Touchscreen Trends Take to the Sky

As aviation technology continues to evolve, so do the ways pilots interact with aircraft and how passengers experience the flight.  For pilots, the flight deck is where all of the flight-critical information and applications are controlled via an array of knobs, gauges, indicators, instruments, and displays that are crucial for navigation. However, as flight technology becomes more sophisticated, these traditional controls and displays are proving to be limited in functionality. This would explain why Avionics magazine found that 40% of pilots were in search of better touchscreen displays for their aircraft, with 80% citing reliability as their main concern.

As for passengers, check-in can be a frustrating process long waits for an attendant. Once onboard, the area surrounding a seat provides access to environmental controls, flight services, in-flight entertainment, and general information. This is an area where passengers recognize quality screens and information technology, and a chance to increase their satisfaction with the in-flight offerings. New interactive touch screen technologies are at the forefront of innovations creating the next generation flight environment, making flying more safe and comfortable.

Touch screen navigation systems offer pilots a new and intuitive way to interact with their aircraft and its systems. This is creating an incredible opportunity for them to engage with information more quickly and control systems in more meaningful ways. Meanwhile, touch screens used in in-flight entertainment are allowing airlines to improve passenger services.  Let’s examine what touchscreen technology solutions for the aviation industry will make the most impact on aircraft, flight crews, and passengers.

Flight Deck Displays Make Navigation a Dream

Manufacturers looking to add more functionality to their flight control systems has led to the implementation of high-definition displays to relay critical data. Airspeed, altitude, topography, and other important aircraft and navigation information are relayed to pilots via easy to read and adjust screens that can hold more data than a traditional dashboard. These displays make it possible to support specific applications dedicated to communication, navigation, and surveillance. As carriers look to retrofit or replace old technologies on legacy aircraft, these displays are becoming an essential upgrade component. Steam gauges, CRT screens, and full navigation systems are also now being upgraded to complement this new technology.

Touch screen navigation is helping to make these displays even more useful for pilots. Compared to traditional tactical controls, touch screens are far more intuitive. Since crucial controls and instruments are no longer tied into complicated instrument panels, they are much easier to locate and use. In fact, in many cases pilots are free to organize their controls so that they have quick and easy access to the data and information they need to complete specific flight operations. This can significantly improve response times during an emergency, adding an extra layer of safety.

Today’s touchscreens offer many key advantages for your navigation and flight deck displays. Quick response to touch input is incredibly important for pilots of any aircraft, where atmospheric elements can change without a seconds notice.  With new touch screen navigation systems your aircraft can respond to a pilot’s’ touch commands in as little as 6 milliseconds. Being able to differentiate between real and accidental touch inputs is another key feature, and built-in redundancy helps keep your pilots in control as they swipe, pinch, and perform other multi-touch gestures to fly the aircraft and monitor flight systems.

Better In-flight Entertainment

Long flights are not always the most comfortable experience for your passengers. It wasn’t long ago that passengers on an 8-hour flight were stuck watching an in-flight movie from the same screen at the front of the cabin — each row peering over each other’s heads in a frustrating attempt to see and make sense of the scenes playing on the screen. Luckily, carriers have figured out that providing better in-flight entertainment (IFE) options, for passengers at the front and rear of the cabin, is crucial to continued customer satisfaction.

Today, in-flight entertainment systems are one of the most costly aspects of outfitting your aircraft, representing as much as 10% of the total cost–$3 to $8 million dollars. However, even given this significant change and today’s technology, a recent survey found that 28% of travelers still strongly indicated that they wanted expanded in-flight entertainment options.

With new advances in touchscreen technology, you can engage passengers with more in-flight entertainment options than static screen systems can offer. Touch screen interfaces make it easy for passengers to search for content that they actually want to view such as movies, games, and books. These screens can also act as a portal for additional sales during flights, including drinks, food, Internet access, and shopping. Passengers looking for information about flight times, booking tickets, making reservations for hotels and ground transportation can all utilize touch screens to make these tasks simpler and save them time. All of this adds up to real improvements in customer satisfaction and can help your flight crews focus on more critical tasks.

On aircraft, where such systems are subjected to continuous use and have to last ten years from deployment to retirement, new advancements in touch screen technology ensure that the screens are water and dust proof to last through wear and tear.  The latest solutions help by accurately detecting hover distances so touch input is easier to register and can detect multiple touch inputs, so your passengers can have a completely intuitive way to access your aircrafts in-flight entertainment options.

Baanto’s patented technology has made touch screens a reality for the aviation industry by reducing response times so that touch inputs are recognized nearly instantaneously, which is critical for pilots controlling touch screen navigation systems on the flight deck. Our solutions bring true multi-touch capabilities and gesture recognition to your existing displays and operate seamlessly for over 200,000 user hours, so you can get the most return on investment on your in-flight entertainment systems. Get involved with our community and tell us what your experience has been with touch screen technology in the aviation industry. Contact us for more insights into how to make your business more efficient.

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