High-Quality Media Experience Onboard

High-Quality Media Experience Onboard with Optimized 4G Use

Ralf Cabos

Ralf Cabos, Founder and CEO of Potsdam-based PaxLife Innovations startup, explains how to answer, with today’s technology, passengers’ evolving demands for increased bandwidth, uninterrupted connectivity and personalised travel experience.

Q: PaxLife originally started to connect aircraft passengers to the digital world; how do you see the onboard entertainment in the railway industry today?

A: Just as in the aviation industry a few years ago, the passenger experience is now a top priority for manufacturers and transport operators alike. From leisure journeys to regular commutes, onboard entertainment and continuous information has become crucial to ensure that passengers get the most out of their travel time.

Data consumption has been increasing every year, especially for video content. When used by a larger number of passengers it can quickly push even the most modern system to its performance limits. The challenge is that the bandwidth available in vehicles still remains limited and has to be shared, and ensuring a reliable connection throughout the entire journey is difficult. Also, with the technological evolution of personal devices, passengers are expecting a more personalised experience than ever before.

Q: So, what is PaxLife Innovations’ approach at this point? Which solutions have you developed?

A: First of all, we strongly believe that an attractive and modern onboard infotainment offer has to adapt to the passenger’s own consumption behaviour; we have to meet the passengers where they are: on their devices, on their smartphone, through the apps they have already downloaded on their phone. We should not anymore have to set up a local platform filled with media content no one is really keen about while it still needs management from the transport operator or service provider.

Second of all, in order to optimise bandwidth use, it makes total sense today to store the high-volume content part of the media apps locally on an embedded server. It is with this concept in mind that we have designed our offers.

PaxLife Onboard Experience_broadcaster_diagram_high-level

PaxLife’s paxCDN Solution: Supported Media Apps Can Be Used Onboard with the Same Quality as at Home

PaxLife has developed a content delivery network approach. Thanks to its railSTACK-powered onboard server, PaxLife’s paxCDN solution can host any applications from a third-party media provider (such as ARD mediathek, DLF audiothek etc…) on the vehicle; because it is embedded locally, it guarantees passengers fast and continuous access on their devices to the media they like, in high quality, while preserving the 4G bandwidth for other uses than media transmission. Passengers do not need to install an additional application on their phones. They can enjoy on-demand content (video or news) in the same way they experience it outside a train, without any strain on their mobile data budget. Furthermore, new media content can be added to the onboard server at any time.

PaxLife’s paxSTREAM / paxDAB+ Services: Uninterrupted Live Radio Streaming

In partnership with a railway operator, PaxLife has also developed an interruption-free offering of live streams available onboard. paxSTREAM coupled with paxDAB+ is the first digital platform providing interruption-free live radio (and soon live TV streams) on trains or other public transport.

Integrated into a train’s wifi system, paxSTREAM is based on the train relaying one single live stream that passengers can access individually on their personal devices, in the highest audio quality. paxDAB+ then guarantees a stream without any interruption by combining streams via DAB+ and 4G and switch when needed from 4G to the DAB+ network to achieve uninterrupted transmission.

Each passenger can choose from up to 40 radio channels on their phone.

The first collaboration with Deutschlandradio has already started.

paxCDN, paxSTREAM and paxDAB+ complement the services offered by the usual wifi internet service provider. The technology can be easily integrated into any existing passenger information system.

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