Another successful AIX has passed muster and the IFExpress team is in the process of pulling stories from the reams of data collected to keep those ‘Hot Topics’ flowing for the foreseeable future. As a show, the official details are not yet available; however, it looked like an ample supply of visitor and airlines were present – no complaints from vendors must mean a good show was had by all. Let’s turn to highlights now:

Seat-Centricity seemed to be the theme, from Crystal Cabin Awards to vendor space, enhancement and advancement of seat electronics was commonplace. For those of you searching for a definition, seat centricity simply places more of the storage and content processing at the seat. More powerful processors, increased memory, and GUI-driven interfaces are the name of the game. Beyond hardware and software, the dependency of servers and networks for content delivery is reduced. An earlier prediction from an IFE maven gave us this quote in an earlier Hot Topic: “…and Seat-centric IFE systems will get traction in 2011 with significant orders.” While we are not sure about the ‘traction’ part we are sure of the orders. Vendors who sell this type of IFE are sitting on orders. Take that to the bank!

We counted at least 3 new GSM (Ku and Ka) hardware sources and while we did not talk to them all, the big surprise was from the software house, TriaGnoSys. Their 2 box solution is pretty revolutionary. We note the company has hired an additional hardware team and is working with subcontractors to deliver a simpler GSM inflight telephony solution. With over 1,300 connectivity equipped airplanes flying toady, we promise a story on this one, and the trend, soon.

App developers (We talked to two) also demonstrated their wares. An iPad for crew usage from Ultramain got our attention, while platform agnostic Plane Bill showed new, slick, and very useful airline apps. MRO iPad solutions were in attendance as well.

One major player (No names mentioned – yet), who has reduced their IFE footprint in the past few years, is ramping up a new system this summer… probably for a single-aisle solution. We suspect their new gadget includes connectivity, but what do we know? Stay Tuned on this one, probably in early summer!

Panasonic displayed their VERY SLICK, seat-centric Android, X3 IFE system – and it was really nice. Panasonic worked up a few apps with a new outside supplier that were clean, fast and very attractive and hosted it on their seat-centric solution. Their display and app presentation was the talk of the show.

While we visited at least 4 portable IFE suppliers, there were more at AIX. While the iPad was represented, we saw at least one new tablet-driven system… and yes, it ran Microsoft Windows 7 OS.

Thales IFE guru, Ken Brady, showed IFExpress their Ka-Band Global Express connectivity solution (Inmarsat), destined for 350-XWB service. Will greater Ka-Bandwidth provide the $/kilobit advantage and rule connectivity?

We finally got a look at the new, thin, HD display from Lumexis… nice!

Big Display folks – ACS, showed us new, no fan, LCD display designs (It’s done with ‘chimneys’) and a thin (1.9 inch), giant 46 inch LCD unit. Thin is in!

Much to our embarrassment, Ka-Band connectivity is coming on strong. In the past, we echoed expert opinion that Ka-Band, here today on marine applications and business jets, would probably debut on commercial planes in 5 or so years. Wrong! Live TV and ViaSat are looking at a 12 month time-frame.

And now the thanks:
An IFExpress thank you goes out to Panasonic’s Gene Connelly who literally gave us the shirt off his back – a real nice Panasonic shirt! The folks at AirCell sent us on our way (domestically, speaking) with 8 hours of inflight Internet… gawd we were glued to the iPod screen. And yes, the domestic legs were shorter. We didn’t want to quit the “I am sending this to you from 30.000 feet” messages. We also have to mention and thank the folks at PopCap Games, Bookworm improved our spelling, but what really matters is our garden is now free from zombies (Plants vs Zombies). Lastly, a ‘thank you’ goes out to the AIX media folks who provided Wi-Fi and life-saving morning coffee.

Springville, UT April 7, 2011 –- As of April 1, the digEplayer L7 is available inflight as a semi-embedded IFE offering. Having launched on a 737-700 flying from Bahrain to Milan and Geneva, every passenger in economy class is now able to enjoy all of the same content normally available on Gulf Air’s existing handhelds via the new seat back units.

“As many may know, we have had an interest for some time in adapting and certifying our proprietary handheld system as a seat back solution. We appreciate the partnership with Gulf Air that has allowed us to realize that goal,” remarked digEcor President Brad Heckel. “This important milestone is the first step as we develop a robust seat back option that will address the needs of many airlines today.”

EASA certified, the embedded L7 uses in-seat power, features a PA interrupt, and is seat centric as all content is stored locally on the device. Currently, the system mainly consists of the L7; though with other projects in the works, digEcor plans to continue development on the project and will roll out new features and functionality in the coming months.

digEcor CEO Brent Wood commented, “Gulf Air has been flying the L7 as a portable for several months and now has embedded the player. More planes will follow this conversion and L10 (ten inch) players are also being prepared for other planes and premium passengers. This allows an airline to purchase an L series portable player and then at any time in the future, embed that player into the back of the seat. This protects the initial investment in a portable player as it becomes a ‘Mix and Match’ device for the airlines.”

Added Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Mr. Samer Majali, “The embedding of L7 players on Gulf Air’s fleet is a further demonstration of service-enhancement to our passengers. With its new features and functionality, I am sure the embedded player in seat backs will raise the passenger inflight entertainment to the next level as we introduce the major revamp to our onboard entertainment in coming months.”

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.