Isle of Wight, UK | March 27, 2017– IFPL are celebrating 20 years in business in 2017 and will be demonstrating at AIX Hamburg the broad range of products that are now flying on the majority of aircraft around the world.
IFPL are a world leader in audio jack technology, enhancing the customer experience and providing a total cost of ownership advantage to the airline. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system and IFPL believes that delivering high quality sound, with high unit reliability, and minimising the impact of Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining customer satisfaction. To this end, IFPL has developed proprietary technology that differentiates their audio solutions in the market. These include:
Long Life Audio
IFPL’s original product line is aimed at delivering a highly robust and reliable audio jack and to minimise CID. The high quality materials used, testing to over 100,000 insertions and design ensure that these jacks are robust. IFPL use this Long Life technology for single, double and triple jacks. Additionally, IFPL’s design ensures that each pin socket can also work as single pins, ensuring additional redundancy in the dual and triple pin solutions.
Rapid Fit range
IFPL’s Rapid Fit technology delivers a solution for rapid on-wing maintenance. Rapid Fit has been designed with a replaceable cassette that house the jacks, whilst keeping the high-cost electronics in the main housing. This enables the lower cost part of the cassette to be simply swapped out on-wing in typically less than 30 seconds. IFPL recently announced a new patent pending Rapid Fit USB-C variant of the Rapid Fit jack and will offer both an analogue or digital variant ensuring that future headset standards are supported.
IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology allows noise cancelling in the jack rather than the headset, allowing all passengers to enjoy noise cancelling technology with a simple addition of a low-cost microphone in the headset. This keeps the headset cost low whilst providing a significantly enhanced audio experience for the passenger .
IFPL’s patented MagSignal technology virtually eliminates CID. The headset can be pulled from any angle and simply detaches from the magnetic plug without damaging the jack or the headset. This extends the life of the headset and the jack and avoids CID. The floating magnets ensure a signal is maintained at all times during turbulence and vibration.
Push Through Pin
IFPL’s Push Through Pin technology ensures the jack does not have to be replaced if a pin gets broken in the jack. The pin can simply be pushed through and collected in a reservoir at the back of the jack. This reservoir has been known to hold as many as 12 broken pins.
IFPL has designed their Self-Testing technology to enable problem jacks to be identified and fixed rapidly, ensuring high availability. The clever design of the LED being powered by the audio makes this a suitable jack for retrofit, as no extra power is needed. All that is required is for the maintenance staff to send a high-frequency audio tone through the existing IFE system, then walk through the cabin and check the jacks at a glance. IFPL has deployed this technology in a wide variety of audio jack solutions and neatly demonstrates why IFPL are renowned for providing industry leading audio jacks.
IFPL’s established range of products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.
Visit IFPL at Booth 2C10.
Isle of Wight | February 20, 2017– IFPL are leading the way with peripheral integration in to the seat thanks to working with seat vendors and IFE OEMs. Visitors to their stand at AIX Hamburg will have the opportunity to experience their ground-breaking developments and see the products demonstrated.
IFPL has developed a fresh approach to the development of peripheral integration that can be applied to new seats or as an update to existing seat peripherals.
IFPL’s aim has been to provide seamless seat integration, whilst maintaining a consistent design language and aesthetic. There has also been a focus on ensuring the ergonomics deliver a truly enhanced passenger experience. This process has enabled IFPL to reduce the complexity, weight and cost therefore delivering a competitive advantage to an airline.
Visit IFPL at Booth 2C10 to see how their work with Mirus Aircraft seating has led to the joint development of a smart seat and the introduction of new technology into their economy seat, whilst still maintaining the design aesthetic and delivering passenger ergonomics. IFPL has worked to integrate an embedded screen with NFC payment and their latest magnetic audio jack.
IFPL has also developed the smart tray, a unique in-tray table which includes a Passenger Control Unit (PCU) that provides the passenger service functions (call bell and reading light) into the tray. The unit has been designed to ensure the functions are ergonomically placed at the customers’ fingertips, to save passengers having to search for the functionality in awkward locations.
IFPL have recently extended their PCU range using an aesthetically stylish, gloss plastic capacitive touch units. The benefits of this technology ensures the unit is not accidently activated by inadvertent pressure (that traditional switches are subject to). The smart tray also includes a range of charging/power solutions including USB A and C outlets and an inductive charging in the tray.
