Over the course of our meetings with Fly-By-Wire representatives, a number of small issues have been addressed. Some of these have lead to the following changes in the requirements:
Fly-By-Wire would like Instant Messaging to be part of the minimal system.
Response: Dangerous minds has worked hard to try to find a way to implement this feature, but, due to the time constraints placed on building this system, we cannot guarantee that this will be implemented for December 3rd. Due to this fact, the Instant Messaging component has been removed from requirements as per discussion with Fly-By-Wire representatives. As Dangerous Minds understands that Instant Messaging is important, IFESS will be designed and implemented with this feature in mind so a future addition of the Instant Messaging will be as easy as possible.
Fly-By-Wire was not aware that soundcards would be required hardware in each terminal.
Response: Soundcards will be required for each passenger terminal in order for passengers to listen to audio and watch movies. Soundcards will also be required in flight attendant and pilot terminals if system audio alerts are to be implemented.
Dangerous Minds is still in the process of designing the IFESS system and has not yet been able to conclude whether audio alerts can be easily implemented on flight attendant and pilot terminals. An update will be submitted to Fly-By-Wire once more information is available.
Fly-By-Wire indicated a concern with the movie interface. They wanted to make sure that passengers could stop their movie temporarily without having to start watching from the beginning again. Simply put, Fly-By-Wire expressed concern that the movie interface may be a stubborn interface.
Response: Dangerous Minds has indicated that there will be a pause button on the movie player so movies can be temporarily stopped and restarted from the point where they left off. Once a movie has been watched it is unlocked for that passenger for the rest of the flight. They may re-watch that movie again at any time during the flight.
Fly-By-Wire raised a concern that allowing passengers to stream radio stations from the web would create a bandwidth problem on the plane.
Response: Further inspection of the hardware that is to be installed has shown that streaming radio stations from the web will have little effect on the bandwidth rates inside the airplane.
Fly-By-Wire has assured us that their information gathering system will be able to provide the IFESS Passenger In-Flight Information System with consistent data even during turbulence, take-offs and landings.
Fly-By-Wire asked for clarification on “IFESS resembling major software packages”.
Response: IFESS is a Windows application so it will have a Windows look and feel. Prototype screen shots are available in this document to illustrate Dangerous Minds Design ideas.
Fly-By-Wire has stressed that the billing system be included in the minimal system specifications. They have emphasized that this is a key component and that IFESS “is just not very useful” without it.
Response: Dangerous Minds has agreed to include billing in the minimal system requirements.
Fly-By-Wire has indicated that they would like flight attendants to be able to disable individual terminals as needed. They have clarified that disable does not mean disabling the hardware itself. They only require that the IFESS system be disabled.
Response: There will be suspend button on each terminal that can be pressed to suspend/disable the terminal. In order to re-activate terminals that have been suspended a password will be required. This password will be available to flight attendants, pilots and administrators. This suspend button is already part of the hardware being installed.
As Dangerous Minds does understand the increased effort this solution involves when attempting to manage large numbers of terminals, we are continuing to investigate a solution that would allow flight attendants to manage all passenger terminals from the flight attendant console.
Passengers will be able to use IFESS to select their in-flight meals and to order drinks and other refreshments at any time. Prior to the scheduled mealtime passengers and pilots will be able to reserve their desired meal. IFESS will keep track of what meal options are available and the quantities of each remaining. At mealtime, attendants can view and print a list showing which meals to deliver to which seats. If a meal is not reserved through IFESS, the order will be taken in person by a flight attendant.
Executive class passengers do not have to pay for any movie or music services. Coach passengers are also allowed free access to all music services, however only the first movie will be provided without charge. If a coach passenger decides to watch an additional movie, the charge is automatically added to the bill for their seat.
The movie selection interface contains the following information about each movie: price, ratings, description, language, subtitles. The movie-viewing interface allows movies to be played, stopped, paused, rewound, and fast-forwarded. Once a movie has been purchased, it is unlocked for that passenger for the duration of the flight so that it can be watched again if desired free of charge.
Passengers also have the ability to browse the web. IFESS will attempt to filter negative web content as much as possible. Passengers will be able to browse the web but will not be able to download and save files. Quick links to popular web material will be available for those passengers who are not web savvy.
Passengers will be able to play games on their terminals. Administrators have the ability to manage games by adding and deleting games.
The IFESS billing system tracks passenger names and their purchases by seat number. Each time that a passenger requests a non-complimentary service or refreshment, a transaction is automatically added to their bill. Passengers will have the ability to view their individual account details, while flight attendants will be able to view account details for any and all passengers.
Flight attendants also have the ability to add a payment transaction when funds are received or to credit accounts for purchases made in error or purchases refunded.
Simply put, IFESS will keep track of amounts owing for each passenger and be able to print statements of transactions. All payment transactions will be done through Fly-By-Wire’s existing point of sale system.
Administrators will have interfaces for updating all of the following information in the system:
The Flight Progress and Information display will show a map of the world with a clear indication of the location of the plane, the current flight speed, altitude, the estimated time of arrival and weather conditions. Fly-By-Wire has assured us that they have a system in place to provide us with the required data for this feature. The In-Flight Progress and Information System will be located on the main passenger page that will be accessible at any time by selecting the Fly-By-Wire logo.
Flight attendants will be able to swap transaction info between two seats if two passengers switch seats or a passenger moves to an empty seat.
There will be a suspend button on each terminal that can be pressed to suspend/disable the terminal. In order to re-activate terminals that have been suspended, a password will be required. This password will be available to flight attendants, pilots and administrators. This suspend button is already part of the hardware being installed.
Dangerous Minds does understand the reduced effort that would be required if attendants and administrators were able to suspend and re-activate passenger terminals from one location so we are still looking into the possibility of integrating this feature into IFESS. Dangerous Minds will notify Fly-By-Wire of any updates in this regard.
Other smaller features include:
Flight attendants, pilots, and administrators will have access to higher level functions within IFESS, and will be required to login when the system is first loaded. Passengers will never be required to login to the system. Users who are logged in will be logged out automatically after five minutes of inactivity.
There will be a master switch in the cockpit that controls the power circuits for all terminals in the IFESS system. This switch can be used to immediately power-down the IFESS server and all terminals.
IFESS will run within the Microsoft Windows 2000 framework. As IFESS is a Windows application, it will have a Windows look and feel, and allow for a smaller system learning curve and an easier grasp of system functionality. This could be effectively accomplished using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET
Incorporated in the interface will be multiple third-party applications that will be used to accomplish the majority of our multimedia tasks. For example, Microsoft Windows Media Player, Apple Quicktime Viewer or another popular media player will fulfill the entertainment requirement. All web browsing will be performed by a version of Microsoft Internet Explorer with restricted capabilities.
The backbone of IFESS will be a Microsoft SQL Server database. This will provide a very effective means of communicating to and from our user interface.
Fly-By-Wire requires that this system be ready for delivery on December 3rd. Due to this time constraint we guarantee to deliver the following core system. Complete installation, however, is still dependent upon Fly-By-Wire installing the necessary hardware by the deadline. If time permits additional features will be implemented in order of importance.