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Selecting a Content Management System for In-Flight Entertainment (IFE)

Choosing the right content management systems (CMS) as a management backend for in-flight entertainment systems (IFE) is anything but easy. It’s no longer sufficient to have just the core abilities to manage different content types (e.g. audio, video, images, meta data) and service data (e.g. payment, flight information, fleet management). A content management system should do more and complement your business and operational goals.

It also becomes necessary to identify a CMS solution that supports both connected and disconnected environments (e.g. on-board of an aircraft) to work with the cloud and on-premise data centres to provide coverage for unusual synchronisation and delivery scenarios for content and services. Furthermore, the ability to provide a studio-grade DRM protection in offline environments and cover different usage scenarios on-board is one of the core requirements for modern IFE systems.

In a perfect world every project would allow customers to start from scratch and use the latest hardware and software technologies. But in reality, customers need to keep supporting legacy systems on-board (e.g. wired IFE systems, old communication protocols and devices). The requirement to manage old and new systems in parallel and to implement an interoperable solution (e.g. second screen support for wired IFE on latest consumer devices), hence, should also be fulfilled by a management system.

Selecting the Right CMS

Customers in the aerospace industry can feel the weight of increasing requirements and expectations in video management and distribution. In 1998, Toy Story 2 required a mere 10GB of storage to produce. The storage need has grown exponentially since then, for digitally rendered movies like “The Hobbit trilogy” – the move from SD to HD and now 4K video formats has caused a large increase in the file size for the same video content. Additionally, the number of video content to be managed is getting larger and larger daily. Huge movie catalogs, thousands of episodes of TV shows now require automated processes for ingestion, transcoding, encryption, packaging, and publishing.

A majority of established CMS solutions in the market are built to fulfill the requirements of traditional media scenarios at home. Implementing the needs of media and entertainment industry, CMS vendors emphasised management of audio and video content and related metadata providing a rich feature set for management and delivery to home entertainment environments out-of-the-box. In most of the cases, the customisation is either not needed or is quite limited. This approach is not sufficient for the customers in the aerospace industry.

Implementing a management backend for modern IFE systems on top of a classical media focused CMS leads to heavy customisation efforts, increased costs, and higher complexity.

Solution: Digital Platforms Built on Axinom

Axinom provides a set of core products (Axinom CMS, Axinom CDS, and Axinom DRM) designed for the aerospace industry which connect services, assets, crew members, and passengers. With architectures and technologies proven for aerospace industry, the products allow customers to build the next generation of management and delivery platforms.

Content Management for Wireless and Seatback IFE Systems

Axinom CMS is an extensible content management system designed to cover the full end-to-end media workflow for wireless and seatback IFE systems. It is used by major aerospace clients around the world to power their IFE systems, and is helping them deploy new generation of wireless and wired IFE systems and services.

It is the first full-featured content management solution for the global aerospace market that enables both cloud-based and on- premises deployments for a wide set of connected and disconnected consumer scenarios (e.g. on-board an aircraft). Based on industry-standards, it confirms to the highest requirements regarding security and reliability.

With workflows delivered in source code and a unified API, Axinom CMS provides an open development platform allowing customers to expand to platforms that may not be considered part of the in-flight entertainment ecosystem today and to connect and organise services on-ground and on-board the aircraft.

Secure Content Store for Early Window Hollywood Movies

As Hollywood is transitioning to 4k video, customers need to choose a new approach to content protection, one that promotes more service flexibility and quicker time to market. The path of early-window content from studio to electronic devices on flights features a set of stringent requirements to safeguard content copyright.

Axinom has worked closely with leading Hollywood studios to build secure content stores for premium video content stored on-premises data centres and in the cloud.

By providing a multi-DRM service with the highest security requirements (such as Widevine L1 or PlayReady DRM SL3000), Axinom DRM gives customers the flexibility to rapidly launch video and live streaming to deliver high quality, secure and flexible IFE services to the widest range of consumer devices (MS Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and more).

Axinom DRM is one of the first multi-DRM product that can operate in a disconnected fashion enabling premium video on board more than a thousand aircraft in the world today.

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Content Synchronization and Delivery

Today’s services in an aircraft have several challenges. Networks can be slow and unreliable, bandwidth can be changing or costly, data can be personal and critical. A world with ubiquitous uninterrupted connectivity is just an idea so far. Traffic quotas, allocated bandwidth, availability of connectivity, storage space, computational power, data security, privacy and hardware limitations cannot be taken for granted.

Axinom CDS is built to transfer data fast, securely, and reliably in any environment, e.g. on-board servers and devices exchanging entertainment content and services with the management platform in the cloud. Axinom CDS is the robust solution that manages all aspects of synchronisation, including utilizing different pipes (LAN, WiFi, 3G, LTE, satellite networks), managing interruptions, prioritizing important data, and controlling data transfer cost.

Interested to know more about Axinom solutions for the aerospace industry? Let us know in the chat below.

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Axinom products solve the complex digital challenges related to digital services and content preparation, management, delivery, security, and deployment. Our solutions are powering the biggest names in the aerospace and media industry.

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