This week, IFExpress has a lot of new product/services probably announced as Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg, 4 – 6 April, 2017 approaches. This ‘Big Deal IFEC’ show is the culmination of Passenger Experience Week in Hamburg 3 – 6 April. We will have more on the expo later but let’s return to the topics of this weeks IFExpress:
Inmarsat has announced a key infrastructure milestone for its European Aviation Network (EAN), following the successful test and validation of the EAN Satellite Access Station (SAS). As the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, EAN will provide a true in-flight broadband experience for millions of airlines passengers traveling throughout Europe. The SAS is located in the Greek town of Nemea and operated under an agreement with OTE, the largest telecommunications provider in Greece and member of the Deutsche Telekom Group. Engineers undertook rigorous performance and stability tests to verify the SAS’s capabilities to serve as a reliable and robust gateway between Inmarsat’s S-band satellite and the internet. The SAS consists of a 13-meter antenna that provides feeder links to the satellite, a radio frequency sub-system and a radio access network provided by Inmarsat partner Cobham SATCOM. And if you want to see a video that does a good job of explaining the program, check out the video on youTube
Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at AIX 2017 in Hamburg. With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL has actively engaged its customers on how this technology can be applied to IFEC and how to transition from USB-A. Along with its baseline USB-C outlet, IFPL is currently developing a range of USB–C 3.1 peripherals and solutions. Visitors to stand 2C10, we are told, can see their USB-C outlet and discuss industry adoption of this technology.
In previous shows IFPL demonstrated their high power and data USB-A 2.0 and we covered it IFExpress. These are now in-service along with IFPL’s clever reversible option. 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.
IFPL has also enhanced the capability of its existing 1225 unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand. In addition, IFPL has been working with key industry partners to develop a new range of power solutions that focus on ensure ergonomic and aesthetic seat integration. The combined approach delivered a system that maximizes the use of the physical space of the seat and seamlessly design the USB outlet into the actual seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system that has no impact on passenger legroom. As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.
Editor’s Note: IFPL is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England. Founded 20 years ago by CEO Geoff Underwood, IFPL today enjoys one of the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector.
Airline passengers flying to and from the Ivory Coast can now expect a connected experience, as national airline, Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE), signs up for inflight passenger connectivity services from world-leading provider SITAONAIR. The new deal will deliver connectivity solutions to VRE’s brand new A320s, in the form of SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR products. With Internet ONAIR onboard, airlines can offer passengers seamless inflight internet access, connecting their personal devices by opening a browser – just as they would with a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Airlines can use Internet ONAIR to personalize their passenger relationships by developing a portal that can offer an interactive and engaging experience for the passenger. It also offers opportunities for airlines to grow their ancillary revenues. Mobile ONAIR, meanwhile, offers passengers an airborne mobile phone service that enables them to make phone calls, send texts and use their mobile phone data inflight, through an extensive number of roaming partners in Africa and across the world. In June 2017, SITAONAIR’s teams will begin activating Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR on five new Air Côte d’Ivoire A320s equipped with Airbus’ Airline Network Architecture (ALNA) server platform. The services will make use of SwiftBroadband, an IP-based data service from Inmarsat that SITAONAIR, as distributor, will operate as service provider.
Aviation Satcom provider, AirSatOne, announces lower rates for its SwiftBroadband connectivity. Taking care of customers is a top priority at AirSatOne and one reason why the company maintains a 99% customer retention rate. So when Inmarsat, the leader in global satellite communications, lowered its prices AirSatOne was quick to pass the savings on to its customers. Customers using AirSatOne as their service provider have access to its custom global network for the same price as the generic network used by the competition. AirSatOne’s custom network includes worldwide teleports and IP PoP (Internet Point of Presence) with advanced network security and our globally deployed Flightstream SA which provides web filtering, compression, consumption tracking and firewall customized for mobile communications.
When Lufthansa’s new long-haul Airbus A350-900 enters service this coming Friday, passengers will experience a cabin lighting concept tailored to the human biorhythm for the first time – 24 different lighting scenarios on board ensure that passengers reach their destination well-rested and with less jetlag than is typical for a long-haul flight. The scientific concept for the new lighting technique originates with the “jetlite” startup, anchored in the aviation cluster, and was brought to market-readiness assisted by the six-month Airbus BizLab accelerator program.
Effective immediately, Hideo Nakano will serve as CEO of Panasonic Avionics, succeeding Paul Margis, who has left the company. Mr. Nakano is an avionics industry veteran and was most recently the Deputy CEO of Panasonic Avionics. His previous experience at Panasonic includes serving as CFO of Panasonic’s Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, the largest of Panasonic Corp.’s four internal companies, as well as CFO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Panasonic Avionics has also appointed Mark Jennings to serve in the new position of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Mr. Jennings will be responsible for duties related to operations, engineering, sales and marketing. Mr. Jennings joined Panasonic Avionics in 1998 as Regional Director based in Dubai and most recently served as Vice President of Operations. Additionally, Seigo Tada has been named Chief Financial Officer of PAC. He succeeds Paul Bottiaux, who has left the company. Mr. Tada will maintain his position as VP of Finance and Controller of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Mr. Tada joined Panasonic in 1985 and has held roles of increasing responsibility within the finance function throughout his time with the company, including ten years in the United States. You can read more here.
LT just completed Ka Band connectivity on it’s first VIP A330 and installing similar technology on some 32 Lufthansa A320 planes PER MONTH!
GLOBAL CONNECTED AIRCRAFT SUMMIT
Here is the agenda. The summit happens Wednesday, June 7, through Friday, June 9. this year.
- OK, so flying over America may be challenging right now, how about a movie? Hang on, it’s a mind blower! – Flying Over America – YouTube
- Obviously these folks read our article about BOSE Noise cancellation headphones for flying – The best noise-canceling wireless headphones that you can buy | Page 2 | Digital Trends
- Confused about Wi-Fi? Here is a great source of info on the standard ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) channel frequencies and bandwidth
- And if you are seeing 2017 Aviation headwinds, you might be correct – Aviation Industry Could Face Headwinds In 2017
Isle of Wight | February 6, 2017– Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at AIX 2017 in Hamburg.
With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL has actively engaged its customers on how this technology can be applied to IFEC and how to transition from USB-A. Along with its baseline USB-C outlet, IFPL are currently developing a range of USB–C 3.1 peripherals and solutions. Visitors to stand 2C10 can see their USB-C outlet and discuss industry adoption of this technology.
In previous shows IFPL demonstrated their high power and data USB-A 2.0. These are now in-service along with IFPL’s clever reversible option. 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 maximise the benefits of both charging their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) and interfacing with the Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system.
IFPL has enhanced the capability of its existing 1225 unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand. In addition, IFPL has been working with key industry partners to develop a new range of power solutions that focus on ensure ergonomic and aesthetic seat integration. The combined approach delivered a system that maximises the use of the physical space of the seat and seamlessly design the USB outlet into the actual seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system that has no impact on passenger legroom.
As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.
As the weeks pass after a show like the recent APEX in Singapore, it is easy to start thinking about the next one; however, IFExpress will try to continue to cover some of the more important show participants and their new products, accomplishments, and sales. Importantly, a post show head cold and a recent election has caused focus issues in the past few weeks, but we are now in better control and we will start off with one show item that keeps coming back to haunt us – the concept of aircraft and Big Data. While IFEC is not the whole story, it is part of the issue, and over the last few weeks we have been doing our homework a bit on the subject. The folks at companies like Panasonic, SITA, Thales and many others have been chanting the “data” subject into our ears at each meeting – we really have been trying to understand the problems and potential solutions – and believe us, it is no easy subject, with few easy answers. A number of years back, Mark Thompson of Thompson Aerospace warned us of the impending data monster we were about to see but we had little idea at the time of its value and challenges. This data thing is not new but it is getting bigger!
Looking back to the late eighties, we saw a document developed about the importance of airplane data, in general, and how McDonnell Douglas was looking at the future of its importance in tying an airline together by connecting the “movable asset” back to the airline itself with the one connectivity-based solution available at the time – live, real-time data. Back in the day, the connectivity links were minimal but the requirement was still there.
Today, it is a cry that still is the important connecting piece of the airline business, but it is getting louder. However, we note, now it entails better connectivity, more information, passenger involvement, better worldwide connections, and generally more need for planning and action throughout the airline and passenger environment. Perhaps a computer programmer said it better than we could: “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran, an American computer programmer. Further, when you have 30 $250 million dollar assets buzzing around the world, data is the only way to see at any point in time, how your assets are delivering profits or losses. Further, it is a way to see what your customers are needing, in real-time.
We understand that we will not cover the issue in one IFExpress, and to that end, we have a few future interviews planned with IFEC companies and you will have the opportunity to see a bigger picture from them in the coming months. And speaking of ‘seeing the data’ issue, we really owe the folks at SITA a pat on the back for they have been trying to educate us on the value and need of standardized data.
Furthermore, not only satcom companies are part of the data solutions, as an example, the folks at SmartSky are developing a ground-to-air solution that may deliver the cheapest, and possibly the fastest over tera firma, data solution when it is up and running in the US. The point here is that data will be the driving factor when an airline executive or inflight passenger, or flight crew person, or a box on the plane needs to connect to a listener or data taker from the ground, and thus, it will be one of the next big things in our industry. Check out this Next Gen aviation connected electronic flight bag story;
With the growth of passenger data needs, the subject of data will become even a more important technology as time goes on. In SITAONAIR’s white paper published during the show, they noted that passenger connectivity is still the key motivating factor with airlines for adopting the service. Some 48% of their list of airlines in their study see it as the main passenger experience benefit. However, now some 20% of the airlines involved saw connectivity as a pilot and cabin crew enhancement driver, with some 15% seeing value in maintenance and ops monitoring. While a low number of planes today are outfitted with connectivity solutions, SITA expects three quarters will have some connectivity by 2017, and the big solution will happen by 2020 and some 12,500 planes will be so modified.
One big issue, notes SITA, is the lack of commonality or common standards in the aircraft data itself. Why is this important? We see it as a way to allow more entrants in the IFEC industry, more participants in the data business, more uses of the data itself, and a solution that becomes a standard where and when more people use it. Lest we forget, big data probably also means big bucks! If you want to see an example the application of common airport standards you might want to check out SITA’s AirportConnect Open.
Another area is the type of data from the various sources and its utility and application. The folks at Panasonic can see the data future and they call it “Big Data”. They envision the application of ground and inflight data as well as a lot more data applications from many sources – but we will have more on this subject in the future. We should also note that Thales has their version of big data and they are using their InFlyt Cloud for similar data solution for airplane data, metadata and big analytics. However, the message to folks in this business is perhaps, just perhaps, that the IFEC world might just be a smaller part of a bigger aviation world that uses data. It is a solution for bigger problems and future analysis – all way beyond IFE companies just selling hardware. Just possibly it may be the next generation of understanding about airplanes and passengers and the world of flying assets that are moving thousands of miles away from the home offices with hundreds of passengers all going to different places for many different reasons. Big Data has a future value that we don’t even understand today!
