On our second day on the show floor we visited and interviewed 13 vendors. We like to provide a little highlight detail for our readers who do not get a chance to go to the shows – enjoy!

FlightPath 3D

We ran into FlightPath3D and got an update on the innovative moving map provider. We understand the software solution is presently flying on Air France, KLM and Norwegian and their software is working with Panasonic and Lumexis hardware. It is important to note that the FlightPath3D solution is all software and their solutions are very passenger friendly and feature rich in applications. The process of providing various aspects of the moving map experience includes the Pilot HUD view, the Passenger Window view, City Lights & Time Zones, and Distance & Direction indicator. What we really liked was the airplane view that allowed custom branding. But the 3D moving map offers more because they have included flight information screens, connecting gate information, airline route maps, and destination information. While we are on that subject, the Destination Guide & Concierge Service provides a map with POIs and advertisers are utilized. This is a great opportunity for ancillary revenue generation for the airline. As long as an airline has connectivity service the passenger can make arrangements for reservations, show tickets, auto rental, etc. real-time. The IFExpress publisher fell in love with the Kidz 3D Discovery Map! It is important to note that FlightPath3D is platform independent and any aircraft in any operational environment can benefit from it. As important, is the fact that passengers can interface with it in the seat, on overhead video, and on their mobile device. Airlines can use FlightPath3D across their existing fleets even if they have a combination of inseat, overhead, and Wi-Fi. For more data contact them for additional information.

Aircraft Cabin Systems

One of the big deals for the ACS team this year is the expected completion of their Replaceable PMA, which notes that the ACS design is 100% compatible with existing narrow-body retracts. Because of the reliability, the screen size, and picture quality of the ACS units, the airlines are interested in replacing older technology products with the new retracts. This strategy was a very clever move on behalf of ACS. Yukio Sugmimote noted that greater than 20% of the existing single-aisle fleet already have retractable overhead monitors onboard. The ACS booth displayed the wide range of their retractable offerings for the Boeing 737 (9.7” and 12”) and the A320 (9.7” and 12”). Furthermore, the new 12” retract has been installed at ACJC (Airbus Corporate Jet). Now here is the big deal… ACS is targeting line fit for 2015. Stay tuned!

Lufthansa Systems

We always enjoy our time with Lufthansa Systems talking with Norbert Müller  and this year was no exception. At APEX LHS rolled out their Seat Integrated Tablet Solution, which is another feature for their integrated wireless BoardConnect platform. This allows high-resolution audio and video content to now be streamed over the Wi-Fi to passenger PEDs as well as integrated seat tablets. Interestingly, the Lufthansa Systems team has done two important feats in engineering with SITS: 1) the head strike issue has been solved with a clear plastic screen that slides up over the display for safety. 2) Amazingly enough, they are using modified tablets (COTS) for the semi-embedded system . Apparently, the battery has been removed from the system so the tablet is only powered installed in the seat-back via a special cable & connector. Not only does the system work on the App installed on the airline supplied tablet, but users have access to the system via their own PED as long as they already have the App installed. Stay tuned for the first customer announcement. Furthermore, SITS has the following features: video-on-demand, audio-on-demand, interactive moving map, electronic publications, surveys, basic and advanced advertising, shopping, chat, and news feed. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress did a Hot Topic on SITS in early September. If you happened to miss that issue or want to see more in depth coverage here is the link )


In discussions with Gogo in Anaheim we gleaned the following news highlights:

  • The corporate Gogo move to downtown Chicago is based on the following:
    • They have outgrown their existing facility.
    • Everyone will be in with one 230K-foot facility.
    • Today a lot of young talent prefers to live and work in large metropolitan areas.
    • And they are also very near Boeing, investors, etc.
  • Currently Gogo has 800+ employees.
  • They have purchased a B737-500 as their flying test lab.
  • Gogo states that their focus is on 2Ku and is entirely outside of the USA.
  • Gogo states that there has been some industry confusion between 2Ku and GTO (Ground-To-Orbit)
    • GTO is only available in North America
    • 2Ku covers overseas
  • There are 500+ aircraft with ATG4 in North America
    • “ATG4 with 4 antennas triples the bandwidth and the performance is clearly better.”
    • The latency has decreased by 50%
    • Customer satisfaction has increased
  • The fleet should number 800 at yearend.
  • Gogo and T-Mobile have announced an exclusive arrangement for a period of time.
    • Text n Talk: This doesn’t require a pico cell… no touch on the system.


The IFPL team was missing Geoff Underwood this year as he was back on the Isle of Wight receiving the company’s second Queens Award from the Duke of Kent! If there ever was a reason to miss an APEX this was about as good as it gets. Way to go IFPL. What’s next? Sir Geoff??

