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IFE with Cloud, in the Cloud

Harnessing the cloud for on-board entertainment and services

Cloud computing has played a significant role in the digital transformation of software services and entertainment. Merits of the cloud are well known to most, but in the somewhat conventional aerospace, the transition has been slow. Nevertheless, clouds have just started rolling in for operations, digital services, and in-flight entertainment applications.
“Cloud computing is an inseparable part of the media industry, and this is trickling down to the IFE sector as well. The cloud approach provides many advantages over the traditional on-premises or data-center methodology, the biggest being the drastic reduction in the content delivery cycle, which is always a concern in the IFE industry,” says Oleg Knut, chief solution architect at Axinom. “Nowadays, IFE paired with connectivity opens many opportunities, for example, on the fly processing, packaging, and delivery of early-window content.”
Preparing a movie to be enjoyed by the passenger on-board requires multiple steps, ranging from video ingestion for transcoding and encryption to playback through the seatback or BYOD screens. The workflow benefits from the agility and flexibility of the cloud; Master files of entertainment assets can now be sourced from content providers in seconds, a task that earlier used to take days due to the related security concerns. Besides assisting transfers, cloud computing solves management, and processing challenges as well. It gives full control over digital assets by allowing the creation of rules based on the flight path, fleet, and business models.
Besides entertainment, the power of the cloud could also be leveraged to upload and offload data, analytics, logs, digital services, and any critical or non-critical data in real-time using the on-board connectivity. Some specific use-cases are moving maps, real-time weather, e-commerce, and IoT applications. An aircraft can outsource the massive computing and data crunching to cloud servers, as on-board systems are limited in their capabilities.
Next-gen IFE solutions are providing unlimited opportunities, ancillary revenue streams, and entail many benefits. “With multiple integrations possibilities and high-speed connectivity using Ka band and 5G, the cloud is also opening up new revenue opportunities via personalized experience through ads, entertainment, destination services,” adds Oleg Knut. “Such integrations and personalization are becoming on par with those found in the online media industry.”
Some of the main benefits of cloud-based IFE are:
Single-key DRM VS. Multiple keys DRM
As with all cloud workloads, the customer can quickly scale up and down the infrastructure, thus increasing or decreasing the processing capacity only on need.
By moving all the hard-work to the cloud, the need for having expensive on-premise equipment for the preparation, processing, and delivery becomes obsolete.
The instances can run in geographically distributed locations to handle multiple scenarios - customers with a global presence, third-party CSPs.
Processing Time
Automated workflows of the cloud significantly reduce the time to market for the content, which is crucial for early window movies.
Implementing integrations with different services and systems through APIs is easy.
Faster rollout of software and security updates, with SLA of up to 99.99%
Hardware Agnostic
By moving the processing to the cloud, hardware maintenance and upgrade costs become minimum.
Axinom IFS (In-Flight Services) allows the creation of state-of-art IFE and IFEC solutions by using a hybrid architecture that harnesses the power of the cloud wherever possible (on-ground and on-board), and uses on-premise solutions where connectivity becomes infeasible. The customer-specific platforms are built on our core products, covering both on-ground and on-board components. Capabilities of IFS range from wireless-IFE, live-TV, on-board shopping, integrated IoT systems, connectivity portals, and more. These systems can be integrated as services with the crew or passenger apps, and reside in containers, giving full granular control to administrators.
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