To make our point about where this is all heading, here is a very recent news release from Panasonic Avionics about their next generation of data connectivity solutions and it points out the widening of the acquisition of data sources sets the wider data picture being viewed by IFEC vendors. Said the release: ”The technology will enable the next generation of connectivity services to the aviation industry and multiple other markets.” The release went on: “Panasonic Avionics will implement Ericsson’s 5G-ready core solution through its subsidiary AeroMobile, a global inflight connectivity provider and registered mobile network operator. The contract is the first step of a long-term strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will focus on areas like 5G and the Internet of Things.” It went on: ”Panasonic Avionics can apply the 5G-ready core across a wide and ever-expanding range of markets, enabling connectivity for users not only onboard aircraft and ships, but also for the huge Internet of Things communication.” IFExpress notes the 5G is touted as the next generation of mobile technology because it “has the capability to radically lessen latency, accelerate download and upload speeds, enhance network reliability and spectral efficiency.” With this data, they also have the potential to support IoT development, by considerably escalating the number of devices that can connect to the network simultaneously.” Get the data picture? Stay Tuned on this one, soon we will talk more about data standardization and future data applications.
digEcor & IFPL
We like it when two companies in our industry combine their thoughts to develop a better product offering. We saw this during APEX Singapore this year when digEcor, in conjunction with partner IFPL, unveiled their GLIDE inseat power solution on AirAsia’s A320neos. The development effort was a collaborative one between digEcor, IFPL and Miras Aircraft Seating. The deal with AirAsia totals 55K seats and because AirAsia is a low-cost carrier they required a low-cost solution. This makes sense since inseat power is more and more significant as passengers are bringing their own devices onboard and the system is Wi-Fi driven by the onboard inflight connectivity. In fact, many LCCs are now looking to Wi-Fi for their IFE solution. From a hardware perspective, IFPL’s USB outlet is backlit and we understand that when power is available the unit is lit, making it easier for the passenger to find on the seat arm. If you are interested, we’ve attached images of the seat arm with the IFPL USB outlet and digEcor’s SEB!
Qatar Airways has implemented AeroDocs software from Arconics, a ViaSat company, to provide a single centralized repository to revise and track all operational and non-operational company manuals and documentation for operational readiness. The ability to create, author, edit and mark all changes in a visible manner over the web enables team members to easily keep abreast of, and be alerted to, relevant procedural modifications as and when they happen.
The Seattle Times wrote: “In a surprise move, Boeing announced Monday that Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner will step down from that position and be replaced by General Electric senior executive Kevin McAllister. In 2015, the Boeing board granted Conner a special award of 50,000 shares ‘to encourage him to forgo an opportunity to retire in the near future.’ With that award vesting on Dec. 1, 2017 provided he stayed at Boeing, it was expected that he would retire about then. Those shares are worth $7.35 million.” (Editor’s Note: Not a bad deal – $7 million & change for staying at Boeing for 2 years!)
Heard about Media Box? The Media Box, which Media Carrier offers as an exclusive service to tourism companies in particular, operates as a web-based service and can be easily and conveniently used with any web-enabled device. To download their preferred business magazine or their usual morning paper, guests connect to the Media Box of the airline or hotel and gain access to their own personal reading material. Newspapers and magazines are presented unabridged and in the same layout used in the print versions, and can be browsed through easily and intuitively – check out this image. Even after downloading, the downloaded publications remain available to the reader for an unlimited time. Established in 2011, the company is a subsidiary of the Munich-based MELO Group, whose central divisions are built on the two pillars: media and logistics. Media Carrier specializes in marketing and distributing digital content. It supplies the travel industry with e-papers through the Media Box. The digital media library is now successfully deployed with e.g. Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings as well as in more than 1,000 luxury and five-star hotels worldwide.
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.
Isle of Wight, UK | October 7, 2016– IFPL, the award-winning designer and manufacturer of global in-flight passenger interface solutions, enters the exciting fast-paced world of motor racing to promote its products and corporate identity in 2016.
IFPL sponsored the Mini Challenge Race Car driven by rising young British talent, the racing driver, Michael O’Brien, at a recent event at Oulton Park in Cheshire. The twenty-two year old has already achieved success with a string of race victories in Formula Ford racing and Formula 4. The Mini Challenge Race, was a successful debut with O-Brien finishing 5th in his first outing from a very competitive grid of over thirty similarly prepared cars.
Now progressing towards a career driving in the British Touring Car Championship, O’Brien and IFPL consider the Mini Challenge Race an exciting stepping-stone for strengthening brand exposure and experience in preparation for mounting a full championship challenge during the 2017 season.
O’Brien says; “This was my first Mini Challenge Race meeting, and the car is quite different to the single seaters that I have raced previously. But despite very unfavourable conditions, it went well – and I achieved my target of a top six finish first time out. IFPL’s support was invaluable and their branding looked great on the car.”
IFPL’s CEO, Geoff Underwood says, “This was a great opportunity for us to promote our brand in a dynamic manner via the highly competitive motor sport platform. Michael O’Brien is a top young British motor racing talent and he represented IFPL with great professionalism and commitment”.
- Improving passenger experience and ancillary revenues for airlines
Isle of Wight, UK | September 2016–
APEX 2016 will see the very latest in connectivity, payment and power solutions from IFEC specialists IFPL, on Booth 1745 at the Singapore based show.
IFPL lead the way when it comes to deploying contactless payment systems NFC (Near Field Communication) on-board aircraft, with global OEM’s and airlines using this technology for seat back in-flight retail and customer personalisation. APEX 2016 will see IFPL demonstrate its new NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high value off line transactions by removing the current low value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high value items thus increasing ancillary revenues.
With portable and wearable tech now widespread, visitors to APEX can also see IFPL’s USB- C and USB-A units, both providing hi-speed data and power.
As always, innovation from IFPL will be on display with the company demonstrating its new integrated seat arm concept. This will reflect its ability to customise peripherals to support the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.
IFPL will be demonstrating their ‘Charge-2-Charge’ solution for both inductive and USB charging – this will enable airlines to generate additional revenue from passengers wishing to charge their portable devices during flights. Demonstrations will also be available for their popular 110V A/C power outlet and its combination 110V and USB-A & C.
Solving the problem of broken headphone sockets are IFPL’s MagSignal Audio units. Cost neutral when compared with traditional sockets, MagSignal Technology allows the headset cable to be pulled and detached from any angle without detriment; reducing customer induced damage (CID) and maintenance disruption to aircraft.
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 requirement that visitors to APEX 2016 in Singapore may have.
This week we have a lot of stories that will interest you and we thought we would start our offering with a light interview we recently had with a really nice guy, Cyril Jean of PXCom, located in France. Some three years ago, we met Cyril at an APEX luncheon where he joined our table with an introduction, a business card, and a conversation loaded both with future hope and enthusiasm. Whats not to like? So, after the few years of starting an inflight entertainment company we asked via email how it was going and he wrote the following answers. We thought you, our readers, might find them interesting:
1. Cyril, how many airplanes do you have service on today?
Answer: “We have 71 for Eurowings and 20 for Iberia Express.”
2. OK, what airlines can you mention that you are providing service to?
Answer: “For the moment Eurowings & Iberia. I think that within one month we will be able to operate on 3 new airlines.”
3. Please tell our readers how long have you been in the IFE business?
Answer: “PXCom was created 3 years ago, and yet we have been working in the IFE business for 10+ years.”
4. Cyril, could you please name you products/services for our readers.
Answer: “Our destination guides (see the image above) do not have a specific name. Also, the advertisers pay for a PXPage (interactive page integrated directly in the guide) or for a PXApp (microsite that can be accessed directly from the guide).”
5. Perhaps you could tell our readers where are you located and if this affects whom you service?
Answer: “We are located in Bordeaux (FRANCE), but our first customers (advertisers) are within Europe. With the upcoming additional airlines we intend to develop in Asia, Middle East and Americas.”
6. Please more completely identify your “products” or services for our readers as we know you are developing some interesting IFE solutions?
Answer: “We supply destination related services: from informative content (destination guides) to destination services (taxi booking, hotel pre-checking) – when we have the opportunity to supply onboard aircraft equipped with connectivity. We have also a second activity, soon live on the first airlines, which is Digital Inflight Advertising. Please note that this latter mentioned product will be subject to a specific PR release when it becomes live.”
7. Can you now give our readers an updated airline/product picture?
Answer: “For the moment it’s Eurowings our launch airline for the interactive guides, and we also provide Iberia Express with destination related advertising offerings. We have currently 7 other airlines in process for product integration, among which, 3 of them will be unveiled before end of September.”
IFPL celebrated a major milestone this year supplying their two-millionth industry part to a key Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Now in their 20th year of trading, IFPL reached their two-millionth unit, just four years after the first million, demonstrating their continued sustainable growth in leading the way in IFEC peripherals. Chief Operating Officer, Tim Young, proudly accepted the two-millionth unit from the company’s Head of Production, Marcus Baker. Tim says, “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that the two-millionth part followed so soon after reaching our first million. IFPL investments in quality systems, manufacturing and product development capability combined with the development and introduction of new NFC, USB, audio jacks and passenger control units, means that we aim to reach our three-millionth unit even sooner.” The innovative IFPL two-millionth unit is IFPL’s Noise Cancelling Audio Jack (p/n 1155). IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology is designed to minimize cabin background noise – ensuring that aircraft passengers enjoy a more relaxed and restful journey, while also benefiting from clarity of sound via the passenger Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system. Passengers may still use their own noise-cancelling headphones, however IFPL’s INCAM enables the airline to provide noise cancelling to all its passengers by simply relocating the costly and complex headset electronics into the jack module. Therefore noise-cancelling headsets are not required, only the addition of inexpensive microphones in the ear cups that are used to pick up the ambient noise. This improved technology enables all aircraft passengers to benefit from a more enjoyable and enhanced in-flight experience. The 1155 Noise Cancelling Audio Jack is part of an extensive range of IFPL products and IFEC solutions, which includes the new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagSignal audio and the latest in NFC contactless payment technology.
Honeywell has achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans. The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
The Future Travel Experience Global show is “Vegas” on Sept 7 – 9 and you can get all the info here. Noted Daniel Coleman: “It has taken a lot of work, but I am very proud and excited by the plans for FTE Global 2016, with our valued event partners making great contributions to bringing the event to life: McCarran International Airport, APEX, ACC, AAAE and Airport Terminal of the Future.”
AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time. This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day. Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available. “86 percent of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE. These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers,” said David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
We wanted to point out one writer who weekly features the present and future of satcom usage and his name is Tim Farrar… a writer, speaker, and aficionado of that venue of connectivity. We thought you might find one chart that he has posted and since it talks about “who has what” in the satcom universe, you might find it interesting… a little bit of research on his site might also be useful… especially the SES chart he has included on the above mentioned link. But, there is a lot more there.
Global Eagle Entertainment has entered into a global distribution agreement between GEE’s Entertainment in Motion and The QYOU, a leading provider of curated and hosted online short-form content for the Video Everywhere age. The broad-based deal gives GEE and its affiliated companies access to The QYOU catalog and new production targeting distinct passengers with peppy morning, family afternoon and late-night styled content. The video segments will cover various categories including extreme sports, artist spotlights, dance, beauty, and comedy. Content will be accessible on airline seatback portals and personal entertainment devices enabled by airlines and cruise liners. The agreement grants exclusive and worldwide airline and maritime distribution rights, and non-exclusive distributions rights in other U.S. and Canada non-theatrical markets.
On another GEE front, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a new interactive data dashboard designed to provide the traveling public with access to aggregated flight operations information for U.S. airlines and airports across the country. The dashboard, displayed at airlines.org, was produced in partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE) and will provide the current operation status for the top 30 U.S. airports by passenger volume.
A4A partnered with GEE to develop this dashboard as a resource for industry partners and others who have a need for aggregated on-time performance data at the airport level or based on current weather patterns. The dashboard, tapping into GEE’s unsurpassed aviation data analytics capabilities, is complete with scroll-over maps, real-time flight departures, completions, cancellations, on-time performance and weather conditions at the national and local airport level. This new resource also provides a detailed, rolling 30-day analysis of completed and canceled flights. GEE’s solution will enhance this offering by adding current analysis tools of all U.S. flight operations.
OK, AS9100 Certification may not seem like a big deal to you (and we had to look it up) but it turns out that in aviation, quality management is a very big deal… with every airplane part! So, you might ask, what can be so difficult about setting up a Quality Assurance program? Plenty, in fact we counted well over 200 action items, systems, documents, records, developments, implements and more actions need to complete the certification. In fact, if you want to finally see what all this “quality” certification means, check out this “easy” outline of the cert actions
Notes IFPL: “IFPL are delighted to have achieved certification to AS9100C. This is a key stage in the develop- ment of IFPL and demonstrates that our Management Systems are mature and robust. IFPL recognizes that compliance with quality accreditations forms the foundations of their business success. Quality is in the DNA of the company culture, engaging employees to continually improve systems and products to benefit our customer satisfaction.
