Flightpath3D - the new generation in-flight map
For decades, all in-flight aircraft tracking maps have looked pretty much the same, but possibly not for long...
As the World is rocked by the Pokemon Go phenomenon, quite possibly the first global massive augmented reality craze, it just sounds natural that a growing number of airlines, among them Norwegian, Air France, Finnair, KLM and Virgin Atlantic, are switching to a new generation onboard flight tracker.
As the name implies, Flightpath3D, a system developed by Betria, a young Californian company, allows passengers to track the progress of their flights, but, far from providing the static undimensional view we are used to, it delivers a far richer experience by adding several additional layers of information.
The idea behind Flightpath3D came out of the realization that, if you stroll through the aisle on any long haul flight, a significant number of passengers keep their seat screens set on flight tracker mode.
And whenever you have "eye-balls", that is, people whose attention you have captured, there is an opportunity to engage (admittedly to different degrees since not everyone is actively monitoring the flight progress even if the map is on).
At the same time, maps also play a key role in any trip, whenever people land at a new destination, the first thing most do is check the map of the place.
Add these elements together and what you have here is a business case to use the flight tracker as a platform to offer added value services, either via advertising and sponsorship or via the sale of ancillaries.
In-flight magazines tend to be full of advertising, coupons and suggestions of things to do in different geographical locations, but this information can be equally layered on top of a moving map even more smoothly, because, after all, when you are on the map, you are already setting the context to consume geography-based content...You can also segment even more, as Flightpath3D has developed maps specific for children, for example, or add quizzes or other engaging features.
A big if is whether the nature of in-flight entertainment will change much with the generalization of in-flight wi-fi, as passengers will no longer be a "captive audience". Boris Veksler, CEO of Betria is adamant about the versatility of tge Flightpath3d platform: " Our content can be delivered either through the in-built IFE system or through dedicated airline portals that most airlines will use as a gateway to in-flight wi-fi. We are prepared for that!"
In fact, it is wi-fi friendly airlines such as Norwegian (the first airline to implement Flightpath3D) and Virgin America that are among the pioneers in using this new approach to in-flight flight-tracking.
As one of those geography geeks that spend most of their flights glued to the map screen, I can only hope that many more will follow!