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Mr. Crystal Cabin Awards Walter Birkhan

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Mr. Crystal Cabin Awards Walter Birkhan Powered By Docstoc
					               july/aug 2009




Meet...
              Mr. Crystal Cabin
                  Awards
              Walter Birkhan

          1
New player and growth strategy at leading portable
             player company digEcor

D    igEcor is in the middle of a
     growth strategy, building
its core activity of IFE portable
                                    lease or purchase, and rental
                                    revenue.
                                                                        the external battery status
                                                                        indicator   which    greatly
                                       The XLP weighs 1216 grams
                                    (2.67lbs) including battery.        job’.
 into related markets.              Without the battery it weighs          DigEcor has not given up
   CEO J Brent Wood says,           488grams (1.07lbs). It comes        on the idea of an embedded or
‘digEcor as a company is            in a sleek black case, with a       installed system, which was
really rocking with many new                                            discussed a number of years
initiatives related to IFE. Its     illustrate airline’s branding       ago, and continues to remain
future is brighter today than       and corporate identity.             on the agenda.
it has ever been. There will            The XLP has an 8inch screen        ‘We are still considering a
be more vertical integration        with 800 x 480 resolution,          semi-embedded system and
in both the hardware and            a 16:9 aspect ratio and user        the decision will be based on
the content in the very near        adjustable brightness up to         market needs.’
future.’                            360nits. It also contains an           The     company’s       parent
   First up is a new handheld       80gb hard drive with options        Wencor is a leader in the parts
player, with improved battery       for storage up to 120gb.            replacement business.
power and content delivery.
                                                                           Subsidiary digEcor is also
The new player, digEplayer
                                                                        operating in this area by
XLP, can support hundreds
                                                                        obtaining PMA licenses directly
of hours of movies, general
                                                                        from the FAA to manufacture
programming,       audio   and
                                                                        and sell IFE parts of its own
games. The ‘XLP’ stands for
                                                                        design to replace, for one reason
extra long play. Based on its
                                                                        or another, onboard OEM
predecessor the digEplayer
                                                                        parts. The company offers a
                                                                        PMA LCD monitor that replaces
a more powerful battery which
                                                                        stationary or retractable CRT
lasts 16 hours.
                                                                        monitors manufactured by
   President Brad Heckel says,                                          Sony, Panasonic, and Rockwell
‘Our development team has                                               Collins.
long sought to address the          above: longer lasting digEplayer
                                                 XLP                       digEcor claims that its
increasing desire for a player
                                                                        replacement monitor is ‘not
with an extended battery life.’
                                                                        only brighter, but is also lighter
   The    XLP   will   replace         It also supports MP3 and
                                                                        and less expensive.’
                                    AAC audio playback with two
                                    headphone jacks which can be           digEcor is marketing the
on several B767-300s. The
                                    controlled independently.           monitor on a worldwide basis
players will enter service in
                                                                        and plans to follow up with
July in a larger contract than         The unit also has a more
                                                                        other products.
                                    powerful LED backlit screen,
                                    following months of extensive          Each PMA offering will be
  However,     the   digEplayer
                                    testing. The brightness provides    related to IFE or other interior
                                    greater visual brilliance when      products so as not to compete
production at digEcor since
                                    watching video content.             with Wencor.
‘Each model has a purpose,
unique features and a respective       The XLP also has a DC               digEcor is also distributing
price point. We are strategically   jack for external power and         to airlines some ten Wencor
growing our family of products      Ethernet content loading. It is     IFE PMA parts. The PMA parts
to help meet the diverse needs      wireless compatible to 802.11       have been added to digEcor’s
of the airline market.’             standards, supports MPEG4           Internet order desk.
   The pricing of the XLP will      and all image formats such as          Wood concludes, ‘We are well
be similar to that of the XT        html.                               along in developing surrounding
and ‘will be very competitive’         It also has a USB port, credit   product niches within the cabin
according to the company.           card reader, and an encryption      and particularly around IFE.
   Pricing is dependent on          engine and formatting which            ‘There are many other great
many factors such as number         meets       Hollywood     studio    things going on at digEcor and
                                    requirements.                       we are the strongest we have
content, ancillary revenue             Heckel adds, ‘One of our         ever been!’
opportunities, whether it is a      more popular features is
                                                   2
  B777-300ER certification for AeroMobile