IFPL’s facility is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of the UK. The leadership team at IFPL ensures that the management system activities are carried out in accordance with the Quality Management System, the European Aviation Safety Agency requirements of EASA Part 21G and the newly awarded International Aerospace Standard AS9100C.”
They went on to say, “Quality, reliability, and safety are critical values for the aerospace industry. The BSI only award the certificate once their rigorous and stringent criteria has been met. Both of these certifications high- light IFPL’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the increasingly stringent industry requirements for aerospace related products and assures our manufacturing processes consistently meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of customers presenting the most challenging of applications.” And, in case you didn’t know, CEO Geoff Underwood founded IFPL almost 20 years ago and it has the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. They are proud to supply the world’s leading inline manufacturers and airlines, who have come to rely on them to provide inspiration to the enhancement of their passengers’ experience; delivered through their innovative product design and proven reputation for reliability. For more information on the IFPL products check out the following link: IFPL – Connecting Your Passengers
1. 2Ku is now up and flying across three airline partners – Aeromexico, Delta and Virgin Atlantic
2. 2Ku is installed on about a dozen aircraft
3. Gogo has now received six STCs to install the technology on various aircraft types
4. By the end of 2016 Gogo expects to have 75-100 2Ku installations. For 2017 that number increases to 350-450 and in 2018 increases again to 500-700 install.
5.Gogo was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its feet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17.
6. Want see something cool? Watch this Gogo 2Ku hardware installation on a GOL B737-800 – Gogo Inflight Internet Video: Behind the scenes with the first Gogo 2Ku installation on GOL – Gogo Concourse
At the end of June, Inmarsat has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as line-fit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe. Here is a link for more information – GX Aviation certified for Airbus A320 aircraft – Inmarsat
OTHER (somewhat related) NEWS
1. We have to thank Bill Baltra for this one. Have you heard about ModoBag. Yep, you ride your bag now, and if you don’t believe it, check out this video – Modobag: World’s First Motorized, Rideable Luggage! – YouTube We contacted them but there was no response. you be the judge of their product if it achieves acceptability; besides, it might not look too cool in a skirt! Cruise the airport on top of a piece of motorized luggage
2. This may explain today’s aircraft Wi-Fi usage: Major study links low internet usage to slow broadband – BBC News
3. IFExpress recently asked Rich Salter (Engineering Consultant) about issues involved with security and IFEC and he had 3 points for your consideration:
a. There is an ARINC group addressing onboard cyber-security, and see the presentation made by Boeing’s Derek Schatz at a recent ARINC CSS meeting.
b. Panasonic has begun a partnership with hackers: Continuing what its Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer Michael Dierickx called a proactive approach to security, Panasonic Avionics Corporation developed a bug bounty program through HackerOne. The program is aimed at bolstering security of Panasonic’s inflight entertainment systems.
While the announcement coincided with the start of the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, the company will kick off the bug bounty program at the DefCon Conference later this week and will extend an invitation to participate to what Dierickx referred to as a select group of hackers.”We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services,” Dierickx said in a release. “Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues.” (Editor’s Note: More on this next week.)
c. And we had an FAA man present on security at the last Tech Conference.
Finally, We should mention what the feds say about aviation security – this may be VERY timely: Securing the NextGen aviation network
4. If you are Traveling to the US, you might have to cough up your online presence! – Traveling to US? Agencies want to Spy on your Social Media activities right from Airport and Attention US-bound tourists: Social media accounts subject to inspection
5. SpeedNews reports: INMARSAT conducted survey that found 92% of airline pax would like to access onboard connectivity; 54% over inflight meals.
6. See if you are getting old by analyzing your travel messaging:
What is the impact of text and messaging apps on travel? | Hotel Management
7. Go ahead, spend the money on a good set of headphones: On airplanes, good headphones make good neighbors – Elliott
And lastly, we want to tell you about a publication that we think is really useful and incredibly data rich – it’s called Airline Weekly and it is delivered by the internet each Monday. The Weekly is usually 12 pages long and covers airline/airport happenings worldwide. The Weekly is a subscriber-supported publication, paid for by readers who want a more interesting, more valuable read about the airline business. Each Monday, Airline Weekly reports who’s flying where, new marketing approaches, fleet, finance and key airline and airport data. And most importantly, Airline Weekly readers will enjoy insightful analysis and new ideas found nowhere else. For example, the weekly sections include: Weekly News Review, Fleet Info, Finance, Marketing, Airports, Environment, Routes & Networks, and Around the World. If you want worldwide airline info, this publication is the one… and, they will give you a few free publications for your evaluation. Get it! Airline Weekly – Shouldn’t a publication about an interesting industry be, well, interesting?
Also, you might want to check out their weekly podcast. It is a great weekly update.
- Further recognition of our Quality Management System
Isle of Wight, UK | August 8, 2016– IFPL are delighted to have achieved certification to AS9100C. This is a key stage in the develop- ment of IFPL and demonstrates that our Management Systems are mature and robust.
IFPL recognises that compliance with quality accreditations forms the foundations of their business success. Quality is in the DNA of the company culture, engaging employees to continually improve systems and products to benefit our customer satisfaction.
IFPL’s facility is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of the UK. The leadership team at IFPL ensures that the management system activities are carried out in accordance with the Quality Management System, the European Aviation Safety Agency requirements of EASA Part 21G and the newly awarded International Aerospace Standard AS9100C.
Quality, reliability, and safety are critical values for the aerospace industry. The BSI only award the certificate once their rigorous and stringent criteria has been met. Both of these certifications high- light IFPL’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the increasingly stringent industry requirements for aerospace related products and assures our manufacturing processes consistently meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of customers presenting the most challenging of applications.
IFPL’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Young commented, “Our AS9100 registration complements our EASA certification enabling aerospace OEM’s to engage with IFPL as a strategic partner in their safety critical supply chains, based not just on the proven performance of our products but on our commitment to managing delivered quality to the highest standards”.
“The entire team at IFPL was committed to seeing this standard met and certification achieved” said Mike Woodward, Quality Manager. “I am proud of how we all came together as a company and not only embraced the standard, but also fully committed to maintaining it for years to come”.
- Enabling high value transactions and increased revenues for airlines
Isle of Wight | June 1, 2016– IFPL, is an award winning company specialising in the design and manufacture of passenger inter- face solutions to the global In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) industry, has an- nounced an exciting new extension to their range of easy-to-use contactless NFC payment and personalisation solutions.
IFPL’s Director of Business Development for North America, Mark Reed, announced IFPL’s new seatback NFC contactless payment system with on-screen PIN entry for in-flight cashless purchas- es at AIX Hamburg 2016.
This is a step change for NFC contactless payments, as the new on-screen PIN entry allows high value PCI EMVCo approved payments for off-line, unattended transactions. This feature allows air- lines to significantly grow their at-seat inflight retail and ancillary revenues by including high value items with the knowledge that their payments (as the merchant of record) are covered against fraudulent transactions. Traditionally, NFC contactless payment has been used for low value trans- actions only.
IFPL designed the NFC Payment Terminal to address the complex and highly regulated problem of providing onboard, off-line and unattended Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant NFC payments at the passenger’s seat.
As liability for fraudulent transactions (using magnetic strip cards) moves away from the issuer of the card (i.e., the financial institution) and onto the merchant of record (i.e., the airline) for card present transactions, NFC is now the standard that financial institutions support for accepting lia- bility for low value payments. In addition, NFC is the recognised standard for close proximity communication for Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) and NFC enabled loyalty cards.
In addition to payment, IFPL’s NFC unit provides Bi-Directional communication allowing the airline IFE system to know who is in the seat, delivering the opportunity for airlines to significantly personalise the onboard experience and customer service, delivering brand loyalty and resulting in increased revenues. With this knowledge the IFEC system can then direct content, service and promotions to meet the individual customer profile; providing passengers with a personalised info- tainment and onboard retail experience and, in turn, delivering a higher sales conversion and IFEC services, based on known personal preferences.
Aircraft Interiors (AIX and PEC) is now the biggest show in IFEC each year. It got that way because there was a need for a centralized European and Middle East source of information, communication, demonstration and celebration of the IFEC experience, as well as, being located at the same venue for over ten years. With over 530 exhibitors this year, there was a wealth of innovative products and services on display last week in Hamburg Germany. IFExpress was told that over 16,000 visitors attended the event (Entrance is free – good idea.), and of course, we covered as many booths that we thought our readers might find both interesting and useful, and that caught our fancy. Obviously, it will take a few weeks to get the story of our visits out so stay tuned on that front. Pictures will be on the website soon so keep watch there as well.
In case you did not go, there are a couple things about the show you should know. First, the expo consists of two parts – the first day (Monday) is comprised of a Passenger Experience Conference. It is a one-day inflight data extravaganza and covers almost every facet of the inflight experience with lectures, small meeting/discussion forums, and culminates in a useful food and beverage entertainment party. The next 3 days are dedicated to the exhibition show with over 530 exhibitors.
Second, there are the Crystal Cabin Awards, below are a few of the winners:
Cabin Systems class – B/E Aerospace
Electronic Systems – Lufthansa Systems
Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment – Boeing
Visionary Concepts – Zodiac Aerospace … and more. You can find the complete winners list here
Like last year, there was an IFEC Zone comprised of three of the total AIX zones and an App to help sort it out. The IFE Zone had 102 exhibitors and grew by 31% over 2015. The App is designed to enhance your experience before, during and after the show, by putting the following features and information at your fingertips:
• 3D Floor plan with routeplanner features information about walking distances between the halls
• Find exhibitors by category to view profiles and to add to your list of favorites
• View the exhibitor’s products
• View the full four-day event program and speaker listings
• Take a look at the features that are at the exhibition including Wi-Fi areas
• General and venue information to help plan your journey
• My Event – perfect for storing your favorite exhibitors and sessions
• Guide to Hamburg to help see what Hamburg has to offer including hotels, restaurants and in case you have time local attractions
• And yes, you could take a selfie with their personalized background
In summary then, the AIX folks note the following show statistics and info: “16,000 industry executives are estimated to have attended Passenger Experience Week, from 5th – 7th April, whilst the number of VIP airline attendees rose by 14% – many of whom were senior executives from more than 180 airlines located in 26 markets across the globe. There were more than 530 exhibitors at this year’s AIX –– with 145 companies exhibiting for the first time. AIX was preceded by the Passenger Experience Conference, which saw more than 50 speakers from across the passenger experience industry sharing insights with some 400 delegates from airlines, suppliers, designers and the media.”
PASSENGER EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE:
The folks at AIX note: Defining the future of the passenger experience industry, the Passenger Experience Conference is the leading global conference and networking forum delivering content, driving innovation and developing connections to transform your business. Check out the program and speakers here
One of the best part of the flying future is the potential for onboard purchases, as many speakers at the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) meeting on Monday stated. One presenter noted that the folks at GuestLogix pegged onboard sales in 2014 around $1.8B worldwide. Beverages were 58% of the total, food was 38.2%, while “Passenger Comfort” was given at 3.8%. The interesting part was the growth – 11% per year! Part of this is attributable to the airlines reduction of free items; however, this kind of growth is indicative of a couple things. First, passengers have money to purchase items, that is proof of the growth rate, but further, as an area of purchasing potential, the cabin is ripe. Thus, there is a growing market for providing a way to purchase more on the plane is an obvious potential. We should also mention that Visa and MasterCard also exhibited 10 and 13.6 % growth, respectively, in the same period. Further, off-line limits are in the $100 to $200 range, while on-line sales via the credit card world has no limits. The authentication process is delivering real-time proof-of-ownership status with the bank that issues the card (and a real-time Lost/Stolen card status as well). Obviously, connectivity and credit card sales onboard have a future on aircraft and folks like IFPL are prepping the technology for that eventuality.
