Panasonic: The Panasonic team showed up and caught our eye in three areas – Wireless, eX3 product line, and the ‘Cool Room’. Enhancements to the basic line of eX3 IFE products include a new seat electronics box we called “the turtle” because it looks like one. Incredibly, the carbon fiber or metallic impregnated plastic box fits in the palm of you hand and between the struts of an aircraft seats – it uses up zero leg room and foot space! We saw a pre-production model and this box will change SEB’s forever. We got a look at their eX Lite Server and there is a real technology story here. While we don’t have space to talk about it in this installment, the box uses 128 GB of SDXC memory! There also was an 802.11N wireless system entry that looked to be the next logical growth for the “eX” Series, and of course, the ‘Cool Room’. While there seemed to be a waning of interest to include the room in future conventions from Panasonic executives, IFExpress still finds this the heart of new development product potential at any IFEC show. Yep, we love it. the 3D flat screen display with touch controls blew us away. There is not enough space to laud Steve Sizelove and his team’s efforts to go where no other vendor has gone before. BTW, weren’t those iPads on a trolly. Hmm?

ITAN: Leave it up to Michael Rogerson to provide a real upgrade to his IFEC offerings. We were knocked out by the new technology in his latest building block modular IFEC system. Called the “A-Series ARM” and based on the Android operating system, Michael and his team have jumped into the latest vendor offerings as an equal. Using 5 (or so) modules, customers use them and ITAN’s app offerings to build a system that covers audio, video, data, Wi-Fi, and whatever else is needed for entertainment. Michael claims that now, users can plug into the ARM seat unit and get data, power and media – all with no server. While an admitted bizjet natural, the ITAN hardware is definitely suited for single aisle operation in the commercial space. Watch this one.

LiveTV: We will say it again: “Mike Moeller is one of the best Sales and Marketing dudes in the IFE industry.” The LiveTV cost per bit analysis is a story we will cover in an upcoming Hot Topic but suffice it to say, Moeller coined the phrase “Not all Ka Band Service is the same” and his analysis is one that needs to be understood by the IFE world. As Moeller put it, “Data costs are exceeding the price charged per passenger.” His message: delivering data to airline customers depends on the system, the data rate, the antenna capability and the aircraft location. His approach grows and adapts the jetBlue system and keeps costs in line. Without a doubt, clever xponder buying is also a must, but we will save that for later.

Lumexis: One lesson we learned from Lumexis – there are some 21 different platforms for PED’s and that really drives the need for a monitor at each seat. They plan on true 1080p HD for their next generation of systems. They claim that they can deliver true HD to all customers on any size plane at the same time. With fiber optics, bandwidth never seems to be an issue. We were told that Lumexis is concentrating on their first customers; however, there is another in the wings and we anticipate an announcement AIX 2012.

VT Miltope: As the OEM to many Wi-Fi and network-based systems, the military and commercial box and system manufacturer rolled out their new, small (in size only) 10/100/1000 Based Server Unit (NSUI). The 2 MCU box has a minimum 160 GB SSD, 1.8 GHz Athalon dual core processor. All this and a new president too!

OK, you say, what does all this new IFE stuff add up to? The trends we spotted seem to echo the past but because of newer technology, there are new directions and evolutions noted below.

The “seat focused” IFE concept is in full throttle. At least 5 vendors used the term “seat-centric” in their presentations and as many more exhibited that concept in their product design. In a sentence, putting the electronics and content at the seat improves the reliability and passenger experience. Accordingly, the centralized control of content and programming is on the decline. Boeing and Airbus, we understand, are not fans of this approach as they loose some control of the IFE platform and is less flexible in their eyes. As a result, it may be a while before line-fit approval is secured.

We hear there is no end to the need for connectivity with the Smartphone as one of the favorite and upcoming targets for content and data – but you knew that. Wi-Fi is the medium of choice and the folks at Gogo have proven that connectivity or no-connectivity is just a matter of cost/price. They are also proving that streaming wireless is here today and more of this trend is in the works with almost all system suppliers. Additionally, while not cheap, Wi-Fi reduces weight and wires. Watch the Virgin America/Lufthansa deal as a precursor of things to come.

Understandably, Early Window content is pretty much ruled out for PED’s in the above mentioned Wi-Fi systems but with Early Window content being squeezed down to 30 days or less, what is the big deal? And by the way, when will Google or Microsoft front, or reduce, Wi-Fi user costs?

SSDs are here with most opting for 128 MB. But by next year, 256 MB will be the norm and the year after, one terabyte will be common. Don’t know what an SSD is? Try Wikipedia.

