Panasonic Avionics Corporation has revealed its new Arc Inflight Map Platform – a 3D in-flight map application and service for its NEXT and X Series in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems.

The Arc platform offers a range of new features aiming to expand the map application concept into a fully integrated experience in the IFEC system, in particular by integrating it with the services backed by Panasonic’s NEXT Cloud infrastructure such as; Loyalty for personalisation, Marketplace for onboard e-commerce and Insights for analytics.

With technology inspired by the latest design thinking of contemporary UX and gaming experiences, Arc will be available across all in-flight displays including seatback, overhead, handset and within mobile apps and web portals. Panasonic expect deliveries will be available from the first quarter of 2020.

Gaston Sandoval, vice-president of product management and marketing, says: “Moving maps have long been one of the most popular features of any inflight entertainment system but we believe the opportunities to expand the basic map concept, and revolutionize its role in the overall inflight experience, are greatly underleveraged.”

He suggested that by integrating the platform as a core service of the NEXT and X Series IFEC systems, it can enhance the passenger experience and the value of maps for airlines. He added: “Arc will offer everything that our airline customers have come to expect in a contemporary map application with the addition of many innovative features and tools, made possible only through our ‘Map as a Service’ approach. We believe this is one of the most exciting advances ever for inflight maps.”

Features of the platform include what Panasonic believe is an industry first personalised map capability – by integrating the map with Panasonic’s Loyalty services, passengers can set up personalised map profiles and preferences that appear when they log into the IFEC system.

Panasonic launch arc at AIX

New Map as a Service (MaaS) technology – including APIs that enable airlines and third parties to develop applications utilising the Arc map engine and feature set, or to add their own content and data layers to the Arc map displays.

Features also include Premium destination and point-of-interest content through Panasonic’s relationship with the influencer-driven discovery platform provider Raleigh & Drake and additional partners. Monetisation opportunities are also an option for airlines through integration with Panasonic’s Marketplace e-commerce platform. Inflight sales can be tied to real-time flight events and status.

A number of the features on the Arc have been developed in collaboration with FlightAware. Their services for flight tracking will be integrated into the Arc platform to provide passengers with new ways to see air travel – such as an airline fleet view during the journey. The partnership will also further explore new features based on FlightAware’s predictive technology, giving passengers runway and gate arrival times as well as proactive information about connecting flight delays.

Arc has been designed and developed by Panasonic’s digital studio Tactel AB, based in Sweden.

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