APEX & GOOGLE ANNOUNCEMENT:
One of the early show surprises was the involvement of Google with IFEC and we can thank Joe Leader of APEX for their inclusion. By using their world class data aggregation and knowledge data base capability, the folks at Google see a connection to this business in the pre-flight, in-flight, and the post-flight regimes by helping to extend the engagement window and shortening the rebooking cycle. In flight, they see the capacity of helping the connected passenger to experience a better, personalized experience, and finally, enabling ancillary revenue growth for products and post flight services. Google has a part in the future of air travel… they think so and so does APEX.
On the same note, Joe Leader of APEX, see’s a world of data assisted passenger experiences and kicked off their announcement of an Official Airline Rating program. Beginning with seats and product catalogs, the APEX view talks about high effectiveness and high airline control over the eventual personalization of the travel experience and the resulting “differentiated” airline in the evolution process. Of course, the issue is data and while passengers (74% on average) are comfortable using technology when they travel, there is a plethora of apps available, fewer are really used. He noted that an average of 80 are device installed, only 25% are seemingly used for the travel process. While the numbers may be higher than you or I use, the issue is one of data obfuscation – too many apps, and a better way to use them is needed. In the next few years as Joe noted, there will need to be an interoperability between apps, Facebook, and Google. There also needs to be a friendlier branding eco-structure in the ticket process… and thus there needs to be a neutral party to pull the process together. In essence, he sees a future airline rating system that can know and confirm validity for all airlines (Tall order!). Next, it has to be useful to passengers beyond travel and since there are over 10 million active users, this tool has value. Further, the tool that Joe is proposing has to correctly use feedback and exhibit some neutral bias such as a non-profit position because it has to provide non-conflicting results to the airlines. Thus, he proposed OfficialAirlineRatings (TM) (patent pending), which will be validated flight ratings for worldwide airlines by the passengers… this is a global project. He expects the data service to begin this summer and time will tell if airlines will get in bed with this passenger response driven system.
From a data point of view, APEX plans to analyze subjective data from passengers, use objective data captured from actual sources like seat measurements and IFE capability and availability. We expect APEX to calibrate and review the data and sources by flying the airline noted routes (hopefully announced), and provide raw data and awards as the final output for the effort. Make no mistake, this is no easy challenge because the airline involvement is key and we will wait to see if APEX can corral the airlines into this program – lofty goal, hard to do in practice. IFExpress wishes APEX the best on this program because it establishes a common goal for measurement but historically, this has been hard to achieve.
AIX NEWS HEADLINES:
- AIRBUS’ launch customer for the Airspace by Airbus cabin is TAP Portugal’s 14 A330-900neos. The new Airspace by Airbus has a LED mood lighting system, larger overhead bins, new lavatories, a new welcome area and the latest innovations in IFE and connectivity.
- SINGAPORE AIRLINES selected STELIA AEROSPACE, to design and manufacture their new business class seats.
- ROCKWELL COLLINS and THALES were selected by Airbus to supply high-bandwidth connectivity (HBC) solution for A320s, A330s and A380s; companies will collaborate with Airbus to develop and deploy line-fit and retrofit systems.
- Hainan Airlines selected THALES to supply Android-based AVANT IFE for its new A330s. Deliveries start in the second half of 2017.
- PANASONIC AVIONICS eXO overhead IFE system was selected by Saudi Arabian Airlines for 30 A320s currently on order.
- STG AEROSPACE launched new saf-Tglo blu photoluminescent floor path system that uses a cool blue glow instead of the traditional green glow, and liTeMood LED a newplug-and-play replacement for incandescent reading lights on the 737NGs. They also secured Design Organisation Approval (DOA) from EASA. Additionally, STG Aerospace expands its emergency and informational cabin signage product range with Malaysia Airlines. Lastly, Eastern Airlines improves passenger experience by installing STG Aerospace’s LED mood lighting system.
Summit selected TELEFONIX PDT to secure STC for its IFEC hardware for 737-700/800/900ER.
- HAMBURG AVIATION presented 2016 Crystal Cabin Awards to B/E AEROSPACE (Cabin Systems), BOEING (Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment), ETIHAD(Cabin Concepts), LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS (Electronic Systems), REBEL.AERO (Passenger Comfort Hardware), SEKISUI SPI (Material and Components), TU DELFT (University) and ZODIAC(Visionary Concepts).
- AFI KLM E&M received an EASA STC to install ROCKWELL COLLINS PAVES PSS on A330.
- ROCKWELL COLLINS announced a new virtual training simulator for maintenance and operation of its seat-centric PAVES and overhead IFE systems. Rockwell Collins was also selected by AIR ASTANA to provide onboard broadband connectivity
- GORE unveiled HDMI 2.0 cables to provide higher video resolution for IFE systems.
- GOGO released: From the Ground Up: How the Internet of Things will Give Rise to Connected Aviation, which was created to spark an industry wide conversation about how the Internet of Things will reshape aviation. Free Also, GOGO partnered with Airbus Corporate Jet Centre to install 2Ku technology on new A350 aircraft. Delta Air Lines will take delivery of 2Ku-equipped A350s in 2017.
- FOKKER SERVICES displayed iShade dimmable technology integrated into its new panoramic window at AIX.
- INMARSAT to enhance airline passenger broadband offering with roadmap for aviation capacity growth. Global Xpress will serve as the foundation of an integrated global network that can be shaped to fit any airline route system and built upon to meet future demand.
- INFLIGHT DUBLIN strikes worldwide IFE agreement with Sony Music.
- DMD (Dawson Media Direct) welcomes digital media expert Andrew Wiltshire to head Digiredoo their digital newspaper and magazine delivery service to airlines independent airport lounges and major rail operators across the world.
- MEZZOGLOBAL launched low cost wireless In-Flight Passenger Entertainment App for Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD).
- PANASONIC AVIONICS is first to offer NFC Technology with multiple aircraft OEMs.
- ASTRONICS CORPORATION awarded Emergency Lighting and Passenger Service Unites (PSU) contract for the Embraer E2 program.
- SITA released that Australia Border Exit Checks are now powered by SITA’s advanced technology. Automatic advance security checks now being run on all passengers exiting Australia.
Lastly, we apologize to those folks we missed at AIX. We tried but it has finally come down to time versus the number of IFEC displays and presentations. If you have something you want to say, send it to us and we will get your message out… we hope!
(Editor’s Note: Looking for an innovative company in the IFEC space? Try IFPL – InFlight Peripherals. The Queen-awarded product offerings are the result of CEO Geoff Underwood (front row, 2nd from the left) and his team’s interface product creativity and ingenuity. IFExpress wanted to let our readers see them in front of their offices on the Isle of Wight!)
One of the biggest issues when traveling on an airplane is interfacing with it. By that we mean, controlling or interfacing with the devices and power that entertains and provides power for travelers on a plane – like NFC payment interface devices that allow us to buy goods or services or USB connections that provide entertainment, data, or power. If you ever wondered who makes the interface hardware, look no further that this Hot Topic as we want to introduce you to InFlight Peripherals Limited, or IFPL, as they are know by most. The Queens Award winning company (three times to be exact) and their website (ifpl.com) says it all, but we wanted to dig a little deeper into Geoff Underwood’s company, so we contacted them and asked then to enlighten our readers about a few of their primary products: specifically NFC Payment Capability, the Reversible USB Plug, new USB 3.0 Data and Power Plug, and their new Dual Breakaway/Triple Breakaway Audio Jacks.
Before we get into the technology, a little about the company: IFPL is a Queens Award winning international product development company based on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. They specialize in tailored engineering solutions for the Global Inflight Entertainment (IFE) Industry. The company was founded by Managing Director Geoff Underwood in 1996 and Initial production took place in Geoff’s garage at home, before progressing to a modern design and production facility in Newport on Isle of Wight. In the summer 2011 IFPL relocated five miles west to larger offices in Calbourne where 53 staff are now employed. IFPL first introduced its Long Life Audio Jack in 1999. This reliable jack has been tested to 100,000 headset insertions. From this beginning, the company now boasts a range of over 35 innovative passenger interface products including IFPL’s Rapid Fit range of quick change audio jacks, as well as Passenger Control Units (PCUs), USB, Ethernet, and INCAM noise cancellation headset connectors. In recent years the company has diversified into the design and manufacture of multimedia docking stations and video deployment arms. customer requirements. We should also note the range of their products and they include: Contactless Retail Systems, Breakaway Jack, USB Reversible Jacks, USB Power Jacks, Self Testing Audio Jacks, a Microphone Compatible Jack, Stacking PCU’s, Audio Jacks, Passenger Call Units, Remote Power Outlets, and other products for aircraft and rail markets. We asked CEO Geoff Underwood to tell us a little about their company and their products and he sent the following:
“IFPL is rightly proud to supply some of the world’s leading IFEC manufacturers and airlines who have come to rely on us to provide inspiration to the enhancement of their passenger experience. This has been achieved by our proven reputation for reliability and innovative product design. After recently supplying our one-millionth product to Panasonic, we look forward to a 2016 full of exciting product developments within the IFE industry.”
1. NFC Payment Terminal
“The total value of Near Field Communication (NFC) payments in the US is expected to *grow by 210% in 2016. The IFE industry is not exempt from this growing trend with the possibility of IFE NFC integration. IFPL’s payment terminal facilitates this demand enabling passengers to purchase items from compatible devices and cards without the presence of cabin crew. This enhances airline passenger’s personalization and convenience and enables the passenger to shop, order and pay at their own convenience. Not only does the terminal support contactless bankcards, Apple Pay and mobile wallets, it enables other data to be transferred to enable personalization through Personal Electronic Devices (PED) applications and NFC enabled loyalty cards. From a design viewpoint, our payment terminals contain no mechanical moving parts and use durable and cost effective materials to provide a lifetime of use. IFPL is currently in detailed negotiations with a leading IFEC supplier, so expect this product to be on your flight soon.”
He went on: “The company recognized over three years ago the need to make payment onboard simple and straight forward and launched our CRS concept. This concept showed how simple payment on board could be using NFC. In addition, we recognized that the payment industry requirements would change in 2015, moving away from the traditional magnetic strip to NFC or Chip and Pin. IFPL identified that NFC could be used for both payment and transmitting other small amounts of data which could be used to confirm the person in the seat and personalize the IFEC experience. IFPL has worked with Thales to bring this technology onboard. Both the airlines and IFEC vendors see the advantage of making payment simple and personalizing the IFE as well as maximizing the retail experience.”
2. Reversible USB-A1337
“IFPL’s latest reversible USB leverages itself off our successful 1281 USB jack. It provides a single unit integrating both power and data, ensuring passengers can charge their Personal Electronic Devices (PED) at ease. Feedback from airlines suggested that there was a tendency for Customer Induced damage (CID) in standard USB ports. IFPL has addressed this issue by enabling passengers to insert their USB plug either way around. This has created a robust and reliable USB solution to CID while enhancing passenger experience. It boasts a reliability of 10 times the industry standard and has been tested to 60,000 cycles enabling airlines to achieve significant long-term savings. Furthermore, both the light guide color and decal print are customizable to support airline branding and cabin aesthetics.
With the proliferation of PED’s, limited battery life and the ability for PED’s to become a second screen, IFPL recognized passengers need to charge their PED (up to 2.0A and 5V) and for the PED to be able to interface with the IFE system. IFPL have worked with both airlines and IFE companies to make this available.
In addition IFPL recognized that CID and reliability is a key design weakness of a traditional USB A socket, which may typically only provide 6,000 insertions/extractions before failure. In addition, as the passenger can only place their plug in one way it can cause the passenger to apply excess force in frustration and break their USB plug or the IFE systems USB socket resulting in high CID. IFPL’s bi-directional insertion and clever design eliminates the problem of CID and massively improves availability.”