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         People and places on the move
E    mphasis Video Entertainment (EVE)
     has made new appointments and
expanded its capacity.
                                             records, web video production and
                                             broadcast level video production. He
                                             produced varied video content
    The company’s in-house Edit Suite,       including video promotions, corporate
which since 2007 has been supporting         videos, commercial documentaries
all editing and MPEG encoding post-          and feature programs. He has a BSc
production services, has been expanded       in communication, specialising in
                                             audio and video production from Ohio
   The increase in video equipment           University.
not only strengthens the Edit Suite’s           Lewis Lau joins the team in the new
data backup system, but also increases       role of manager, distribution. Lau has six
                                             years’ experience in movie and program
expansion of the digital content archives    distribution and acquisition for TV, video
meets the trend towards digitalisation of    and internet. Previously he boosted
                                             sales revenue at International Film
   Kenneth Kwok has been appointed           specialising in new media and internet
director, post-production. He has            VOD business in China. He has a BSc                    above: Michael Childers
experience in managing production            in government and public administration
studios, working with companies such as
PolyGram Records (Universal Music),
                                             from the Chinese University of Hong
                                             Kong. EVE general manager Irene
                                                                                          M       ichael Childers has left his
                                                                                                  position as managing director,
                                                                                          content and media development at IMS
TOM.COM, Hong Kong Cable TV                  Tan says, ‘I am extremely pleased to         to focus on his consultancy LightStream
and TVB. Over the past 11 years, his         have Kenneth and Lewis joining our           Communications Group. Childers will
career in the media industry has spanned     experienced team.’                           still be retained as a consultant to IMS
                                                                                          but will look for additional clients
                                                                                          for LightStream, which addresses
                                                                                          content management and supply chain
                                                                                          automation.
                                                                                             Childers spent three years at IMS,

                                                                                          consultant at IMDC, serving IMS as
                                                                                          a client. He established LightStream
                                                                                          Communications Group in 1996. Since
                                                                                          2001 he has chaired the WAEA Digital
                                                                                          Content Management Working Group

                                                                                          MPEG Industry Forum and Internet
                                                                                          Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA). He
                                                                                          also chaired WAEA’s Satellite Content
                                                                                          Delivery Group and was a co-founder of
                                                                                          the Digital Media Distribution Technical
                                                                                          Committee.
                                                        3
    Continental rolls out LiveTV and IFE upgrade

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     above: the new inseat AVOD system in Continental Airlines’ B757 economy class.

                                                               AIR BALTIC CHOOSES BLUEBOX
Egyptair to install Mobile and Internet OnAir                              LITE




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                                            4
Thales lands Qatar order at
       Paris Air Show

Q           -
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            -
            -                       -   E   MS SATCOM has achieved an STC from the
                                            European Aviation Safety Agency for its high-
                                        gain antenna and SwiftBroadBand transceiver.
                                    -   The AMT-3800 antenna and HSD-440 high speed
            -                       -   terminal were tested and certified on an Asia-
                                        based A319 commercial airliner. The system also
            -                           received a Vendor Supplemental Type Certificate
                                        from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
                                    -
                                         The equipment provides passengers with high-
            -                       -   speed email, voice internet and wi-fi capabilities.
                                        It also provides Inmarsat safety services and Aero
                                        H+ voice.
                                         EMS SATCOM director of commercial sales Jean
                                        Menard says, ‘EMS SATCOM is the first to provide
                                    -   the SwiftBroadband high-gain antenna and SBB
            -                           transceiver solution to the worldwide aeronautical
                                        market.’

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TriaGnoSys launches VoCeM
    compression software

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                        5
   Virgin attracts budding entrepreneurs with Pitch TV