From a technical front IFPL was touting their Contactless Retail System (CRS), which utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. IFPL has developed an in-seat payment system for airline cabin passenger seats that takes advantage of the new NFC contactless card for low value purchases and has an intuitive interface that is easy to use. CRS allows passengers to pay quickly and simply with their credit/debit card for on–board transactions, eliminating the requirement for cash. Recent research suggests an increase in sales of up to 15% using contactless systems compared to traditional cash vending. CRS is easy to install with no in-seat wiring required and is easily configurable as IFPLs system integrates seamlessly with existing on-board payment servers. Alternatively it can be a stand-alone system that will run for up to 24 months on the optional built-in battery.


We talked with Don Buchman and he was rather proud of their recent APEX Avion Best Achievement in Technology Award for Exede In The Air by ViaSat. Exede in-flight internet service is designed to get more passengers using in-flight internet by eclipsing the service quality and speeds of other in-cabin airline broadband services. Compared to traditional take rates of less than 10 percent of passengers, uptake is averaging around 40 percent on flights using the ViaSat service, with a record 148 simultaneous personal electronic devices connected on a recent JetBlue flight. Exede utilizes the high capacity Ka-band satellite system and is capable of delivering 12 Mbps or more to every connected passenger. Well worth an award!

ViaSat also announced their new dual-band Ku/Ka Terminal that enable inflight network switching across commercial Ku- and Ka- band satellite networks. Using their innovative dual band terminal and a new radome, test flights were conducted in July and August on a commercial 757-200. The trial demonstrated the state of the art in broadband enroute communications with the aircraft transitioning among multiple satellite beams from six antennas three Ku- and Ka-band networks. The concept of the best available service borrows from the mobile cellular communications world. Seamless satellite network-switching benefits customers in the same way, as higher performance satellite coverage areas are introduced to new regions. The airborne broadband terminal integrated a ViaSat Ku/Ka-band antenna with ViaSat mobile and bordband modems, and a third-party modem. For more information contact Don Buchman

TE Connectivity

We always like to visit TE Connectivity because they usually have some new scientific solution to problems that have been around for a long time like plating on plastic – they can functionalize virtually any surface. This is a very broad-spectrum technology connectivity company that covers any major electronic industry globally. These folks major in connecting signal source to receivers and they do it in copper, fiber and Wi-Fi. They are in the business of connecting and protecting the flow of power, data, and signals. And they provide solutions for virtually every signal transmission to every signal reception, including sealing and protection, connectors, fiber optics, circuit protection, and precision wire and cable.
What really grabbed our attention was what we thought was gold plated circuit lines on plastic when in reality they were something else! It turned out that it was an etched pattern in composite material that is activated by laser. After etching, the signal paths are activated by laser which allow chemical plating to occur afterward, thus they have developed a way to plate plastic with metal conductors for items such as antennas, power connections, etc. without excessive heat. If you are trying to put an antenna on a plastic case this is the company to talk to. For more information contact Teresa Wilson tawilson@te.com for more information.


If the meeting with Rockwell/ARINC gave us anything it has become pretty obvious that the two companies are: a) working together well b) plotting new product strategy based on their existing products and services c) looking to the future with the synergies of the two companies can add value.
A good example was the product strategy for their next generation connectivty and wireless IFE, using ARINC Cabin Connect and PAVES Wireless. Here is what we note:
• Today both companies are evolving as one and working on fitting pieces of the aircraft environments together in the areas of: cabin, IFE, cockpit, and routers. Also, the ground infrastructure support and airport systems are involved.
• While the above intermarriages are broad in spectrum, the Rockwell/ARINC union is unique in its ability to do them all.
• The companies will always make a decision to buy or make the required hardware.
• Presently, this marriage is a good fit and everyone appears very happy about it and the broad effort in cabin and cockpit integration is proving beneficial.
• Make no mistake; Rockwell/ARINC is looking at moving non-critical data across the ground connectivity pipe and leveraging the value of that service.
• In actual fact, the marriage of the two companies completed the IFE&C puzzle and created a new business unit called Information Management Services.
• ARINC Cabin Connect (wireless aircraft environment) uses L-band today and Ka-band next year.
We were actually surprised at how comfortable the teams seamed working together and the nature of their two different services appear to be coming together very well. Stay tuned for some surprises, specifically in the area of new data services.


The two new big products form Kontron are the ACE Flight 600 server and the Cab-n-Connect 802.11ac Wireless Access Point. And we note that last year’s server has been upgraded to the new ACE Flight 600 and the Cab-n-Connect 802.11n WAP has been upgraded to 802.11ac this year.