While not a trend yet, card swiping (PIN and chip) is on it’s way. Just as the Smartphone resonated with travelers, easy payments are a demand driver. While prevalent in Europe, the use in the US and elsewhere will come slowly. Watch the innovators like IFPL, AIRVOD, ITAN, and PlaneBill.

There are a lot of small vendors with incredibly good product and product ideas. This can only mean that next year as budgets tighten, there is a good chance for industry consolidation. We smell mergers and acquisitions (M&A)!

In the content world, there seems to be a shift away from the tennis shoe network toward more automated and wireless content update. Mind you, it is not here yet but lots of folks are working the problem vigorously.

Finally, Ka Band connectivity was on everybody’s lips. As LiveTV put it – “Not all Ka is the same!”

Based on the above, the APEX TC in November (8 & 9) looks to be a ‘Do Not Miss’ event. Here are the topics – Airline & Studio Perspectives on Future Technologies,  Connectivity, Wireless IFE, HD Standardization,HD/File-Based Workflow, Interoperable Master Format, Cabin Trends, Chip & PIN for PCI Compliance, ARNIC 791 Satcom Update, Ka-band Radome Status. 

Firstly, thank you vendors for your valuable time at the show. As we noted last week, because of space limitations we can only summarize; however, IFExpress plans to devote complete Hot Topic subjects on some of the big deals in the upcoming months. We also note that IFExpress planned to dedicated two issues for APEX summaries. Wrong! We now need three and the third is to come next week.

APEX reports 2300 delegates and 73 airlines in attendance while most visitors enjoyed good, but unusual, Seattle weather. We again note that many show images are available by clicking the show image in this newsletter (to the right) and on the IFExpress/ website.

Here we go:

Once again Geoff Underwood and his IFPL team knocked our collective socks off with 3 prototypes for new products: a near field communication (NFC) initiative (and eventual product) that permits chip-powered credit card sales (PIN enabled) via a swipe and a keypad. He demonstrated an ingenious Self Testing Audio Jack with built-in audio test via small LED – simply send out the correct tone and the light gives a go/no-go visual indication (BTW, no seat power required and the jack is no bigger that a standard jack). Hey, one person can check out a plane’s worth of audio with a walk down the aisle! Lastly, we should mention their 3 part breakaway audio jack. That’s right, 3 parts!Lower cost and no broken audio plugs – patent in works.

PlaneBill‘s Massimo DeSanctis, the App man has 18 apps now, one each for Apple iOS, Android, and Windows 7. We hear he is working on apps for WebOS and Blackberry as well. Check out the link for the list or Why not have him build or customize one for you!

Goodrich‘s Al McGowan told IFExpress they are planning bigger IFE packages for their customers, mostly with a retrofit focus. Interestingly, we expect new products as they cross pollinate with their Military technologies and other business elements. And, don’t forget the GA market as Goodrich has purchased Audio International.

digEcor continues to promote their L7 portable and are looking toward more solid state memory for increased functionality. Two bits of info: 1. Alaska does NOT report lower uptakes rates with Gogo onboard, and 2. We can’t tell you about their long term initiatives but one looks very cool. Adam Williams sent us his Tweet analysis of the APEX event and we think you Social Marketing followers will appreciate the results. Adam (and others) are on the leading edge of the next marketing revolution.

And speaking of Gogo (Shouldn’t that be Go-Go?), we spoke with Fran Phillips, Mary Rogozinski, and Steve Nolan who note that they see Ka as their potential answer to future satcom-based streaming entertainment. Further, their ATG4 upgrade will provide enough interim growth bandwidth with A/C antenna changes and small ground station mods. But what really caught our fancy was a very passenger friendly new feature called “Resumption of Play”. This is great new attribute that allows Gogo users to see the portion of the paid entertainment they missed because of, for example, landing. Use a code, plug it into their website and voila, you have not missed that great part in “When Harry Met Sally”! Don’t remember? – YouTube it!

The Astronics folks now have the USB inset power product in production and deliveries and installations are happening as we write. We should probably note another Astronics accomplishment – Teatro ZinZanni. We don’t normally mention vendor events but this one was a deal breaker for us. Described as “Love, Chaos, and Dinner”, this Seattle dinner theatre was the setting for the Astronics party. The venue’s website notes a description for the show there as “Kit Kat Klub on acid”, however, that is mild for the madness that ensued – we think they served dinner too but we don’t remember? Singers, musicians, transvestites, tumblers, acrobats, and who knows what else, the place (and event) was a hoot. We have saved the best for last but you will have to check out the Industry Good Sport of the Year via this link…and we ain’t kidding! Nice job everybody.

Rumor has it that the reason Inflight Canada missed the show is because they are finalizing a big deal new product – Stay Tuned.