In addition, IFPL has developed The Nexus Integrated Seat Arm – a ground-breaking concept that addresses the issues faced by the IFE industry regarding seat integration, whilst delivering an enhanced passenger experience.
The passenger expectation of integrated charging and connectivity in-seat for Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) is met as the product seamlessly blends passenger connectivity, the Power Supply Unit (PSU) and audio functions into the arm of the seat. The demands on airlines to deliver an ergonomic and aesthetically-pleasing product for passengers are delivered, whilst counter-balancing the requirements for smaller and more compact seats.
The Integrated Seat Arm is a stylish, new at-seat power, audio and data connectivity concept.
IFPL’s established range of products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.
Visit IFPL at Booth 2C10.
IFPL invite you see their very latest innovations at APEX 2016 on Booth 1745 at the Singapore based show.
IFPL will be demonstrating their latest 1172 Triple Breakaway Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM). This innovative technology allows noise cancelling in the jack rather than the headset, allowing all passengers to enjoy noise-cancelling technology with a simple addition of a low cost microphone in the headset. This keeps the headset cost minimal whilst providing a significantly enhanced audio experience for the passenger. In addition, this jack includes MagSignal technology meaning it can be pulled and detached from any angle without detriment, reducing Customer Induced Damage (CID) and maintenance disruption to aircraft. In addition to the Triple MagSignal plug, this highly flexible socket can take a standard INCAM triple, standard triple, INCAM dual, MagSignal dual, standard dual and single audio pin including the passengers’ own headsets. IFPL will also display its Rapid Fit and Long Life technologies that are now standard fit with many airlines throughout the world.
In addition to audio jacks, IFPL will be demonstrating a range of Passenger Control Units (PCU) including the 1278. This is designed as a programmable PCU to enable it to be used for a broad range of cabin requirements. The 1278 provides a common look and feel that passengers can easily identify with and feel confident interacting with. The two-button programmable switch can support a myriad of functions. This USB standard PCU has the ability to be configured to meet single or dual functions within each of the buttons, such as controlling both reading light and cabin attendant call function or alternatively a window blind up or down as a single function.
In addition to its programmable capability, the unit overlay can be customised for both functional graphics and colour to reflect use, airlines branding and enhance cabin aesthetics. The PCU provides a tactile two-button interface for the passenger with backlight intensity feedback and can also be reset remotely by the cabin crew. Alongside the 1278, IFPL have developed the 1348 Business Jet PCU concept. This has extended the 1278 into a programmable five button version for the business jet market and includes a beautiful black chrome finish. This further demonstrates IFPL’s ability to customise technology to integrate peripherals into the seat.
As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to APEX 2016 may have.
Now Old Seat Back IFE Replacement is Available at a Fraction of the Cost!
This week IFExpress wanted to give our readers a better look into the world of IFE retrofits so we asked Web Barth, Director of Marketing of VTS (Video Technology Services), one of the best known IFE upgrade and retrofit companies in the industry, to tell our readers a bit about the company, their solutions, and the process of a refurbishing a seatback IFE system.
ANSWER: “VTS is focused on airlines with older seatback systems including Rockwell TES, Panasonic 2000 and 3000 series, as well as, other older systems. Based on our discussions with airlines in Europe and the Middle East there are about 400 aircraft still flying these older seatback systems in that region and the majority are wide bodies. Although the manufacturers of this equipment have accurate data collectively, year old industry estimates were that there are approximately 1,800 aircraft still flying older seat back systems worldwide.”
Q: Tell us a bit more about the retrofit process, and perhaps more importantly, is price a big deal to some airlines and finally, does newer technology gain value in these installations?
ANSWER: “Some airlines go back to the original manufacturers to replace outdated or broken seatback systems. The manufacturers are happy to provide the service, but it involves replacing the screen with modern electronics and sometimes cabling, which winds up costing in the neighborhood of $5,000 per seat for a new version of the removed seatback IFE system. If an average wide body aircraft has 340 seats and you combine that with the cost of installation per seat, the result is an estimated cost of $2 million per aircraft. This can be a daunting investment for many airlines, especially in older and perhaps end of life cycle jetliners.