3. USB 3.0 1342 – Delivering data and power to a new standard
An exciting new development at IFPL is our latest addition to the USB unit family.
At IFPL, we appreciate the importance of PEDs in today’s IFE environment and feel it’s vital to allow passengers to stay connected to their devices. With more demanding PED’s being used in flight year-on-year, higher transfer speeds are required to meet viewing demands. IFPL’s USB 3.0 provides a solution to this and coincides with IFPL’s commitment to innovation. It boasts transfer speeds of up to 5Gbits/s, 10 times faster than products centralized around the USB 2.0. This allows passengers to continue viewing media from their devices at ease while simultaneously charging them.
As well as supporting high PED power USB 3.0, IFPL offers a step change for data via a USB port as it supports up to 5Gbits/s enough to stream data to or from and IFE system using an attached device.
4. New Dual Breakaway and Triple Breakaway
“New are IFPL’s Dual and Triple Breakaway solution which addresses the issue of broken jacks, including: Containing *MagSignal technology which virtually eliminates customer induced damage, commercially attractive cost neutral solution for both the headset and the jack and two Long Life™ jacks, enabling the use of single or dual IFE headsets.”
In closing David Thomas, Business Development told IFExpress: “IFPL has recently supplied its one-millionth part to Panasonic and is expecting to deliver its two millionth product to the industry towards the end of Q1 2016.”
If you need more information on any IFPL product please call David at: + 44 (0) 1983 555900 or he can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Also, please note that IFPL will be exhibiting at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, 5-7 April 2016 at stand 2C40. For further information on the featured products or more of their industry leading solutions, please contact:
IFExpress would like to thank Geoff Underwood and Jason Davies for their help in developing this Hot Topic. We now see why the company is so successful – Thank You!
- PANASONIC AVIONICS was selected by Air Europa to provide eXConnect onboard Wi- Fi connectivity for retrofit on two A330-200s and one A330-300, plus its new 787s. The installation of Wi-Fi service on-board Air Europa aircraft, that aims to improve in-flight entertainment, ensuring a great comfort and amenities; is a new step in the modernization that the airline is immersed in and that aims to establish itself as one of the best and most modern airlines in the world.
- Gogo announced today that it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. This is the largest announced in-flight connectivity deal in China and the first airline deal for Gogo in China. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Beijing Shareco Technologies Co., Ltd. is a leader at providing in-flight entertainment and connectivity related services to Chinese and international commercial airlines. Gogo and Shareco will work together on necessary regulatory approvals to install the technology on these aircraft. The goal is to install all 50 aircraftwithin two years following execution of a definitive agreement. Shareco is a high-tech company dedicated to building an ecosystem in the cabin that will create unique in-flight experiences which will benefit both airlines and passengers,” said Pan Yunbin, CEO of Shareco. “We have been looking for great partners to find the best that can customize in-flight connectivity and in-flight entertainment solutions, as well as other things the passengers may be interested in. We believe that Gogo, as a pioneer in this field, is one of the best at providing these services.”
- Philippine Airlines (PAL) has launched a freemium Wi-Fi service for all passengers as part of its 75th anniversary celebration. PAL is using SITAONAIR’s Internet Onair technology to deliver the service, rebranded as myPAL Wi-Fi. Jaime J. Bautista, PAL president and COO said: “This myPAL Wi-fi freemium offering is a key part of our commitment to give the best possible service to our passengers. With 30 minutes each across all travel classes, this is the APAC region’s best free inflight internet offering, at least doubling almost every other airline.” The airline launched the freemium service to passengers on the first of March and this offering will continue to run for one year. The airline has 21 aircraft equipped with connectivity, including six B777-300ER and 15 A330-300s.
- You had better be aware that the IoAT (Internet of Aircraft Things) is real and that data requirements from new engines alone will boggle your mind – check out this article.
Isle of Wight, UK | January 4, 2016– November 5th 2015 marked a major milestone for leading IFEC provider IFPL who provided their one-millionth part to Panasonic Avionics.
The landmark was celebrated in a meeting at IFPL’s offices and manufacturing facility on the Isle of Wight in the UK, where Mr.Mark Jennings and Mr.Teruki Hisakawa of Panasonic were presented with the one- millionth part in a presentation case by IFPL Founder and Managing Director Geoff Underwood.
The landmark part is an IFPL Integrated Jack Unit (IJU) designed and built in collaboration with Panasonic for integration into their eXLite IFE Eco 9 Monitor, Geoff comments: “This is a significant milestone for us at IFPL, reaffirming our relationship and reflecting Panasonics commitment to provide world-class IFEC solutions to the world’s airlines.”
IFPL’s relationship with Panasonic started in 2004 with this latest milestone confirming the solid and trusted professional relationship developed between Panasonic and IFPL, something that has built over these years to now see IFPL attain a Strategic Partner relationship with Panasonic Avionics.
The Integrated Jack Unit (IJU) is amongst an extensive range of products and IFEC solutions available from IFPL which also includes their new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagJack and the latest in Contactless Payment technology.
Meet Joe Leader, new Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Chief Executive Officer. IFExpress asked the very busy Joe Leader to answer a couple questions about the future of technology and APEX, and he was kind enough to scribe his response while on a recent flight. Here is what he had to say:
IFExpress: Please give our readers your feelings about the importance of technology for future cabin upgrades in entertainment and communications. Any examples?
Leader: Future cabin upgrades in entertainment and communications will center upon automation and individualized personalization. Airlines have an incredible wealth of data about their customers to provide more individualized service. In-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions provide an amazing opportunity to further enhance passenger experience while boosting airline ancillary revenue. Google recently publicly presented an IFE mock-up. Their philosophy is one of answer, anticipate, and enable. That aligns perfectly with my philosophy of enhancing passenger experience via individual passenger preferences. Delta also unveiled their hand-held solution for flight attendants that shows all key information about every passenger. Advances will allow passengers to be remembered so that any charges for Wi-Fi, their favorite drinks, and food.
IFExpress: At this time, how do you see APEX as a ‘positive force’ in affecting the improvements you noted above?
Leader: APEX has been a steadfast airline passenger experienced focused association for nearly 40-years, but we need to shift gears to a thought-leadership organization that quickens the industry. I have listened to airlines, suppliers, service companies, and studios starved for common standards in our areas of responsibility. We will provide them as APEX bears the highest responsibility to advance these causes. Standards hasten industry adoption of new products. Taking proactive interaction now will make certain that in-flight entertainment does not become the Android Auto versus Apple CarPlay type competitive environment. I should not have to check device compatibility when I purchase my car or airline seat. Airline passengers should be able to leverage any smart phone and smart device with their airline of choice in the future. APEX holds an educational responsibility to enlighten our airlines on how to maximize ancillary revenue in a connected world that places the highest value on insights and returns. Finally, APEX should serve as an educational force for its supplier members so that their steps are more surefooted as they advance.
IFExpress: Portland, Oregon APEX is near, is there a message you have for the attendees?
Leader: We are entering an incredible age renaissance in passenger experience. My fellow CEO at A4A recently highlighted that airlines are spending half of their profits on enhancing passenger experience. APEX will provide the education and technological bridge to more quickly advance our $10 billion a year upgrade industry alongside the billions more in new aircraft passenger experience purchases. With more than 3500 attendees for APEX EXPO, there is no better venue in the world for advancement. We only allow members into EXPO that have been fully vetted. It stands as an appointment-driven show focused upon results. As our industry flies forward, APEX will serve as a beacon to maximize return on investment for all of our members and airlines.
Lastly, we strongly encourage our readers to introduce themselves to Joe at the APEX Conference in Portland – we think you are going to like him. We also note that the world of inflight entertainment is changing, as he eloquently notes in his short interview. Undoubtedly, we think it is going to be a real interesting challenge to develop entertainment and connectivity solutions when today’s passenger brings a big part of the technical connectivity solution onto the plane. APEX may have just gotten it right – the industry will need a new ‘Leader” to adapt to the new environment.
1. Carlisle – On the heels of the Paris Air Show in June, the launch of the FlightGear Ka/Ku Universal Installation has generated a flood of interest from OEMs, connectivity providers and airlines alike. Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT) has partnered with Saint Gobain Performance Plastics to design and engineer an industry first and is proud to present the only end-to-end ARINC 791 solution for Ka-, Ku-, and Tri-band SATCOM installations. Its installation made simple; by providing a platform-independent and system-agnostic ARINC 791 solution, CarlisleIT and Saint Gobain are helping airlines and system providers improve their speed-to-market and deliver enhanced next generation SATCOM connectivity to today’s airline passengers. This robust and versatile package contains all of the components required for either retrofit or forward-fit installations on large or regional jet aircraft. Installation fittings are adjustable to cover the complete range of aircraft frame spacings while optimizing the interface loads to the fuselage.
A variety of available radomes tuned to Ka-, Ku-, or Tri-band frequencies fit interchangeably on the same adapter plate. Adapter plates customized to use existing radomes fit interchangeably on the same fuselage structural fittings. Aerodynamic fairings follow the fuselage curvature for each aircraft model without requiring large installation doublers, sealants, or excessive modifications to the aircraft skin. The design creates easier maintenance inspections, longer inspection intervals and lower long-term cost of ownership. Conformance to the ARINC 791 standard also helps future-proof the installation and makes upgrading to next generation multi-axis or low profile antennas easier and faster with commonality of key components across entire fleets.
CarlisleIT’s booth at the APEX Expo at the Oregon Convention Center (September 29-October 1) will feature a flight ready display of the Ka/Ku Universal Installation. Visitors to the booth will have the unique opportunity to discuss system options and sketch customizations on an adapter plate with a team of technical experts. Let’s un-complicate things. Visit Booth 1405 at APEX Expo and let CarlisleIT help you do just that.
2. APEX – APEX sent us a list of Opening day speakers (Sept. 28) and they include new APEX leader – Joe Leader, Sandy Stelling – Managing Director Customer R & D, Alaska Airlines, Werner Lieberherr – CEO, B/E Aerospace, Rainer von Borstel – CEO, Diehl Aerosystems, Devin Liddel – Principal Brand Strategist, TEAGUE, Rajan Datar – Presenter, BBC World News.
3. IFPL – In Portland, you might also want to see the following at IFPL’s booth 1408: “Cost and reliability have been a main focus in our new Breakaway jacks series which delivers a revolutionary cost neutral solution for both the jack and the headset, whilst providing high availability as it leverages our proven and popular Long Life audio jacks plus our new MagSignal technology which prevents broken headsets and jacks with our MagSignal connector. The module is fully compatible with existing headset connector types and our Long Life jack is tested to over 100,000 insertions.” We didn’t know: “Research shows that up to 10% of headsets coming off long-haul flights are not re-usable due to damage, which often results with broken pins left in the sockets rendering the IFE experience useless.” Check it out.
4. Pre-show, and while you are online, check out the New York Times bit about Portland sent to us by a fan. We note the video in the link and it should give our readers a rough idea what Portland is all about. As one speaker noted: “Portland is real serious about being casual.” Check it out!
Lufthansa Systems presents new Lido/eRouteManual product release – A mobile updater will allow wireless data updates to mobile devices, enabling pilots to update their Lido/eRouteManual digital navigation charts anytime, anywhere. This feature is part of the new product release which Lufthansa Systems unveiled at the annual Lido/Navigation User Conference in Zurich. Various Lido navigation solutions are in service worldwide with approximately 100 airlines, around 50 of whom have sent one or more delegates to this year’s conference. The new mobile updater represents a further, significant simplification for using the digital chart solution on mobile devices.
STG Aerospace has secured a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for its liTeMood Light-Emitting Diode (LED) cabin lighting system on the B737NG.
If you are wondering how Airbus will assemble A320’s in Alabama, watch this movie.
Worried about Internet security on the go? Check out Invisibox. Stay secure online on the go. The device is a “sponsored Kickstarter campaign” and will be available starting Feb. 2016 for backers. It features masked Tor traffic, GeoIP, exploit vulnerabilities cancellation, unique device passwords, add blocking, and a free VPN. It also will charge your phone – get in line, it’s about the size of your phone.