Last week we forgot to mention that Thales nice guy Dan Reed has retired (or should we say “is” retiring), however, we understand he will work on till the end of the year –

Seattle, Washington hosted this year’s IFE and content extravaganza and if you didn’t attend we hope to paint a summary picture for our readers in this edition and the next as well. Furthermore, we will cover many of the bigger stories in detail in the forthcoming months. Watch for show pictures on our website via Flickr. Lastly, we want to thank APEX and their management team for a great expo. Boeing, Panasonic, & Astronics for wonderful evening entertainment, and finally, all the vendors who pay for the show. You rock!

Speaking of trends, here are a few we noticed: Open Platform Apps, Ka Band Buzz, Connectivity – to satellites and the ground, Distributed cabin Wi-Fi to multiple platforms (iOS, Android and Windows), and Seat-Centric style Entertainment.

We wanted to highlight offerings and new developments from suppliers who invited us to drop by and check out their wares. This is the first of the two summary articles in no particular order:

KID-Systeme is back with a new logo and the next iteration of their seat power box installed in the Recaro economy seat bar. The module contains no fans and airline interest has recharged the system as it provided seat 25 watts for each seat and 150 watts of 110 AC power for portable devices. Rumor has it that they are looking at a big order approaching 100 A/C.

Rockwell Collins announced their dPaves 3 IFE system destined for single aisle (and twins too) as an inseat video system. Truly seat oriented, dPaves 3 is an upgrade path from previous editions and features solid state memory.

Lufthansa Systems and Virgin America rolled out their single aisle IFE system that features inseat screens/hardware (for Early Window and networked entertainment and TV) and Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11n) to passenger devices via an app. The device features 128GB SSD for content storage and is expected to grow.

Carlisle showed their newest fiber optic connector dubbed OCTAX for Ethernet and HD video. About the size of your little finger, OCTAX is a quad channel, round F.O. connector that sports a release pin and can deliver 10 gigabits per second, or higher. The Carlisle crew says it will have a home in data loaders, seat-to-seat connections and in IFE backbone deliveries.

Here’s a new name, Kontron, and we expect to hear a lot more from them. They acquired AP Avionics (Remember their modems and WAPS?) and we found out they are the hardware manufacturer for Lufthansa Systems new IFE product, Board Connect. Kontron is a German company with sales worldwide and are the builders of industrial computer and imbedded systems. This is an OEM to watch.

We were knocked out by the new AIRVOD IFE system. Chosen for 2 Omni Air B-777 aircraft, the system is equipped with a beautiful touchscreen and driven driven by a “lossy line” backbone with “seatcentric” architecture. Did we mention the Terrance Bonar had registered “seatcentric” as a trademarked term years back? When we asked about legal protection, Terrance quipped: “Why, other users of the term are advertising for AIRVOD.” Hmmmm! We should also mention that the Avianor seats used to demonstrate the hardware were beautiful and, surprisingly, they were refurbs. There were too many features of this system to mention here but we will follow up later.

Thales showed some beautiful IFE hardware that we will cover in a later article. The displayed a terrific Bucher inseat video arm used in the Thales Integrated Front Row IFE system that can accommodate a video display up to 12.1 in. Dave Pook took IFExpress thru their moving map display program and demonstrated integration with GeoRadio, the audio entertainment software that “tells” viewers about the points of interest below, triggered by GPS data. Of interesting note was Boeing’s cancellation of a live demonstration of the Thales GateSync product. This is a valuable development for aircraft data handling and we are hoping for an eventual update to report to out readers.

The TriaGnoSys team rolled out their connectivity development (in conjunction with Siemens) called IFEConneX. You will hear more about this one box wonder from us but it delivers media content and inflight connectivity to passengers during flights via a ‘leaky line’ technology and looks ideal for non-IFE equipped planes like business jets. By incorporating both connectivity and entertainment in one box.

The IMS RAVE and EDGE products were smart and worked like a UI should. We liked the commonality across their product line and how simple and effective the swipe technology is for IFE. By the way, the Samsung Galaxy tablet product for American Airlines looked great.

As an aside, John White asked us to mention that the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle is construction a new $300 million dollar building at their South Seattle location and have verbally committed to an IFE wing. It seems the museum brass was really impressed with the industry offer of legacy and historic IFE hardware for their museum (The Smithsonian was not!). If you or company wants to donate your historical IFE artifacts please contact John.

