You have to like the Australians! Accordingly, when we interviewed the digEcor team we walked away with a lot of information about the products, the people, and the purpose. Consequently, we thought our readers might like a bit of “down under” in IFExpress this week!

According to digEcor’s CEO, David Withers: “Yesterday (APEX opening day) was the best opening day for us at an APEX show… with a good, solid flow of airlines visiting our booth.” He also noted that the airline visitors must have found some interesting new products as they asked a lot of questions. And, after all, that is what trade shows are about. This also says a lot for the new, full offering from digEcor. One of their goals has been to offer a complete ‘Integrated Flight Experience’, a favorite term of David’s for as long as we have known him. Partially, this is why they have developed LED cabin lighting, in-seat power, portable entertainment devices, GLIDE their embedded seat centric system, content services, and ENGAGE their crew management software (air and ground). The booth display said it all… the complete Integrated Flight Experience. Let’s look at each one, and we note that each item is summarized on their website. Furthermore, the subtitle is ‘The Integrated Flight experience’ which says a lot more that the words themselves – digEcor is looking at ‘big picture’ integration and their products prove that.

GLIDE: Without a doubt, digEcor’s signature embedded inflight entertainment solution is GLIDE. It is functional, easy-to-maintain and low-cost. Supporting 1TB of content and USB power and as standard, 110V in-seat power, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 21″ screens in 16:9 format. Glide offers a reliable full feature solution and is available today. As Mr. Withers noted: “The most flexible and lowest cost embedded IFE system available. It is now FAA certified and flying.”

GLIDE Features: 1) Seat Back, Arm Mount or Monument Mount Screens available in 8, 10, 12, 15 and 21″ in 16:9 format 2) 2.1A USB Power standard 3) Seat box powers 6 screens and provides 4 x 110V outlets or the new lighter weight and smaller seat box powers 4 screens 4) Single LRU Cabin Management Terminal provides a 10″ touch screen crew interface and contains all the required A429, PA, RS485 and discrete inputs and outputs and replaces the entire VCC 5) Typical installations are – Modular design, scalable by features and fit

PORTABLES: Portables Features: 1) 8″, 10″ and 12″ screen sizes 2) PCAP (Capacitive Touch) 3) Optional Camera 4) Gig Ethernet for content uploading (In station) 5) 5V USB input for inflight charging 6) Configurable storage (8GB to 1TB) 7) SD card optional for fast content load (1GB to 128GB) 8) Quad core 1.1GHZ processor 9) Configurable 1GB-8GB DDR RAM 10) Light sensor for back light dimming 11) 12hr / 18hr batteries available 13) Smart battery with status. (image)

IN-SEAT POWER: In-seat power is available as 5V USB at a full 2.1amps for iPad charging and 110V for laptops (inseat power display image).

USB: 1) 5 Volt, 10W (2.1A) full charging outlet at each seat 2) Typical weight per passenger 0.4kg (0.7lb) 3) Typical additional seat weight per triple 0.7kg (1.5lb)  4) Optional Passenger Service System (PSS-Reading Light and Call Bell) functionality for wide-body aircraft 5) Each outlet switchable OFF, Low Power (200ma) and Full Power (2.1A) to enable ancillary revenue opportunities

LAPTOP: 1) 110V 60Hz laptop power 2) 70W per outlet 3) 4 Outlets per GLIDE seat box

CABIN LIGHTING: digEcor’s new LED cabin lighting solution is an easy, economical way for airlines to create a memorable flight experience. The solution is controlled by cabin crew, is easily installed and reduces power consumption. Passengers can access more than 4 billion colors through the GLIDE embedded IFE system and easily manipulate the color and intensity to create a restful space or enhance their brand association.

Cabin Lighting: 1) Replacement modules for most existing light assemblies 2) 4 LED matrix to maximize color depth and intensity 3) Full control of color and intensity via GLIDE CM 4) Fully programmable transitions between colors 5) Independent ceiling and sidewall control 6) Weight saving 7) Up to 30% reduction in power 8) Long life – 5 year warranty on all digEcor hardware

It is also worth noting a new feature of this solution… digEcor now offers the capability to take their custom light color and intensity meter, which measures light in 2 axis, forward and above, giving the ability to record sunsets or sunrises or any transition and reproduce it in the cabin by displaying the horizontal axis on the side walls and the vertical axis on the ceiling. Thus giving the ability to replicate sunsets and sunrises that are relevant to the sector passengers are flying on the airline’s network. For example, a night flight from London UK to Brisbane Australia will start with a transition to the UK sunset and wake passengers up with a sunny Australian sunrise. “And what a great place to wake up in the morning, noted Mr. Withers!”

