. Betty Mohler’s presentation at the Passenger Experience Conference on the eve of AIX showed. Valour Consultancy’s upcoming report on W-IFE will provide analysis of this trend and many others, in addition to forecasts on the future direction of the market. For airlines, this will represent an invaluable tool to keep track of this fast-moving sector and to compare the solutions of companies active within it. ​

-
George Harrison once remarked that Hamburg was like an apprenticeship for The Beatles – a place where they learnt how to play in front of people. And so it proved; by the time the band returned for their sixth and final visit in 1966, they were a worldwide phenomenon. When I left the recent Aircraft Interiors exhibition (AIX) in this very same city, I did wonder to myself how many of the new providers of wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) that have seemingly cropped up overnight had fine-tuned their act enough to earn a second trip this time next year. I must admit, the likes of Immfly, Northern Avionics, Sky FE, Pax Life, and Flow IFE, were all names that were new to me on arrival in the expanded IFE zone and I can only assume they were new to many airlines in attendance, too. When you throw into the mix the presence of in-flight connectivity vendors, providers of more traditional embedded systems, those offering portable solutions and then the arguably more established disruptors like Media inMotion (formerly AeroFi) and MI Airline (now AirFi), its little wonder that confusion abounds when it comes to choosing an IFE system. So who are the new kids on the block? Let's start our retrospective journey at stand 2D15 with Immfly which says it aims to "provide passengers with entertainment and destination deals content via personal electronic devices". Founded in 2013, detailed information on the Barcelona-based start-up is hard to come by. However, we know that since December of last year, Iberia Express has been incorporating Immfly technology on its aircraft. In addition to an additional as yet unnamed airline customer, I understand that Vueling is also on the firm's books. Focusing on the short-haul and mid-haul markets, Immfly's W-IFE solution is currently more of an intra-cabin network which passengers can use to read digital publications, view destination information and make reservations through third-party partnerships. For now, movies are not yet offered but this will apparently change in future. Close to Immfly at stand 2C20 was Northern Avionics, a company known more for providing bespoke solutions to specific customers in the VIP sector. The firm was showing off its new WAvES (Wireless Avionics Entertainment System), which has been designed for helicopters, business jets and now, commercial airliners. A company representative told me that they'd had a lot of interest in the system since the Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) show this February and I certainly saw ample evidence of inquisitive airline representatives during my limited time on the stand. Just round the corner on 2E30B we found Turkish Technic, which has partnered with software company, HAVELSAN, to create the Sky FE W-IFE system. No prizes for guessing that the launch customer for Sky FE is Turkish Airlines. After undergoing tests in October 2014, a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of the system on Boeing 737-800 aircraft (Turkish has 68 of these according to Planespotters) is expected to be issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) imminently. With the help of Google Translate, the additional information I have managed to find indicates the joint venture will apply for certification of Airbus models and business jets in the future. Interestingly, Sky FE is also offered as a wired seatback offering which was on display at AIX. According to the handy routeplanner exhibitor directory I picked up on day one, stand 4E20 was home to a company called Pacific Inflight. It turns out the correct name for the company is PaxLife which is the software remnant of the Pacific Avionics (formerly Flight Focus) business acquired by Rockwell Collins in March 2015. That would certainly explain the presence of banner stands endorsing the PAVES IFE system as Rockwell is PaxLife's preferred supplier of the hardware on which its new W-IFE proposition runs. Central to this offering is the PaxLife app which seeks to bring data-mined passenger information to a network of airlines before, during and after the flight. I am led to believe at least six airlines have joined the network already and that we'll hear more concrete news in the not too distant future. Last but not least on this Magical Mystery Tour (I had to get another Beatles reference in before summing up) was Flow IFE, a British firm located at stand 2C20 and fronted by Leon Codrington, once of Global Eagle Entertainment. Each server in the "Flow Cost" W-IFE system can serve 30 passengers and in the narrow-body market, airlines would have one situated at each end of the cabin. Flow IFE also has its eye on premium offerings in business class on wide-bodies. The company showcased Flow VR, a prototype virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) that would offer a personal immersive entertainment experience not available with PEDs or seatback systems. As well as allowing passengers to explore their destination prior to arrival, a key benefit of the system is its ability to reduce air sickness by introducing a false horizon that mimics the movement of the aircraft. Flow IFE is, of course, not the first company looking at the use of HMDs for IFE. In January, Qantas launched a trial entertainment service that sees passengers in select A380 first class cabins given the Samsung Gear VR headset. At AIX, Honeywell and OnAir were also showing off various HMDs, while Gogo recently released a whitepaper on the implications of the technology for IFE. It seems pretty clear then that VR will likely play an important role in entertaining passengers and also, improving comfort as Dr. Betty Mohler's presentation at the Passenger Experience Conference on the eve of AIX showed. Valour Consultancy's upcoming report on W-IFE will provide analysis of this trend and many others, in addition to forecasts on the future direction of the market. For airlines, this will represent an invaluable tool to keep track of this fast-moving sector and to compare the solutions of companies active within it. ​