Bryan Rusenko is now VP IFE Technology & Strategy, Technicolor and they have an interesting automated content service – more later.
Al McGowen is back in the Goodrich commercial world as Director, Business Development. We wonder if the United Technologies acquisition is a driver?
Patrick Joly of DTI fame is now with Spafax as Director Digital Platforms. When he explained the digital platform convergence that is changing the inflight information content paradigm, we got it. Have him explain it to you – it’s the next thing in IFE communication.
Darrel Chua turned up as President of his game development company Enveesoft. His team in China has some very interesting games in development.
Tracy DeCuir is back in the IFE space (as if he ever left).
Colin Mahoney, New VP Sales, Marketing, and Support, Rockwell Collins Commercial Systems was on hand (He is the new Randy Lincoln). IFExpress should also note that the new IFE PR contact is Josh Baynes.
Good News! World renown bon vivant Andre De Greef is back with LiveTV.

Special recognition from IFExpress goes to Inflight Canada for their espresso stand and rest area. Why special? It seems George Smallhorn and the team was forced to remain in Canada for business reasons and could not attend. Rather than simply give up their booth space, they hired a barista, brought in some comfortable furniture and turned their booth into a rest stop for the weary. Nice touch!

Each year, for the last umpteen years, IFExpress has delivered readers a show preview based on a published invitation to all. This year is no different and we urge all attendees to be sure to visit their booth and tell them IFExpress sent you!

Company: Astronics AES
Booth: 701
Contact: Dennis Markert / / 425 442 8195

Astronics AES will be displaying their latest product addition to the world leading EmPower(R) In-Seat Power Systems (ISPS) product line. The new EmPower(R) In-Seat Power Supply produces an industry leading 200VA for each Personal Electronic Device (PED) and includes three Universal Serial Bus (USB) power outputs for passenger devices such as smart phones, iPods, cameras, and other standard +5 Volt DC devices. This is all accomplished in a smaller form factor than previous generations of the industry leading EmPower(R) product line.

Company: digEcor
Booth: 627
Contact: Adam Williams /

DIGECOR HIGHLIGHTS: We will showcase the digEplayer L7, which airlines around the world have rapidly adopted, as a low cost yet rugged and feature rich IFE solution. Airlines can also find out more about In-flight Content Services, including the ability to support handhelds, overheads, and AVOD systems independent of a digEplayer agreement. Interested in Ancillary Revenue? We’ve been a long time supporter. Our customers have been generating revenue and operating self-sustaining IFE programs for years. So stop by our booth and chat with us about rental programs, shopping solutions, and advertising. We may not have a cool and highly publicized theme for the show, but if we did, it would probably be, “Come for the coffee, stay for the movies.”

Company: Goodrich
Booth number 1309
Contact Dan Vargas / / (323) 837-2717

Goodrich digital video reproducers (VRUs) are a cost-effective way to update existing tape systems for an enhanced passenger entertainment experience. Be certain to stop by and visit us during APEX.

Company: IFPL
Booth#: 819
Contact: Claire Underwoord /

Near Field Communication Demo
IFPL has developed an interface between NFC and IFE systems. This takes the mobile wallet concept onto aircraft and addresses the security issues of high value payments. The system on show can be used in a number of ways: as chip and pin; with NFC enabled ‘connect’ cards and with NFC enabled mobile ‘phones. This opens up a range of possibilities from renting movies, buying drinks and food and accessing destination information (i.e. increasing advertising revenue).

Self-testing jack
Currently airline maintenance personnel have to plug a headset into each audio jack to check it is receiving sound. This is time consuming and therefore costly and inefficient in short turnaround times. The self-testing jack has an LED that shows it is receiving a signal, meaning that all personnel have to do is play the IFE and walk through the cabin, spotting faulty jacks at a glance. The really clever thing about this jack is that is does not need any extra power to the seat to work, the light draws power from the audio signal.

Breakaway jack
IFPL’s highly reliable Long Life jack (tested to 100,000 insertions) has been developed to have a 90˚ pull out feature. This means that if a passenger stands up without removing their headset, it will pull away at any angle, without breaking the pin. IFPL has worked with headset suppliers to produce headsets with a smaller pin at the same cost as regular headsets. The breakaway jack will still accept a regular pin if necessary. IFPL see this as a low cost alternative to magnetic jacks.

As usual, IFPL will be holding a simple competition on their booth. The prize is a Nikon Coolpix digital projector camera. This neat little camera allows immediate projection of your photos onto any flat white surface.

We’re pleased to announce that IFPL will be showcasing an extra product at the APEX show next week!
The “Self Testing Audio Jack” is a neat solution to a common problem. Maintenance personnel have to walk the aircraft with a headset and plug it in to each audio jack at every seat to check that the audio is working. This is a time consuming job, and often means that seats don’t always get tested before a turnaround. Our new product is simple – it has a built-in LED that illuminates when audio is present. A quick scan of the seats tells you whether the jacks are working or not. This means you can go straight to any faulty jacks without wasting time checking every one manually. This simple device will improve IFE Availability and save airlines time and money. The really clever part is that this device doesn’t require power, or batteries – it runs off the audio supply! So, if you want to retrofit an old IFE system without power at the seat, it couldn’t be easier.

