First in-flight NFC entertainment system takes off

Panasonic is launching NFC-enabled payments and data recognition to create personalized in-flight entertainment.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of in-flight entertainment and communication systems, is introducing the EMV-compliant Near-Field Communication technology in its in-flight entertainment systems. The technology is due to launch next summer, much to the surprise of industry observers who had predicted that on-board NFC applications were still ‘years away’.

The new system will have perks for crew and passengers alike. Passengers will be able to use NFC-enabled smartphones to make high value transactions on-board, making duty-free purchases all the more tempting. Synchronisation of passengers’ personal data will create ‘just-for-me’ entertainment experiences. In the same way, frequent flyers will be recognised via their NFC card or phone, and rewarded with special benefits or promotions, such free Wi-Fi for Gold members.

Pairing of NFC devices with the entertainment system will allow airlines to push up to the minute information to passengers during their flight. Crew members will also be able to clock in and out using NFC.

With the promise of NFC payments brought even closer by Apple’s recent announcement, and 200 million NFC-enabled phones already in circulation, the technology is set to fly. Panasonic notes that 70 per cent of airline passengers take smart phones on board and it is estimated that by 2016 55 per cent of smart phones will be NFC-enabled.

“This new technology will allow passengers around the world to personalize their travel experience and intensify their relationship with their airline in incredibly valuable ways,” said Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics. 

“We have seen the demand from airlines and their passengers, and after two years of research and development, we are proud to continue our innovation leadership by delivering this latest technology solution to our customers.”

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