See you at Aircraft Interiors America in Seattle? Today, the The Seating & IFE Integration Symposium begins at the Washington State Convention Center and the event and is a one day feature wherein industry experts lead presentations and debates on the evolving relationship between the seat and inflight entertainment & connectivity systems. The floor opens Tuesday night with a preview and for two days following will accommodate visitors. By the way, there is a new AIX App.

Before we get into the ‘meat’ of this IFExpress, we wanted to give some mention to Mark Thompson, (CEO, Thompson Aerospace) and his team at APEX for their clever promotions, and while this is not the medium to cover promotions, Thompson Aerospace concocted an easy way for attendees to build their own advertising banner for his IFE system, built on the spot by the attendee (get the message?),  and offered an Internet tablet to the advert that got the most ‘hits’ at the show on their system. Not to be outdone by his tablet deal was the ‘Free Money’ campaign (Our words not his) that rewarded everyone that heard his spiel with a gold $1 coin. He was telling airlines that advertising and promotion on his IFE was like free money. You bet he had our attention… free money, we liked it!

At APEX, Lufthansa Systems had their official press briefing on the sale announcement of their BoardConnect IFE system to parent company airline, Lufthansa. The deal covers some 20 Lufthansa A321 aircraft and will begin in the summer of 2014 and Lufthansa Technik will carry out installation. To date, the company noted that there are some 30 active BoardConnect aircraft flying. Presently, the BoardConnect shop is up and running and the BoardConnect folks are looking into progressive developments like NFC and content upgrades such as games and onboard advertising. BoardConnect is focusing on single aisle installations in a retrofit application while they, no doubt, will also work on twin aisle solutions. “Line-fit is our eventual goal,” according to Dr. Jorg Waber, Corporate Communications. We note that the Lufthansa Systems solution uses an app-based approach to content delivery (User download on board or on-ground) and thus DRM requirements are met for Early-Window content. Further, their moving map solution is imbedded in the app and does not rely on browser-based workings inside passenger PED’s. We will have more on Lufthansa Systems developing IFE solutions in the future. Stay Tuned.

No IFE exposition would be complete without the creative new product concepts from Geoff (and Claire) Underwood of IFPL. The crew was in true form at APEX this year and two new product concepts stood out – their Contactless Retail System (CRS) and their answer to a magnetic breakaway earphone jack. The Contactless Retail solution is ingenious, as it does not require seat power to read credit cards (NFC) or communicate with the head-end for information storage and credit card charge updates. It does so through a battery that only requires changing every 5 years (guaranteed). The seatback device (about the size of an iPod) uses E Ink (electrophoretic) display technology for a readable and low power screen. Need to charge for seat power, drinks, food… here is your answer. Unused, the display goes to sleep but awake, it ‘talks’ via a low power wireless connection to the front-end cabin crew terminal. The unit only powers up when activated by a user at the seat. This product ought to get some award at a future show as it breaks a lot of barriers for display technology, power, and communication technology. We also note that their breakaway headset jack has a new magnetic solution… it uses only one magnet and gives virtually 180 degrees of breaking direction. This is a great product and it simplifies the issues surrounding magnets and positioning them on the jack and plug… not to mention weight and price.

Quite by accident, the IFExpress team ran into Todd Hamblin (VP Business Development) at APEX and he gave us a pretty convincing reason as to why we should run a story on his company, Global Aerospace Design Corp. After a little research we thought it a good idea as well. Firstly and right up front, we don’t do many stories about after sale, new cabin reconfiguration projects (like IFE and connectivity), but these folks have been doing this kind of work for years now and our readers might need some help from them. With partners like Zodiac, Astronics, Thales, Avio and others, we thought we had better listen to their story.

From a description point of view, Global Aerospace is an engineering services organization that provides aircraft integration and certification services to airlines, maintenance repair organizations, and aviation equipment manufacturers. A complete list of services relating to certification and installation are as follows:  Consulting, Program Management, Purchasing, Installation Design, Certification Support, On-Site Installation Support, Product Support and Business Development. Further Global provides its customers the ability to install new systems into existing aircraft and return the aircraft to revenue service in the most efficient manner. If you want to look at it this way, Global takes care of the installation and certification process after your hardware is sold to an airline and you might want to contact them for background info or specification updates. “Global is comprised of ex-airline personnel who are experts at aircraft integration and certification, and have a complete understanding of how the system will be maintained once on the aircraft,” explained Mr. Hamblin. “With the benefit of having DERs, certified A&P mechanics and licensed pilots on staff, Global can truly take a program from beginning to end.”

We sought out an airline reference to back up Mr. Hamblin’s praise of their services and we got this quote from Mr. Tahawar Durrani, GM of Engineering Services at Air Nugini – “On behalf of Air Niugini Engineering Services, I would like to thank all the Global team for a job well done. They have a professional, hardworking and dedicated team with a high sense of duty, engineering acumen and spirit to work effectively in an environment with competing milestones and alternating time-lines.” Global has over 30 years of efficient FAA and EASA certification experience. If you have the job of installing and certificating IFE and Wi-Fi or need to understand the process, be sure to give Todd Hamblin a call at +1 513 304 9315 ( and check out this link (Icelandair Partnership and Global Data Sheet) for a bit more information about their experience and services. All the new single-aisle IFE and connectivity hardware shown at APEX is going to need install and certification assistance and these folks in Cincinnati, Ohio just may be your installation solution.

An old friend popped up at APEX, Peter McLaughlin (see this week’s IFEC Buzz). As CEO of Stellar Entertainment, Peter has an airline past at Qantas and we first met him there in the early 90’s. This fellow knows the IFE business and showed a few new products the Stellar team is flogging. One caught our eye – their Home-to-Hotel digital Newspaper & Magazine service. But there’s more and we will cover their offering in a future Hot Topic. By the way, they will also be at AIX Hamburg 2014!

Last week we noted these new BOSE QuietComfort 20 headsets and here is link to the official image and the press release/spec.