Our big story is a recent interview with a busy David Withers, the new owner and CEO of digEcor, the folks who developed the digEplayer. IFExpress had a short chat with him and from our perspective; the Utah-based IFE company is going to be very much a worldwide operation. Mr. Withers comes to the IFE business with an aviation pedigree that includes: Qantas, Boeing, and TAS Brisbane, his own avionics company based in Australia. By building teams in the Americas, SE Asia (Singapore – Australia), and Europe (coming soon), he plans to focus on customer satisfaction and product development… especially for the narrow-body market. Remarked Mr. Withers, “Since some 65% of the aircraft market out there is single-aisle, and under 20% are equipped with IFE, we see our role in this segment as the perfect blend for both portable and embedded entertainment hardware solutions. Acquiring the digEcor assets and team then combining it with our existing business base has us poised to grow this business, especially with our focus on CRM (Customer Relationship Management). By understanding our customers better, our plan is not only to retain the existing customer base, but we will win new ones – it’s in our DNA and our business plan as we will continue the development of organizational structure to provide products that will take single-aisle entertainment to the next level.” David told IFExpress to invite APEX show-goers to stop by the digEcor Booth 1626 and meet some of the new team members and check out their next phase of growth. Stay tuned on this one, and we hope to have a developing story on the new digEcor soon.

Editors note: Here are some related historical links we found on Mr. Withers and CRM.

We also wanted to give our readers one last rundown of the busy IFEC show season that is upon us. First and foremost is the big deal show for InFlight Entertainment and Connectivity here in the US. The show is sponsored by APEX and there are three reasons to go. The first is the IFE vendors, most of who are headquartered in California and close to Anaheim. This is their home turf and where they bring out their big guns in the form of people, products, and parties. The second is the fact that the movie houses are firmly planted in Hollywood, 35 miles from Anaheim… you got the picture. Lastly, IFSA (International Flight Services Association) is co-showing with APEX in Anaheim this year. We keep mentioning the delight of cruising the IFSA aisles and the wonderful food services job that vendors lay out to woo airlines. Take an hour or so to check out the latest food and delivery innovations… it’s almost as good as Wi-Fi.

Editors Note: We want to advise our readers who will be participating in the forthcoming APEX Conference that next IFExpress issue will feature show-who-is-where information such as booth number and product description. The September 9 – 12 IFEC event is one of the major IFEC events of theyear so let our readers know where you will be located. We are happy to publish the following for you: Company name, Contact Name (phone, email, etc.), Product(s)/Service(s) Description (brief please), and your Booth Number. See you there!

The next not-to-miss event takes place in Seattle on October 1 – 3: the Aircraft Interiors EXPO Americas. This show has a new feature that we really like, The Seating and IFE Integration Symposium that runs on Tuesday October 1. We talked to a few folks participating and we expect a lot of in-seat power and cabin Wi-Fi issues to be on the table along with passenger seating which seems to be undergoing a great transformation in design and functionality. We are told the relative new Americas show is growing each year and now has over 100 vendors involved. IFExpress went last year and we were pretty impressed at how little we knew about the cabin that was not IFEC related. We strongly recommend this free show. Also, the AIEA has now collocated with the Composites World Show and this may be quite interesting as interior vendors are being driven by the OEM’s to deliver lighter composite cabin interior solutions.

If you just have to go to Las Vegas, The Future Travel Experience Show will be found at Mandalay Bay September 4 – 6. FTE is an “Out-There” show that likes to headline some of the newest ideas in flying travel like the latest industry focus “On the Ground” and “Up in the Air” developments. Check out their website and don’t tell the boss it’s in Las Vegas.

In case you didn’t see the latest news from Lumexis and you can read it here. Be advised, there is soon going to be a new kid on the Boeing B737-800/900 offerability block. We reckon that there has been a lot of talk from airlines wanting to purchase the Lumexis FTTS system if it is installed on the airplane assembly line (not retrofit later) from customers that will be receiving their B737’s in the forthcoming years. It’s not inexpensive but the business prospects are probably daunting. Editors Note: Be prepared for a different OEM offerability deal with an IFE vendor, but this time with Airbus!