A
        n idea cross-fertilising          entrepreneurship project which needs     around the world onboard Virgin
        Virgin Atlantic’s IFE and         funding in order to spread the word      Atlantic planes as well online at
        the internet has had re-          and go global.                           virgin.com.’
sounding success according to                                                        Also this summer Virgin is
the airline. In April Virgin an-                                                   running a showcase of the best
                                          bottle: designed to replace the          West end shows in London to help
nounced a new programme on
                                          throwaway plastic bottle culture. The    passengers decide what to see
its IFE systems called Pitch TV.                                                   on their visits. Entitled Curtain
   The idea is to enable budding          tap water, replacing 757 half litre      Up!
entrepreneurs to attract investment       plastic bottles of water.                is made by TotallyTheatre.com.
from Virgin Atlantic’s business                                                    Passengers are invited to contact the
passengers by posting two-minute          six-pointed
videos of their business pitches on a     star topper on
special website http://entrepreneur.      the market:
virgin.com/pitchtv/                       A Jewish
   The online community votes for         Star of David
its favourite video pitches. Then         product,
each month, the winning videos            designed to
feature as part of Virgin Atlantic’s      go on to top
                                          of Christmas
gaining exposure to the thousands of      trees during
business professionals who regularly      the holiday
                                          season in
in hearing more about the most            order for
popular entrepreneurs’ business ideas     inter faith
will then be able to get in contact and   families to
maybe help take their ideas further.      help celebrate
  Each Pitch TV show also features        each other’s
interviews with guest entrepreneurs       culture.
including Charles Dunstone                  ShareMeme
(Carphone Warehouse), Michelle            is an Online application product         content provider if they want more
Mohan (Ultima), James Caan                which allows all contact platforms       information or make a ticket booking
(Dragon’s Den) and Tony Hseih             (phone, email, SMS, AIM, Twitter,        to see a particular show.
(Zappos). They answer questions           Google Chat) to be routed to one           The 15-minute programme is
posed by Richard Branson’s Twitter        place. This enables people to            updated monthly and segmented into
and blog followers.                       communicate with each other via an       three-four minute slots focussing on
  Virgin reports that Branson’s blog      intelligent outbox. Another winner is
was ‘inundated with fan messages’ as      Homestie, a website selling unused
the initiative was announced.             space (such as a wardrobe, a garage,     the scenes footage, interviews with
  A record 10,605 page views were         or garden shed) which is designed for    cast members and production people.
scored on day one and by the end of       people who do not want to pay high       Theatre experts explain what the
                                          prices for renting self-storage space.   shows are about and offer their own
44,128. Branson’s Twitter following         Virgin Atlantic president Sir          views.
jumped up to 75,500 followers.            Richard Branson says, ‘The response        Virgin Atlantic creative director
  Five winners have been picked           to Pitch TV has been fantastic           Lysette Gauna says, ‘Curtain Up!
from video pitches. The winning           and is testament to the innovative       will be available on all Virgin
pitches are: Kids Are Heroes;             talent that is out there. It’s great
Ecousable; Hannukkah Tree Topper;         that we can facilitate this and now      means that passengers will be able
and ShareMeme. Kids are Heroes            assist in hopefully making these
is based on the idea that kids can        entrepreneurs’ ambitions a reality.’     know before deciding to see a show.
make a difference in the world: it          ‘If you’re a budding entrepreneur,     Then, once they’ve landed, they’ll
is a website devoted to children          we’re giving you the unique              also have been given an easy route
who have done exceptional things          opportunity of getting your ideas        to buy tickets for the show of their
in their communities. A social            by top business professionals from       choice.’
                                                            6
Making good connections
IFPL designs and manufactures
dataport and ethernet
connectors




InFlight Peripherals Limited
Bloomsbury Park, Manners View, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5FA
                                                           @ifpl.com
www.ifpl.com

                               I
CO N N ECT I O N S FO R I N F L7 G H T E N T E RTA I N M E N T SY ST E M S
    The year 2013 will see an ‘explosion in growth’
   for ife according to leading global consultancy
                   frost & sullivan

                         T    he IFE industry will
                              start to experience stable
                         growth in the next ten years
                                                           content will evaporate says Papiomytis.
                                                             ‘We will see a change – already this trend is being
                         with an ‘explosion’ of IFE in     seen as an opportunity and a threat to IFE suppliers
                         2013, according to Frost &        where data storage onboard is replaced by data
                         Sullivan.                         streaming via internet’.
                           The IFE market has                However, Panasonic and Thales can rest easy
                         retracted from $1.28bn            in their dominance since they each have strong
                         (hardware only) last year to      marketshare of the major airframe types (Panasonic
                         $1bn this year. There is huge
Diogenis Papiomytis
                         pressure on suppliers large       Frost & Sullivan) and will also be the leading
 and small. Panasonic and Thales are ‘feeling the          systems providers of choice in new widebodies.
 delays from large aircraft orders and deliveries’.        Frost & Sullivan puts Panasonic’s marketshare at
   Next year will see the beginning of a period
 of stable growth culminating in an ‘explosion of
 growth’ in the years 2012-13 when current delays to       to long-term.
 new aircraft acquisition recede and airlines introduce

                                                           achieved dominance on the narrowbody and bizjet
 the growth of new technologies. ‘The market from          market, according to Papiomytis. The narrowbody
 2013 on is expected to grow very very fast,’ says         market is set to grow and could accommodate
 senior analyst aerospace and defence Diogenis             another IFE vendor. The portable player market


 of this expenditure will be on widebodies with

 Portable players will account for around 8percent of      and develop their asset management strategies
 the market and installed IFE on narrowbodies for          of providing complete turnkey service and repair
 around 10percent.                                         to their airline clients. ‘The old model of selling
   The downside is that airlines still do not regard       hardware to airlines is not working anymore.

