You already know that Monday at APEX, the day before the exhibition floor opening, is usually devoted to Industry Education and 2014 is no different. On September 15, APEX plans a full day of speeches and presentations that we wanted to present to our readers to be sure they attended – this year looks to be very interesting and useful. You can find the link for the whole day here and the presentations will be at the Anaheim Convention Center Ballrooms D & E.

The first big deal will be the Keynote Address 9:10 – 9:50, from Edward L. Shapiro, Partner and Vice President, PAR Capital Management, Inc. Here is what APEX says about Mr. Shapiro: “In this opening session, Shapiro, an experienced investor in Airlines, Media/Entertainment, and IFEC, will offer an overview of the industry, exploring how airlines are leveraging technology to improve the overall passenger experience, differentiating their products and generating new sources of ancillary revenue.  He will also share his thoughts on how the rapidly evolving Media/Entertainment Industry on the ground will impact the airline passenger market. What trends can we expect to see in the future? How will the connectivity market develop?  What role will third-party sponsorship play in the Passenger Experience?” We got pretty excited when we saw the mention of “3rd party sponsorship” because this concept brings up the question of revenue generation on IFE screens, a issue on the minds of all airlines we talked to. This should be a most interesting kick-off to the education day so don’t miss this one. Then after lunch it’s on to some interesting breakout sessions – Here is a Bio Link for Mr. Shapiro and don’t miss this one!

Next, IFExpress was most intrigued by Breakout Sessions, Track C – Entertainment & Connectivity – Technology Focus (the techie track. See below for a bit more detail:

C: ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY – TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Sessions
Surfing the skies. Evaluate technologies that play a crucial role in bettering the passenger experience, not only for passengers but also for airlines and the multiple vendors involved in creating this experience. Hear how the e-Aircraft will benefit airlines, improve efficiency and better the passenger experience. How is RF exposure being measured and how must members comply? How do regulations differ across the globe? Hear updates on these and other topics of interest. Room 210 A & B

13:30 – 14:10 Breakout Session C1 — The E-Aircraft Concept: Concept & Fulfillment

Moderator: Michael Planey – Co-Founder, HMPlaney Consultants 
Panelists:
• David Bruner – Vice President of Global Communication Service,  Panasonic Avionics Corporation
• David Coiley – Vice President, Aviation, Inmarsat
• Lee Costin – Director Satellite Solutions & Cabin Services, ARINC (Rockwell Collins)
• Ian Dawkins – Chief Executive Officer, OnAir
• Ted Nugent – Business Development Manager, Transportation European Aviation, Cisco
• Mike Moeller – VP, Sales and Marketing, In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity, Thales/LiveTV LLC

Panelists will explore the e-Aircraft concept as the future of inflight connectivity with the potential to provide real and valuable cost savings, an improved passenger experience and more. This session will share what an e-Aircraft entails and how best to make it a reality.

(Editor’s Note: IFExpress got very interested in the e-aircraft mention and we contacted Michael Planey for a bit more on the panel discussions and he told IFExpress: “The main purpose of the Panel discussion will be focusing beyond passenger connectivity. We are overdue as an industry in developing operational uses for the unused bandwidth on the aircraft. Many of the traditional IFEC vendors are trying to step into this space, but there is plenty of room for new companies with operational expertise to join. I’m hoping for a number of questions from the airlines in attendance. Especially in outlining the types of services they are most interested in purchasing in the future.”)

14:25 – 15:05 Breakout Session C2 — An Overview of High-Performance Satellite Antennas
Bruce Elbert – President, Application Technology Strategy, L.L.C.


There are many lower profile high efficiency antennas coming to market but are these low-profile, high efficient antennas the wave of the future for connectivity services? Bruce will deliver a white paper on the range of antenna options for aircraft antennas with a focus on the latest technologies and their impact on broadband service to passengers.

15:20 – 16:00 Breakout Session C3 — Radio Frequency  Susceptibility & Exposure 
Ed Mantiply – Physical Scientist, United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

In-flight internet access has taken off.  Every aircraft internet access system includes in-cabin Wi-Fi and some type of broadband wireless data link to the ground. That means that there a lot of radio transmitters being installed on aircraft.  Some of the radios have relatively low power transmitters, and some have high power transmitters.  With the proliferation of radio transmitters there has been an increase in the concerns of the health implications of human exposure to radio frequency energy. A representative from the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will explain human RF exposure guidelines published by the FCC, and tools available from the FCC to aid in the analysis of RF exposure. In addition an example of the calculations of the RF exposure limits will be done for a fictional aircraft Ku satellite installation.

These sessions should bring us up to speed regarding everything we wanted to know about connectivity, from the overall concept, to how the antennas work, to the issues of RF exposure from the radio transmitters used.  You don’t want to miss these breakouts because APEX has really focused on what’s happening in IFE&C today – see you in Anaheim on September 15!

The big news this week is the Thales deal to purchase LiveTV and you can read it here. We found another blog reporter who had some interesting things to say about the deal. (Editors Note: In the past the folks at LiveTV have focused on the US, given their JetBlue customer. However, their plan for global reach has been one of Ku-band IPTV. They do have Ka-band capability in the HTS region that has a Ku overlay. With Thales, they now have the Inmarsat option that might change the order of things. Either way, they will be getting a new super-salesman, Mike Moeller… and we sure hope they keep those award winning trade show booths coming!)