“The Martian’ is one of the year’s best movies. Told you so!
A special IFExpress Adios to Ken Lew (UAL, SONY, Rockwell, Boeing, Thales) who retired recently and who will probably be on his way to a European vacation when you read this. Ken wanted to say goodbye to his friends in the IFEC business at APEX but will not return till after the event has finished. Or, wish him the best yourself via email – email@example.com, and you might like read this ‘Olympic Tale’ from his IFE history.
At AIX we had an interesting discussion about NFC and while at the IFPL booth, the IFExpress team got an education. Geoff Underwood, the CEO, spent time on the subject and if you are lacking a bit of understanding in the “world of cashless retail,” you are not alone. IFPL has a huge background in the world of cashless inflight purchasing and has developed a massive block of related technology and “…are really the experts on it in the IFE industry,” he noted. To try to clear up a bit of the “cashless” quagmire, we asked Geoff to paint a better picture of the technology:
“Modern credit cards support three technologies: Magnetic Swipe, Chip & Pin, and Contactless (NFC). Many cards in the US still have just the Magnetic Swipe but that technology is being phased out starting in Oct 2015. In every country that uses Chip and Pin or Contactless technology, they saw a 95% reduction in credit card fraud immediately when they changed to Chip and Pin. It is already in use in almost every country outside the US. The user slides the card into a very secure reader, and enters a security (PIN) code to validate the payment. But, due to the high levels of security required, the hardware cost of Chip and Pin is considered to be prohibitively high for most IFE applications.
The Contactless solution (note the radiation lines logo) or “Tap and Pay” solution is the one that will most probably be adopted in future IFE systems, because the hardware costs are much lower. To buy a product, all the customer has to do is touch the reader with their credit card, and the payment transaction takes place wirelessly, with no PIN or signature. At the moment contactless payments are limited to low value purchases (about $20 per transaction plus a daily cap), so it is inherently secure. The $20 limit meets the needs of most purchases on board, such as movies, drinks etc., and you will need a payment server, a suitable App on the IFE system, and the IFPL contactless reader connected via USB, noted Geoff. With the IFPL reader customers will have the opportunity to use a ‘Mobile Wallet’ to make their payment. Many phones are NFC enabled (such as the Apple Pay system), so they can just tap the reader with their phone and make the payment that way.”
In the future, the $20 limit will be eliminated by the use of mobile wallets and live connectivity to the ground. However, these higher value purchases will require PIN entry to authorize the payment. A mobile wallet makes this easy because the mobile phone user can enter the PIN during the transaction. We also should note that all of these technologies are available to the flight crew today for inflight purchasing with handheld devices, but we are talking about inseat installations here.
IFPL has developed a fully wireless contactless payment system for airlines that do not have an IFE system, and has recently developed a USB-powered contactless reader for Thales that communicates transaction data to the payment server over a wired network. Noted Geoff: “Both Apple Pay and Google Wallet are compatible with the IFPL solution as well, which makes NFC the future cashless solution of choice!”
A few other neat solutions we saw at the IFPL booth should also be mentioned. Our cover shot shows a standard, but illuminated, USB 2.0 receptacle. Not only does the light help find the socket itself, it accepts plugs reversibly (either side up works) which solves the problem of trying to get the plug the right way up. And if there is a plug/socket interface problem or short, the light changes from white to red. “We’ve seen a few copies already. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but we’re confident they’ve all missed out on the ‘secret sauce’,” noted Mr. Underwood, with a smile…
Lastly, we also saw the first miniature USB 3 “C” jack which is a big future trend and it would not surprise us if this jack eventually provides a replacement for installed USB 2.0 systems, as the USB 3 “C” jacks can easily cope with iPad charging amperage.
As an introduction, Telefonix is a design, manufacturing and management company with a history of more than 25 years of innovation in this industry. We’ve heard a lot of buzz over the last year about their partnership with PDT, a product design and development firm, and most recently about their launch of the Summit IFEC product platform. We talked to them during the show noting that some of the team was headed to China after AIX – more on that later. The company was founded on the strength of its retractable cabling technology. You remember the inflight telephone handset retract mechanisms? But with over 60 patents issued to date, they have become a leader in technology development and execution for complex mechanical and electrical assemblies. And yes, they are in the systems business as well, but more on that later too.
Telefonix has manufacturing facilities located in Illinois and manufacturing partners in Asia, allowing the company to translate almost any design into a reliable product deliverable. With the company’s partnership with PDT, the complexity of the products offered has been evolving as together the two companies now offer IFEC manufacturers who are creating new or next-gen solutions a total product development solution: from user research to design, mechanical and electrical engineering, software development, documentation and certification, prototyping through to manufacturing.
And speaking of the Far East, They were a sponsor and host of the very recent 3rd In-Flight Connectivity Technology Conference in Shanghai, China, and we heard from Mike Kuehn, President. He told IFExpress that the Telefonix team (Telefonix+PDT) is very active in helping to change and improve China’s inflight connectivity market. Their recent conference there, attended by all of China’s airlines, “…is just the beginning,” noted Mr. Kuehn. Here are a couple questions we asked Mike:
Q) Who is the target product market and are you focusing your sales efforts on the IFEC suppliers (resellers) or the airlines – Is China a big future market in your view?
A) Telefonix is focusing its sales efforts on the IFEC suppliers and OEMs interested in retrofit and line fit equipment installation and remains a B2B hardware supplier and not marketing solutions directly to the airlines.
We view China as a large growth market for IFEC in general, with passenger traffic increasing and the services offered onboard maturing. As your readers may know, I chaired both days of the ICT conference in Shanghai where discussion of the 2016 market took place, and which is something we look forward to participating in. We recognize the timing and regulatory issues in China and are focused on building the right network and relationships as the IFEC market continues to grow in China.
Q) What are the benefits to the IFE supplier/airline in selecting the Summit Line? Is it time to market, lower cost, etc.?
A) The Summit product line is a natural evolution of our traditional custom design service offerings. The product line was developed as a set of system building blocks that can be leveraged as designed or be customized as a part of any customer program. The Telefonix advantage with the Summit product line (See attached 5 data sheets) is that we are providing innovative product packaging of new terrestrial technology, which allows overall cost savings and performance improvements as it relates to services offered by streaming IFE and connectivity providers. For example, the integration of the Cabin ACe antennas in the access point chassis allows a reduction in overall kit costs and reduces the complexity in the maintenance. Our Cabin Pinnacle product, which is a server that can support streaming media and connectivity simultaneously, is built on the latest roadmap of Intel processors and is designed to support the next generation of processors in the Intel suite without a total redesign of the unit, thereby providing future proofing for customers since obsolescence will be less of an issue.
At the end of the day, cost is always a factor, but it is far from the key differentiator in this market. Overall, the Summit product line is one built upon leading edge technology and designed to allow customers to upgrade more easily and with less certification implications than legacy hardware. Beyond the hardware itself, Telefonix is committed to continuing technology evolution and providing ongoing product support for our customers. We have a long and proven record of customer support and this customer focus has not changed with this new line of products.”
Q) What are the advantages the Summit Line has over other servers, WAPS, Pico Cells and is there any specific new technology in the WAP our readers should know about?
A) The technology used in the Cabin ACe WAP has the advantages of supporting 802.11ac protocol used in the newest client devices. We have in our roadmap to update the platform to Wave 2 later this year, thus supporting client devices that are not even available in the consumer market today. In addition, the radio engine utilizes Virtual Controller technology that allows adaptive, self-organizing wireless grouping across multiple units installed within an aircraft. What this means to the service provider is the virtual controller can coordinate, store and distribute the settings required to regulate and manage the Wi-Fi network. This is of particular importance when the client devices are not uniformly placed within the cabin – we can groom the traffic and spread the clients across multiple access points, thus improving performance since no one access point will get overloaded with traffic. We have also considered various installation needs in our design, for example including an internal antenna in our standard unit, but offering an external antenna if needed, and designing both 28VDC and 115V versions of this product.
In the Cabin Peak (Pico Cell) product, the software technology implemented in the base station transceivers is patented by our partner. The software forces a user’s device to select the onboard radio versus selecting a mobile operator’s base station outside of the aircraft. If the user is not registered for the connectivity service, the radio will ‘hold’ the client device in place and not let them roam onto another base station. Telefonix believes this will negate the requirement for the Cabin RF Management Unit being deployed today, thus reducing per aircraft equipment and installation costs. Given that pico-cell usage is geographically limited due to regulations, the voice service is not the real key for this unit, but rather the key is the ability for a user to log on using their smart phone in its native technology and have seamless billing back through the user’s mobile operator. This unit contains patented technology and has the potential to bring additional users to the IFC market.
The Telefonix Cabin Pinnacle Server features the latest hard drive technology with a firm roadmap for the future that will allow the unit to grow with both technology evolution and market demands. The product features the latest in thermal design concepts to ensure operation in numerous installation scenarios. These are just some highlights of the features we are providing to our customers with the new Summit product line.
Q) Where are these new products made?
A) At the present time, these products will be manufactured in the US at our facility in Waukegan, IL. Should the need for a 2nd manufacturing location arise, we will evaluate that need in conjunction with the location of demand to determine where else we might want to manufacture. These products have all been designed in the US by Telefonix and PDT engineers. While we have utilized some existing components in our hardware and have collaborated with various manufacturers and partners in the integration of their hardware into our solutions, the overall product architecture and design oversight was our own.”
Q) Is each component of the Summit Line black label today?
A) The base designs of each of the products are complete and the Cabin ACe WAP unit is currently in test. The remaining products are being customized with customer input and will have unique test and launch cycles depending on the level of customization required by each of the customers.
Our Cabin Peak pico cell, which was developed with our partner, is being used in multiple ground applications and we are currently packaging the technology and will customize it based upon customer requirements.
Q) These products were recently launched but what is their present design/manufacturing/airline status?
A) Our launch at AIX was focused on the products reaching a level of design maturity and test that made them viable platforms or solutions for customer consideration. While we are currently in talks with a number of different parties regarding this hardware, we cannot disclose the launch customers at this time.
Q) Are any of the Summit Line components flying today, either in test applications or with passengers?
A) This hardware is not yet flying, however we are in discussions with several parties regarding test and production level applications. We will, of course, let you know as soon as we have the ability to share any news on this point!
IFExpress readers, the Telefonix story is just unfolding so we plan to follow both the Summit Line and the story in China – Stay Tuned.
Here are some additional product and conference attachments:
IFC pdf from the ITC in China
Lumexis Corporation today announced that their Lumexis Fiber-To-The-Screen® (FTTS®) In-Flight Entertainment system has been made offerable for line-fit on both the 737 NG and 737 MAX families of aircraft. “The Lumexis team is delighted with the significant achievement of having gained Boeing’s confidence in our company’s leading edge FTTS system and team,” said Doug Cline, Lumexis Corporation Chief Executive Officer. “We are most appreciative of their supportive and collaborative offerability team, and we look forward to seeing the first FTTS system installed on the 737 production line in the very near future.” Noted Jon Norris, VP Sales: ”Lumexis has worked closely with Boeing through their Technical Services Agreement (TSA) process to develop and apply the FTTS technology on Boeing 737 platforms.” Lou Sharkey, Lumexis President and CEO, noted: “This is an offering which can be selected immediately by Boeing’s worldwide airline customers. After 5 years of numerous retrofit installations on both wide-body and narrow-body airframes, the Lumexis team is so proud to have achieved line-fit offerable status on Boeing’s highest production 737 models.” Congratulations Lumexis, this is really an event for the company and portends great things!
