Time is Coming for Wearables to Come to Aviation

Time is Coming for Wearables to Come to Aviation

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The big buzz in cabin control and entertainment at the moment is putting the power in the passengers’ hands. Well, how about this system that puts it on their wrists?

Cabin tech gurus Flight Display Systems (FDS) want to leapfrog the trend to port cabin control systems to tablets and smartphones, and shrink it further to work on the next predicted boom in technology: wearables.

As tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung race to bring wearables to market, FDS took the early models of their Cabin Management Wearable Controller to NBAA 2014 back in October.

The watch-sized device syncs with aircraft wi-fi and existing FDS cabin tech such as the JetJukebox media server, and allows passengers to do many of the things they expect to do now on a cabin-controller smartphone app such as call up flight data, control lighting and climate, select films or music, or communicate.

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FDS President David Gray said: “The Wearable Cabin Controller is a first in this market. We’re hoping to demonstrate a cool new gadget and get feedback from our dealers and customers. No longer will passengers be tethered to a wired button or have to keep up with a tablet or smartphone.

“No one yet knows exactly how wearables can best benefit the aviation industry, so we are exploring a lot of technologies in this area to be ready to provide customers with the best options.”

Analysts say annual sales of wearables are predicted to balloon from current figures of around 20m units to over 110m within the next four years.