This week's Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas has seen the launch of a suitably high-tech business class seat by Panasonic – a seat with everything from a massive 24 inch ultra-high definition 4K screen to wireless inductive charging, with the whole shebang controlled by an iPhone app as part of a 'next-gen inflight entertainment system'.
The aim is no less than to revolutionise not only business class travel but the passenger's entire in-flight experience.
Christened 'Waterfront', and created in collaboration with seat-maker B/E Aerospace and design firm Teague, the luxury business class seat boasts a sliding suite-style door.
Having settled into your private pod, fire up your own smartphone and point it at the UHD screen.
'Light ID' technology establishes a connection between the Waterfront's tech system and your phone.
If you've previously flown with that airline, the Waterfront system will remember what shows you've watched and what drinks and snacks you like to order.
You can also use your smartphone to control the inflight entertainment system...
... order food, drinks and snacks to your seat...
... change the pod's LED lighting to your own tastes...
... choose and customise flight 'modes' which combine LED lighting with seat position...
... or dim the lighting around the seat and behind the screen to create a more cinema-like environment for watching a movie.
You can also adjust the seat's recline, including turning it into a fully-flat 79 inch bed....
... set sleep and privacy preferences such as activating the 'Do Not Disturb' indicator outside your pod...
... even take a selfie from the screen, to share via social media trough the inflight Internet connection!
The Waterfront pod even has individually-adjustable heating in each of the seat cushions as well as the airflow around the footwell and walls, so you'll never again feel too hot or too cold during the flight.
A large single-piece table slides out from under the 20 inch video screen, bringing a whole new meaning to 'TV dinner' – or just providing a generous work space for your laptop.
To keep your phone or tablet topped up during the flight, connect it to one of the USB ports or just rest it on the wireless charging panel.
When your flight lands, your smartphone will provide useful information on the destination and even prompt you to check around the seat so you don't leave anything behind.
Don't have a Waterfront-compatible smartphone? All of that high-tech trickery can also be done via a supplied 7 inch tablet which acts as a wireless controller.
As impressive as this all may be, Waterfront is still in the early stages of its evolution and won't actually be ready for airlines to buy until 2019.
More design stories from Australia Business Traveller
- Concept designs for new Singapore Airlines first, business class
- Is this British Airways' next Club World business class seat?
- Innovative Airbus A350 first class cabin concept revealed
- The Airbus A380 first class concept cabins you never saw
- The fabulous bars, lounges and restaurants of the Boeing 747
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.