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IMS introduces wireless content delivery

4th September 2008 - 12:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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HANDHELD inflight entertainment leader The IMS Company says that it is now using an automated wireless system to deliver content for IFE systems to customer aircraft before take-off and to download usage and survey data after they land.

The wireless link works with IMS’ Terminal Data Loader (TDL). Permanently installed in the aircraft, TDL is capable of receiving data loads both wirelessly via WiFi or cellular and from physical media carried aboard. Wireless delivery and data download are supported by IMS’ bi-directional Terminal Wireless Network (TWN) and CabinTrends data capture software. “They form the basis of a ‘portal to the fleet’ that enables the airline to upload its monthly content sets, as well as smaller volumes of time-sensitive content throughout the month,” says IMS sales and marketing VP Harry Gray.

“News and advertising are typical examples of time-sensitive content,” he continues. “One of our customers uploads four video news programmes twice a month, each time with fresh advertising included. The content is loaded automatically on the aircraft and released for viewing on the specified effectivity date. The status of each load is automatically reported to an IMS-hosted ground base using the Sprint CDMA cellular network while the aircraft is at the gate. There’s no need to send a technician to the aircraft, and quick content updates can be carried out during turnround.”

Flowing in the reverse direction is information captured by IMS’ own software, including content usage statistics, content load status, and IFE system logs for health monitoring purposes. Offloaded information is automatically sorted by aircraft tail number and passed to the carrier’s IFE specialists, to support their content selection decisions, or to IFE vendors like Rockwell Collins and Panasonic to enable them to fix problems more quickly.

Other TDL users include British Airways and Virgin America. Between them the two carriers have the system on about 125 aircraft, with further deliveries scheduled for the next six months. They use TDL for daily news uploads and the offload of usage statistics and credit-card transactions.

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