2014 Crystal Cabin Award finalists announced

The finalists for the 2014 Crystal Cabin Awards have been announced, following deliberations by the 24-strong international judging panel, which includes representatives from airlines and all the major aircraft manufacturers, as they examined each of the 55 shortlisted entries from 12 countries. (Apologies to AIX/Reed for reformatting their release!)

  • Passenger Comfort Systems category include

The acWAP from Lufthansa Technik, is a high-speed router that makes data-intensive applications such as online games possible.

Armstrong Aerospace’s PowerBox, a mobile power point module that can be installed under a seat was announced.

Zodiac Aerospace’s ISIS Aft Complex, which puts the toilet and galley modules side-by-side on the rear wall, to add 3ft to the cabin length.

  • Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts

US finalist B/E Aerospace took a similar approach to win a place with its Advanced Lavatory, a slimline toilet module which makes it possible to integrate up to six additional seats in an aircraft.

Zodiac’s Halo First Class design study, which is a lounge-like suite.

Also included was French seat maker Expliseat’s lightweight titanium seat.

  • Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment

German finalist Diehl Aerospace has developed DACAPO, a power saving, self-sufficient cabin system using rechargeable and replaceable battery trolleys.

Vision Systems has reached the final round with the Energia aircraft window in which a transparent photovoltaic film inserted into the pane simultaneously “harvests” solar energy and makes it possible to dim the window at the press of a button.

Zodiac enters the fray with another product in the ISIS range: the Modular Lavatory, which facilitates resource-friendly customization and substitution of individual bathroom and lavatory modules.

  • Passenger Comfort Hardware

The hygienic toilet developed by Diehl Comfort System is operated using movement sensors, requiring no contact.

The other finalists in the category are Recaro’s ergonomic, lightweight CL3710 economy seat with extra knee room.

ZIM Flugsitz’s EC-00 economy seat for short and medium-haul flights, including a new table and backrest concept was included.

  • The Premium Class & VIP

Thales’ Immersive Business Class Seat was included.

Hong Kong-based Paperclip Design’s Convertible Long Haul Seat Concept, which can be quickly converted from premium economy to a full-flat business seat.

Zodiac Aerospac’s Premium Cabin, which not only creates more space for every passenger but also even allows room for an on-board bar.

  • Material & Components

Zodiac Galleys impressed the judging panel with an airbag system for front-row passengers.

Specialist Aviation’s Satto solution for minor repairs to cabin components.

Schott’s lightweight glass structure for windows, which is not only more resistant than conventional window plastic but also making significantly larger panes possible.

  • University

Two entrants from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have reached the final, with Sense the Transitions, an innovative geotainment concept; and the ARC Seat Concept, an aircraft seat that can withstand stresses up to 16g.

Monash University in Australia is showing a concept for wheelchair boarding.

The finalists’ products and concepts will be presented in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany next month (Hall B1, Booth A41), and on the second day of the exhibition (9 April, 11am), the winners will present their concepts to the public.

OMG!

The IFExpress team has purposely avoided any updates of MH370 until we saw this article on Sunday that mentioned IFEyou have to read it… we were dumbstruck!

Beacon technology has been hailed as a game-changer in retail. It uses Bluetooth to trigger the display of information on phones and tablets that is relevant to the specific location and context of the user. Connecting and communicating efficiently with passengers throughout their journey is a widely held goal in the air transport industry and SITA Lab’s research has investigated the potential of using beacon technology in today’s airports. The benefits being touted for the technology, such as low cost and wide range, have a strong appeal for anyone wanting to connect directly with customers. But SITA Lab investigated if the technology works as advertized in the real world. Trials with a leading international airline and airport have produced results that are both promising and cautionary. SITA ’s CTO, Jim Peters noted; “SITA Lab is currently building an industry registry for all beacons. The goal is that any airline will have a single point of contact to go to use any beacon deployed by airports around the world. We are already working with some early adopters but are looking for other airports, airlines and app developers who are interested in leveraging the potential of beacons in the air transport industry to join the project.”

Editors Note: To get a bit more background on this exploding technology, here is a blurb from the Radius Network website about their Apple-based solution: “iBeacons are transmit only. They do not receive or collect any signals from mobile devices. iBeacons don’t detect the presence of your mobile device and therefore have no ability to know you are near or track your location. The bottom line, iBeacons are inherently privacy friendly. You can see them, but they can’t see you. With iBeacon technology, your mobile device is actually what detects the iBeacons. More specifically, an app installed on the mobile device can ask to be notified when the device sees a specific iBeacon. This works very similar to how geofences work when a mobile device crosses into a specific geographic location. Keep in mind that in order for a mobile device to detect and react to an iBeacon, an app MUST reside on the device and have requested the specific iBeacon identifiers it is interested in. The benefit of this approach is that it gives the user ultimate control. If a user does not want to interact with iBeacons, he or she can opt-out by not allowing the app to use location services (iOS), turning Bluetooth off, or uninstalling the app on their phone.” Think GPS when using iBeacons, and we also note, that there are already some 100 apps for iBeacons in the Apple iTunes store today. Android developers are spooling up as well. The underlying technology is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based and the rechargeable transmitter units are about the size of a mint tin that can run for days without a charge. If you want to build your own iBeacon application, check out the Travel Radar App in the iTunes App Store, put an iBeacon in your bag, and find your luggage before someone else does!