The new server features an Intel i7 processor, 4MCU and operates off of 115V AC (360-800 Hz), it has been qualified to DO-160G and also features 4G LTE (cell phone modem). We understand there is a 2 MCU version in the works. On the Wireless Access Point, Kontron has upgraded their Cab-n-Connect Wireless Access Point to 802.11ac (which means a/b/g/n standards), dual Wi-Fi radios 2.4 GHz & 5GHz – both supporting 3 spatial stream and 256 QAM modulation, can operate as a CWLU and TWLU, and has various antenna options. Contact Alan Manns for further information.

KID Systeme

The interesting thing about KID-Systeme is that they have gravitated from an inflight power company to a business that has diversified their offering to include inflight entertainment as well. The addition of SKYfi, their wireless inflight entertainment in conjunction with technology from Airborne Interactive for their systems interactive moving map dubbed SKYfi Geo has moved KID into the realm of IFE service provider. SKYfi offers a range of packages including GSM telephony and data, a high-end solution that provides full telephony and internet services, as well as streaming content to passenger PEDs via an App. The extremely lean system can be installed on virtually every commercial aircraft type and architecture. SKYfi is based on the trusted ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) connectivity platform, pioneered by Airbus and KID-Systeme in 2007 and widely deployed on more than 40 airlines around the world. Most recently, Cebu Pacific Air, the largest domestic airline in the Philippines, started a trial with the wireless IFE system. For more information contact Maren Muente.

GEE (Global Eagle Entertainment)

Perhaps the best place to start is GEE’s own website: Through our combined content, distribution and technology platforms, Global Eagle provides airlines and the millions of travelers they serve with the industry’s most complete offering of in-flight entertainment programming, Internet connectivity, and related services. Our Connected Solutions division utilizes Ku-band satellite technology to provide airline passengers with Internet access, live television, shopping and travel-related information, while our Travel Related Solutions division provides film and television content, games and applications to more than 130 airlines worldwide.” Obviously, GEE is definitely a content and connectivity company. Formerly known as Global Eagle Enterprises, the company wants to build relationships with airlines so that they can provide content and/or hardware through their connectivity portal. There are four arms to GEE: content, software development, connectivity hardware, and sponsorship. GEE is looking to maximize the connectivity via digital media. An example of this is Digital Studio from Delta. GEE also offers WISE, which is a media content portal that is platform agnostic. And agnostic is important! Current partners for WISE include: OnAir, Rockwell Collins, KID-Systeme, BAE Aerosystems and Honeywell. Importantly, GEE sees digital media solutions as a huge area of potential growth and sees themselves assisting airlines and other venders with economies of scale. (Editor’s Note: What is really happening here is that GEE is becoming a full service provider like Panasonic and Thales – at least for connectivity and content. The other members of their team fulfill the requirements that they need but do not have within their control i.e. seatback screens. It will be interesting to watch GEE’s development in the coming years. Also with their content company acquisitions they have secured and are driving the content market as #1.)


PressReader is one of the most interesting and useful products we have seen for the airport and IFE space and, it is available to use off-line…not to mention, extremely ‘green’. Here is an intro from their sales brochure – “PressReader is the global standard in all-you-can-read newspapers and magazines. Now you can provide complimentary access to over 3,000 newspapers and magazines from around the world to your travelers – all on their own laptops tablets and smartphones. Titles are available in 60+ languages from 100+ countries around the world. No new equipment or maintenance required.” You can get your own account for $29.95 per month, airports can develop a hotspot to provide reading material, and of course airlines can provide the service to stream content to their passengers in airport lounges as well as onboard. This solution has to save gas, labor, time, and energy/waste. If you want to try it out go to PressReader. No App is required if the airline or airport want to provide the service and we understand that PressReader Offline can be customized for seat-back systems. How else can you provide this many magazines to your customers with zero set-up and maintenance. Not to mention there is an ancillary revenue opportunity and, we understand that sponsored messaging is available. Additionally, the service can operate on all your devices: computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and eReader. For more information contact Darcy Sara  (IFExpress Update: Wow! This product is incredible, we tested it online and cannot say enough about the amount of available newspapers and magazines!)


Quite by luck, IFExpress “won” a set of Phitek headphones in a blind drawing and we were so impressed with the product, we had to pass along our observations.