ENGAGE SOFTWARE: This solution provides value to the customer, inflight crew and ground staff. It captures, reports, synchronizes and efficiently sends data in real-time across the entire customer journey. This empowers every member of airline front-line staff to deliver remarkable customer experiences every day. With three easy to use modules, ‘Cabin’, ‘Forms’ and ‘Ground’ it engages the staff in a quick, easy and manageable way. ENGAGE offers vast benefits to airline business including improved communication, proactive customer recovery, operational efficiency and streamlined reporting.

CONTENT SERVICES: From selection, licensing, encoding, encryption, integration, quality control and delivery. Whether or not airlines purchase their handheld or embedded solutions, digEcor wants to help deliver the most memorable entertainment experience. They can customize any needs around content for airlines with a full service turnkey solution or a de-bundled approach across the global network.

By way of history, David and his team has been “…getting hardware and software certified and flying,” so he told IFExpress. Their branding experiences have taught them; “The experience is about the journey – and passengers want a seamless experience,” he noted. For example, ENGAGE, rebranded as RED for Qantas is now used in their lounges as well as on the plane. “But the real key,” he said, “is applying technology correctly… and that is what helps facilitate the experience.”

It is no surprise that digEcor is aviation experience oriented. It’s CEO, started in the aviation business when he was 13 washing and fueling airplanes (. His career has been entirely aviation focused with David working at companies like Qantas, Smiths Group (now GE) and Boeing, mostly in senior leadership positions. We asked David about his aviation background and he told IFExpress; “I love our industry and have worked in it since I was 13 when I started washing planes at the local aeroclub. I have been lucky enough to spend my entire career in aviation and over that time have fixed, designed and flown aeroplanes of all shapes and sizes. I started the formal part of my career in an airline (Qantas) where I worked initially as a mechanic and later as a designated engineering representative once I’d completed my engineering degree part time in my evenings. It was at Qantas where I first got involved with IFE initially being responsible for duplicating the endless tape cassettes, which gives away my age! Over time I led the integration of the domestic and international entertainment products and established the first near live news service using satellite to distribute live news to all the Qantas domestic airports where we dubbed it to tape and manually loaded it on each aircraft twice a day. This was cutting edge technology in the mid 1990’s. I moved from Qantas to Smiths Aerospace, then Europe’s largest manufacturer of aircraft components and systems where I led building of their Asia Pacific business as its managing director. From there I moved to Boeing as president of its Australian operations with around 5,500 employees. As I said I’ve been very fortunate in my career.”

More to the point, he told IFExpress that, “Every one of our product offerings is either certified or in the process of FAA certification!” David Withers and his teams, both in Australia and Utah, have got the right stuff. In fact the boss put it better than we could: “It never occurs to us not to go and do something.” If this year’s booth and products are any indication, they will not stop surprising this industry!


Perhaps one of the cleverest ideas to come out of Seattle last week at the Aircraft Interiors Conference was the floor layout… and it will probably be repeated. The AI folks placed the conference seminar stage and floor inside the exhibition hall and surrounded it with display booths . What really worked both days was the fact that your could tour the booths and if you saw a presentation that interested a floorwalker, it was easy to duck in. But beyond that, 3D printing was the big deal and there must have been 10 booths covering one phase of the process or another (here are some parts made by 3D printing). Further, the following technologies seemed to be in the forefront, seating related products, seats, thermoplastic products, cabin lighting, seating comfort products and technologies, plating (especially plastic), reflective technology, USB application technologies, precision machining, materials and mixing technologies, fabrics, NRC manufacturing, and a lot of technologies and products that IFExpress does not feature – mechanical engineers heaven. The newer gel honeycombed products are a real seat pleaser (pun intended) and we look forward to testing them on a flight – the secret? Simple, it’s silicone honeycomb with breathing holes in the cell walls. Great stuff! Another surprise were the 3D plastic printed products from Stratasys. They showed a line of ECS ducting that was 6” in diameter and promised a cheaper and better product than the older manufactured tubing. One company demonstrated their 3D printing capabilities by “printing” a ukulele body out of plastic, and it played and sounded quite well.