Just another reason to come and see us on booth 819 during the APEX show. Hope to see you this week!

Company: The IMS Company
Booth 1210
Contact: Harry Gray, vice president sales & marketing /

Building up a head of steam at last spring’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), seat-centric IFE has become a juggernaut and none more so than The IMS Company’s RAVE™ with a backlog of more than 50 aircraft awaiting installation in 2011. If all of the options these orders are activated, the number of aircraft more than doubles. With Lufthansa, airberlin, SriLankan and Brussels Airlines onboard, additional announcements are expected at the Conference—bringing the total to seven or more.

But seat-centric IFE is not all that IMS is up to nowadays. Its new EDGE portables focus on Android OS as a platform that can support multiple versions of tablets. Look for announcements during the Conference.

Company: Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Booth: 301
Contact: Please stop by the Panasonic booth to arrange a tour or set up an appointment.

PANASONIC AVIONICS HIGHLIGHTS: At this year’s APEX Expo, Panasonic Avionics Corporation will be unveiling the three newest members of its X Series family. During the show, attendees are also invited to stop by the Panasonic booth for a chance to ask our eXPerts questions about the most exciting topics in IFEC today including seat centric vs. server-based architectures, Ka vs. Ku, and more. In addition, we are pleased to once again showcase our Cool Room where we’ll demonstrate how some of the most cutting-edge products in the consumer market can be applied to IFEC.

Company: PlaneBill
Booth: 850
Contact: Massimo De Sanctis / Mob: +39 335 222908 /

On board portals for passengers (JetPortal) and for crew (CrewPortal).

PlaneApps for the emerging mobile platforms, Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft/Nokia Windows Phone 7, RIM QNX. Apps for smartphones (iPhone/iPod/iPad, Android phones and windows phone 7) and tablets (iPad, Android tablets) will be on show.

Before flight data crawler (DataCatering) for flight location based Services (origin/destination). Data mining to provide airline with useful information captured during flight on passengers devices,services, messages, behavior and feedback PlaneRoaming for reaching passengers on their mobile number without a cellular infrastructure.

Company: Rockwell Collins
Booth# 1001
Contact: Kelly Holland / 949-872-3308 (mobile) /

Rockwell Collins plans to unveil a new IFE solution for the single-aisle market tomorrow at APEX that will deliver unprecedented versatility for airlines and maximum reliability for passengers. The company also plans to announce stunning enhancements to its dPAVES IFE system, and a new entertainment solution for the regional jet market. Stop by Rockwell Collins’ exhibit to learn more about these new offerings and solutions to enhance the passenger experience.

Company: THALES
Booth#: 1401
Contact: Suzane Treneer /

THALES HIGHLIGHTS: CONNECT, NETWORK, PLAY is the Thales theme this year with focus on the Passenger Experience. Thales will be making significant announcements around in the air and on the ground wireless connectivity. Center stage will be the latest addition to the TopSeries product family, TopSeries AVANT. Installed into a new premium class Contour seat, TopSeries AVANT will include some future system navigation and audio concepts. Other demos include system integration into B/E Aerospace, Weber and Recaro economy seats. In the B/E Seat is a new innovative arm mount designed by Bucher. The up and coming new Thales Application Portal will be featured as well as future modules for Passenger Electronic Device interface capabilities.

Company: TriaGnoSys
Booth# 829
Contact: Charlie Pryor / +44 (0) 20 7031 8270 /

TriaGnoSys and Siemens CMT have today launched IFEConneX, a complete inflight entertainment and communication (IFEC) solution. It incorporates an entertainment and media distribution system into the TriaGnoSys inflight GSM solution, GSMConneX, which was launched at Aircraft Interiors in April 2011. The lightweight modular system provides three services: GSM, WLAN and wireless streaming of IFE content, enabling business jet operators to combine the three services.

IFEConneX enables passengers to use their own mobile phone, tablet or laptop for calls, text messaging, emails, Internet connectivity, and for Audio and Video On Demand (AVOD). The solution has the capacity to stream individual content to up to 100 passengers simultaneously.