Firstly, the Active Noise cancellation was not turned on when we did our first audio test and turned on the audio source.. and you guessed it, they worked quite well with a slight high frequency attenuation. We note the mechanical sound isolation was good, with some low frequency leakage while using background noise/music for testing. And, we should also mention that the mechanical height adjustment and padding were first class and very comfortable. The single AAA battery is accesses easily by rotating the outer ring on the cup itself, and when turned on, delivered good presence, with a slight preponderance of bass. We also understand that they also have an earphone tester and we note that their catalog is so well designed that it should win an award! No price was given but they have a very customer friendly product that airlines need to look at… and hear.

Other Notes:

B787 ANA – An Anonymous traveler wrote this to IFExpress and we thought you would find it interesting: “The ANA Dreamliner 787 is the most comfortable economy class airline I’ve ever flown on. The 10 hour flight seemed amazingly fast what with the extra legroom, and bank of electronics on the seat back in front of us. Along with a large screen, there were power hookups for phones and computers to keep them charged. There were a dozen or more free movies and television shows and games and music. And the food for both meals was very good. Once again, I didn’t sleep even with the Ambien. On the other hand, because of the comfortable ride, it didn’t bother me. Not that I experienced them at first hand, but the first class seats were pretty amazing in that each was it’s own little cubicle with chair, desk and area in front of the passenger’s feet that turned into a bed when the seat folded down flat. Luxury.”

An APEX exhibitor wrote to IFExpress after visiting another conference noting: “Selected airlines are actually designing their own seats (and patenting them) to address enhanced space and comfort for the passenger, while INCREASING the number of seat on-board. The changes to seating have an impact on future embedded IFE, and a rethinking of the fundamental architecture.”

Congratulations to Paul Burke at Telefonix, they are celebrating their 25th anniversary!

Thank you to AT&T and Stuart Dunleavy, Executive Director of Marketing – In-Flight Connectivity at AT&T for a great function at The House of Blues (Hmm, Isn’t the AT&T logo blue?!).

New York, New York | September 30, 2014– GEE, which has developed the airline market’s leading inflight digital publications reader, eReader, has signed an agreement to sell Le French Book’s range of mystery and thriller novels to airline companies around the world. GEE currently serves over 150 airline companies internationally.

For mystery and thriller publisher Le French Book, airline passengers are an ideal audience, particularly when the stories have international settings and authors. According to the 2014 digEcor Passenger Survey Report, reading is one of the most popular forms of inflight entertainment, with inflight reading ranking third, after sleeping and watching videos, for flights lasting longer than eight hours.

“I’ve been wanting to get our titles in airplanes ever since we started publishing our translated mysteries and thrillers from France,” says founder and president Anne Trager, “so we are very excited to sign with GEE. Travelers today expect a wider range of entertainment options when they fly, and technological advances today make it possible to provide access to full-length books. It would be hard not to be excited about a potential passenger reach of nearly two million ‘captive’ readers. This deal is a perfect fit with our goal of getting our translated commercial fiction into the hands of more readers. ”

“We’re delighted to provide our airline customers with popular full-length books from Le French Book,” added Alexis Steinman, SVP of Software Development and Products at GEE. “These titles are a great addition to our extensive catalog of regional and international inflight digital publications.”

For Le French Book, it is key to offer full-length books. What could be more frustrating than only getting an excerpt and not being able to get the rest of the book until the final destination? As Trager says, “Our goal is to entertain readers, so the focus is on giving them access to the books wherever they are and wherever they are going.”

  • Best-in-class facility is a production centre for the digital age

London | October 1, 2014–
Global content agency Spafax has announced the launch of a new HD post-production lab, located at the iconic Sunset Gower Studios Lot, Hollywood’s oldest independent film lot, and the original West Coast home of Columbia and Warner Bros. Officially opening on October 6, 2014, this state-of-the-art facility will be home to all of Spafax’s US-based technical services by April 2015.

Ensuring flawless content delivery to any platform, including IFE, wireless, streaming, mobile, and social media, The Hub is equipped with a fully automated digital workflow through to file delivery plus editing, subtitling, captioning, and video and audio encoding and duplication.The facility will also provide 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.

Niall McBain, Chief Executive Officer, says, “Spafax aspires to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to content on-the-go, hence we are locating our new facility at the heart of the World’s Content Capital.”

Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, says, “The Hub is another important and exciting example of our commitment to equipping our teams with cutting-edge technology, in order to provide the best possible service to our clients.”

Spafax’s technical services team of 25 will be moving up from Orange, California, where the client services, administration and agency teams will continue to be based. Spafax’s technical team is the production and fulfillment hub for the company’s worldwide inflight entertainment (IFE) business. Spafax currently works with over 25 major airline clients to program, license and deliver their IFE content.