• The Co-Location of The 2016 Global Connected Aircraft Summit and The Airline Passenger Experience Association’s Technology and Educational Conference Will Provide Maximum Value to Event Attendees

Rockville, MD | January 27, 2016– The Global Connected Aircraft Summit and The Airline Passenger Experience Association Technology Educational Conference (APEX TEC) will co-locate events this June in Los Angeles, California. The Global Connected Aircraft Summit will take place June 6-8, while the APEX TEC Conference will take place June 8-9.

The co-location of Global Connected Aircraft Summit and APEX TEC will provide attendees the opportunity to maximize value of their participation over the four days. Registrants will have expanded opportunities to meet fellow industry members, airline executives, cyber security professionals, technologists, and subject matter experts. Attendees will be able to hear from both groups’ knowledgeable speakers and leaders about the future of aerospace industry connectivity and evolving passenger needs.

The Global Connected Aircraft Summit, launched in 2014, provides an in-person forum for the discussion of connectivity as it pertains to aerospace, aviation, satellite and beyond. Connecting airlines with the organizations that support them, the Global Connected Aircraft Summit covers new and emerging technologies, communications advances, solutions in the cockpit, and beyond as they relate to airline operations as well as the passenger experience. Now in its third year, the organizers of the growing event are excited for the opportunity to partner with APEX, one of the top associations serving the aviation community. Those attending APEX TEC will have the opportunity to register for the Global Connected Aircraft Summit at a discounted rate in order to meet with attendees and hear the top-tier content that the Summit has a reputation for providing.

“By co-locating Global Connected Aircraft Summit with APEX TEC, we are able to offer an even greater value to our attendees by creating an event that takes a comprehensive, in-depth look at the industry,” said Tish Drake, Vice President of the Global Connected Aircraft Summit . “APEX TEC will focus on all technologies touching the passenger experience, including connectivity, entertainment, and on board payment, which nicely compliments the Global Connected Aircraft Summit business, technology and operations coverage, bringing the event full circle.”

For nearly 40 years, APEX has served as the international airline association for the passenger experience industry. APEX created APEX TEC to provide the industry and its members with information, guidance, analysis, and trend reporting on technology issues critical to the aviation industry. APEX TEC provides a crucial forum for technical experts to review and discuss ongoing special projects of the APEX Technology Committee setting specifications and standards for the airline industry focused upon applying new technologies to the passenger experience. Attendees at APEX TEC will hear thought-leading presentations from within and outside the airline industry on cutting-edge technologies. Contributions made by delegates to APEX TEC shape airline travel technology more than any other industry event.

“APEX TEC sets the standard for airline passenger technology and 2016 will set on a unique new trajectory focused beyond individualization,” said Joe Leader, APEX CEO. “By co-locating APEX TEC with Global Connected Aircraft Summit, we will be able to bring our distinctive offerings to a broader airline audience than ever before, while continuing to advance technological standards for our industry.”

To learn more about Global Connected Aircraft Summit visit gcasummit.com. For more information on the Airline Passenger Experience Association visit apex.aero.

The Closed Caption Working Group (CCWG) of the APEX Technology Committee will have until 25 August 2014 to issue its final comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on that agency’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) requiring the use of closed captions on inflight video, according to announcements made at the APEX Technology Conference held in Newport Beach, California, on 19-20 November by CCWG chair Jonathan Norris and APEX TC chair Michael Childers.

This was one of a wide range of topics covered by the Technology Committee at its annual fall conference. Additional topics included a keynote address by Doug Johnson, VP technology of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); a final report from the APEX representatives to the Federal Aviation Administration’s  (FAA’s) Portable Electronic Device (PED) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC); a Seat and IFE Integration Workshop; a DO-307 Tutorial on Front Door and Back Door PED Emission Testing; a report on the Entertainment Identifier Registry Association (EIDR) by the Metadata Working Group; an update by the HD Working Group on APEX 0403 1080p standardization; a report on off-aircraft and inflight connectivity; an update from the ARINC Cabin Systems Subcommittee; and a report on how social media is helping to shape Southwest’s inflight Wi-Fi strategy.

The APEX Closed Caption Working Group (CCWG) is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to represent the IFE industry’s issues as the DOT decides on the scope of the requirements, and the technologies that might be codified by the agency, CCWG chair Jonathan Norris, and APEX TC chair and APEX board member Michael Childers told IFExpress.

