Don’t Forget: Aircraft Interiors Expo – Hamburg, Germany, April 5 – 7

We thought our readers might want a peek into some new IFE products at next week’s AIX, so we contacted a few friends and sponsors and asked -What’s new? Here are a few of the responses we got back:

1.Company Name: The IMS Company
2. Booth Number: 6B10
3. Product Lines: AVOD System, Portable Media Players, Wireless Data and Content Delivery System
4. Show Highlights: Certified InFlight Entertainment – RAVE is the latest innovation in Audio/Video On Demand, offering a simple system architecture and providing the highest reliability of any in-seat design. RAVE – We currently have five customer programs, of which two were recently announced for Air Berlin and SriLankan Airlines. More announcement are scheduled for release before and during the show. Portables – EDGE is the hottest portable media player on the market, featuring various size displays, sleek new designs and a 24-hour battery. Content and Data Services – Our 4th-generation Terminal Data Loader provides the latest technology for fast loading of digital IFE content and automatic bi-directional distribution of critical data.
5. Contact Information: Harry Gray, V.P. Sales & Marketing; +1(714) 854-8633;

1.Company Name: Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems
2. Booth Number: 6D30
3. Product Line(s): In-flight Entertainment Products
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights:
Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), the world leader of in-seat power systems, continues to experience increasing demand for its EmPower® products as more and more passengers carry onboard a multitude of powered devices. The continued growth and installations of Wi-Fi on aircraft has increased the demand even more. Most airlines installing new data services on their aircraft are also installing in-seat power and in most cases, in all classes of service. In support of this demand, Astronics has responded with their latest industry leading EmPower® in-seat power system which produces up to an industry leading 200VA for each passenger. This cutting edge system also includes a Universal Serial Bus (USB) power output for passenger devices such as smart phones, iPods, cameras, and other standard +5 Volt DC devices. This is all accomplished in a smaller form factor than previous generations of the industry leading EmPower® product line.
Astronics’ AES patented power management and control technologies are key to the success of providing passengers with PED power, IFE, and connectivity solutions scalable on any aircraft platform. Stop by booth 6D30 to view the full line of in-seat power and intelligent power solution products on display.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: LeAnn Hurst, (425) 702-4943 or

1. Company Name: Goodrich
Website: Goodrich Interiors
2. Booth Number: 6G84
3. Product Line(s): Head End Video and Audio File Servers
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: None Provided
5. Contact Information for Appointments:

1. Company Name: THALES
2. Booth Number: 6B20
3. Product Line(s): Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Systems and Services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Thales will unveil its next generation TopSeries System architecture, feature product installations in B/E, Weber, Recaro, and Contour seats, introduce a new App store for the award winning Touch Passenger Control Unit, and show the latest in connectivity solutions.
5. Contact Information for Appointments:

1. Company Name: VT Miltope
2. Booth Number: 6G35
3. Product Line(s): Aviation network products
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Miltope’s family of network products offer the required functionality necessary to create custom airborne networks similar to how office networks are created. Designed to be readily expanded, they may be configured to define a network that optimizes the combination of interfaces and computing resources to meet the operational, spatial, and functional requirements of simple to complex airborne networks at a minimum cost. Products include servers, Ethernet switches and routers, 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless access points, TWLU wireless bridging from an aircraft LAN to a ground LAN, ARINC 744 network printers and ARINC740 cockpit printer, cabin control panels, and data storage devices.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Markus Gilges Tel: +44 7793 758755, Email:

1. Company Name: digEcor, Inc.
2. Booth Number: #6B1
3. Product Line(s): digEplayer L Series, digEplayer XT, handheld and overhead content, ancillary revenue services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: We will be showing the digEplayer L7, which has launched on seven airlines since it’s release last summer, and available support equipment, to include the streamlined, plug-n-play content update station. We will also be showcasing, for the first time, a completely redesigned and modernized user interface that takes advantage of the sensitive touch screen available on the L7.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Adam Williams,, 1-801-489-2031