                                                           (consulting) and asset management (leasing)
                                                           capabilities is the key.’
                                                             The good news for this niche is it is likely to
 airlines need to assess the role and importance in        emerge as a strong contender for aircraft operators
 detail of IFE to their passengers since it is currently
 not seen as a tangible Return on Investment.              are moving away from portable players as a
   This negative attitude has resulted in larger           redundancy solution and see them now as viable
 airlines cutting down on IFE or starting new              alternatives to embedded systems,’ says Papiomytis.
 revenue generation schemes.                                 There will be further consolidation in the portable
   The IFE market will also undergo an identity            market but it will remain stable. However it is
 change in the coming years. No longer will the            important for these companies ‘to partner with the
 adopted technology be today’s installed systems           likes of Panasonic and Thales to gain access to their
 relying on onboard data storage for distribution.         customer base.’
 The new world of IFE will be populated by PEDS              The latter should move away from using in-house
                                                           designs to serve this market, says Papiomytis, citing
 model of digital or analog servers and content
                                                            ‘This is not something that will happen overnight,

                                                            these companies should start planning ahead and
                                                            brainstorm on how they see themselves positioned in

                                                              ‘They are not in the content market anymore, they
                                                            are in the ‘passenger enabling’ market and their
                                                            customers will not be the airlines in the future, but
                                                            the passengers. They need to plan accordingly.’



                                                            market’ says Papiomytis.

                                                            traditional embedded system suppliers,’ believes


                                                            like Phantom and Lumexis have not yet realised
                                                            how big a threat it is, as that would mean a complete
                                                            change in their philosophy and future strategies. I
                                                            have many companies asking “how worried should
                                                            we be about Portable players?” or new technologies

                                                            question should be, how soon will it be until we see
platform for new technologies and is being targetted
                                                            proliferation in PED and communication between
by innovative entrants such as Lumexis and
                                                            PED and airline IFE for content downloads?’
                                                              He explains that in this case, PEDS (personal
are part of a market propensity to diversify from
                                                            electronic devices) would be all consumer electronics
cabin interior solutions towards IFE.
                                                            brought on board the aircraft by the passenger, but
lifecycle of a typical modern IFE system shrinking
                                                            the airlines.
to only two or three years, airlines need to see
                                                              ‘In this context, passenger electronics will become
technology as an ‘enabler and not a one way’ form of
entertainment.
                                                            play a secondary role as enablers, for example, a
   Suppliers in general are likely to adopt a more
                                                            case where a passenger connects an iPod to watch
aggressive commercial approach in competing for
                                                            a movie on the in-seat screen or to download movie
business from airlines and need to partner to provide
                                                            from the airline’s central storage device.’
one stop shop solutions for airlines’ needs.
                                                              This spells good news for suppliers of integration
                                                            and enabling technologies such as inseat power and
pushing for their own branding strategies.
                                                            docking stations.
 The biggest threat might be to content service
                                                              The current fragmentation will evolve into
                                                            partnerships and one stop shop solutions as suppliers
                                                            combine strengths to win new business. New
from internet streaming as connectivity and PEDS
                                                            start-ups, especially those with exciting ideas and
take over.
                                                            become the targets for acquisition.
even further than they have already. This merging
                                                              The downturn is a time of investment by suppliers
will ‘intensify over the next few years’.
                                                            in new technologies and solutions. They are already
                                                            helping airlines to ‘accommodate passenger demands
allow higher compression of data for satcoms,
                                                            and gain from higher passenger loyalty levels,’ but
content will be streamed via the internet and
                                                            also creating revenue generation for airlines.
there will be little demand for onboard storage or
traditional content delivery methods, according
to Papiomytis.                                     for further information, email diogenis.papiomytis@frost.com
                           Making the message
                            Crystal Clear
An exclusive interview with Walter Birkhan, chairman of the Crystal Cabin Awards
Association, which rewards innovation in cabin engineering, entertainment and
                                 communication.


