Lumexis Boeing Next-Generation 737 & 737 MAX Line-Fit Announced!

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First, you might want to read the announcement from Lumexis about their successful line-fit approval for Boeing single-aisle aircraft here.

Next, this is a big deal in the inflight entertainment business and it has been at least 15 years since we noted anything this important in IFEC! While Lumexis has completed some 70+ Boeing on-site retrofits for 5 airlines, this announcement will make the installation a bit faster and, we note, Boeing offerability speaks for itself. Most important though, airlines can order planes to be delivered with their choice of IFE. To get a better feeling for the internal impact of this announcement we asked a few employees at Lumexis about the deal. First, here is what Jon Norris (Lumexis Vice President Sales) told IFExpress:

IFExpress: Can you tell us a little about the process of becoming Boeing Approved for your Lumexis System, things like Boeing Requirements, installation requirements, where the installations will occur, what condition you folks will receive the planes in, and how long the process will take (roughly)?

Norris: Lumexis has been working closely with Boeing to keep them updated on the FTTS IFE system and our successful post-delivery modification programs on B737s since installations started back in 2010. Following the signing of a Technical Service Agreement Lumexis has worked with Boeing’s Cabin Systems Technology Center to agree and define system and installation requirements as well as evaluate the FTTS technology for compliance with FAA and Boeing regulations. The FTTS installation will be completed as part of the regular linefit flowline production process at the 737 production line in Renton, WA.

IFExpress: We have visited a couple of B737 installations in Everett, WA, and we assume the installation process will differ from that of a retrofit installation – can you describe in some detail the difference?

Norris: Boeing installations will be very similar to the retrofit installation, e.g., an additional shelf will be installed on the E8 rack in the electronics bay for the FTTS servers, 28 VDC power supply units will be installed in the sidewalls (each power supply drives 15 seat displays), fiber cables are run from the servers up to and behind the ceiling panels and then overhead along the cabin and dropped down to sidewall disconnects. As per the retrofit installation FTTS VDUs are installed by the seat manufacturer and are supplied to Renton pre-installed in the seats.

IFExpress: Please tell our readers what airlines have said about the Boeing approval and why do you think it will be a game changer?

Norris: We have had a very positive response from airlines since Boeing linefit offerability was announced which has led to a considerable number of invitations to bid on current and future 737 Next-Generation and MAX IFE RFPs. Achieving linefit on both the 737 NG and MAX is a significant step forward for Lumexis as it gives us access to a market of more than 500 new Boeing 737 aircraft a year at current production rates (with those build rates increasing year-on-year). In addition it reinforces our position as one of the major IFE system suppliers and increases our standing and credibility within the retrofit market as well as with other airframers.

IFExpress: Could we get a few team quotes from your people/management?

“Boeing qualification and approval of the IFE boxes (LRUs) differs from FAA STC retrofit approval, since Boeing is concerned about proper functional operation as well as all safety aspects of the boxes on their aircraft, so the demonstration of functionality and safety qualification for line-fit is extensive,” said Rich Salter Lumexis Chief Technical Officer.

“The Lumexis team is delighted with the significant achievement of having gained Boeing’s confidence in our company’s leading edge FTTS system and team,” said Doug Cline, Lumexis Chief Executive Officer.

Lumexis President and Chief Operating Officer Lou Sharkey adds, “This will make Lumexis the first new IFE company to be approved by Boeing in many years. We are immeasurably pleased and appreciative of this recognition.”

“The FTTS system is a revolutionary high-bandwidth AVOD passenger entertainment, communication and retail platform having the lowest cost of ownership over the life of the system. FTTS is easily upgraded in capacity and functionality at unprecedentedly low cost to maintain ongoing ‘leading edge’ performance and is applicable to every aircraft type in an airline’s fleet.”

IFExpress: Could you tell our readers about the time and effort that went into this effort?

Norris: Considerable airline interest is required before Boeing will consider entering a Technical Service Agreement (TSA) with a new IFE supplier. We are fortunate to have secured a couple of customers (flydubai and Lion Air) who between them have more than 350 737s on order.

IFExpress: Lastly, what will the benefit be to airlines and customers?

Norris: FTTS is the perfect system to both entertain airline passengers (featuring dynamic language and Closed Caption selections from dozens of available languages) and to maximize ancillary revenue for services and products. Only FTTS is proven in-service to support full cabin streaming of HD video content to 500+ passengers simultaneously.

“Boeing has worked closely with Lumexis through the offerability process to evaluate the FTTS technology on Boeing 737 platforms,” said Mike Murphy, chief project engineer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

For more information, please contact Jon Norris, VP Sales; (+1) 949 486 7011; jnorris@lumexis.com

There you have it, a new Boeing offerable IFE vendor, and, you can bet this will change the marketplace. IFExpress will be there to keep our readers up to date on this industry happening. Stay Tuned!


For those who eschew inflight telephony and use it outside the US, be advised that a relatively new, technology-based Utah company, Cypher may be on the trail of a software-based, background noise canceling technology for your phone. Basically, the technology isolates the speaker’s voice and eliminates the background totally. Cypher has partnered with CEVA,  for cellular platform IP and DSP licenses, that will help offer its technology to smartphones, tablets and the like. The combined solution adds Cypher’s voice-isolation software with the CEVA-TeakLite-4DSP for inclusion in devices. The Cypher product is not in any commercial devices today but is talking to chip-makers and OEM’s. What is amazing and potentially applicable to onboard aircraft use is the fact that Cypher’s patented voice isolation technology eliminates more than 99 percent of background noise and also improves user speech recognition and, as one report notes, “… it cuts the word error rate by 40 percent in noisy environments. Cypher showed as much as 17 times more background noise reduction than today’s most popular cell phones, according to the company. Overall, the results show a virtually complete elimination of background noise with accompanying improvement in audio quality.” Stay Tuned on this one…


Looking for a predictive app that lets you in on potential aircraft seat fares and will alert you to deals, and acts as a way to get you a seat deal? Look no further. Hopper is sort of an app-based travel agent. You can find it in Android and iOS here. We liked that the app looks at various carriers and helps you to make the booking.


PORTLAND PREVIEW

This update is booze related, so if you find yourself in Portland with the need for a gin & tonic, here is your chance to “do the West Coast Thing.” Look for Portland produced Aviation Gin for your G&T, and yes, we note it because it is named “Aviation.” The small batch product is reportedly made with interesting additives like sarsaparilla and lavender. Happy flying.

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