Panasonic launches NFC technology for aircraft cabins

NFC will allow airline passengers around the world to personalise their travel experience including on-board purchases, synchronisation of personal data and other benefits

Panasonic launches NFC technology for aircraft cabins

In an industry first, Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) is introducing EMV-compliant near-field communication (NFC) technology in its in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems.

According to the company, industry observers had recently predicted on-board NFC applications were years away, but Panasonic will be launching the technology with airlines in the summer of 2015.

Passengers and crew will be able to use NFC-enabled smart phones and cards in-flight in many unique ways including:
•    High value transactions and purchases
•    Synchronization of personal data to create just-for-me experiences
•    Recognition of a passenger’s Frequent Flyer status via NFC card or phone, giving access to benefits or promotions, such as free Wi-Fi for Gold members
•    Enabling crew to check in and out for duty using NFC
•    Pairing of NFC-enabled devices with the embedded IFEC system, allowing airlines to push information to passengers during their flight.

Analysts expect there to be huge growth in the use of NFC-enabled phones, with 200 million phones already in circulation capable of offering mobile payments. This prediction was reinforced by the recent announcement that the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will utilise NFC for their new Apple Pay service.

Research has shown that 70% of airline passengers take smart phones on board and it is estimated that by 2016 some 55% of smart phones will be NFC-enabled. All the top 50 mobile carriers globally are committed to NFC contactless payment.

Enabling NFC on board further reinforces Panasonic’s vision of the ‘seamless passenger travel thread’ and will integrate with the industry’s other NFC initiatives in baggage handling, check in and airport logistics.

Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “This new technology will allow passengers around the world to personalise their travel experience and intensify their relationship with their airline in incredibly valuable ways.”

“We have seen the demand from airlines and their passengers, and after two years of research and development, we are proud to continue our innovation leadership by delivering this latest technology solution to our customers.”

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