Winning product: AirFi
Best Use of Onboard Technology
AirFi won the 2016 Onboard Hospitality Award for Best Use of Onboard Technology. MD Job Heimerikx, explains how this tech solution is making its mark…
Q.How do you and your team get your inspiration for new products?
A. We look to the very complex and highly regulated industry we serve for inspiration. Our products are custom-engineered and built strong for use in aviation. That means we follow regulatory guidelines, monitor advisories and safety bulletins and listen to airline needs, desires and requirements. Crew, operations personnel and marketing departments at airlines all have valuable insights that we can take advantage of in our product development.
The constant march of progress in consumer electronics and the proliferation of global connectivity inspire us too. Personal devices are becoming more powerful, more reliable, smaller, lighter, and more energy efficient. People expect fast performance from the technology they use, and that pushes us to constantly improve our portable streaming solutions. Today’s traveller also expects information, entertainment and communication throughout the travel journey, so that inspires us to deliver a robust content delivery solution to airlines for use in any scenario.
Q.Are airlines looking for more competitive technology?
A. The airline business has never been so competitive and technology is becoming one of the most effective ways for airlines to differentiate their brand experience, while improving on operational efficiencies. Airlines are tough customers and can’t afford to waste time or money implementing dated or inferior solutions – especially when it comes the important matter of IFE delivery. They’ll choose the solution that’s the best value and best performer every time. AirFi’s growing list of airline customers, both large and small, is strong evidence that our technology is the most innovative in our field.
MI Group BV (AirFi and MI Airline) has recently received a EUR1.3 million Euro third-round investment as part of a EUR7.5 million financing round. We’re growing at record speed and will be using these funds to continue to drive innovation and change the way airlines and passengers think about IFE.
Q.Have you managed to get the product onboard any airlines?
A. As of September 1, the AirFi box is flying on 171 aircraft and has been accessed by close to two million passengers. KLM, AEGEAN, TuiFly, Adria Airways, Arekfly, and Small Planet Airlines are all using our solution and more new customers are currently deploying.
Q.What exciting project/trend are you responding to next?
A. AirFi is working hard to ensure that our hardware and software are optimized and compliant for the arrival of ubiquitous inflight internet connectivity. We know that in the future most airlines will offer some kind of wifi onboard and the AirFi Box solution will be ready. Our system is not just a stopgap to connectivity, but can be used to provide better inflight shopping and payment solutions, passenger-to-ground communication and content updated in real-time. It’s very exciting.
Q.How has winning an Onboard Hospitality Award helped your business?
A. Winning the Onboard Hospitality Award for Best Use of Onboard Technology was a huge validation for AirFi and the hard work we’ve put into our technology and user experience over the past few years. The publicity surrounding the award has led to a lot of social media activity and plenty of interviews and inquiries about our products. We’re thrilled about the outcome.