The VTS SKY SIS II is targeted to provide an affordable means of providing modern-day quality entertainment, which would be closer to $600,000+/- per wide body for arguably an even better IFE offering. This is achieved not by repairing old technology, but using modern technology and eliminating the old system thus the expense of rebuilding the old electronics and heavy connection cables and boxes circuitry. Each VTS passenger monitor bypasses the old audio/visual circuitry and electronics by streaming directly to each touch screen monitor, each with its own processor and Wi-Fi antenna.
This VTS Touch Screen Display is considerably lighter than the old unit with its seatback electronics. Additionally, hundreds even thousands of pounds of unneeded cabling, PCU’s, and passenger annoying, heavy under-seat SEBs are no longer necessary and can be removed. Depending on the aircraft and type of system this could eliminate 1,000 to 2,500 pounds of extra weight saving $100,000 to $300,000 in fuel annually thus providing a modern inflight entertainment offering that pays for itself in a few years.”
Q: Why retrofit?
ANSWER: “There are instances where older seatback systems are adequate, except for the fact that individual units have failed or the screens themselves are dim or lack modern-day resolution. VTS routinely replaces old screens with newer/better ones and rebuilds broken units, which can provide a relatively affordable fix. However, the VTS SKY SYS II system provides a far superior approach offering years of modern quality performance and life.
The reason is that the VTS SKY SYS II System skips over all of that outdated technology, equipment and circuitry and streams right to every seatback where each passenger controls their own unit with their own touch screen eliminating the armrest PCU as well. The VTS system does keep the old seat power circuitry, which also provides for an appreciated new passenger USB power outlet for operating/charging their other devices.”
Q: Before we get into the actual workload, can you tell our readers about why retrofits need to be done?
ANSWER: “So, you want to get rid of that old IFE, here are some possible reasons why. 1) A paying passenger staring at a broken IFE seatback display is a huge customer service problem. Your old system & screen is cloudy, dim or just outdated grainy resolution, not in modern 16×9 format.
2) If your hardware is an older seatback system, you can change it out. Amazingly, many airlines don’t realize you can swap out your old seatback system and/or display. One airline told VTS that they were planning on replacing all the seats, just to upgrade the seat back IFE system. Yikes!
3) Here are some reasons why it may be difficult and possibly why you should not… Actually, we can’t think of any since the new VTS SKY SYS II Seat Back retrofit can work with any old system, and since it no longer needs the old system’s electronics, seat back display, arm rest PCU’s, video/audio cabling or annoying and heavy SEB for audio and video transmission.
Although VTS keeps the old seat power circuitry, the VTS SKY SYS II System, skips over all of that outdated equipment and streams right to every seat back where each passenger controls their own unit with their own touch screen, which also has an extra USB power outlet for operating/charging their other devices.”
Q: Can you give our readers a quick synopsis on the cabin retrofit work?
The Basic Process is as follows:
1. First, remove the old seatback screen and electronics unit by peeling back the upholstery on the upper seat. It is not very hard to do and an average technician can remove and install a new unit in about 20 minutes per seat.
2. Now or when convenient, remove 1,000-2,000 pounds of no longer needed a/v cabling, hardware, PCU’s and especially the under seat SEB’s, while greatly improving passenger foot room and comfort.
3. Install a high resolution, VTS Touch Screen Smart Monitor with its lightweight bracket and re-fit the headrest upholstery around the new screen.
4. Install a VTS Streaming Server & WAP system, which weighs less than 20 lbs. This hardware easily installs in the overhead baggage bins.
Q: What is the scope of the effort…time, down time, etc.?
ANSWER: “Actual time is approximately 15-20 minutes per seat. So, a wide body with 300 seats will require about 100 labor hours. If an aircraft is out of service it will only take 1-2 days. Form, Fit and Function can greatly reduce re-certification to a negligible effort.”
Q: Please tell us a little bit about the Feature improvement or loss, the Advantages of doing a retrofit, and the Benefit of doing so!
ANSWER: Web noted: “Better than new; Immediate System Improvement, cost, weight/fuel savings. Video: Resolution increases 400%, perhaps a larger screen 7″ vs 5.6″, in new format 16 x 9. A System Cost: one third of the cost of conventional system replacement of a seatback system. Then there is weight savings – eliminate 80% of the system’s weight, i.e. 1000 vs 2,000 pounds. Next, we have fuel savings: savings in extra fuel pays for this new/better system in 3 years!”