S
      tanding on the corner of an urban Hamburg             win a huge European project, part funded by the
                                                            European Commission and the German aerospace
       place for aviation’. This is an organisation         industry, which involves the French and Italian
that is working hard to set new standards in cabin          aerospace market to create an ‘aviation cluster and
technology. Here the Crystal Cabin Awards are               centre of excellence in Hamburg.’
managed. This is also the place where European                 Every year Hamburg hosts the Aircraft Interiors
and global companies share ideas and technology.            Expo, which is owned and managed by Reed
Their efforts could shape the future of the aircraft        Exhibitions.
cabin industry as a whole.
  Spearheading this initiative is Crystal Cabin             and ourselves. We want the fair here and to make
Award Association chairman and president Walter             sure it grows and gets business behind it. That’s




   This year’s Crystal Cabin winners. Lufthansa Technik’s Andreas Wietzke, third from right, holds the award for
                                      entertainment and communications aloft

                                                            why we are trying to make it as important and as
Birkhan, a veteran of the aerospace and cabin               visible as possible. We have to get the customers
industry. It is partly thanks to Birkhan and his            here, and the airlines. We would like to give the
team that Hamburg is now the centre of aerospace            message to the industry; we take care of you.’
                                                               ‘Aircraft Interiors is a very important Expo
Europe. Birkhan is also ‘clustermanager’ helping            for the city of Hamburg and our location and we

                                                       10
support it as much as possible.’                             all necessities. We started to develop products and

signed a deal with Reed Exhibitions to host the              the A320, its expertise was matured to apply for the
Aircraft Interiors Expo for the next                         A380 project in equipping the aircraft interiors.’
                                                                                      He adds, ‘This does not
for the Crystal Cabin Awards, which                                                come out of the blue. You
                                                                                   have to train people and this
                                                                                   takes time. We had to have
entertainment and communications.                                                  programmes. What do we do
   ‘We are interested in getting more
applications from the IFE market.                                                    what about the universities?
                                                                                     Do we focus on the R&D of
I can’t really say how many in the                                                   our industry? Do we focus
IFE category. There’s a slight growth                                                on our main competence? Is
in the awards for this segment and                                                   there anyone with a notion
I think it’s going to be growing a bit                                               of interiors? So there were
more.’                                                                               faculties being built up,
                                                                                     special programmes for
    He adds, ‘We want to make it even
                                                                                     apprenticeships and all these
more attractive.’
                                                                                     kinds of things have been
    According to Birkhan the city of                                                 developed. So this was a new
Hamburg started seriously focussing                                                  dimension of an economic
on the interiors market when France
                                            CCA chairman and project director of policy. At the same time what
began developing avionics for Airbus
                                            Hamburg - the Place for Aviation, Walter we found was we need to
aircraft. He says that the German                                                    have innovation innovation
                                                           Birkhan
aerospace industry had been so                                                       innovation!’
focussed on building the aircraft as
                                                                                         Hosting a dedicated show
a whole, in other words ‘nailing the fuselage’ that it
                                                             for the cabin and IFE industry in Hamburg has
                                                             given a new strength
the avionics’.
                                                             and identity to this
    He says, ‘When the Germans realised the                  sector, says Birkhan.
intelligence of the plane is in France, and we would         ‘Previously, people       2009    Lufthansa Technik for NiceView
never get it back we had to develop something                were distributed          2008    Airbus for Universal Wireless
else. So what was left? The interior. Everyone was           all over the world                Backbone System
laughing at interiors…thinking it was just chairs..... at various shows,               2007    Airbus for Flat Panel Speakers
but then they invented it more and more. There               under the huge roof
were some designers here in Hamburg at the                   of Paris air show,
time who had the idea to develop the cabin as a              Farnborough, or Berlin. Then they discovered this
business.’
    ‘In my perspective it all started in the early 90s       aircraft interiors guy! It’s a new segment.’
with the development of the A320 family,’ says                   Birkhan and Tilman Tesseraux (at Lufthansa
Birkhan. ‘We found out we had to acquire a special           Technik) dreamed up the idea of the Crystal Cabin
competence here in Hamburg and (saw) that we                 Awards over a beer. The CCAs were launched in
could build up an important business segment.’               2007. Although the Crystal Cabin Awards is staged
    The city deliberately set about winning                  at the Expo, the Association remains purely under
marketshare in the cabin interiors industry by               the ownership and remit of Hamburg.
ploughing investment and resources into its                      ‘For us it’s important that the CCA is an integral
universities and engineering institutions. Hamburg           part of the Expo. We have built an association for it
                                                             and made it a bit independent. We want to have it
Lufthansa Technik and Airbus.                                as neutral as possible because we don’t want to mix
    It was the A380 that offered Hamburg the                 and mingle it
trump card in securing the cabin interiors market.           with politics.’
                                                                 There
                                                             is also the
                                                             challenge of
Finkenwerder, Hamburg.                                       attracting
    But there was more to winning business than              competitors.
attracting investment. Birkhan explains, ‘It’s not           ‘We want
enough to dig a whole lot of money in the sand of            to attract
Finkenwerder rather than have an accompanying                international
economic policy.’                                            companies
                                                             but they
environment that has to functional and styled for            were
                                                   11
sceptical at the beginning. Boeing was very                 or concept and explain why it is innovative. The
sceptical. It took a while … to get over this               description and pictures are sent in electronic
scepticism                                                                                   format to the
because we had                                                                               judges who use
installed this                                                                               a scoring system
international                                                                                to make their
panel. I’m not                                                                               decision. A shortlist
in the panel
though I’m the                                                                               per category is
president of the                                                                             drawn up followed
association. We
want to keep it                                                                              The shortlist is
as independent                                                                               announced publicly
as possible so
that applicants                                                                              encouraged to
have the                                                                                     attend the Expo in
impression it’s a                                                                            Hamburg. Being
fair decision and                                                                            an exhibitor is
as transparent                                                                               recommended but
as possible.’                                                                                not mandatory
    He is also                                                                               for entering the
keen to point                                                                                competition.
out there is no                                                                                 ‘We invite them
entry fee. ‘When                                                                             to come here for