From a power point of view, the folks from Astronics showed up with more of their tray table related products in view while a company called True Blue Power demonstrated a 28VDC power supply that delivered USB 2.1 Amps into a total of 10 USB outlets, also of their design. And what would a show that had lighting be without Olaf Schultz of Schott? He brought two lighting developments of interest – Heliojet White and Spectrum strips that contain a large number of white or color-capable LED’s, each LED with it’s own color/brightness sensor for balance… not to mention their star dotted ceiling panels the is comprised of a powerful LED light with what appeared to be over 50 individual fiber optic outlet “stars” in the ceiling panel. In the same booth, Christian Lierow demonstrated Lufthansa Technik’s reflective lighting solutions. From a color point of view, they easily showed 20 reflective colors and something we had never seen before – curved reflective floor markers.

All in all, the show and the speakers were very interesting and a lot of new technology was on display. We were a bit sorry that the expo wasn’t as big as the previous years, but there appeared to be plenty of traffic on the floor.

“I was very impressed with the technical know-how of the exhibitors at this years Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas event this week in Seattle. I was able to engage in in-depth discussions with attendees about product details that will definitely help us specify these products in future modification programs,” noted John Courtright. Here is a link to the Aircraft Interiors floor plan for the Seattle event and it should give you an idea about the layout.

Check out the floor layout, you will see this concept in the future – it works!


Boeing’s famous aviation pioneer personality, Dick Taylor, passed away recently – here is a bit about the man and his remembrances(And yes, I worked for him too! TJW)


Bill Baltra sent us this link to a YouTube video about a flying Gogo 2Ku System running 40 inflight devices – 2Ku Flight testing on N321GG with 40+ streaming video devices. ‬ There will be more on this one.


Ron Chapman says: “KONNG will be king of the connectivity solutions,” but you be the judge at NBAA!

There are a lot of IFE Conference happenings in the next month and a half and we wanted to point out a couple of them that we know and love – APEX in Anaheim CA, September 15 – 18, which we discussed last issue, and the Aircraft Interiors Passenger Experience Conference (and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services) in Seattle, Washington, October 15 and 16 at the Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle. If you were there or read about last year’s Passenger Experience Conference, they did something that was quite novel. The show planners held a 3-for-1 feature on the first day of the 3 day show. That means that the first day, includes speakers in the morning, breakout sessions in the afternoon, and a reception/networking event hosted on the floor of the exhibition hall with all the cast of booth characters in the evening. If you only go to one day, be sure it’s Tuesday! See below:

Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas
Day 1 Tuesday, October 14, – 9:00 AM till Evening

Morning
The morning will explore future trends, before splitting into three concurrent breakouts in the afternoon, drilling into the detail of evolving the cabin experience. The day is timed to allow movement between sessions. Morning plenary Sessions will be looking at tomorrows world in air travel: the users guide to getting there, before asking can you generate a demand for your brand?
Introduction – Vern Alg, Moderator – Introduction to the opening plenary session exploring Tomorrow’s World in Air Travel: The Users’ Guide to Getting There. This session will feature three perspectives from design; travel and technology, on the future for consumer experiences and what that will mean for air travel.
The Paradox of the Chocolate Chip Cookie – Jeremy White, Head of Transport Design, Seymour Powell – “A presentation about the importance of the unimportant.”
How the Connected Traveller And Their Technology Will Define The Future Of Travel – Adam Luchsinger, Global Accounts Business Manager, Google- The level of connectivity in today’s world is a driving force for the evolution of the traveller. Google will share a perspective on three major directional shifts that we are seeing in the travel industry, driven by this increasingly connected traveler. They will explore trends in consumer behavior as well as the corresponding technological developments that will define travel product and marketing efforts in the future. Learn how to stay relevant and prosper in this evolving landscape and use technology as your biggest asset.
Q & A

Designing a Passenger Experience – Mark Krolick – Managing Director of Marketing and Product Development, UAL.
Panel Discussion: Changing the Focus. What Happens she We Start Designing the Experience rather than the Object?

