When airlines choose their IFC partners, there are many known factors: performance, network capacity, coverage and cost, to name a few. One factor that is frequently misunderstood is the ability of an IFC system to be integrated with an embedded IFE system. Using standardized tools and an open architecture, Gogo’s FLEX Inflight System makes this integration straightforward for both the airline and the IFE provider. Airlines can choose the best solution for their passengers and business needs and not worry that the project will be delayed or impossible to deliver.
Working with an embedded IFE system presents several challenges as well as opportunities for airlines. Integrations between two vendors can be difficult, as there may be incompatibilities between hardware and software and networking. Gogo has extensive experience with these integrations and believes that the best long-term strategy is to create standardized interfaces for IFE providers to leverage when considering IFE+C integrated use cases.
What does a standardized interface mean?
We have seen that the use cases that are commonly requested by airlines require a specific set of touchpoints between IFE and IFC vendors. Gogo provides a set of APIs that can be used by IFE providers to access connectivity. Gogo also provides a standard cabling provision to interconnect the IFE head-end server to the Gogo IFC server. By making these touchpoints standard in software and hardware, we simplify the integration.
Using these standards is beneficial to both the IFE provider and the airline. The IFE provider can minimize any bespoke development, and instead use the same solutions every time when working with Gogo. Airlines benefit from predictable integrations through tightly managed launch schedules with minimal risks. Rather than managing for IFE and IFC integration, the airline can focus on building rich experiences such as onboard commerce or delivering Gogo TV through a seatback screen.
From an industry perspective, IFE and IFC vendors have not had a long history of harmonious cooperation. This behavior has disappeared more recently as airlines have demanded IFE+C integrations in support of new business models and onboard use cases. In this new cooperative scenario everyone benefits from reusing solutions and speeding time to market. Also, development teams spend less time figuring out how to complete routine interconnection schemes. This is good for airlines and passengers because now the IFEC industry can deploy its experts to solve more complex problems.
More flexibility for airlines
In conclusion, airlines should not feel locked into using the same IFC provider just because of their incumbent or preferred decision for IFE. Gogo’s standardized integration framework, which is an optional part of the FLEX Inflight System, means that airlines can choose Gogo as IFC provider with confidence.