Whenever I travel by plane, no matter if it is a short or long ride, I have something to entertain me: a book series on the tablet, games… If none of that works, I usually use the multimedia system (if available) and see what have since sometimes I find shows and movies that I haven’t seen yet. The way in which we consume content has made all these screens embedded in the seats to evolve, to the point that some aircraft have disappeared into a cloud.
Iberia takes a while doing tests for get a multimedia service in their low cost flights, those who belong to the Express line. Philosophy that low cost, they have not introduced screens or control typical of the last century to offer content. They have created their own cloud so that the screen that we use is that we always carry over. Yesterday we had a chance to try it, and this is our experience.
What is Immfly and how it works
Immfly is a company that started their adventure at the end of 2013 with the aim of creating a system of multimedia entertainment for the aircraft. Instead of accompanying the development with displays and controls, they decided to follow the path of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) so that everything that is served directly would be on any device that you have display and access to a web browser.
As we explain a couple of technical responsible of the catalan startup, it’s a server installed on one of the non-critical modules of aircraft electric system. “The same microwave, where for example” said when asked for his position. A few additional antennas are responsible for ensure that the wireless network arrives or at all sites.
According to us, this is the most complex installation part since you have to be careful with wires and their placement. Finally, tests of radiation are made to see that coverage is good and through simulations on the server checks to see how many devices could be connected.
The installation of this service on an aircraft is three days, According to Paul Linz. As such, Immfly is not an internet service, although it is accessed through the browser, but it is an intranet where we access the content. Explain this is essential because it can lead to confusion to users.
Whenever a plane lands, makes a roll-over of the data to a server (check the machine, interactions of users…) and through a 3 G antenna sends data to a server. If you need to download content (newspapers, magazines…) does at the same time although if you are outside Spain traffic is limited to files less than 10 Megs.
The part of telecommunications is managed by Vodafone while in Immfly ensure that it is not of any strategic agreement and that they could work with any other telemarketer without a problem.
Our experience with Immfly
As we got on the plane, and he began takeoff megaphones give us some simple instructions to access Imfly: We activate airplane mode, turn on the WiFi and air.imfly.com page open in the browser. We enter, we need to register.
At that time will lead us to a main menu where you can access the content that is available at that time: magazines, newspapers, videos and some other episode. Most of the content is free, but there are also part of the supply that is paid.
In addition to the offer of entertainment, we also have a system for tracking live flight map. Position cooling every twenty seconds and it perfectly fulfills its efforts to position ourselves on the map.
We take a look to check which series and videos there and the catalogue is a tad weak: monologues from the comedy club, episodes of Spanish series such as Velvet, Nickelodeon cartoon, TV as a nightmare in the kitchen or saved programs… Very television content as we see.
In comparison with a multimedia service with display, has less audiovisual offer But enough to keep us entertained awhile, something that makes sense in trips of short duration. The most interesting, in my case, is the possibility of reading newspapers and free magazines. Whether we access a computer as a mobile phone, each file will be downloaded to the memory as a PDF so we need an application to do so, does not include the option to view in the browser itself unless it has native support, clear.
Content downloading is fast and we only have to wait a few seconds to download a PDF, or is not necessary to leave the player in pause awhile until the content. Everything is served with agility even on the plane which was seemed not that there was much traffic congestion.
We are moving ahead through the menus and quickly discovered what is the business model of Immfly and Iberia: the contents of payment and discounts. On our way to Majorca, we see how jumping us a pop up to warn us that we are on the way, and if we want to, in a restaurant give us a shot of Tequila presenting this coupon.
We are still exploring and customize our route to make you believe that we are going to London. See there how the content offering is expanding and in addition to discounts find private transport to exit the airport, excursions or dinners in all kinds of restaurants.
To buy just have that associate a credit or debit card to our user and when we land, will take the charge to the account. In addition, much of the free content is some kind of sponsorship that before him will play us an ad. In the case of newspapers and magazines, apart from which come the digital document.
A good concept but with gaps
Immfly is a good idea and fits perfectly with what a low-cost company aims to: adjust investment and try to get the maximum possible benefit. In addition, all today carry a mobile phone, tablet or laptop over so it really no need to insert a screen It is probably smaller and have less quality.
There is no doubt that the service is oriented to monetize usage.
However, there are still things that Polish and although they have already dropped out of the pilot phase, still has some bugs: load times a little slow sometimes, corrupt downloads from file or an excess of notifications that end up overwhelming and blocking page.