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

Fresh from APEX EXPO last week in Boston, where the latest innovations and solutions for enhancing the passenger experience were on show, a few pieces of research have been delivered to the Inflight inbox which could well influence the future investments of airlines in in-flight entertainment and wider onboard products and services.

In a GfK survey commissioned by Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), who also consulted the renowned neuropsychologist Professor Lutz Jäncke from the University of Zurich’s Department of Psychology, research has revealed that travel memories are key when it comes to shaping our personality.

However, with the prevalence of personal electronic devices and ease of access to the internet, we are trusting our smartphone more than our own memories to relive a travel experience.

“This scepticism towards our own ability to remember is unjustified, however,” says Professor Jäncke. “Our travel memories occupy a very special place in our memory. We often retain them all our lives. The reason for this is that holiday experiences are frequently associated with very positive emotions and are particularly deeply embedded in our memory. Freed from the worries and stress of everyday life, we are also able to absorb lots of little details when we are travelling – and they are the building blocks of our memories.”

Sensory impressions are key here, as Professor Jäncke explains. “Our sense of sight plays a key role because evolution has made us that way. Visual information is particularly important to humans and is prioritised in terms of processing.”

Getting branding and the cabin interior right is key to creating positive passenger experiences and long-lasting affirmative associations with an airline.

Elsewhere, a report from the UK independent research company CHILDWISE, has found that access to connected devices is on the rise among pre-schoolers (under 5s).
Original YouTube content has appeared in the list of preschoolers favourite viewing content for the first time, with many of their choices focusing on nursery rhymes and educational viewing.

Almost half of all pre-school households now regularly access content via YouTube or YouTube kids.

“The increasing use of connected devices by pre-schoolers this year may reflect growing access to on-demand services, especially subscription-based options such as Netflix which has quickly risen through the ranks over the last three to four years,” says CHILDWISE research manager Jenny Ehren.

Findings also included news that 2018 is the first year that there are more 3–4 year-olds with their own connected device, than there are without (54%, up from 47% last year), and that more than two thirds of pre-school households own a voice-recognition gadget, such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. More than a quarter of under-fives use voice-recognition software.

“This year has seen a noticeable increase in gaming with three-out-of-10 under-fives now regularly exposed to video games, often as players, but also as spectators as well,” adds Ehren.

It will be interesting to see how airlines, not only continue to provide digital content for children, but invest in technology that is as common as the LEGO brick in our homes.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Inflight e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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