The DOT’s original NPRM requiring closed captions on all videos on aircraft flying in and out of the U.S. was issued in 2006, but was tabled in early 2009 after the DOT and APEX (then WAEA) reviewed the state of closed caption technology as of that time. Referring to the reports of APEX, IATA, and the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), DOT concluded that closed caption technology circa 2006-2009 could not be implemented practically in IFE.

However, citing a timeline provided to the agency by APEX in 2006, DOT followed up for the maturation of these technologies with the result that the NPRM has been re-issued and APEX has once again engaged with DOT. The biggest difference between the state of closed captioning in 2006 versus today, according to Norris and Childers, is that new IFE installations today are based on MPEG-4 platforms that support Timed Text captions versus the MPEG-1/2 platforms of a decade ago that began supporting bitmap (“rendered image”) captions around 2007.

Among the issues, according to the CCWG report, is that while most of today’s IFE installations are MPEG-4, there are still more MPEG-1/2 files delivered today in IFE because of the preponderance of legacy systems. Therefore the CCWG will seek to ensure that the current APEX 0403 bitmap closed captioning standard is at least grandfathered, while Timed Text may also be included.

Other closed captioning issues include:

  • Since closed captions are more plentiful in North America than in certain other regions, the CCWG is considering a proposal that allows for closed captions to be required on an agreed percentage of content—particularly on non-US carriers—rather than on all content.
  • Certain kinds of short content—like ads and movie trailers—are generally not closed captioned in other markets, so the CCWG will seek a category of content to be excluded from the rule.
  • The definition of captioning is the conversion of audio dialogue into text dialogue in the same language, plus descriptions of certain non-dialogue sounds. The CCWG will seek clarification that there is not an expectation that non-English languages be converted to English.

Just prior to the TC Conference, the DOT confirmed to the TC that it has changed its NPRM Publication Date to 26 June 2014 and the end of the comment period to 25 August 2014. This will allow the WG more time to prepare its recommendations and to further engage with DOT.

High Definition Working Group

In a report from the High Definition Working Group (HDWG), Bryan Rusenko, formerly of Technicolor, announced that additional work was needed to reach consensus on a security solution for 1080p, with the result that this modification to APEX 0403 was not voted on during the TC Conference. Rusenko, and HDWG co-chair Pierre Schuberth of Thales, will attempt to find consensus by the May TC Conference.

Consumer Electronics

In his keynote address to the TC Conference, CEA VP Technology, Doug Johnson, said that CEA predicts that the percentage of adults buying technology gifts during the 2013 holiday season will be 64 percent, the highest ever and up from 62 percent in 2012. As recently as 2010 his number was just 49 percent. He also said that the number of mobile devices purchased in this category will continue to grow, and that 50 percent of consumers will use a mobile device to help them shop for tech this year.

Johnson also said that the hottest trends at the 2014 CES in January will be wireless & wireless devices, integrated home/connected home technologies, and lifestyle electronics.

DO-307 Tutorial

One of the best-received presentations at the TC Conference was an RTCA D0-307 Tutorial by Billy Martin, Principal Engineer, at Cessna Aircraft Company, a member of the FAA PED ARC along with Rich Salter and Michael Childers of APEX. Martin explained that all electronic devices have spurious RF emissions and that interference with aircraft receivers is possible if:

  • The RF emissions have high enough amplitude
  • The RF emissions occur at the aircraft radio tuned frequency
  • The path loss between the PED and the antenna is low

He also explained that any electronic device can have RF emissions (these are not due to intentional transmitters), and that they can affect sensitive aircraft radio receivers through their antennas. This is called “front-door coupling.” DO-307 defines minimum (or Target) Interference Path loss between PEDs and the aircraft antenna connector at the radio receiver. Aircraft that demonstrate Target Interference Path Loss (Target IPL) have tolerance to PED front-door interference.

As for “back door interference,” Martin explained that a tabulation of all equipment and qualification D0-160 Categories or HIRF Certification can be reviewed and maintained. This listing can be used to compare with other installations and be used to approve the equipment to backdoor tolerance.

Southwest reports on entertainment portal, social media

Angelo Vargo, Manager Product Development, at Southwest Airlines, used the occasion to announce that Southwest has begun permitting the use of PEDs from gate-to-gate. Southwest currently has 440 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft via Row 44, consisting of 75 percent of its fleet. Over 2 million passengers visit the Southwest portal each month to use Wi-Fi, live TV, VOD and messaging.
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