Company: VT Miltope
Booth: 1301
Contact Name: Jeff Drader / / 949 752 8191

Miltope’s family of network products offer the required functionality necessary to create custom airborne networks similar to how office networks are created. Designed to be readily expanded, they may be configured to define a network that optimizes the combination of interfaces and computing resources to meet the operational, spatial, and functional requirements of simple to complex airborne networks at a minimum cost. Products include servers, Ethernet switches and routers, 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless access points, TWLU wireless bridging from an aircraft LAN to a ground LAN, ARINC 744 network printers and ARINC740 cockpit printer, cabin control panels, and data storage devices.

Editors Note: We thought Seattle visitors might like a bit more info on restaurants and we suggest visiting the Yelp website. While there are too many to name here, IFExpress has heard a few “WOW” comments on the following:
Within walking distance to the Conference:
RN 74 – 1433 4th Ave. (4th & Pike), Regional French Cuisine, 206 457 7474
Driving Distance from the Conference:
Revel – 403 N 36th St., Fremont District, Korean Fusion, 206 547 2040
Walrus & Carpenter – 4743 Ballard Ave. NW, American Seafood, 206 395 9227

August 31, 2011 — The latest solutions to meet the needs of aircraft interiors buyers’ will be very much in focus at Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas 2011, which will be held September 12 – 14 at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Such is the appeal of the exhibition that all the booth space has been sold and there is a waiting list.

AIM Aerospace (formerly AIM Aviation) will be displaying a new business bar concept for Boeing B777’s and Airbus A330’s, with styling input from French industrial designers JCE. The company will also have its Front Row Furniture module, which is currently in service with Air China, on show. These units are being delivered on new B777-300’s in support of B/E Aerospace’s Diamond lie-flat seats.

In the galley equipment arena, Iacobucci HF Group will be demonstrating the MR4AA1 microwave, which is produced by one of its subsidiaries, MGS. This new microwave is extremely light weighing in at only 14 kg when empty but has more than 12 litres of cavity capacity. There is no rotating plate which both saves on energy and reduces maintenance costs. As well as meeting all the requirements of the ARINC Standards ARINC 810 and 812, MGS says it will also successfully communicate with future galley inserts as required for the new Airbus A350.

Meanwhile in the continuing search for ever lighter but cost effective seat and monument coverings, Perrone Aerospace will be showing its latest leather-alternative range – EnduraLite. Billed as economical, lightweight and a durable alternative to real leather, EnduraLite weighs 1.3 ounces per square foot – more than 50 percent lighter than traditional leather. The product looks and feels like leather and yet it is made using a 100 percent fire retardant polyurethane face and a proprietary blend of polyester backing which yields high levels of durability for years of service.

SABIC Innovative Plastics will be spotlighting high-performance thermoplastic resin, sheet, foam and composite solutions. The company’s products, together with its extended portfolio of advanced material technologies, are helping global aircraft OEMs reduce weight by up to 50 percent, with the potential to conserve fuel and lower emissions. They also enable aircraft manufacturers to meet tough flame-smoke-toxicity (FST) regulations; reduce overall system costs; and enhance the safety and comfort of the cabin environment.

The Velcro Companies are using the show to introduce three weight-saving hook-and-loop fasteners for aircraft interiors, all of which meet FAR 25.856(a) industry performance and flame propagation resistance standards, while Alltec will be showcasing PSU and seating subcomponents molded in aerospace grade composites that meet flame, smoke, and toxicity requirements.

Barrday Composite Solutions (formerly Lewcott Corp.), which specialises in phenolic matrix prepregs, will be displaying its prepeg products and adhesive for the aircraft interiors sector, while OEMs seeking a comprehensive range of products including nuts, fasteners, fittings, hoses and cables should make their way to the Aviation Hardware booth.

Exhibition Director, John Hyde, said: “Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas is now in its third edition and the response from industry has been amazing. The fact that every available square meter of booth space has been allocated is clear evidence of the robust nature of the North American cabin interiors market and the standing of this event.”

‘GeoTainment’, is location triggered audio content for IFE. Never heard of it? Neither had we, not until we talked to Gotham Studio’s, Peter Nissen. Here is the story in his own words:

“Stories about Hollywood celebrities, earthquakes, grizzly bears, cowboys – just a few of the things you’ll hear when you listen to GeoRadio, a GPS-triggered audio channel you can sample at the Thales booth at APEX. If this is where IFE is going, sit me down, crank it up, and take me on a journey: this is great new stuff.”

Why hasn’t this been done before? It seems so simple: location-based storytelling. Passengers hear a guided tour of the land below – not just dry points-of-interest, but professional narrators, vivid writing, music, and sound effects. It is produced by Washington DC-based entertainment veterans Gotham Studios, who approach it with equal parts entertainment and documentary.

Nissen goes on, “The product can be used in tandem with the Moving Map – as the plane moves across the map, you hear stories – and as a stand-alone broadcast audio channel.