people came up                                                                               and presentation.
                                                            For example, one of our winners presented a
  I mention an IFE company that was under that              paperclip armrest. Some people laughed about it
impression. ‘Birkhan adds, ‘They should have taken          but it was very convincing. The applicant was at the
part!’
  This year’s Crystal Cabin Award competition
                                                               ‘We also have to take care within the panel
14 countries. This had been whittled down to 18             there’s at least one or two people with a notion of
                                                            IFE. Peter Hardie was director of Panasonic here
judges, and awards were given in six different              in Hamburg. We’re going to bring someone else
categories.                                                 in. We’re going to create a platform for discussion
                                                            before decision.’ He adds that it’s no good if ‘one
   Applications have to describe their entry product




                                                       12
person says, this is rubbish, and another says this      ‘We’re going to build up a new infrastructure
is a goldmine. There has to be a discussion because
they (the judges) are spread all over the world.’      This has already started and we’re going to build
    As to the global recession, Hamburg is largely     test stations.’
weatherproof, boasting not only aviation but also         The new institute will focus on the ‘practical
a wider transportation network including the           side of research’ according to Birkhan, addressing
shipping, freight forwarding and logistics industry.   questions such as ‘How could the system
It is a mercantile city founded on the culture and     technology be improved for several sections inside
industry of transport.
    ‘We are not just focussed on the aviation
industry. We see it as part of the entire transport    There are a lot of interfaces which have to be
                                                       checked and optimised.’
management, and transport. There are a lot of            And that pioneering effort will be done in
strong segments in the industry which we’d like to
focus on because the interfaces are very important.’


Airlines exploit the Aircell Gogo service to run new inflight
          entertainment and broadband applications


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                                                                                                            -
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                          Where the Skype Are You?
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                                              13
           Panasonic wins more
         contracts and weathers
               downturn