Afternoon
The afternoon will feature 3 Breakout Very Complete Sessions:
1. Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity: Making better Connections with your Passengers for Great Onboard Experiences and Revenue Improvements
2. The Cabin: Backseat Economics and Innovation
3. The Cabin: Planning Cabin Modifications and Mitigating the Risk
Note: You can download the detailed program for the morning and afternoon.

Night
Industry Networking Party/Exhibition Preview
Taking place on the exhibition floor following the Passenger Experience Conference. This is the ideal opportunity to network with industry peers and other professionals in a relaxed yet professional environment.  This event will also double up as an exhibition preview with the exhibition formally opening the following morning on the 15th October.

The following two days (Oct 15 & 16) will feature the show floor exhibit visits so don’t miss that.

APEX

Wanna know whats going to be shown 2 weeks from now at APEX in the way of new technology? We got this from an IFE manufacturers website and it probably represents the the state of the technical economy at the conference: “At …, 3D is already here. In the near future, we expect to see Ultra HD, OLED, flexible displays that wrap the interior, gesture-controlled graphical user interfaces (GUIs), eye–tracking technology, and touch surfaces in IFE systems. Ultimately, our vision is to offer ubiquitous connectivity so that IFE systems and passenger devices can exchange data and be on the edge of the cloud, while in the clouds.” Beyond this, we expect a lot of Smart Device (PED) interfacing, Wi-Fi and possible Bluetooth connectivity , and a lot of streaming content solutions like Pandora et al.
And yes, with Apple pushing NFC in the iPhone 6, expect to see more ways to pay!

MORE
Looks like APEX will return to Hong Kong, 3 – 4 November, 2014 with 2 full days of educational events.

Heard about Flight Tonight? If you need a flight at a moments notice, this may be your website. The folks at Hopper who sponsors a Hotel Tonight for iOs, Android, and Windows App now have your immediate answer to a quickly needed flight. Flight Tonight takes you through the screens for choosing a departure, flight duration/length, and price. You can purchase the flights through airlines, Flight Tonight, and 3rd part booking agents like Travelocity. Flight Tonight App.

Shawn Raybell is now Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Armstrong Aerospace – 425 358-7333 or Shawn.Raybell@armstrongaerospace.com.

Did you notice that one of the 13 major sponsors for the 2014 APEX EXPO in Anaheim is AT&T? Now, why would they be involved… perhaps a connectivity announcement? If you remember they were in the air telephony game 10 years ago, but now they may be about to roll-out airborne LTE or even announce the beginnings of an acquisition. Stay tuned!

Remember our article on Aviation Scouts at www.aviationgate.com after last year’s AIX in Hamburg? They now have 100 aircraft ship-sets of airplane seats for your perusal. They are also touting a LinkedIn share function to show them to the boss and yes, you can still “spin” the pictures around to see the backsides of the seats! Nice.

Finally, you might watch out for some changes in the Thales Marketing Team – Looks to us the LiveTV crew will be involved!

Publishers Note:
“You probably know that this past July was the 60th anniversary of the Boeing B707 and you probably had no reason to celebrate that fact. But if you were around when the first prototype was given a “barrel roll” over the Seattle’s 1955 Seafair and Gold Cup Hydroplane Races held on Lake Washington on August 6, 1955, you probably thought Bill Allen, company President, Tex Johnson the Chief Test Pilot, and Ed Well, the Chief Engineer were just plain crazy… or just plane crazy. As it turns out the birth of the B707 was just the beginning of the story for the rest of us to come along in it’s contrails. And as history would have it, the story has been told about the “birth” of this important milestone in aviation history many times and by many authors and newspeople. The reason we are featuring it here in IFExpress is to tip off our readers to a terrific recounting of the planes birth by a true Renaissance Man, Robert (Bob) Bogash. Bob is a man who always looks for the truth in everything and in his own words, “I was a Boeing Engineer, and worked in Customer Support, Tech Pubs, Manufacturing, Flight Test, Sales, Marketing, Purchasing, Quality Control – plus a few other things I can’t even remember.” Here is his accounting of the story and we would be remiss in not telling you that this website account has gotten well over 1 million “reads” in the past few months!”Terry Wiseman, Publisher