Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

“And we were never being boring. We were never being bored.” It was true for the Pet Shop Boys, and it seems to be an anthem for today’s UK consumers, as long as they have a digital device and are constantly connected to the internet.

According to the recently released Communications Market Report from Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, around a third of people say they feel either cut off (34%) or lost (29%) without the internet, if they can’t get online, and 17% say they find it stressful. Half of all UK adults (50%) say their life would be boring if they could not access the internet.

Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s director of Market Intelligence, said, “Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services.

“Whether it’s working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they’re not.”

With the proportion of people accessing the internet on their mobile now standing at 72% in 2018, and the same percentage saying their smartphone is their most important device for accessing the internet, airlines are continuing to respond with a clutch of IFEC-related deployments this week, giving passengers the option of being connected.

And it’s to Asia-Pacific we head as India’s Vistara airline is hoping to receive regulatory approval for the introduction this month of a wireless IFE streaming service. Based on Bluebox Wow, Vistara World will offer a mixed library of multimedia content across its fleet of A320 aircraft.

Elsewhere, Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink’s fleet of A320s will later this year be fitted out with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in-flight broadband solution, while Virgin Australia is extending its Wi-Fi service to its Trans-Tasman routes and flights to New Zealand from October.

With people in the UK checking their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day, and with worldwide users checking their phones up to 85 times a day, we simply don’t have time to be bored and airlines are keen to keep it that way.

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