Hollywood, CA | May 10, 2016– Paramount Pictures has selected The Hub, Spafax’s state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of Hollywood, as its exclusive non-theatrical post-production lab. The Hub will provide a full array of technical services, including editing, subtitling, closed-captioning and encoding of feature films for non-theatrical exhibition.

“The Hub is a world-class facility boasting the latest technology required for delivering high quality Paramount content to in-flight and other non-theatrical markets,” said Joan Filippini, Paramount’s SVP, Non-Theatrical Distribution. “The ways in which we all enjoy content have changed drastically in the past few years. The Hub is at the forefront of important consumer and technological trends while maintaining a proven track record of delivery. Furthermore, our Worldwide Technical Operations team is thrilled to have an important partner located so close to our lot here in Hollywood.”

Spafax Chief Technical Officer, Tony Taverner added, “We’re honored to be selected by Paramount. Paramount’s award-winning content is crucial to our clients’ entertainment offerings, and we look forward to being their exclusive non-theatrical post-production facility.”

The Hub is located at the historic Sunset-Gower Studios in Hollywood and currently delivers over 15,000 audio and video files each month. Equipped with a fully automated and digital workflow from file release to delivery, The Hub offers flawless content delivery to any platform, including embedded and wireless in-flight entertainment systems, streaming and mobile.

The facility also provides Spafax’s technical services team with access to additional world-class production amenities within the lot, including 23 stages and over 700,000 square feet of production support space, recording studios and viewing theaters

We have heard from a number of good sources about the upcoming APEX Technology (TEC) Conference and GCA (Global Connected Aircraft) Summit: both co-located at the Loews Hollywood Hotel during the week of June 6-9 in Los Angeles, CA. When we started checking with a few folks who know a lot about the industry, we found that they all recommended that people interested in the state of aviation and connected technology issues, should attend.

Also, we wanted to reinforce the fact that even though APEX and GCA Summit folks are co-locating the two events they are still two distinct events – each requiring its own registration!

Now, here’s the story of what we found about these tech-filled 4 days in LA:

First, you can read about the events here: APEX Technology (TEC) 2016  and GCA Summit 2016

Second, we asked Michael Childers about the APEX TEC event and he notes: “There are numerous reasons to attend the June TEC. First, we are co-locating with Global Connected Aircraft (GCA) to make it easier for people to attend two events on one trip.

Then we expect to include some very exciting speakers in addition to the published agenda. We will continue our focus on the identification of key technologies that will impact our industry ten or more years out.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is to announce this month the approach that they will take with respect to rulemaking regarding Closed Captioning and we will report on the status of our engagement and reveal our new Captioning spec which will oversee the migration from bitmap captions and subtitles to Timed Text.

We will have an important discussion on trends in content and data storage, and will report on evolving encoding specifications that will relax data rate requirements without loss of quality to allow more content in the same storage capacity.

To complement the GCA agenda we will make important announcements about a connectivity roadmap being developed.

The Payment Technologies Working Group will offer a report on our emerging spec, and we have invited some outstanding speakers from the payment community.

Other presentations will include Virtual and Assisted Reality, Gaming, and Cybersecurity.

The venue is the beautiful Loews Hotel in Hollywood which is connected to the Dolby Theater, home of the Academy Awards.”

Not sold yet? Think about the co-locating promotion view, according to Joe Leader, APEX CEO: “Launched in 2014, the Global Connected Aircraft Summit is in its third year, and has become an established in-person forum aimed at encouraging dialogue among industry leaders on the biggest issues in aviation and satellite connectivity.

Hosting both events back-to-back is part of APEX’s wider strategy of maximizing value and minimizing travel costs for event attendees. It also provides further opportunities to meet fellow industry members and learn more about existing and emerging technologies affecting both the operational and passenger-facing side of commercial aviation.

Registration is open for the APEX Technology (TEC) 2016, which will take place June 8-9 at the Loews Hotel in Los Angeles, California. For this year’s event, APEX TEC is collocating alongside the Global Connected Aircraft Summit, which will take place June 6-8 at the same venue.

APEX TEC attendees can take advantage of discounted rates when registering for the Global Connected Aircraft Summit. More importantly, Joe Leader notes: “By collocating APEX TEC with the 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,” which now explains why the APEX folks have been seen endorsing and promoting other industry events… smart move Joe, smart move!

Also, to get a tech summary we sought a source about the “potential” meeting subject matter for the APEX TEC and our contact blew our minds with a first cut of the topics. We note, this is just a subject header teaser as we’re not allowed to let the complete story out yet…

  • Focus on the Future: Emerging Technologies Advisory Panel
  • Closed Captioning Update—new specification revealed; DOT engagement discussed
  • Wireless Technology
  • Inflight Connectivity & Cyber Security (Editor’s Note: This one is worth the whole trip.)
  • Payment Technologies and plans for new spec revealed
  • Data Storage and how it is increasing capacity for IFE content
  • Gaming at 30,000 Feet
  • Virtual & Assisted Reality and why it’s a hot topic
  • Encoding & Encryption Technologies Update (Editor’s Note: This one should prove to be interesting for future lovers)
  • Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) Common File Format (CFF) and how it impacts IFE

This all seemed very interesting so we asked Bryan Rusenko, who is involved with the program, about the APEX Technology (TEC) Conference and he told IFExpress: “This is the only TEC meeting in 2016. We are packing the agenda with presentations and discussion on all the tech topics. Two working group specifications will be submitted for approval at this meeting and we need membership to vote on our efforts.”

