Is it an in-flight entertainment system or an advertising and retail shopping platform? For the team at AERQ, the new AERENA platform very much appears to be both.
With the official product launch last month the company is ready to push forward not only with reimagining what in-flight entertainment looks like on board, but with delivering revenue-positive solution for the airline. And that is no easy task.
AERENA is built for business. We make airlines the playmaker of their digital cabin experience by giving them complete control over their operational processes and better visibility of the passenger for the first time.– Arnd Kikker, Co-Managing Director at AERQ
Like many IFE providers, AERQ’s latest effort focuses on the platform’s ease of customization. The system will support an option for full management by the airline, or AERQ can provide the integration and customization services.
And the company expects many partners to become plug-and-play integration options on the platform. AERQ previously announced a partnership with ABOVE for media processing and distribution on to aircraft. Co-managing director Sang Soo Lee sees significant potential to extend the platform beyond that, including “e-commerce, advertising, cloud services, and data analytics.”
Bringing those offerings in via third party expertise reduces the development cycle timelines while allowing for industry leaders to cooperate with airlines. But it also brings integration challenges that can slow the overall timelines. The ABOVE partnership is not expected to truly be flying until at least the end of 2023, for example.
Airlines are waking up after 18 months and they are planning their future. Our solutions and our thought process and reasonings are addressing the future needs of aviation, specifically how in the competitive environment digitalization will be a key element airlines will need to broaden their business model in order to really survive– Kikker
Different from the rest
Launching a brand new IFE platform is no small task. Doing it with the promise of “entirely new business models for advertising, e-commerce, destination services and more” is an even larger challenge. Plus, the company must now convince an airline that it really is different from the incumbent options, all of whom made similar promises over the past decade.
Co-MD Arnd Kikker acknowledges that AERQ is not alone in pursuing this path. But he believes the company holds an inherent advantage as the new entrant on the market, “We had the advantage of starting from scratch. We are thinking our systems through from that angle and we are not bound by anything that is pre-existing. We have the freedom we need to design from there.”
The infrastructure of the suite of systems was not designed in a way that can test and scale so quickly, that delivers per seat or per passenger data. AERENA is based on that logic, giving airlines the opportunity to really reach out with the data generated across multiple touch points, through the integration of PEDs, and so on. And based on that data we can unlock the value pools on board, including personalized advertising.
As with most new technologies, of course, there is a catch to delivering on this promise.
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More on AERQ's evolution in the market:
- AERQ wants to be more than just a Welcome Board
- AERQ brings new IFE solution, cabin digitalization to market
- AERQ adds smaller in-flight display options with JOLED partnership
- AERQ partners with ABOVE for digital content workflow
- AERQ launches AERENA, promises airlines IFE revenue boost
- AERQ continues to build out partner ecosystem for AERENA IFE platform
- AERQ brings Welcome Board to Stelia’s Opera business class cabin
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