ALERTS!

  • We just heard that Aircraft Cabin Systems recently was granted and registered a patent for their new retractable monitor that features a charged capacitor retract solution!
  • Watch for Telefonix get more into Connectivity with the addition of Jim Costello to their staff!
  • If you are looking for an Electrical or Electro-Mechanical engineering job opportunity in the greater Seattle area (Kirkland/Redmond WA), we will send you contact information by email. Send a note to plwiseman@gmail.com and mark your email “Jobs” in the subject heading, the rest is up to you

On October 20, this year, one of the most important connectivity events occurred… certainly with respect to US inflight connectivity, that is. ViaSat-1 was launched and is now in geosynchronous orbit. Why significant? Operating at Ka Band, ViaSat-1 will deliver 100 times the capacity of its Ku counterparts. Over the US, where ViaSat-1 plans to provide bandwidth, it will be via their Yonder service (branded as WildBlue, by their reseller). Using the ViaSat network will allow jetBlue to begin Ka Band service later in 2012. “ViaSat-1 is the highest capacity satellite ever launched,” noted Mike Moeller of LiveTV fame. This high bandwidth ‘bird’, in combination with Wild Blue service offering, will supply 70 US spot beams that will provide coverage over all the US (and most of high density Canada). The total data speed (thruput) is on the order of 140 GB/sec so it is a flying Internet solution waiting to happen! Developed for ground and airborne service, the user base for ViaSat’s Yonder (WildBlue) service will benefit from the delivery of up to 15 MBps to homes. Consequently, airlines like jetBlue and United Continental have bought in. Readers should should also note that aircraft service will be operating on the order of 20 to 60 MBps per plane.

IFExpress was lucky to glean a few charts that tell a good part of the supply & demand story from Moeller. These charts, while marked ‘LiveTV Confidential’ have been approved by Mike for all our readers to view and we encourage you to check them out as they tell the story of “Why Ka Band for Inflight Connectivity” – in nice chart form. (Note: These charts are both old and new from the LiveTV repository and, while some data is out of date, watch the trends.)

Chart 1 – The “Scissors chart”. The trend is obvious, and while some of the data is outdated, the trend and issues remain the same – mobile connectivity Internet users continue to want free connectivity and they are getting greater connection speed for less money every day. Freer airport Wi-Fi trends are proof of this sea change.

Chart 2 – Quantitatively, the cost per megabyte is dropping on the ground, but as Moeller likes to point out, while the effective (and this is rough) Ku Band data offerings hover between $.30 and $.40 a message, ground users are working at $.01 or less effective message pricing. Based on the LiveTV/ViaSat model, their service is targeted at around $.05 per MB message. The message here is: greater bandwidth and a better footprint over the US permit economies of scale in situation where booth Ku and Ka compete equally.

Chart 3 – Programs underway as noted above. The US map is a graphical representation of Ka Band spot beam service, with the red polygons representing Yonder today, and the blue polygons indicate the additional coverage offered by ViaSat-1. ViaSat-1 is also pictured in this chart. You will note that there is going to be a lot of Ka Bandwidth available over the US next year.

Chart 4 – The LiveTV Global TV initiative that will launch later in 2012. Yes, it is a Ku Band service, consequently, there is going to be a lot of R&D in antenna radomes that offer minimal signal attenuation at both Ka and Ku frequencies!

Chart 5 – Proposed global Inmarsat service is shown in this chart and it is obvious there are Ka Band signal density differences over land, but we believe there is a lot of Inmarsat signal concentration over water, which is designated for shipping but will serve aircraft. As far as we know, the initial LiveTV/ViaSat Ka Band offerings will occur over the US first and Europe second. Over water service at Ka Band, at least initially, will be redirected to Ku Band birds.

It is not going to be all uphill for the Ka crowd, however. Issues like the requirement for increased, onboard antenna, beam pointing accuracy will surely increase the cost of the airborne hardware. Television service will not be the focus at Ka band as the systems will be built for transceivers… transmit and receive which may also bias the economies. While fine for two-way communication, streaming TV will most probably be better suited for other satellites operating at Ku Band.

As Mike likes to say, “This is a high risk, high reward game.” IFExpress would like to point out that only one part of this syllogism is guaranteed.

Ponder Yonder with these additional links:
http://www.tele-satellite.us/TELE-satellite-0709/eng/feature.pdf
http://www.starlancs.com/EducateMe/educate_wb_vsat_tech.html
http://www.dbsinstall.com/GeneralInfo/Satellite_TV_Frequency_Bands.asp

(Editor’s Note: IFExpress would like to thank ViaSat’s Bruce Rowe for the Proton launch and preflight photo’s you might not have seen elsewhere.)