Panasonic to bring NFC to In-Flight Entertainment

There were speculations that onboard Near Field Communication (NFC) applications for inflight entertainment (IFE) systems could be years away, but Panasonic Avionics has now assured that it will launch the technology with airlines in the summer of 2015. Panasonic will pair NFC-enabled devices with embedded systems, allowing airlines to push information to passengers during their flight, personalize the experience, and support high-value transactions and purchases.

Enabling NFC on board would help Panasonic reinforce seamless passenger travel thread and will integrate with the industry’s other NFC initiatives in baggage handling, check-in and airport logistics. New EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip technology standards will be enforced on 1 October 2015 in the United States. At that time, the liability for fraudulent charges on non-EMV point-of-sale terminals will shift from the card issuer to the merchant. Supporting contactless EMV payments on IFE platforms could ultimately eradicate any potential liability faced by airlines. Panasonic assures that its NFC technology for IFE will be EMV-compliant.

With US airline rakes in a staggering $2 billion in revenue per year. This is mostly through fees for checked baggage, extra legroom economy seats, onboard meals, IFE, etc. Switching to more secure inflight payment methods will ultimately prove to be a very good thing for the industry.

The Industry is moving towards a diversity of solutions like Google Wallet, Apple Pay and other forms of mobile technology. There’s much change coming in payment technology in next few years disrupting traditional methods like the credit card itself. Now there are going to be dimensional-less payment technologies. NFC would be a key enabling technology.

Panasonic’s technology will allow passengers around the world to both personalize their travel experience and intensify their relationship with their airline by synchronizing personal data to create highly customized experiences. The system will also recognize a passenger’s frequent flyer status via NFC card or phone to enable access to benefits or promotions such as free inflight Wi-Fi for Gold members. The company’s NFC technology will also enable crew to check in and out for duty. Specific details are expected to be revealed in the coming months.