This week the IFExpress Hot Topic is one of our mixed bag of stories we found while casting about the IFEC industry and we thought we would start of with a bit of IFExpress news. Next week, our Hot Topic will cover one of most important products to ever grace the passenger cabin experience – the Boeing Sky Interior. We trolled the world of aviation, interviewed experts and talked to suppliers to get the big picture for our readers, and we have to confess, it was not easy. We will tell you why next week but the “look and feel” of the BSI is one of the most important airplane design developments to come along in recent years. When was the last time you sat for a few hours in your assigned airline seat and “felt” good about the experience? Well, that’s what the latest trend in flying is all about; having passengers “feel” good about the experience. Here is what one Boeing executive said about the concept: Even though the 787 is not a jumbo-it will carry about two hundred fifty passengers, three hundred fewer than the A380-it appears to have the spatial qualities of one. The door opens onto a vaulted lobby rather than a cramped vestibule. And there is a surprising amount of light, thanks to the single most revolutionary feature of the 787: its huge windows. Wider and notably taller-extending from the armrest to above the top of the seat-they instantly erase that sense of walking into a claustrophobic tube. Moreover, they invite us to revisit the idea of flying as an ever-changing spectacle of earth and sky-like having an IMAX of one’s own.” We plan on covering what Boeing studied how they went about redesigning their cabins to change how you feel on their aircraft. Here is a hint… the lighting says it all! Stay Tuned on this one.

Infographics deliver a lot of information in a small space and they are eye-catching. The first ones we saw some 10 years ago were at Boeing and IFExpress just found their newest one – The Commercial Aviation Forecast 2013 – 2032. The first IFEC info graphics we saw were at the OnAir booth at AIX and you can see more here: Global Spending On Air Travel in 2011 [INFOGRAPHIC]. You can build your own with a free computer app from – lets see what your company can do?

We asked a long-time DRM expert on the APEX Technology Committee,
responsible for drafting many of the industry’s digital delivery standards including content security, assures us that there are no DRM solutions acceptable to the preponderance of Hollywood studios that do not require an app or plug-in to implement. Rumors that recent Hollywood movies might be provided in IFE without DRM or without app-based DRM are incorrect, he tells us.”

We hear that Eddie Hseih is going to be the new Mr. Panasonic in China, or is that Mr. China in Panasonic?

Afterthought: Here in the Northwestern US, images of salmon are quite commonplace; however, many of our readers might not have the opportunity to fly in one like we can here.


Note: If you think this has nothing to do with IFE, you are wrong. Alaska just implemented a fleet wide installation of inseat power as we noted last week. We got the image in late!

This was a pretty good year for Thales if AIX is any barometer of the economic weather for the French giant (2011 – 13.2 B Euros). The California-based, IFE arm of the the company has hit what looks to be a home run. For Thales CEO Alan Pelligrini, it all appears to be coming together to plan. For starters, Thales just secured their first B787 line fit customer (unnamed) for AVANT to be delivered in the 2014 time-frame on an Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The Crystal Cabin winning product is Android friendly and a new App Portal has just been commissioned to support it. (Interestingly, due to overwhelming demand beta registration for the Thales Android App Portal is now closed. Watch for the launch soon.) AVANT is now in it’s fifth generation and the jumbo passenger touch screens/web cam will be sporting gesture control in the next generation. Yes, we see a live face-time app in your flying future. The launch customer for AVANT is QATAR Airways. We predict, AVANT will be Thales biggest seller yet.

Number two in the good news department is the show announcement of a joint venture with China Electronics Technology Avionics (CETCA) to provision IFE on China’s COMAC C919. With some 4000 single-aisle planes forecast in China’s future, Thales is in a great position to capture a lion’s share of that business.

The C919 is a 156 to 190 seat jetliner competing with the likes of the A320neo and B737 MAX. Thales will be involved in integration and future sales to other Chinese customers. CETCA’s General Manager, Zeng Li was on hand at AIX to sign the agreement and it was obvious that he felt Thales had their foot in the China door. Time will tell.

On completely different matters, we submit the following two topics:

Remember our recent comments on the use of infographics at OnAir? It appears that others have the same idea and we stand by our recommendation for their use in this communication heavy industry. Getting your point across quickly is the name of the game and the trucking folks seem to think accordingly. One good read and I know all I ever wanted to know about trucking. Can you say the same about your communication tools and products?

Here is a short read on an outsiders view of inflight telephony with some interesting statistics… and great reader comments.