P
       anasonic Avionics Corporation is weathering           is very proud to continue our long, successful
       the economic downturn. According to director          relationship with American Airlines. ‘We are also
       of corporate sales and marketing Neil James           very pleased to celebrate our milestone delivery
it is business as usual at the world’s largest IFE           of Panasonic’s 100th digital overhead audio/video
company. But he admits there is bound to be an               system with one of our most valued customers.’
impact.
    ‘There are two sides to the recession. There’s a         designed for widebody aircraft, have just launched
revenue side and a business side. The industrial             onboard Air Austral of La Réunion. The systems are
action at Boeing had an impact on the industry.
Other airlines are taking a very cautious approach
                                                             moving maps, games, and a variety of applications
across regions we serve and types of airlines we             that generate ancillary revenue.
serve and types of products we offer so we’ve been
                                                                Air Austral CEO Gérard Etheve says, ‘We are
able to minimise the impact.
   He adds, ‘The other side is investment. At
Panasonic we’re not distracted by portfolio                  an outstanding offering with deep maturity, will
management. This is all that we do… and we are               be a strategic tool to address the very competitive
looking at this as a time not to stop investment in          market between Paris and La Reunion. It will also
new systems and new development and innovation,              be a major asset to our worldwide development,
because it’s at the core of what we do.’                     especially to Sydney, Australia.”
   Does he think the industry might see                         In April Air Austral began serving Sydney,
consolidation and contraction? ‘Everybody has to             Australia and Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia
make their own business decisions. There have
been recent layoffs in this part of the industry from        Panasonic customer since 1998 and currently has
other IFE vendors.’                                          Panasonic systems installed on three Boeing 777-
   ‘We’re not immune to that. We haven’t to date.            200 aircraft.
We’re in this business for the long term. We don’t              Margis says, ‘The long-lasting relationship
make knee-jerk reactions. We’re looking very                 between our European team and Air Austral played
carefully at how we run our business. But you just           a key role in this entry into service. We are pleased
don’t reduce your core staff.’                               that Air Austral chose the eX2 system to help them
   The company’s aim is to ‘adapt to market                  differentiate their service in its competitive market.’
conditions while meeting the marketplace demand                 Its Multiplexed Passenger Entertainment System
for new technology.’                                         (MPES) was installed on the 6,000th B737 to
   The leading IFE vendor is continuing to make              enter into service. The aircraft was delivered to
contract announcements and has sold its 100th                International Lease Finance Corp and will be leased
digital overhead audio/video system to American              to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Norwegian), the
Airlines.                                                    second largest airline in Scandinavia.
                                                                Panasonic is also supplying Norwegian
American Airlines B767-300s, ten B767-200s and               with its DMPES (Digital Multiplexed Passenger
four B737-800s, with a further 72 systems to be
                                                             which start delivery in August. DMPES incorporates
are due for completion this summer while 106                 the X Series’ System Controller with Analog Audio
                                                             Output (SC-A). It has a 160-gigabyte memory and
                                                             uses less space, weight and power than traditional
                                                             IFE systems. The head-end volume saves room
                                                             and is lighter in weight, improving aircraft fuel-
audio and video in economy class. These are
planned for completion by the end of this year.                 Panasonic notes ‘the rapidly growing demand for
There is also another project for Panasonic systems          connectivity.’
on 72 B737-800s on the same airline.                            Earlier this year the company announced a new
   Panasonic CEO Paul Margis says, ‘Panasonic

                                                        14
several channels of news and sports. These are Al        beam we have and get the performance and the
Jazeera, BBC World News, the Bloomberg television
network, euronews and France 24.
   Neil James said, ‘We timed the announcement               The tv service will deliver a seamless passenger
when we were ready to broadcast it was done.             experience across multiple regions. It should
                                                         also provide airlines with revenue generation
we launched. It’d ideally be nice to time it with a      opportunities through advertising insertion and
customer launch but we’ve done it ahead of any           pay-per-view capabilities. It uses the same antenna
customer launch.’                                        and onboard components as the eXconnect
    But is it bad timing? He responds, ‘This is our      broadband system, minimising hardware and
industry. We intend to be successful in it and our       installation costs to the airlines.
airlines to be successful in it regardless of timing.’       Already two airlines have signed up for the new
    He added, ‘The industry is going to recover and      live tv, with the system likely to enter service the
bounce back. Airlines are making decisions now           end of this year or early next.
about systems that may not deliver in the timing of          ‘Some of the challenges global live television have
the current recession so we’re still… encouraging        had are because things have been regionalised.
our airlines to make broad long term decisions           People haven’t been as committed to managing a tv
as we are about product. So we’re absolutely             network of their own and that’s why we’ve launched
committed to connectivity and television and all
that it entails and making sure that we plan to              ‘We want to manage the content, we don’t want
go forward and our airline customers plan to go          to be restricted by some of the things that have
forward.’                                                restricted it in the past, (for example) the fact it
    In fact the timing of the launch of the new tv was   might drop out when you go over certain zones,
contingent upon the sourcing of the antenna, which       the fact that someone might not have international
is contracted to EMS Technologies. This is the same      coverage or international licensing so you have to
antenna as will be used for eXConnect.                   keep starting and stopping coverage.’
    Says James, ‘It took a twelve-month timeframe            He adds, ‘We are focussing on content where the
to get the antenna absolutely right. It’s key to         content owner has worldwide rights so we can have
delivering our Global Communications Suite. (The         it running all the way round the world and not to
antenna gives us) …the ability to use the small          have to worry about it.’




                                               15
    ‘Global communications is about several things.          to get hundreds of aircraft (signed up) because you
It’s about the cell modem and the ability to be              had to light up the whole network.
connected on the ground. It’s about connectivity,               ‘The sat providers and us realised that model
not just for the passenger, but the airline and all          is not going to work but all the agreements are in
that entails. It’s about tv.                                                                  place to provide
                                                                                              the coverage. The
part of a much broader                                                                        bandwidth is already
strategy not just tv per                                                                      secured that we
se.’                                                                                          need.’
   Panasonic will