August 19, 2013– The organisers of the Seating & IFE Integration Symposium – Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas – have secured additional industry experts with key responsibility for two major areas of cabin investment – seat and IFE/connectivity systems – to present at the inaugural symposium taking place on Tuesday October 1 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

Newly confirmed speakers include: Kevin Callahan, Associate Technical Fellow, Systems Concept Center and Bryan K.Wiltse, Lead Engineer for Cabin Systems Future Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Rodolfo Baldascino, Marketing & Sales Manager at Geven; Jason Johnson, Director, Technical Services and Engineering at Omni Air International; Rick Lockhart, President at Skypaxxx Interior Repairs; Rod Pulbrook, Manager Customer Experience and Line Maintenance Operations at Qantas Airways as well as a senior Executive from Zodiac In-Flight Innovation.

The theme for the opening session of this year’s Symposium, taking place ahead of Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, will be ‘Inspiration and Opportunity.’ The first two presentations will cover ‘Consumer trends: the impact of smart mobile technology’ and ‘Evolving seat-centric technology,’ which will be followed by ‘The evolution of the connected cabin,’ featuring Kevin Callahan and Bryan K. Wiltse from Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Topic areas will include the capabilities on offer within the connected cabin and the types of opportunities created by offering universal wireless connectivity in the cabin and how this connectivity can change business models.

The second session’s theme will be ‘Making the Business Case’ and the first topic will be ‘Saving time, saving money by working smarter’ to be followed by a panel discussion on ‘The business case for closer integration,’ which will now include Rodolfo Baldascino, Marketing & Sales Manager at Geven and Rod Pulbrook, Manager Customer Experience and Line Maintenance Operations at Qantas Airways. They will join previously announced panellists who will consider and discuss some of the critical issues affecting all stakeholders in the industry.

The third session’s focus will be “Making Integration Happen” and the afternoon agenda will open with a scene-setting update on critical industry standards and the impact of regulations on closer integration between seat, IFE and connectivity.

The final session, under the heading of ‘Delivering Innovation,’ will open with ‘New models for delivering seat-integrated IFE and collaborative working practices – Omni Air International B777 IFE Integration case study,’ to be presented by Jason Johnson, Director, Technical Services and Engineering at Omni Air International. This airline perspective and experience will provide an overview of factors including the pitfalls for IFE selection; the pros and cons of new or refurbished seats for IFE integration; assembling the IFE integration team and selecting the right vendors; project managing IFE integration and establishing clear lines of responsibility across a multiple vendor project.

Rick Lockhart, President at Skypaxxx Interior Repairs, will then deliver the experience from an integrator’s viewpoint highlighting key areas such as co-operation with airlines, ways in which to prevent and admit errors while fixing them speedily and IFE collaboration with engineering and other organisational nominated representatives.

A senior Executive from Zodiac In-Flight Innovation will provide the final topic entitled ‘The IFE experience’ to be followed by a Q&A discussion which will bring the Symposium to a conclusion. The Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas exhibition halls will then open for an Exhibition Preview and Industry Networking Party that will take place from 1700 – 2000.

These new speakers will be joining an impressive line-up of confirmed keynote speakers who include Jason Adams, Aircraft Interiors/IFE Supply Chain General Manager at Delta Air Lines, Zuzana Hrnkova, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing at Airbus and Alex Pozzi, Vice President, Advanced Design Group at B/E Aerospace.

Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, said: “I’m delighted to welcome these new speakers to this year’s Symposium as their subject-matter expertise and industry experience will provide invaluable thought leadership on many levels. The topic of IFE and seat integration is clearly a focal point within the industry at present and by adding to the quality list of speakers, there is no doubt that the appeal and relevance of the Symposium will provide a unique and timely platform to fully debate emerging trends and issues.”

For more information, please visit www.aircraftinteriorsexpo-us.com/symposium