1. Company Name: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies
2. Booth Number: 6B40
3. Product Line(s): Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of high-performance cable including fiber; RF/Microwave, specialty and filtered connectors; cable assemblies; complex harnesses; integrated installation kits and ARINC trays; racks and shelf assemblies, and offers engineering and certification services with DER, DAR, and DMIR personnel on staff.
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is proud to introduce our LITEflight™ Optical HD (high density) cable and assembly solution to support the next generation of bandwidth hungry applications. Visit our booth to see the a demo of how capable CarlisleIT’s fiber is handling in some of the most extreme routing and clamping tests from a company that terminates more fiber optic cable than anyone else in the world.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Kris Samuelson 011 253 318 0768

1. Company Name: Lumexis
2. Booth Number: 6H40
3. Product Line(s): Fiber Optic IFE System
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Lumexis is introducing its new line of HD “sleek-look” seatback monitors for its Fiber to the Screen® IFE system. The family consists of 8.9”, 12.1”, and 15.4” LCDs that are all without bezel and flush with the seatback installation. All the sleek line monitors are LED-backlit, 16:9 format with true 720P HD at each seat simultaneously with Projected Capacitive touchscreens. The new monitors are available with an interface panel on the bottom with audio headset jack, USB port, credit card swipe and PSS buttons (for widebody aircraft), or the interfaces can be mounted separately per the airlines choice of location.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Don Sathern or cell: 949 861 0733

1. Company Name: Panasonic Avionics
2. Booth Number: 6F15
3. Product Line(s): In-Flight Entertainment and Communications Solutions and Maintenance Services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Panasonic Avionics is set to unveil its 10th generation IFEC solution at AIX. The company will also unveil its latest solutions that offer native amazing passenger experience, a lower total cost of ownership, broadband connectivity, a true business platform, open platform architectures, uncompromising industrial design, and an advanced media strategy.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Please stop by the Panasonic Avionics booth to arrange for a booth tour.

PlaneBill, the Android App developer, will be in the Triagnosys Booth and Massimo sent along his brochure on Mobile Applications for Passengers. Yes that’s right, we expect to see passenger apps on IFE in the very near future.

Public Service Announcement: For our Wi-Fi equipped friends and show-goers, there is a free Internet zone on the exhibition floor and it is located in Hall B7 Stand A10.

This is Hot Topic is like life; you get the test first and the lesson later! We have structured a couple questions to help our readers stumble thru the mire of the latest technology and newest products, with an attempt to guess where all this stuff might lead. At the end, we will give you our spin on where it’s all heading.

Question 1. Arrange the following terms in chronologically development/general application order: Desktop, Mainframe, Laptop, Smartphone, Netbook, and Minicomputer. C’mon, this is easy.

Good, now it gets harder. Throw in these terms to make it interesting, and make no mistake, they may also be show-stoppers and game changers: Cloud Computing, Convergence, Wi-Fi & Wi Max, Bluetooth, Pico Cells & Micro Cells & Nano Cells, Apps, and 30 nanometer technology.

Next, lets look at the old ICE concept: Entertainment, Information, and Communication. Here are only a few of the broader implications of the above technology advancements on ICE. You have probably heard all this or have gone thru this process before but hang on and note:

  1. Entertainment has gotten more portable and wirelessly available by going from analog-to-digital…thank technology for cheap mass storage.
  2. Information (data) has gone from analog-to-digital…thank Intel, IBM, Samsung and many others for greater computing-on-a-chip technology in the form of smaller micro-circuits and new software algorithms.
  3. Communication has gone from analog-to-digital, both wired and wirelessly. Frequency, and consequently Bandwidth, is increasing to accommodate both 1 and 3 above.

Finally we have to factor in the following: A. The future of personal entertainment is getting smaller, more powerful, cheaper, and uses less power…but you already knew that too. B. Frequency bands are getting congested as more high bandwidth data is sent to portable devices; however, higher density, physically smaller, more powerful storage and software compression is aiding the portability of content. C. Data (Information) is (becoming) Entertainment…at least so far as our lives are concerned, i.e., the Internet. D. What “portable devices” are road warriors and power users carrying today? E. What paradigms are shifting on airplanes? Ancillary revenue, space, comfort, connectivity, entertainment/headsets, food, baggage, check-in, etc. Question 2. What are the implications for all the above for IFEC?

After we went thru this exercise, we came up with a number of summary observations – see what you think.

