Welcome to Wired!
Actually talking to someone is rarely at the top of the list of things people do with their smartphones, at least that’s the impression given by Pew Research Center studies. Adding tablets like the iPad, netbooks, and old school laptop computers to the mix of personal electronic devices (PEDs) people use to connect with the wired world, ASIG realized that most airline passengers today fly with the display half of an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. It only seemed right to meet passengers halfway and install its OnBoard IFE server and access terminal in the launch customer’s Boeing 737 NG.
Traditional IFE systems, with screens wired into the back of every seat, are heavy, expensive, and impractical on many smaller single-aisle jets. And keeping pace with technology is an expensive decision because the server that feeds the seatback displays is permanently installed.
Powered by Avionica equipment, the OnBoard server/access terminal is based on tablet computer technology and size (10.5-by-7.2-by-1.65-inches). Easily removable, it is securely mounted in a lockable dock. Combined, the server and mount weigh just 9 pounds, and keeping pace with new technology is simply a matter of remotely and wirelessly pushing content updates or plugging a freshly updated server into the dock.
Part of ASIG’s Wired Aircraft architecture, OnBoard distributes its IFE content through a secure Wi-Fi router. To connect with the outside world, ASIG can configure it with the appropriate Iridium gateway and/or satellite communication system. OnBoard’s solid-state drive holds up to 800 hours of content, from streaming video to web hosting of online catalogs. With the Iridium gateway it will handle point of sale applications with real-time credit card clearing and text messaging. With satcom, OnBoard gives passengers text e-mail and SMS service.
OnBoard can also reduce the time and money it takes to keep an aircraft mission ready by storing all the necessary manuals, databases, LRU operating software, and code images, making them immediately available to technicians. In conjunction with the backend server based avSYNC software, OnBoard uses its wireless routers to keep its IFE and maintenance content current.
Maintenance technicians can remove the server from its locked mount and take it to where they are working. In addition to a variety of digital documents and databases, OnBoard can deliver a number of support applications, including ARINC 615, ARINC 615A dataloading, ARINC 429 databus analysis, TCAS diagnostics, DFDR download, flight data analysis, and many more.
OnBoard’s new menu software enables operators to build custom prompts and workflows, from one-touch operation to detailed data entry. Combined with the system’s scalability, you can design the system best suited to your passenger’s needs and your bottom line.
OnBoard is the third and final phase of ASIG’s Regional Aircraft Cabin Improvement Program. An April 2010 STC marked the completion of Phase II, which provides external power for passenger personal electronic devices (See Major Amenities for Regional Cabins). Phase I, STC’d in January 2010, brought eight-meal TIA convection ovens to the EMB-145.
Combining an OnBoard IFE server and access terminal with ASIG’s external power supply system to the passengers’ personal electronic devices operating at full capacity will go more than halfway in making their flight productive and entertaining.
Until next time, stay 5x5, mission ready, and Wired!