Inaugural Seating & IFE Integration Symposium opens Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas 2013
Oct 02, 2013 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) --
"We are going full circle back to where we were 30 years ago - bring your own, self-service IFE - then you brought a good book and if you were really cutting-edge, maybe you had a Walkman - now it's smart phones and tablets." This was one of many stimulating remarks made by Gary Weissel, Vice President co-Managing Officer Aviation & Aerospace Practice at ICF SH&E, who presented 'Consumer Trends: The Impact of Smart Mobile Technology' at the opening session of the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas Seating & IFE Integration Symposium which took place on Tuesday October 1 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Following a recent survey by Hudson Crossing, Mr Weissel told delegates that by the end of 2018, it is expected that 91% of US travellers will own a smartphone and 89% will own a tablet. Among travellers who don't own a smartphone, one in five plans to buy one this year and for those who don't own tablets, one in four plans to buy one in 2013.
One of the key messages from Mr Weissel centred on consumer expectations and how smart devices are now influencing passengers' behaviour whether connected or not.
There is a rising demand for customers to be constantly connected with more reliable and faster speeds. The big question for IFE suppliers looking forward in the next five to ten years is what airlines can provide that passengers can't bring on their own and this will be one of the key questions going forward.
The thorny issue of connectivity in the air was confirmed with a recent study conducted by DePaul University which revealed that passengers were unable to use their electronic devices for more than 100 million hours in 2013 because of current regulatory rules.
Mr Weissel stated that this figure was double what it was just three years ago and clearly demonstrates that all stakeholders in the industry must now react to the consumer demands for on-board technology and connectivity.
Mr Weissel concluded his presentation by outlining some benefits of smart technology IFE delivery which included additional ancillary revenue opportunities; weight and fuel savings; more flexibility in making interior changes; less constrained seat product design and higher customer facing reliability.
The following speaker was Jim Cangiano, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas, who discussed 'Evolving Seat-centric Technology,' which included why life-cycle considerations are so important for seats and IFE, particularly the impact of the technology changes within IFE on seat development timelines. He said that there are, in some cases, two years for the first line fit of a new seat, which equates to about two or three cycles of an IFE timeline. Mr Cangiano confirmed that there is a noticeable delay in the two technologies and that the challenge was to communicate and share ideas early with all the stakeholders, especially the IFE suppliers.
As a seat supplier, MrCangiano said it was important to engage in collaboration in order to take on the challenge of differing timelines and that early development work was key to ultimately deliver to airline customers the best and most efficient solutions possible; learning about what the other partnership is doing is essential to business success. He concluded by confirming that partnerships are really crucial in moving forward in future.
The last session before lunch was entitled a 'Business Case for Closer Integration' which featured a panel discussion to consider some of the current critical issues, involving a number of key industry experts answering questions from the floor. One of these addressed the developments the panel envisaged to make it easier to fix seats in the future. Rod Pulbrook, Manager Customer Experience, Line Maintenance Operations at Qantas Airways, said that in the past, it had always been about how a seat looks and feels, but recently 'maintainability' had become increasingly important to operators. Maintenance was finally influencing the decision-makers when it came to product selection. Mr Pulbrook said that we are finally at the table of discussion, and the more involved we are allowed to be, the more benefits the product will have in this regard.
Jason Adams, Aircraft Interiors/IFE Supply Chain General Manager at Delta Air Lines, added that as part of any seat design process at Delta, its maintenance teams are involved at the front-end, looking at ways to create Line Replacement Units that can be removed on the line and replaced (rather than having to remove the whole seat) and to also create 'ware parts' that can be easily and cost-effectively manufactured.
It didn't always mean that they were successful every time but it was a consideration, especially with a business-class seat programme. Later on in the discussions, Mr Adams said that getting engaged as early as possible with the seat vendor, so that you communicate how your product can be integrated in an appropriate way, was important as it helped to mitigate these problems.
Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, said: "The range of topical IFE and seat integration issues clearly demonstrated the subject-matter expertise of all our speakers and presenters at this year's ground-breaking Symposium.
In my opening remarks I stressed that delegates should be interactive and to engage fully and judging by the question and answer sessions, it was clear that delegate involvement contributed much to the success of this unique and timely platform to fully debate these trends and issues." For more information, please visit www.aircraftinteriorsexpo-us.com/symposium
Contact: Carol Seath at CMS Strategic on Tel: +44 (0)20 8748 9797 or email email@example.com
About Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas:
Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas will take place in Seattle, the hub of aviation, from October 1-3, 2013. Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas is the largest dedicated aircraft interiors event in the Americas region, showcasing airline interior design and airline cabin management systems.
Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas is the unrivalled launch pad for tomorrow's designs in cabin interiors, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services.
The exhibition attracts buyers and decision makers from major scheduled, regional and charter airlines and offers the opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers and manufacturers covering the full spectrum of the industry.
About the organiser:
Reed Exhibitions is the world's leading events organiser, with 500 events in 39 countries. In 2011 Reed brought together six million active event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, and organised by 33 fully staffed offices.
Reed organises a wide range of events, including trade and consumer exhibitions, conferences and meetings. Its portfolio of 500 events serves 44 industry sectors, including: Aerospace & aviation, automobiles, beauty & cosmetics, broadcasting, building &construction, electronics, energy, oil & gas, engineering & manufacturing, food service & hospitality, gifts, healthcare, interior design, IT & telecoms, jewellery, life science & pharmaceuticals, machinery, marketing, business services & training, medical education, printing & graphics, security & safety, sports & recreation, travel.
Working closely with professional bodies, trade associations and government departments Reed ensures that each and every event is targeted and relevant to industry needs.
As a result, many Reed events are market leaders in their field. Reed Exhibitions is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc, a publisher and information provider. In 2010, Reed Elsevier made an adjusted profit before taxation of 1,279 million on turnover of 6,055 million.
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