“There is more,” he said, “credit card function for Inflight shopping is included. The built in credit card program allows for secure purchases from seatback screens, or the passengers own devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) for incremental revenue, additional passenger services and offers. Did I mention the USB Outlets? This means power at every seat for personal devices as well. Did I mention custom financing… Matching your expected aircraft life, that’s ideal for aged aircraft. And lastly, it’s satellite ready companion antenna and systems to be installed now, with port to VTS Streaming Servers and WAPs or at a later date.”
Q. Lastly, we asked if the VTS Director of Engineering had anything to say to our readers?
ANSWER: According to Philip LaPierre, 35 year IFE Engineering and Certification veteran, “We have found that adhering to near, or identical ‘Form, Fit and Function’ certification criteria, we can greatly reduce re-certification requirements to a negligible amount.”
Finally, Noted Mr. Barth: “Come see our new Seatback Retrofit System for yourself at Booth 219 APEX Expo, Singapore, Oct 24-27, 2016, you won’t be disappointed!”
(Editor’s Note: VTS provides many systems options: In Flight PCI Compliant Credit Card Processing, 4G/LTE Communication Module – On the ground, weight on wheels Communication anywhere in the world, Separate Iridium Communication Module – In flight communication worldwide, VTS Turnkey Entertainment Content Programs and Sourcing Packages, Customized Worldwide Equipment Financing Programs, Satellite Companion Antenna and System… so they tell us!)
Carlisle Companies Incorporated announced the acquisition of Star Aviation, Inc., a leading provider of design and engineering services, testing and certification work and manufactured products for in-flight connectivity applications on commercial, business and military aircraft. With annual sales of approximately $30 million and 150 employees, Star Aviation has manufacturing facilities in Mobile, Alabama and a technical services facility in Lynnwood, Washington. The company is a supplier to the world’s leading providers of Wi-Fi and other in-flight connectivity systems used on a broad range of aircraft platforms. The business will operate as part of Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, a global provider of specialty wire and cable, and interconnect components for commercial and military aircraft, avionics systems, in-flight entertainment, communications systems and medical devices.
IFExpress reached out to Carlisle for a bit more info and here is what they had to say:
- “Star Aviation has been a supplier of Design/Kits/certification for connectivity solutions dating back to the onset of Boeing Connexion (2004-ish)
- Today they support Boeing, Gogo, ViaSat and some others with design/kits/certification for aircraft installation
- All retrofit Gogo 2Ku installations use a Star Aviation adapter plate for the Thinkom antenna.
- The Everett branch is mostly involved in Boeing documentation updates and configuration control.”
Recently, IFPL has worked closely with GORE® to develop the new USB-A 3.0 module, that combined IFPL USB 3.0 with GORE Aerospace USB 3.0 cables and provides the ideal solution for delivering high power (2A, 5V DC) and data transfer (up to 5Gbps) as per USB 3.0 requirements. This gives passengers the ability to maximize the benefits of both charging their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) and interfacing with the Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system and you can see it in Singapore! (Check out the news release section of this IFExpress)
Boeing and Qatar Airways announced an order for 30 787-9 Dreamliners and 10 777-300ERs, valued at $11.7 billion at list prices. The airline also signed a Letter of Intent for up to 60 737 MAX 8s, valued at $6.9 billion at list prices. The announcement builds on Qatar Airways’ current fleet of 84 Boeing aircraft, a combination of 787s and 777s, all delivered over the last nine years. With this new order, Qatar Airways increases its firm order backlog of Boeing widebody airplanes from 65 to 105, including 60 777Xs. Further, Aviation Week notes that Qatar Airways CEO said: “Boeing has been making airplanes decades before anyone else even thought of manufacturing airplanes, so the experience that they have in this field has made them so robust that they make one of the finest and more solid, reliable product of any company,” Al Baker said Oct. 7 in Washington. “I know that Boeing’s competitors would not like me saying this, but I’m sure that inside, they know that Boeing makes the best airplanes.””
Power – This should do it
Singapore Uber Deal – Download the Uber app and register for an account. You’ll have the option to input your credit card or opt for cash payment. To enjoy a $15 FREE ride, simply enter the code “IFEXPRESS” into the Promotions tab! The code is valid until 31 October 2016.