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.

  • 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.

Firstly, we want to congratulate the folks at SmartTray (Astronics) for being a Crystal Cabin Award Finalist! Astronics cleverly saw the future of the product and set up an agreement “…to exclusively market, sell, and manufacture SmartTray’s new passenger device-friendly aircraft tray table solutions that facilitate hands-free use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) including smartphones.”

The SmartTray website tells the whole product story… almost. The device is pretty much as advertises: The X1 features a groove/clip in the rear of the tray that is a device stand (iPad etc.) in the rear of the tray table leaving room to work, eat, drink… you got the picture. Version X2 clips the tablet to the tray in the tray upright position and X4 is for First Class. Both Nick Pajic Sr. and Jr. of SmartTray were on hand at the Astronics booth and added a classy presentation capability for all their products.

However, it is the X3 that caught our attention! Here is text from the X3 page:

“SmartTray X3, in development, will transform decades old food tray designs into modern, cutting edge technology tablet device IFE at a fraction of the traditional seat embedded IFE systems costs. SmartTray X3 is economy class solutions for an airline with IFE capability wanting a cost-effective narrow body solution. Works with existing IFE servers. Content preloaded or streamed.”

This says to us, Astronics will be in the seatback, mechanical docking station business for airline owned IFE soon. The next question to ask is if FAA certification of installed tablets (or semi-installed, if you like) on the horizon? While we saw no tablet power solution on the SmartTray, and the company did not discuss this solution, can that be next? After all, Astronics major’s in aircraft passenger seat power. We understand there is a major airline installation deal in the works for this summer that will include trays installed inline and retrofit. You can read more about the Astronics deal with SmartTray here. Here is the real deal: If this all comes about with powered airline tablets, the next question to ask: Is this the future of IFE? (Editor’s Note: If you have a clever and safe solution to running power to the installed device interface plug over the moving tray arms and flopping trays, we bet Astronics might like to hear about it.)

We should also mention the newest member of the EMPOWER family, the Model 1191-4X that provides 110 VAC and 5 Volt USB (2.1A) for three seats. Note the lighted USB power jack above the 110 AC receptacle. The 1191-4X In-Seat Power Supply unit is a “smaller profile” than the USB-only (Model 1325-1 on the left) In-Seat Power Supply.

KID-Systeme GMBH
You remember Skypower, the inseat power source and perhaps, SKYfi an on-board connectivity platform for passenger and corporate aircraft to provide a wide range of on-board communication options, media applications and services. SKYfi can be installed on virtually every aircraft type and architecture. The lean system has certified hardware and uses different communication interfaces, making it very flexible… and attractive. We should also note, ‘SKYfi club’ is installed on Cebu Pacific Air, the largest airline n the Philippines.

At AIX, KID-Systeme also had their usual in-cabin connectivity solutions but what got our attention was their inseat display solutions shown. KID has been working with Lufthansa Tecknik for a Qantas installation using an iPad-based IFE solution.

While in the KID booth we were quite impressed with the in-seat concepts that the team has been working on and thought you might like to check them out if you did not get into to their exhibit at AIX. Their universal tablet holder solutions were really quite interesting and we note that they was an embedded IFE, noting that it is a concept study and a final product would not be a KID brand. In other words, KID would team with another vendor for the solution.

First, check out the tablet holder mechanism that resides behind the fold down tray.

Now, check out the tray tablet holder. Note that you can see the tablet holder mentioned in the previous shot. The spring loaded black clip is designed to provide a positive downward force holding the tablet in place.

This image is the protected insert device power source. Note: the area under the socket could contain available power information on a tag.

Here is an image of their simplest add-on device holder, probably for a small tablet or phone.

The seatback installation  is an adjustable seatback display design and this image shows use of a clear sliding screen designed to hold a tablet, when the LCD display is recessed back in the seatback permitting the support of a personal device and meeting FAA HIC requirements.

We also wanted to mention that the folks from BAE Systems announced their launch customer at AIX for their Intellicabin IFE solution with India’s Vistara Airlines. With 3 aircraft now installed (6 Biz seats, 36 Economy Plus, and 96 economy), they have a total of 20 A320 installations ordered. The system uses one server, 3 Kontron WAP’s and we are told that some 50 passengers are covered per server. Here is an image of the system on display at AIX.

PDT + Telefonix did a great job of trend prediction and observation at AIX. Be sure to check out their new ad in this issue of IFExpress to see the report!

Here is a note we just got in from the folks at Zodiac Inflight Innovations and you might want to check the presentation: “We are very excited to be a part of the Global Connected Aircraft Summit again this year! Our VP of Business Development Connectivity, Dr. Axel Jahn is speaking on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 2:20pm. He will be speaking on the topic of Cyber-Security and How a Connected Aircraft can Manage this threat. Click Here to view the entire agenda!”

You might want to read this bit of analysis about the US Congress and flying…

Gogo secured an FAA STC to install new 2Ku antenna on its 737-500 flying lab for testing; it expects the second STC by end 2015 to launch commercial service.

Sadly, we note the passing of Arthur Jamieson, who is remembered from his early days at British Caledonian to the founding of the InFlight Entertainment Co. Services at St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4AG, on Friday 12th June, at 11.00 a.m. Followed by a wake, to be held at: The Gallipot Inn Upper Hartfield.