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What Is The Future Of IFE? Here Are Some Predictions

Airplane Display

The past decade has revolutionized the in flight experience. Where people would once crack open a book or take a nap, they now have a host of entertainment options right at their fingertips. Now, in seat power and airplane displays allow passengers to use their own devices or relax with movies provided by the airline. The latest inflight entertainment systems provide a completely customizable trip, but what is next?

Industry experts are speculating about which features could show up on airplanes very soon. The following are two of the most groundbreaking features that may show up on your future flights.

Virtual Reality
Ready to feel like you’re actually flying during your flight? VR technology may eventually take airplane display systems to the next level. In a statement to CNBC, Airbus deputy chief technology officer Andy Anderson said that the consumer market may be leaning in this direction, making flights more interactive than ever.

“For a passenger inside the plane, imagine being able to put on the headset and project a whole world across the roof of the cabin and allow them to fly underneath the stars, or allow them to see a movie, it’s a new platform for innovation,” he said.

According to CNBC, Australian airline Qantas has already tested out VR, handing out headsets to its first class passengers. These passengers watched movies and browsed Qantas products.

Passenger Social Networking
While airplanes already pack together a group of strangers, some industry leaders want to create a way for them to talk to each other. In a blog post in Tnooz, MondoWindow co-founder and president Greg Dicum writes that some airlines are already developing this technology in order to connect people who are sharing an experience.

“As people become more and more used to chatting with strangers based on shared circumstances and goals — we now do it all the time on Twitter, for example — bringing this social impulse to the cabin will be a successful way of engaging passengers,” he writes.

He said that some airlines are even developing systems that allow passengers to select their seat based on a social profile of others on the plane. So yes, you may be able to avoid the crying baby on the plane.

Whether you are a traditionalist leaning back with a book or a tech explorer eager to experience your flight through virtual reality, the flights of the next decade may have something for everyone. According to a 2013 survey by TripAdvisor, 37% of passengers considered an iPad or tablet an essential carry-on item. But soon, passengers may be able to use their airplane display, attach their VR glasses, and chat with other passengers on their iPad all within a few hours. As in flight entertainment companies work to keep up with demand, we will likely see these changes and more.