We also sought a source of “potential” GCA meeting subject matter and here is the ‘official’ agenda.

Lastly, we checked with Tim Farrar of TFM Associates about a rumor that he might be presenting and he told us: “I will be speaking at the conclusion of the Summit, as in previous years, to give an overview of key issues and some blunt predictions about the fallout from recent developments.” Don’t know who Mr. Farrar is? Tim is an industry consultant, but rather than tell you what he does, here is his summary presentation from last year 2016– he gives the kind of pitch we all wish we could.


1. Singapore has a new personal app that allows you to control your inflight IFEC experience… before you leave the ground! Developed for Singapore Airlines by MTT in conjunction with Panasonic Avionics, the app allows Singapore passengers to review their entertainment video and audio content available on their flight,and control the seat-back IFE system – all using their own PED’s. Available on Android and iOS tablets…later this year on phones. It works like this: Download the app before you leave, onboard, just connect to the system via Wi-Fi, and enjoy movies, YV, and music. You can even control the IFE, so we are told. Singapore will be the first airline to use this system and we can’t wait to try it!

2.GOGO announced today that it has expanded its connectivity partnership with Air Canada to include its international fleet, including the Boeing 787. Air Canada is the only Canadian carrier offering customers in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire fleet of narrow-body aircraft in North America. Under the new agreement, Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity technology will be installed on Air Canada’s wide-body international aircraft, starting with the Boeing 777 this fall. Air Canada is the only Canadian carrier offering customers in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire fleet of narrow-body aircraft in North America. Under the new agreement, Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity technology will be installed on Air Canada’s wide-body international aircraft, starting with the Boeing 777 this fall.

3.Bombardier, Honeywell and Inmarsat have received supplemental type certificate from Transport Canada for GX Ka-band Wi-Fi service Global 5000 and 6000 business jets. Bombardier Wave, powered by Honeywell’s JetWave hardware and Inmarsat’s next generation Global Xpress satellite network, will enable Bombardier passengers to consistently stay connected while traveling the globe. Here is what they say; “ Bombardier is the first business aircraft OEM to incorporate the fastest, worldwide on-board connectivity solution, so passengers can videoconference, browse the internet or stream online videos just as they would on the ground.”

4. Air Navigation Service Providerss (ANSP) across the world are recognizing the benefits of operating their own multi-country communications networks. In South America, this has been achieved with the establishment of REDDIG – a regional telecom ground network which has been recently upgraded to provide IP service via a mixture of VSAT and ground network links. REDDIG is used for the exchange of aeronautical data each ANSP shares with its neighboring ANSPs.

The group of South America ANSPs agreed that SITAONAIR would run a trial with DGAC Chile and DECEA Brazil. The aim is to verify all security and performance requirements for both the SITAONAIR AIRCOM datalink and REDDIG networks. Since last October, DGAC Chile has connected its FANS server to the SITAONAIR data link processor using both the local REDDIG node in parallel to its existing IP connection.  During this time the reliability and security of the connections across the REDDIG network through a node operated by DECEA in Recife, Brazil have been put under intense scrutiny.” The following sentence in the news release caught our attention because of issues like system interface and protocol differences: “To date, the trial has confirmed that transition from the current communication links provided by SITAONAIR to the REDDIG IP links by the ANSPs will not require changes to their system interfaces.

We wondered what the protocol differences really meant, so we contacted SITA’s Aurelie Branchereau and she replied: “As advised by our Air Traffic Control specialist, François Bardin, actually the ATM systems from the ANSPs usually connect to SITAONAIR datalink message processor (ADLT) over an IP link (provided by OBS), using the MATIP protocol (RFC 2351) on top of IP.  As REDDIG will provide such equivalent IP link, the same protocol can be used making it seamless for ANSPs’ ATM systems to connect to SITAONAIR.” See, that wasn’t so hard.


  • German airline group Lufthansa will speed up the repatriation of delayed or mishandled bags to passengers after it launches easy-to-use baggage tracing technology jointly developed with global air transport IT specialist SITA. The new-generation WorldTracer® system provides Lufthansa agents access to a new, user-friendly desktop interface that makes it easy to record delayed baggage and trace the missing bags no matter where in the world they are. The new interface allows ground handlers, airport operators and airlines to access WorldTracer’s global baggage data while integrating it with their own reservation or operations systems, providing a rich data set that helps quickly trace a missing bag. The new WorldTracer desktop application will be available to all agents across the Lufthansa group in 2016. Given SITA WorldTracer’s global presence with 450 airlines and ground handlers at more than 2,500 airport locations, the new system makes deployment of the new interface across a global network easy and cost-effective. While the development of this new application was funded by Lufthansa and SITA, it will be made available to the broader air transport community as part of SITA’s ongoing investment in WorldTracer. SITA also recently launched theWorldTracer Tablet which allows mobile agents to roam the airport, helping passengers to report mishandled baggage and trace their status.
  • Here is our only link to cargo ever in IFExpress (we think) but it is a mind-blower in both photography and technologyRemarkable Soviet An-225 Mriya Images

Readers note: IFExpress will add more security links in our LINKS section because malware is turning up on devices possibly used on a plane, turning up on HTTPS software, and on Point Of Sale solutions and related Wi-Fi connectivity. – Editor.