Personalising relationships and commerce between airlines and their passengers
AIX Hamburg and the Isle of Wight | April 2015– IFPL lead the way when it comes to installing NFC technology on-board aircraft, and already works with global OEM’s on using this technology to deliver in-flight retail sales and customer personalisation. AIX 2015 will see IFPL demonstrate its latest NFC solutions on stand 3C34, and whilst some industry observers predicted that on-board NFC would be years away, IFPL expects to have products in service during 2015.
The opportunities that NFC represents for the industry are significant and varied. From enabling passengers to make on-board purchases to personalising in-flight entertainment and services for individual passengers based on personal preferences and aspects such as frequent flyer status – enhancing both revenue and service delivery. In addition, NFC allows the ‘pushing’ of data to passengers during their flight supporting real-time offers, partner promotions and more.
David Thomas, Head of Business development at IFPL comments “One big aspect driving NFC solutions is that later in 2015 the liability for fraudulent transactions will move away from the issuer of the card and onto the merchant of record for card present transactions. NFC not only enables airlines to enhance on-board revenue and personalise the passenger experience but provides a more secure payment technology for low-value transactions and purchases.”
Global OEM’s and the World’s Airlines are looking to IFPL with its global NFC expertise to provide them with industry compliant solutions that can be incorporated into both line-fit or retrofit aircraft.
- Minimising CID whilst bringing power and data to the passenger
AIX Hamburg and the Isle of Wight | April 2015– AIX 2015 will see IFPL launch its new Reversible USB power and data module; for providing at-seat Portable Electronic Device (PED) power for charging and data transfer without requiring modification or recertification of existing seats.
Research shows that over 90% of passengers take PED’s onboard and this new product from IFPL combines USB charging and data transfer capability in one industry standard module that can be easily incorporated into line-fit aircraft or as a retrofit onto existing fleets.
David Thomas, Head of Business Development at IFPL comments, “This latest product is a simple and quick fit, making flat batteries a thing of the past for travellers and lets the passenger truly connect with the IFE.”
In addition to charging PED’s, full data transfer capability allows system wide IFE integration for improved passenger personalisation. Another innovative feature of this solution is the customisable light guide within each unit where the colour can be adjusted to support not only night time flying but also align with an airlines brand identity.
As you would expect from IFPL, the simple but clever design of the new Reversible USB module ensures its high reliability; having been tested to over 60,000 insertions, in addition to minimising Customer Induced Damage (CID) through its reversible insertion capability.
Isle of Wight, UK | October 28, 2014– IFPL, an Isle of Wight based company specializing in tailored engineering solutions for the global in-flight entertainment industry, was presented The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade on Wednesday, 17th September.
Each year The Queen’s Awards are presented in three categories to around 140 companies. IFPL won the award by demonstrating that the business had achieved substantial growth in overseas earnings and commercial success for its business size. The prestigious award, announced in April of this year, was presented to IFPL by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent as part of a visit to the Isle of Wight. His Royal Highness was given a tour of IFPL and a product demonstration, followed by the presentation of the award.
IFPL Managing Director Geoff Underwood said the visit was an honour,
“The Queen’s Award affects us in two ways. Most of our customers are based in the United States and they understand that the award is a prestigious accolade. Additionally, the staff take great pride in the fact the company has been recognised. It’s a national award and we’re really proud of that. Last time when we won, it was 2008. We’ve doubled our sales in that time and we now have 46 employees.”
The Duke of Kent congratulated IFPL staff for their achievements,
“I just want to congratulate you on your great success in achieving another Queen’s Award. As you are probably aware, these things are not given away lightly and in fact the list of award winners every year is a very small one. You’re one of a distinguished band of top-class companies who’ve shown the world they can take on anybody. Many congratulations to everyone who works for IFPL.”
IFPL is an award winning international design and manufacturing company based in Calbourne on the Isle of Wight and previously won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2008.
IFExpress got a release not long ago from IFPL on their Self Testing Audio Jack Module and we wanted to get a little more data for our readers. But first, here is their release:
IFPL, designers of in flight entertainment hardware, have recently received patent approval for their Self Testing Audio Jack Module. The Self Testing jack offers airlines a quick and easy way to check the condition of every passenger audio jack with just a glance. Maintenance staff send a high frequency (BITE) audio tone through the existing IFE system, then a small LED on the unit will light up to show that the Jack module is functioning. All that is required is a quick walk through the cabin to check the jacks at a glance. (Patent number: GB 2494449). It’s as simple as, “If the LED is lit then the jack is both mechanically and electrically functional.”
“We think Maintenance crews will love the speed by which they can verify that audio is available at every seat.” says Geoff Underwood, MD of IFPL “The ability to check audio condition so quickly means that audio failures can even be spotted and potentially fixed during an aircraft turnaround. From a cost of ownership perspective, because this module scavenges its power from the audio signal it requires no additional power to operate, making this jack a simple and attractive retrofit proposal, as no extra cabling is required.”
For a bit of a background, we asked Jason Davies at IFPL about the new product and he told IFExpress: “Many airlines have the IFPL Long Life jack which was our first product over ten years ago and remains very popular. The Self Testing version is currently being evaluated by a couple of airlines, and could be in trial this year. The clever design of the jack is that the LED is powered by the audio, making this a fantastic jack for retrofit as no extra power is needed. Maintenance staff send a high frequency (BITE) audio tone through the existing IFE system, then a small LED on the unit will light up to show that the Jack module is functioning. All that is required is a quick walk through the cabin to check the jacks at a glance.” When we asked about the airline use logic, he said; ”This jack is based on our highly reliable Long life audio jack which offers a life of over 100, 000 headphone plug insertion cycles with Breakaway capability to around 70° off-axis, with the new additional benefit that enables the airline to quickly identify any units damaged or broken by passengers. This “quick check” feature saves valuable time on an overnight check or when the aircraft is in for scheduled maintenance.” We think ground crews will love the speed by which they can verify that audio is available at every seat. Geoff Underwood, MD of IFPL said; “The ability to check audio condition so quickly means that audio failures can even be spotted and potentially fixed during an aircraft turn-around. From a cost of ownership perspective, because this module scavenges its power from the audio signal, it requires no additional power to operate making this jack a simple and attractive retrofit proposal, as no extra cabling is required.” Geoff went on; “As a comparison these units are less than our Noise-Cancelling INCAM jacks already adopted by the industry. As we noted before, the Longlife jack offers a life of over 100,000 headphone plug insertion cycles with breakaway capability to around 70° off-axis. Also, as with all our products, we will work with our customer to customize the unit for their install, such as pigtail length and connector.”
From a disruptive technology perspective, Rockwell Collins and NASA will conduct series of tests aimed at safely integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace on June 25, at the Eastern Iowa airport. Demonstration is to test communication from a single tower to multiple aircraft “Routine integration of sizeable numbers of UAS into the national airspace system is a challenging task,” said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager of Airborne Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “This technology will provide the critical communications link for UAS pilots on the ground to safely and securely operate their remotely piloted vehicles in flight even though they are many miles apart.” The NASA-owned Lockheed S-3 Viking and the University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory’s Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft will serve as surrogates for unmanned aerial vehicles during two phases of testing. The first part of the test will demonstrate the ability of unmanned aircraft to hand off communications from one tower to another. The second part of the test will demonstrate the ability of a single tower to communicate to multiple aircraft. The waveform being developed can support multiple channels from a single ground transmitter, enabling multiple aircraft to be simultaneously served, according to local operational needs. This project, co-funded by Rockwell Collins, develops a non-proprietary data link waveform that is planned for release as a public resource. It will help both the industry and the Federal Aviation Administration to develop an appropriate set of rules and requirements for reliable unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system.
Isle of Wight, England | April 2014– IFPL, the international design and manufacturing company based on the Isle of Wight, is celebrating a tremendous achievement after being announced as a Winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade This is the second time that IFPL has won this most prestigious award, being previous winners in 2008.
This outstanding performance has been achieved by providing innovative, well-engineered products that meet aircraft builders’ and airline requirements on time with outstanding levels of quality. In winning the prestigious award IFPL has demonstrated substantial growth in overseas earnings and sustained commercial success.
As the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) unveiled the 2014 winners, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “In recognising their outstanding and innovative achievements, and their contribution to our economy, I hope other businesses and entrepreneurs will be inspired to follow their lead.”
IFPL Managing Director, Geoff Underwood said, “It is such a great honour to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which is recognized around the world, particularly in our prime market of the USA; this award will provide our customers and partners with an unsurpassed level of confidence in our abilities”.
“As a small company based on the Isle of Wight, to have achieved success globally, is an outstanding achievement that reflects the hard work and dedication of everyone at IFPL, for which we are all very proud ”
IFPL was started in 1997 by Island born Geoff Underwood to design and manufacture a range of innovative products for inflight entertainment systems, including USB, ethernet and headset connectors. IFPL supplies parts to most of the leading worldwide airlines. Its success is based on meeting passengers’ needs for multi-media connectivity and reliable access to in-flight entertainment. Supply to the passenger airline industry has been key to IFPL’s core business, but the company is now extending its business into the executive jet and rail markets.
It’s no secret that AIX is the worlds biggest Aircraft Interiors show (perhaps up to 10,000 visitors this year) and we wanted to give you a quick look at a few show-goers who have contacted us with booth and product information. Of course IFExpress will be there searching for new products and product improvements, new services, and interviews with the folks who bring you IFExpress. You can reach us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile/Text: +1 206 229 7899, and we will have the Fire Chat app turned on (TerryW).
Aircraft Cabin Systems:
Booth #: 6C37
ACS will feature IFE Displays (10.4”-65” and 9.7”) as well as their recently patented 12” Retractable monitor at AIX this April. Additionally, ACS is collaborating with TEAC during AIX. TEAC is introducing their new video player at the Expo.
Contact: Charles Reerink
Mobile: + 33 608 907 746
Contact: Rick Routly
Contact: Richie Sugimoto
The Armstrong Aerospace PowerBox™ and PowerBar™ are revolutionary off-seat power solutions that are available today. PowerBox™ and PowerBar™ attach to the floor seat tracks and do not touch the seats they are installed to support. This greatly eases the installation and risk for upgrading your cabin, and it ensures no new seat TSO activities or seat recertification efforts are required. PowerBox™ and PowerBar™ are capable of being used with any outlets and electrical distribution on the market today, making them the most flexible for installation. The simplicity of this design ensures they can be installed rapidly, typically in less than one day for a narrow body, and two days for a wide body.
The Armstrong Aerospace BirdStriker™ is the bird deflector device that is available TODAY to meet your bird strike certification needs.
BirdStriker™ ensures operators can benefit by:
• Finding Compliance with 14 CFR 25.571e1
• Improving aerodynamic efficiency of existing radomes by up to 30%
• Maintaining RF integrity of existing radomes
• Avoiding expensive and heavy installations due to the BirdStriker™ lightweight, composite material design
• Installations can be performed in less than 10 hours
Furthermore, Armstrong Aerospace was actively involved in the recent ARC recommendations to the FAA. (Note: Armstrong Aerospace will be walking the 2014 AIX floor.)
Contact: Kevin Weppner
Booth #: 6B30
Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO) is a leader in advanced high-performance lighting, electrical power, specialized avionics products and automated test systems for the global aerospace and defense industries. Astronics Corporation, and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, AeroSat*, Astronics Advanced Electronics Systems Corp.*, Ballard Technology, Inc., DME Corporation*, Luminescent Systems Inc.*, Max-Viz, Inc., PECO*, and PGA Electronic*, have a reputation for high-quality designs, exceptional responsiveness, strong brand recognition and best-in-class manufacturing practices. For company news and other important information, visit the website at www.astronics.com. (* – Exhibiting at AIX)
Contact: Dennis Markert
Booth #: 6B11
digEcor provides a low-cost, end-to-end cabin technology and inflight entertainment solution by specializing in personal media and AVOD platforms, mobile cabin crew applications, and being a global content service provider. We’ll be showcasing the GLIDE IFE embedded system, the next generation of digEplayer, Engage mobile cabin crew and passenger experience solution, as well as in seat power and the latest content services. Our focus is on increasing traveler satisfaction while creating easily executed customized solutions and generating ancillary revenue for clients. We are enabling airlines to create extraordinary travel experiences.