  1. This past year and into 2010, we may see a downturn of IFE revenues, more related to aircraft orders and airline profits – on the flip side, things are looking up somewhat for the latter part of 2010 with companies like Boeing ramping up production rates.
  2. Connectivity is on the uptick and at some levels, is basic on many aircraft in the US and worldwide. Be in this business or in some way connected to it.
  3. Voice and data connectivity are battling it out on the aircraft but currently data is winning. However remember, in the digital world, voice is data! European, Asian and Middle Eastern carriers might actually see more digital voice at least for now.
  4. If trends to portable data are to be believed, passengers will bring aboard more content-related stuff. Case in point, check out this new phone from T-Mobile with content onboard and a built-in Go-Go App. Interestingly, this trend may help the portable IFE folks! How, airlines may hold off IFE selection and cover their assets with portables, older aircraft can compete with SOTA new planes by adding portable IFE. Portable IFE seems to have broken the “free” IFE barrier – travelers seem to understand that new, small, cooler devices are perceived to be worth more than a fixture (see Editor’s Note below). And hey, don’t rule out airline or kiosk delivered portable content! Also, watch out for more flying functionality from iPhone type apps like check-in, flight location and arrival/departure info and the like.
  5. If one can’t talk to the ground on a 3-hour flight or more, connectivity anxiety is becoming a common disorder for some. The remedy is data, and if space and carry-on limitations keep declining, pricing will increase for both. So watch out for an increasing amount of Smartphone usage.
  6. As first-run movie “windows” shrink, the demand-pull of installed IFE or that type of content will lessen. And speaking of content, when is someone going to really push books on tape, inflight learning, pay-for-downloads, onboard movie rental/purchase on a card, humane pet transportation, food-to-go-outside-the-airport, instant booze (just add water), etc…there we vented that one.
  7. Seats are getting thinner while some companies like Panasonic are designing thinner IFE for these applications. Perhaps a seat standard containing all the conceivable seat functions and human interfaces is in the future…all powered by some hybrid network.
  8. Bandwidth increases will no doubt demand more fiber optics – wireless has limits…the question is where in the plane will it make the most sense? Without a doubt, in the future, the FAA and FCC are going to rethink the noise floors on plastic planes with all this wireless stuff radiating away. We know the issues because we have talked to the HIRF people. This will hit the wall sometime in the future. Further, connectivity is probably heading for Ku Band too to take advantage of that higher bandwidth. Ka interest is increasing too.
  9. We continue to say that inseat power is becoming a “must add” amenity for passenger devices…and wouldn’t it be interesting if someone invented an integrated, in-seat credit card payment system that reduced crew workload and allowed an avenue for passengers to pay for all this stuff airlines used to give out free. In the future, airlines could be like printer companies – give away the seat at rock bottom prices and make it up on the ancillary revenue like printer companies do with printer cartridges!
  10. While the inflight connectivity folks seem to always be pushing out the hardware and network break-even points, something has to happen to drive some of the network providers into profitability. Here are a couple of ways they might: Replace or replicate ACARS, security profits from onboard cameras, special purchased data offerings (Hey, our Internet provider charges more for more speed), airline data and onboard trend monitoring deals, and with the right payment system…pay for play might succeed. And finally, where is that gambling windfall?

We have not even mentioned handheld gaming, GPS, portable cameras (and cameras features of phones), noise canceling earphones, PMP devices, social networks, apps for everything, iPads, YouTube, 3D, solar power, wireless power, etc. We will let you work those out for yourselves.

Have a nice day!

(Editor’s Note: We ran our thoughts by other sources of IFE knowledge and one response, in particular, is worth a review by our readers: “During 2009, all of the distributors of portable media players in IFE hit a wall, built partially by a down economy, and partially by a focus on connectivity and how it might impact the demand for entertainment apart from communications. Coming out of 2009, we see a strong impetus toward investment in Premium Economy to capture lost revenues attributable to the fact that premium cabin ticket sales are not rebounding in the same way as economy cabin ticket sales. The impact of this on portables, I believe, is the bifurcation of the portables market into a highly commoditized lower end, and a more innovative higher end where the product is more than simply an add-on but is an integrated product. This might be semi-embedded, or it could cross the DO-160 line and into embedded territory. I believe this favors suppliers with a more holistic view. – LightStream Communications, IFEC Consultancy”)