No special hardware is needed: GeoRadio is a software program. It consists of two elements: an application, and a library of audio assets. The program, which is run-able on any IFE framework, pulls location data from the flight deck, and analyzes that data to select an audio asset. It even figures out how far away you are from the point-of-interest, and triggers a spoken ‘prefix’. For example, ‘8 miles on our left, the Saint Louis Arch.’ The next day, on a slightly new flight path, you’ll hear something different: ‘2 miles on our right, the Saint Louis Arch.’ This is smart programming.” Note our picture of narrator Doug Gochman at the GeoRadio studios in a recording session. And yes, Virginia, there are women narrators. Check out their website demos.

“Storytelling is a powerful thing, a fundamental component of entertainment,” says Peter Nissen, an Emmy-winning television producer and President of Gotham Studios. “A few years back, during many trips from LA to New York, I realized I wanted to hear the stories of the people we were flying over.” He called a software engineer colleague, pulled together a team of writers and narrators, and created GeoRadio. He draws on his own varied background – he’s worked on The Today Show, National
Geographic, the History Channel, and E! Entertainment Television – to find interesting stories wherever planes fly. Their tagline: “Every place has a story to tell.”

But there’s hard-nosed business going on here, too noted Nissen. “As I spoke with IFE Managers, we began to realize that this could be, not just an incentive to fill seats – it can be a platform for revenue generation. If you can keep passengers engaged with compelling content, you have a foundation for effective, targeted advertising. That’s the model that broadcast radio has proven successfully for many years.”

Nissen says there’s been good initial interest from IFE Managers, and eagerness for its roll out. This year’s APEX meeting is that roll out. GeoRadio is being offered by route, and they are developing content for major routes worldwide, including the Far East, Middle East, Europe, and North America. Airlines can test-drive the product without great commitment by ordering just one route to start.

The program has multiple-language capability, and available languages include English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Simplified Chinese. All content is customizable per airline, and the Gotham Studios team will work with the airline to develop custom messaging and advertising. Yearly subscriptions will include content “refreshing,” to keep the programming up-to-date and accurate.

Nissen invites IFE Managers to email him at or call him at 323-309-5289 to arrange for an in-flight demo. The company’s product website has an entertaining demo, and samples of points-of-interest worldwide in various languages.

Location-based storytelling is inevitable – you’re starting to see a lot of GPS-triggered applications on handheld devices down on earth, but we haven’t yet seen it implemented in the skies. It’s a natural fit. And this week, Gotham Studios is bringing it into the IFE space and setting the bar high, with GeoRadio.

Contact: Peter Nissen, Gotham Studios,, 323-309-5289

Editors Note: Recall that Airshow had started to develop a similar concept many years ago (“Airtell” – Rich Salter’s presentation at AEEC in Vancouver), but this has much more music and storytelling quality than simply point-of-interest and flight info.

APEX & Aircraft Interiors, 12 -14 September, 2011 – Seattle, WA, USA

APEX – Paid

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We have been writing about the APEX/Aircraft Interiors Conference and Exposition for over 20 years now (formerly WAEA) and we still find it to be the best source of the latest happenings in IFE. Period. Our readers know that the conference floor is chock full of players, deployers, airlines, inventors, dreamers, billion dollar suppliers, installers, winners, losers, and yes, even crazies. But it is still the best IFE show in town and Seattle is hosting the event at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. We note that there is a new light rail link to downtown Seattle from Sea-Tac International Airport and the downtown terminus Westlake Station is approximately 5 blocks from the Center. If you need more data, Google Map “Washington state convention center”.

While the show floor is intensive, there is going to be a lot of “action” at the Monday Technology: Innovations & Update – Because words speak louder than future actions, here is what caught our collective eye:

“What do the MRO’s and installation integrators really wish the airlines and IFE suppliers would finally learn?”

“In the last 12 months ‘Ka-band’ has become the buzz word in satellite connectivity. Learn more about what Ka-band offers and how it compares to Ku-band and L-band technologies from player launching satellites and planning systems for the aviation marketplace. This stuff is rocket science.”

“Not only are IFE systems evolving, but so are the content management supply chains feeding them. Encoding is migrating to transcoding, and file-based workflow is the new supply chain paradigm. Post-production/integration roles are changing.”

“Early aspirations for wireless delivery in the cabin exceeded the capability of the technology. But now wireless is back… Lufthansa Systems is launching a new system that streams content to pax-owned devices and Go-Go is adding cached content to its connectivity offering. Meanwhile, Siemens Altran and Tune Box have systems on the drawing board. In addition, American Airlines has chosen the Samsung Galaxy tablet device, the first COTS portable in IFE to use Android OS – hear an update on the platform.”