selection of channels,                                                                      systems will license
arrange licensing and                                                                       its satellite IP
distribution agreements,                                                                    router technology
                                                                                            to Panasonic as a
encryption format.                                                                          core component of
                                                                                            eXConnect.
company’s policy of                                                                             Panasonic is
offering one stop shop IFE                                                                  also focussing
solutions.                                                                                  on maintenance
    James explains, ‘It’s                                                                   applications to make
not necessarily that it all                                                                 them easier to use
has to be invented here                                                                     for airlines and
but we certainly want to
partner with customers                                                                      staff.
to be able to provide a                                                                        The latest
complete solution so you                                                                    innovations involve
don’t get into discussions                                                                  integration of the
about quality of service.’                                                                  application onto
                                    Digital overhead system on American Airlines
    He adds, ‘We take                                                                 iPhone and Android
responsibility for it and                                                             devices. This means that
that’s why we want to be                                                              a person can use his
able to provide the whole solution to a customer.         or her iPhone to read the code from a photo and
It’s not just like that with the broadband solutions,     send it back to the maintenance center for further
it’s like that with a lot of stuff we do. We want to      processing and evaluation. The graphics are laid
provide the customer with a complete package.’            out intuitively for the user. This is another example
    Panasonic also plans to manage bandwidth              of IFE harnessing consumer products for the
allocation onboard. James explains, ‘We could             market.
manage the bandwidth being distributed around
the aircraft as well as being broadcast to the            and Blu-ray technologies. A 32-inch inseat HD
aircraft. So an airline might say they want to            monitor will be launched, increasing the HD range
maximise the bandwidth for passenger to do email,         of 17-inch and 23-inch displays. Currently all the
we can manage all that bandwidth for them.’               company’s current displays above seven inches are
    ‘If they want to expand amount of bandwidth for
tv we can do that, it’s all manageable onboard.’              ‘Customers are driving (demand) for high
    There are also plans to enter eXPhone into the
                                                          to that. Everything above a 7-inch display we make

Asia, and two in Europe and one in Africa. The
                                                             might have to make to DSPs or processors inside
autumn.                                                      the seat. So when airlines are ready for HD we’re
                                                             ready to accommodate it. A lot of content these days
  Satellite coverage will be provided by Intelsat
                                                             want to market themselves with high def. There are
broadband service will provide coverage in key
regions. This can be scaled up as demand grows.
                                                               The new karma handset, due to enter service
   ‘We’re not trying to light up all the transponders
                                                             next year, was on display at the Expo.
around the world. But we have to make sure the
coverage is in place for our launch customer,’ says
James.                                                       following feedback from clients. Consequently the
                                                             new handset is thinner with a new look and feel,
   ‘So the sat coverage is in place, but not like the
                                                             and a new casing.
Connexion By Boeing model, where you’re trying

                                                        16
    Corporate IFE - a growing market
contracts and innovations from EMS, Lufthansa
Technik, Rockwell Collins, Aircell and Panasonic


C     EMS Sky Connect’
                                                             -
                                   -                         -


                                   -
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                                                             -
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                                                             -




              -
              -                                              -
                    there is an undeniable market need for

                  ‘                    phone.
                                                             -
                                                             -

                                                             -
              -                                              -
                                   -                         -

                                                             -
                                   -                         -


 EMS SATCOM                        -                         -


                                                             -
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                                                             -



                              17
                    -                    -



                                         -


                                         -

                    -                    -
                    -                    -
                    -

                                         -
     -
                  today’s
         milestone paves      the
                                         -

                                         -
-    way for thousands of busi-
-   ness aircraft installations in the
            coming years.’
                                         -

                                         -

     -
                                         -

                                         -




                                         -
                                         -


                    -
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                                         -
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                    -

                                         -
                        18
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             -
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                                                                -
                                                                -
ARINC        -                                                  -
             -
             -


             -



                     Lumexis trial makes progress
             -

             -   L   umexis   Corporation    reports   that

                 Fiber-To-The-Screen (FTTS) is proving popular
                                                              US

             -
                 on an A320 since early March.
             -    Lumexis CEO Doug Cline reports that the

             -   system failures. ‘I have been manufacturing
                 major avionics systems for over thirty years
                 and this is without a doubt the most impressive
                 record for a sophisticated new system entering
             -   service.’

                 never even required a system reboot. That is
                 truly unprecedented for any high performance,

             -    According to Lumexis the reliability of the
             -   architecture is attributable to fewer boxes and
                 parts.
                  The trial also tests the credit card facility as
                 a form of revenue generation. According to
             -
             -   throughout the trial. All transactions were

                 authorisation, then downloaded over a secure


                 data.’



                           Publishing information
             -

             -                                                   -


                                                                 -
             -


        19

				
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