Alaska Airlines goes all in with Microsoft for inflight entertainment

Alaska Airlines goes all in with Microsoft for inflight entertainment

In a Windows For Your Business blog post today Microsoft and Alaska Airlines have shared the details of a partnership that brings inflight entertainment to the airline using Windows 8.1 on Toshiba Encore 2 tablets.

This is part of a bigger change for the airline as it decided to change what it is like for their passengers to fly on Alaska Airlines:

As part of its newly branded flight experience, called Alaska Beyond, Alaska Airlines is modernizing its fleet of airplanes and reinventing what it means to fly – by introducing new Northwest infused food and beverage options, power outlets at every seat on 70% of its 737 passenger aircrafts by mid-April, direct-to-your-device entertainment, and a new Windows inflight entertainment solution.

The 8 inch Toshiba Encore 2 devices being used in this program are running the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry operating system for its security features. It is because of those security capabilities that passengers are able to have access to movies that are still playing in theaters on the ground.

As you might imagine they had to prove those digital movies were not at risk of being copied or stolen in order to gain that ability. Obviously they did that very successfully through the OS itself and, as you will see in the video below, the tablet comes in what appears to be a very solid case to provide physical security of the data.  .

Guests will be able to enjoy the tablet and corresponding app experience once the aircraft has reached cruising altitude. The tablets offer a multitude of services for customers to take advantage of, ranging from movies, TV shows, music, e-publications, and games. The device supports usage for the duration of the flight, at which point, the device is recharged for the next departure.

In the background of this service is Microsoft’s Azure Data Factory which collates usage data for analytics in order to help Alaska Airlines and its partners decide on the best entertainment options for their passengers.

Although they started with 7,000 Toshiba Encore 2 devices they have already ordered a second batch to keep up with the demand and growth of the airline and the service.

That is a lot of tablets to charge, update, configure and manage.

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