The Monday program is looking very interesting and we encourage our readers to skip the Pike Place Market tour for the fireworks at the Convention Center, Level 6 – Rooms 611 – 612.

Aircraft Interiors – Free

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Some blurbs and bits of other interest…

If you think that the world of Mobile Connectivity is important but but feat that Microsoft and Google will dominate this environment like most other technology growth markets, think again. The “Hypernet” (Internet + cellular + Wi-Fi) is changing all that! Once Roger McNamee explains it, you will get the picture. Can IFE be a player too?

Many feel the travel experience begins at the airport, I f you do, check out Future Travel Experience Conference in Vancouver, Canada – Sept. 7 – 9, 2011.

(Editor’s Note: The IFExpress APEX/Aircraft Interiors Show Preview Edition Issue will be released on Monday morning September 12. – Here is an opportunity to get some free booth promotion, send IFExpress the following information: Company Name, Booth Number, Contact Name/e-mail, and a short summary of your product/service features – including any booth surprises that you want to headline. All entries must be received by Thursday September 10, 2011.)

June 22, 2011 — APEX welcomes you to view its newly designed website at The look, feel and navigation have been redesigned to be clean and simple, making it easy for visitors to quickly find the information they need.

On the go? So is APEX! The site is now mobile compatible for viewing on your Smartphone or tablet.

News feeds on the homepage keep you up to date with all the airline passenger experience news you need from APEXnews Daily SmartBrief and the Digest.

Did your company move or your email change? You can log in and update your member information yourself! Just click on the “Member Login” button located on the right hand side of any page on the site, enter your current username and password, and click on the Member tab in the upper right corner to choose one of the available options for records maintainence.

Don’t forget to keep checking back, as the site will be frequently updated with critical association information about APEX 2011 EXPO, nominations, sponsorship opportunities, and more.

Airline Travelers Choose Who’s In First

NEW YORK, May 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is pleased to launch the second annual Passenger Choice Awards survey, once again giving airline travelers the opportunity to vote on every aspect of the travel experience, from check-in, to food, to inflight entertainment, to cabin ambiance and more.

Because the awards are based solely on the votes of travelers – with the Nielsen Company, a leader in global information and measurement, tracking the voting – the Passenger Choice Awards are quickly becoming the benchmark for excellence in the travel industry. Awards are distributed for passenger experience, both overall and by region; inflight publication; inflight entertainment; connectivity; cabin ambiance and ground experience.

“These awards are meaningful to everyone in the industry because they are a true reflection of what passengers are experiencing. In addition to providing a boost for the winners, they keep us accountable to our customers,” said Patrick Brannelly, APEX president.

Passenger Choice Award winners will be announced at the APEX 2011 Expo, 12-15 September at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

For your opportunity to “Choose Who’s in First,” go to to vote and be sure to visit the Passenger Choice Awards fan page on Facebook.

Two New Members Seated

Long Beach, CA., September 16, 2010 – The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), formerly the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA), is proud to announce the election of two new members to its Board of Directors.

Jonathan Norris, the vice president of the cabin design office for Airbus, and Christine Zhu, product manager for Inflight Communications and Entertainment, for Cathay Pacific Airways, Ltd., have both been elected to serve on the board.

“I am looking forward to working with Jonathan and Christine,” said APEX Board President Patrick Brannelly, “The experience they and the companies they represent bring to the board will allow us to further enhance the airline passenger experience.”

Norris and Zhu will both serve one year terms, having been duly elected by the voting membership of APEX which has representation from throughout the inflight entertainment industry and passenger communications industry from the world’s leading airlines and vendors.

The President, Vice President, Treasurer, and four director positions were all up for election this year. Sitting members of the Board running unopposed were President Patrick Brannelly of Emirates, Vice President Manoela Amaro of TAM Airlines and Treasurer Linda Palmer of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Non-Theatrical. Directors, Chris Babb of Delta Air Lines, and Neil James of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, were re-elected, and will serve one and two-year terms, respectively.

The Secretary, Dominic Green, Immediate Past President, Christine Ringger, and two directors, Kevin Bremer and Leigh Mantle, are sustaining members on the APEX Board.

Results of the election were formerly announced today during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). The AGM is a platform for APEX members to discuss important association business, plan for the future, and share ideas and comments about the association to the board of directors.

APEX’s Annual Conference is the premier event for the inflight entertainment industry. The event was collocated with the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) and Aircraft Interiors Expos America, and took place at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, California USA, 13-16 September.

The 2011 APEX Conference & Exhibition will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA, 12-15 September.

Click here for more information about APEX.