As you may remember, IFExpress has been concerned about the future of credit card fraud, especially with the advent of ancillary airline revenues. It’s also no secret that airlines are looking for more ways to get into your wallet during the three hours (or whatever) when you have nothing to do. As a captive audience, what retailer has a better opportunity? All the more reason to keep vigilant and with the recent hacks to US retailers, like Target and others, it will pay off in the long run if airlines figure out the issues with credit card security first. And that is a perfect segue into our ongoing discussions with Geoff Underwood, of IFPL fame. He told us: “I think the main thing to note is that IFPL brought this change to the attention of the IFEC industry back at the APEX TC in Nov 2012, but I think everyone was in denial! No one else had any idea that this was real – even the industry experts. What will be interesting is how the vendors (i.e.: Airlines) who have legacy card swipe facilities, will cope with the fraud risk. The way it works in the rest of the World, in simplistic terms, is that if you have any fraud with Chip-and-Pin, then the bank assumes the risk and will reimburse you. You can still use a card swipe, BUT, if there’s any fraud, then the VENDOR assumes the risk.”

Geoff went on to say, “So, my assumption will be that the Airlines will have to accept that they are running at risk if they continue to use their legacy card swipes in the seat backs. Or they can insist on cabin crew using a hand held PoS (Point Of Sale) device. The issue as of 2012, was that any chip/pin reader needs to be EMV/PCI compliant. That means anything designed to go in the seatback has to be super-secure. We looked at this in great detail and found that the cost per seat was going to be prohibitive for a seat back installation, so we have focused on our Contact-less solution that is very cost effective. It is satisfying to note that IFPL is probably still ahead of most IFEC companies when it comes to Chip and Pin, and Contact-less technologies, and we still have Chip-and-Pin on our technology road map, but, as usual, watch this space!” (Editor Translation Note: This usually means Geoff and his team will be demonstrating something hot at an IFE show in the not-to-distant future!)

As Mr. Underwood notes, this battle is not over and the more lax rules on cards and payment systems in the States are overshadowed by a good part of the rest of the world and the issue is probably one of the factors holding up wholesale installation of onboard payment schemes. Lastly, below are a couple of links to help you understand the difference between Chip-and-Pin credit cards and NFC technology.

Some Retail Malware Issues

Chip-and-Pin

NFC

On a similar theme as above, have you heard about “Hotspot 2.0” technology? It’s a way to securely transition between cellular and wireless connectivity. Too early to be seen on planes but this article will, no doubt, get you thinking!

Next, we note that there is an announcement about a Panasonic seatback IFEC big sale to Canada’s WestJet airlines – 120 destinations, 20 countries served. Looks to us like the sale includes some 105 present B737 Next Gen’s (B737-600, B737-700, and B73-800), with 25 more NG’s to come. The deal could eventually include 65 B737 MAX planes in delivered after 2017 as well… but we have no data there. We note, and you might too, that the press release notes: “And, with a mix of free and paid content, the new system offers the airline additional ancillary revenue opportunities.” Ancillary revenue is a big buzzword and Panasonic got the message! Check out the link to the story here.

With the Asia/Pacific Region offering almost $2T in airplane sales which encompass between 10,000 and 12,000 planes, it is no wonder both Airbus and Boeing focused on the Singapore Airshow 2014…  and $32B of orders is the result. While sales numbers have been announced and Airbus seems to have won in total monies, it remains unclear just how many of both company’s orders were only announced at the show. In other words, don’t get ‘up and locked’ on the $32B show number.

Lastly, we wanted to write a fitting tribute to David Peterson as last week we received his note of planned retirement and he wrote: “It is with mixed feelings that I advise I will be retiring from Panasonic on 28th February 2014. It has been a roller coaster ride over the last 10 years with many more ups than downs and I would like to thank you for support over that period – It’s time to let the “kids” take over. Should you wish to keep in touch I can be reached on dwp001@optusnet.com.au.” David Peterson’s retirement spans 3 decades of IFE history, IFE Manager at QANTAS, President of WAEA in the late ’80s, and Panasonic for some ten years. Imagine the changes he’s sen in 30 years! We tried to write a fitting tribute to an individual whose heart and mind were always in the right place in this industry. Not only is he a nice guy, David always had your best interest, (and that of the industry) in mind! Always! Stellar’s new top man, Peter McGlaughlin, another Aussie, told IFExpress, “David was a pioneer in the IFE industry I worked closely with David when we introduced the first In-seat videos on QANTAS in the early 90’s. He is a guy that wanted to make things happen and was focused on delivering quality. His contribution to the IFE industry is immense whether for a supplier or airline. His retirement will leave a void in knowledge in many aspects of the industry.” We can add little to that – Good Luck David.