Contact: Ben Fuller
Booth #: 6C10
IFPL will be showcasing their latest designs at AIX 2014 and will be demonstrating how you can BREAK FREE, CHARGE, PAY UP and GO!
IFPL is an established design and manufacturing company well known for its industry standard IFEC products. Their success is built on meeting passenger needs for multi-media connectivity and reliable access to the in-flight entertainment.
BREAK FREE! IFPL’s Breakaway Jack solves the problem of broken headphone plugs. Leading on from the Single Pin Jack, the Breakaway Triple Jack (1272) is an exciting new concept for use with powered noise cancelling headsets. The use of the 1272 Triple Jack requires no physical modification to the seatback.
CHARGE! IFPL have listened to their customers and are pleased to present a Stand-Alone USB outlet that will provide 2A output.
PAY-UP! IFPL’s Contactless Retail System uses NFC technology to allow passengers to pay using their contactless card. This payment system has shown an increase of up to 15% of sales in the vending market.
GO! IFPL’s Self-Testing jack enables quick and easy visual system audio check, verified with just a glance.
Contact: Neil Thomas | Business Development Manager
Mobile: +44 (0) 778 698 7454
Contact: Mark Reed | Business Development Engineer
Booth #: 6E31
Inmarsat will talk about the developments in its global satellite services, in particular with GX Aviation developments.
Contact: Paula Ferrai
Mobile: +41 79 874 06 08
Booth #: B6C40
KID-Systeme will be exhibiting at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, from 8-10 April 2014, to demonstrate its two ground-breaking cabin systems: SKYpower, the internationally trusted seatpower system, and SKYfi, a revolutionary modular onboard connectivity platform. With a new design and an innovative product development, KID is looking forward to welcoming their customers on their booth in hall B6.
Contanct: Maren Müente
Mobile: +49 171 5660630
Booth #: Hall B6 6B47
Lufthansa Systems will be showcasing additional new products for its award-winning infotainment platform BoardConnect, presenting the solution as a fully-featured integration platform for the first time. Visitors to the company’s booth will be able to experience the user-friendly, versatile and innovative IFE solution using their own tablets, smartphones and laptops – as they would do on board. The appropriate apps for Android, iOS and Windows 8 are available for downloading from the app stores.
New features like chat, an online shop and a moving map with points of interest (POI) on different topics will add even more variety to the passenger’s in-flight experience. Passengers can find out about events taking place at their destination, obtain a restaurant recommendation, and even make a reservation online (via satellite, for instance). The BoardConnect platform’s content caching service maintains popular sites on the server, which not only speeds up access to these pages but also saves the airline expensive satellite bandwidth.
The new, easy-to-use, fast and automated Cabin Data Loader takes care of monthly content updates to the on-board servers and the latest LTE technology ensures speedy daily updates of dynamic content such as news and newspapers at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
Other new hardware components to be shown by Lufthansa Systems will include the on-board Wireless Access Point developed by Lufthansa Technik, which supports 802.11 ac (the fastest current Wi-Fi standard) as well as delivering high-definition video throughout the cabin.
Contact: Sandra Hammer
Booth #: 6E40
LUMEXIS FTTS IFE Systems – Best By Every Measure – Lightest Weight | Greatest Capacity | Highest Reliability. We invite you to visit Stand 6E40 during the 2014 AIX and allow us to demonstrate why FTTS has become the benchmark for the entire IFE industry. Please do not hesitate to contact me to make an appointment or to request further information. Looking forward to seeing you in Hamburg.
Contact: Jon Norris (VP Sales)
Mobile: +1 949 436 1434
OnAir will be discussing its latest deals with airlines, as well as looking to the future of inflight connectivity, as it begins to include cabin crew, cockpit and airline operational applications.
Contact: Aurélie Branchereau-Giles
Mobile: +44 78 676 15 46
Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Booth #: 6C36
At Aircraft Interiors in Hamburg, Panasonic will be showcasing the breadth of its IFE offering on its stand, demonstrating embedded and wireless IFE systems, and its award-winning Global Communications Services inflight connectivity offering.
Panasonic will be making a number of announcements at Aircraft Interiors, with several relating to the breadth and depth of its uniquely global satellite network.
Contact: Brian Bardwell
Mobile: +1 949 573 6833
With 40 years of experience as a Content Service Provider (CSP) Stellar’s focus is to work with Airilnes to understand the myriad of options in IFE, especially in regards to Tablets, streaming and connectivity. Afterall, Stellar Group was the first CSP to secure content onto iPads, as well as, the first CSP to secure content via wireless streaming.
Contact: Joel Joslin
Mobile: +61 414 944 302
Booth #: 6C43
During AIX 2014 Telefonix will showcase products in 3 primary categories: 1)Passenger experience products, such as Passenger Control Units, Entertainment and Connectivity Hardware, which includes media loading devices, aircraft servers, etc. 2) Their CWAP design 3) And finally, in conjunction with their partner company Product Development Technologies (PDT), custom product design services.
Contact: Allison Burke
Booth #: 6.1B17
Miltope’s family of network products offer the required functionality necessary to create custom airborne networks similar to how office networks are created. Our products optimize the combination of interfaces and computing resources to meet operational, spatial, and functional requirements of simple to complex airborne systems at minimum cost. Products include servers, Ethernet switches, wireless access points, TWLU aircraft to ground wireless link, control panels, and data storage devices. This year we will be featuring our latest wireless products, nMAP2 (wireless access point) and cTWLU (cellular ground link).
Contact: Markus Gilges | Director, Business Development
Mobile: +44 7793 758 755
Zodiac Inflight Innovations
Booth #: 6B20
Zodiac Inflight Innovations (formerly The IMS Company and TriaGnoSys) has been providing innovative solutions for the aviation industry for decades. Our business strategy can best be described as RAVE (Reliable, Affordable, and Very Easy). Already famous for our reliable passenger-centric embedded AVOD system (RAVE), we have recently expanded our product line to include connectivity features. Zii offers RAVE Wireless, a streaming IFE solution that lets passengers enjoy entertainment streamed directly to their personal devices. RAVE Cellular allows passengers to use voice, SMS and data services on their phones, which are billed directly to the passenger’s own mobile carrier. With RAVE Broadband, passengers can stay connected in the sky with unprecedented Ka-Band connection speeds. With this full line of IFEC product offerings, Zii uses a modular concept allowing customers to pick and choose which of these features are most important to them and their passengers. RAVE has had much success in the retrofit market and is currently making great progress toward line fit offerability at both Airbus and Boeing.
Contact: Harry Gray
Mobile: +1 714 854 8633
Calbourne, Isle of Wight, UK | March 2014– IFPL will be demonstrating its new CRS at this year’s AIX show in Hamburg.
Credit/debit cards are being issued with contactless payment functionality built-in enabled by Near Field Communication (NFC). 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. The system also has the potential to be used on other types of transport networks such as trains.
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.
CRS has advantages for installation engineers, cabin crew and passengers. Simple installation allows easy upgrade of on-board EpoS systems, quick order fulfilment and satisfied passengers. The service level is customisable for the grade of seat and enables easy catalogue updates over Wi-Fi for special offers or to simply update food menu options. The system also creates an opportunity to generate advertising revenue from the inclusion of on-screen messages.
Patent applied for.
As you may remember, IFExpress has been concerned about the future of credit card fraud, especially with the advent of ancillary airline revenues. It’s also no secret that airlines are looking for more ways to get into your wallet during the three hours (or whatever) when you have nothing to do. As a captive audience, what retailer has a better opportunity? All the more reason to keep vigilant and with the recent hacks to US retailers, like Target and others, it will pay off in the long run if airlines figure out the issues with credit card security first. And that is a perfect segue into our ongoing discussions with Geoff Underwood, of IFPL fame. He told us: “I think the main thing to note is that IFPL brought this change to the attention of the IFEC industry back at the APEX TC in Nov 2012, but I think everyone was in denial! No one else had any idea that this was real – even the industry experts. What will be interesting is how the vendors (i.e.: Airlines) who have legacy card swipe facilities, will cope with the fraud risk. The way it works in the rest of the World, in simplistic terms, is that if you have any fraud with Chip-and-Pin, then the bank assumes the risk and will reimburse you. You can still use a card swipe, BUT, if there’s any fraud, then the VENDOR assumes the risk.”
Geoff went on to say, “So, my assumption will be that the Airlines will have to accept that they are running at risk if they continue to use their legacy card swipes in the seat backs. Or they can insist on cabin crew using a hand held PoS (Point Of Sale) device. The issue as of 2012, was that any chip/pin reader needs to be EMV/PCI compliant. That means anything designed to go in the seatback has to be super-secure. We looked at this in great detail and found that the cost per seat was going to be prohibitive for a seat back installation, so we have focused on our Contact-less solution that is very cost effective. It is satisfying to note that IFPL is probably still ahead of most IFEC companies when it comes to Chip and Pin, and Contact-less technologies, and we still have Chip-and-Pin on our technology road map, but, as usual, watch this space!” (Editor Translation Note: This usually means Geoff and his team will be demonstrating something hot at an IFE show in the not-to-distant future!)
As Mr. Underwood notes, this battle is not over and the more lax rules on cards and payment systems in the States are overshadowed by a good part of the rest of the world and the issue is probably one of the factors holding up wholesale installation of onboard payment schemes. Lastly, below are a couple of links to help you understand the difference between Chip-and-Pin credit cards and NFC technology.
On a similar theme as above, have you heard about “Hotspot 2.0” technology? It’s a way to securely transition between cellular and wireless connectivity. Too early to be seen on planes but this article will, no doubt, get you thinking!
Next, we note that there is an announcement about a Panasonic seatback IFEC big sale to Canada’s WestJet airlines – 120 destinations, 20 countries served. Looks to us like the sale includes some 105 present B737 Next Gen’s (B737-600, B737-700, and B73-800), with 25 more NG’s to come. The deal could eventually include 65 B737 MAX planes in delivered after 2017 as well… but we have no data there. We note, and you might too, that the press release notes: “And, with a mix of free and paid content, the new system offers the airline additional ancillary revenue opportunities.” Ancillary revenue is a big buzzword and Panasonic got the message! Check out the link to the story here.
With the Asia/Pacific Region offering almost $2T in airplane sales which encompass between 10,000 and 12,000 planes, it is no wonder both Airbus and Boeing focused on the Singapore Airshow 2014… and $32B of orders is the result. While sales numbers have been announced and Airbus seems to have won in total monies, it remains unclear just how many of both company’s orders were only announced at the show. In other words, don’t get ‘up and locked’ on the $32B show number.
Lastly, we wanted to write a fitting tribute to David Peterson as last week we received his note of planned retirement and he wrote: “It is with mixed feelings that I advise I will be retiring from Panasonic on 28th February 2014. It has been a roller coaster ride over the last 10 years with many more ups than downs and I would like to thank you for support over that period – It’s time to let the “kids” take over. Should you wish to keep in touch I can be reached on email@example.com.” David Peterson’s retirement spans 3 decades of IFE history, IFE Manager at QANTAS, President of WAEA in the late ’80s, and Panasonic for some ten years. Imagine the changes he’s sen in 30 years! We tried to write a fitting tribute to an individual whose heart and mind were always in the right place in this industry. Not only is he a nice guy, David always had your best interest, (and that of the industry) in mind! Always! Stellar’s new top man, Peter McGlaughlin, another Aussie, told IFExpress, “David was a pioneer in the IFE industry I worked closely with David when we introduced the first In-seat videos on QANTAS in the early 90’s. He is a guy that wanted to make things happen and was focused on delivering quality. His contribution to the IFE industry is immense whether for a supplier or airline. His retirement will leave a void in knowledge in many aspects of the industry.” We can add little to that – Good Luck David.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!