Hawaii, Fiji, the Maldives, Mauritius… there are so many incredible places to explore and all that stands between you and a perfect white-sand beach is a long distance flight. 10+ hours of being stuck in a tiny seat, caught next to an over-enthusiastic honeymooner couple, plagued by a screaming baby in the seat behind you and jealously looking up front where the folks in business and first class enjoy Champagne and lots of space.
No way you’ll arrive at your destination relaxed and in a good mood without something that distracts you from your mile-high misery. Usually, you do have two options: Watching a movie on a tiny screen in the back of the front seat or using your own iPad or tablet. The first option will offer a limited choice of movies along with a screen that moves simultaneously with the guy in front of you, while your tablet can only be placed on the foldable table which is too low.
A French startup has compassion with troubled flyers and developed a solution to in-flight problems in form of an innovative in-flight entertainment system. It’s called the Skylights Theater and looks suspiciously like a VR headset – which it isn’t! The rightful description is immersive cinema glasses.
In contrast to VR solutions which are optimised for gaming and surround view, which requires you to move your head, the Skylights Theater is optimised for watching movies in 2D/3D on a wide angle screen with a black background, high definition image, large depth of field as well as visual and auditory isolation from the cabin. The glasses which make you feel like you are sitting right in the middle of a movie theatre are tailored to in-flight requirements with wearing comfort, size, battery, content protection and conditioning in mind. The devices offer memory for up to 40 HD movies but will also be able to stream content wirelessly at a later stage offering passengers a huge variety of flicks to choose from.
The Skylights solution, which has already been successfully tested by XL Airways, offers far more than simple devices to airlines. The young company provides software, flight servicing and device management to its customers. In addition, the Skylights Theaters are embedded in an end-to-end revenue-sharing ancillary service to make it hassle-free, cost-free, and revenue-generating for airlines.
As the company recently has been selected for Le Connected Camp (an IoT startup accelerator supported by EBV) and moved into an office in the IoT Valley near Toulouse, we have been able to talk to the Skylights team and ask them some questions about their terrific entertainment system.
What differentiates your solutions from other VR products?
Simply the fact that we don’t do virtual reality. We have developed a whole new kind of product: immersive cinema glasses. While VR headsets sometimes offer a cinema application, the devices are rather developed for gaming and cinema is just one of many uses. We developed our Skylights Theater specially for cinema, to offer the best viewing quality and comfort.
Furthermore, we provide a complete one-stop-shop solution, packaging the hardware with logistics and content, making it very easy for airlines. It’s all profits and no costs, no risks.
How fast do you think will your entertainment solution be adopted by major airlines?
A few major airlines are already in the process of experimenting our service, actually. Even if the procedure takes time, because airlines are huge companies with a lot of constraints, we are hoping to run through all test phases by the end of the year, for an official commercialisation in 2017.
What are the major technical challenges you face during development and roll out?
To find the right partners to provide a high-end and good quality product to our clients, knowing that there is no similar product today on the market or in production.
What other benefits besides better entertainment does the Skylights solutions deliver? Do you see other application areas besides the use of Skylights in aircrafts?
Skylights’ solution is a real plus for the airlines in terms of brand image and passenger experience. Offering this technology on board assures the airline to be a pioneer in inflight-entertainment.
Our solution could apply to many other uses: in the transport sector in trains, coaches, etc. but also as an entertainment solution. We’ve been approached by hotels as well. And in the future, why not offer the Skylights Theater at home, for families wanting to watch different movies at the same time?
How is Le Connected Camp helping you to achieve your goals?
The experienced mentors of Le Connected Camp share their experience with us, allowing us to make the right choices and avoid common mistakes in fields that are new for us. We can as well leverage their networks, selecting the right partners for each of our projects.
For more information about Skylights visit the company’s website here.
To learn more about Le Connected Camp and to apply for the accelerator program click here.