Moving maps – typically included as part of the software on in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems fitted in aircraft cabins – have been a feature of airline travel for a while now. They show the position of the aircraft relative to landmasses, cities and the destination, and typically other information such as aircraft speed, route covered and ETA in different languages and units.

The idea dates back to 1982, when a California-based startup called AirShow demonstrated moving maps as a new concept in IFE, which at the time consisted mostly of in-flight movies. KLM and Swissair became the first airlines to offer moving maps on board some of their aircraft. But the concept was slow to catch on. It was a full decade before Delta became the first of the US airlines to add moving maps to its in-flight entertainment.

Since then they have become a ubiquitous feature of IFE systems, but there’s been surprisingly little innovation. Maps show names of places of interest but rarely more. Images have improved and sometimes even acknowledged a third dimension, but there’s generally very limited interactivity.

“Enjoy the journey as much as the destination” they say. For travellers, often explorers and wanderers, their ability to learn about new valleys, mountains and lakes is limited to books, the internet and recommendations.

“Conveying time to destination is useful information to travellers of course, but much of the appeal is satisfying customer curiosity about the world outside their window”

FrontM adds interactivity in the form of contextual information and a Destination Explorer. Consumers want information and images and we aim to do exactly that. And of course, engaged and delighted customers can also earn airlines ancillary revenue – especially for the sort of customer that hasn’t actually decided what to do at their destination…. or is already thinking about their next holiday.

Passengers can use this interactive feature on their handheld device within the airline’s app, even without being connected to the internet! So even without IFEC (in-flight entertainment and connectivity) passengers can put a name to the rugged island they’re flying over or zoom into the distant city full of sparkling lights, see destination information and get real time updates about the aircraft’s whereabouts. And on aircraft with onboard internet connectivity they can add onward journey and activity bookings to their digital exploration

FrontM believes that “remote does not mean distant” and focuses on enhancing consumer experience and delight, empowering users by creating a digital environment in an offline setting.

Shagun Sahni

Author Shagun Sahni

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