Tech Joint Venture Touts New Digital Signage Options, Applications For Inside Commercial Jets
June 20, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Airports were among the earliest adopters of digital signage, for air traveller communications, and those venues continue to add more and more displays to tell people what to do, where to go and how much time they have. But the only approximation of digital signage on commercial jets has been the use of seatback displays as part-time digital OOH ad screens.
Now there’s a pair of companies trying to co-market an in-plane solution that would see a screen welcoming passengers as they step off the jetway and into the plane. The pitch is to have a 32-inch commercial OLED screen on the narrow storage wall in-between the galley and the first row of the Airbus 320neo line.
STELIA Aerospace, which makes premium passenger seats, and AERQ, which does digital cabin solutions and is a joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik, are collaborating to propose an integration of AERQ’s OLED-based Cabin Digital Signage displays on STELIA Aerospace products for airlines.
The first step of this collaboration, revealed at (the recent) Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022 in Hamburg, Germany, is the integration of a 32″ UHD OLED Welcome Board in the front row monument of OPERA for A320neo family. As a cabin touchpoint, the Welcome Board greets passengers onboard the aircraft, offers useful flight information, tips, and advertisements and helps airlines enhance their brand awareness.
Launched in 2020, OPERA is STELIA Aerospace’s new Full Flat, Full Access, Full Privacy business class seat, offering high-standard wide-body comfort on single-aisle aircraft and is optimized for the A320neo family, including the first and last row monuments.
The state-of-the-art 32″ UHD OLED Welcome Board brings OLED display technology quality to the cabin. This collaboration for AIX 2022 is an outstanding opportunity to showcase the endless possibilities that OLED displays bring to the cabin, such as integration into cabin monuments. This highlights the flexibility and modularity of Cabin Digital Signage based on OLED technology which could also be applied to virtual ceilings or windows and to divide cabins in a new and stunning way.
“With OPERA, our new premium seat combining design and efficiency, airlines operating single-aisle aircraft on transcontinental routes can offer their customers the outstanding level of comfort they can find on wide-bodies,” says Thierry Kanengieser, VP Cabin Interior STELIA Aerospace.
“AERQ aims to bring digitalization to the aircraft cabin for the benefit of passengers and airlines. OLED display technology has a lot to offer for an improved passenger experience onboard the aircraft. But to achieve the goal of a digitalized cabin, collaboration with other vendors is key,” says Son Yob (Louis) Pak, co-managing director at AERQ.
There would be two reasons to go with OLED vs LCD:
- OLED would likely cost more, but on a $100 million jet, a few hundred bucks is probably not a big decision-staller. OLED would introduce less weight and has wallpaper-like thinness in a space and gap that’s tight enough as it is. A surface-mounted LCD would almost certainly stick out an inch or two more;
- LG is one of the joint venture partners, so the company, of course, wants to tout its flagship product.
I’m not convinced this is a particularly optimal position and moment for a screen, as all but the people in the first rows at the front will see it more than briefly when boarding. Their minds are also elsewhere, thinking about the knuckleheads ahead of them with too much carry-on and looking down around the Business Class cabin and wishing the upgrade request had been OK’d.
But these people sell into airlines, so this would have to be some response to a customer “ask” or represent a thought-out plan and rationale.
These entry welcome sign almost seems like a working proof of concept/foot in the door for the firms, that would spark discussions with airlines about a wider range of screens in airplanes. AERQ has a web page that runs through a series of options like virtual ceilings and windows and transparent OLEDs as seating class dividers that show key flight information. THAT, to me, is more interesting in terms of functionality, information needs and audience dynamics.
I could see the deep-pocketed airlines from the Arabian Gulf region doing this sort of thing as they try to one-up each other with experiential bling. Newer commercial jets already have stuff like LED mood lighting, but a whole ceiling would be a major upgrade.