PDT an Astronics Company: Product Design and Development Firm in Chicago, IL

APEX 2019


We returned from our annual trip to the Airline Passenger Experience Expo energized about what’s happening in the in-flight entertainment, connectivity and comfort spaces. For a glimpse into some of what we saw, read on. If you’d like to connect with one of our team members, click below.




The Airbus flight lab on board an A350-900 aircraft is flight testing IoT technologies, including a connected iSeat from Recaro and a connected galley from gategroup.


Signal Lamp Entertainment is looking to e-sports to entertain passengers with its new agency relationship with Electronic Arts. The agreement enables distribution of broadcast events and behind-the-scenes footage of APEX Legends FIFA, and Madden.


Global Eagle introduced their data platform, Pulse, an enterprise data intelligence hub that collects rich passenger data insights, so airlines can deliver curated, personalized inflight entertainment experiences.


By 2028, a potential 533 million flyers could switch between carriers due to the pursuit of global, consistent Wi-Fi, and generate $82 billion in additional revenue comprised of engaged flyer revenue ($44 billion) and unengaged flyer revenue ($37 billion).


- Sky High Economics

Astronics CSC introduced the first distributed architecture cabin network platform, the Edge. Enabling connectivity, inflight entertainment and other network services, the Edge employs a modern distributed computing network to provide a secure, scalable and modular environment while being cost effective and easy to install.



Astronics AeroSat announced its collaboration with Collins Aerospace and SES on the new LuxStream business aviation connectivity service. The Astronics AeroSat T-Series SATCOM antenna will help provide the fastest IFC speeds available.

Astronics CSC announced the availability of Sierra, the latest in portable inflight entertainment (IFE). Sierra delivers a host of new features, including autonomous operation, open architecture for hosting third party applications, and comparable performance to fixed IFE architecture for higher quality digital experiences for passengers.

Inflight Digital Media’s independent inflight advertising server can work with any IFE system to deliver precisely targeted ads to an airline’s audience. Video, interstitial and classic web ads can be served inflight, and travelers can be delivered pre-flight and post-flight, too, giving advertisers a 360 degree point of contact.


We’ve noted tech and trends from the automotive industry making an impact on the aerospace sector before, and here is another example. Argus Cyber Security launched Argus IFEC Protection, which is a software that can be installed on hardware like routers, screens and servers. Noting that some of the technology typically found in modern automobiles are similar to those found on aircraft.


80% of travellers would prioritise Wi-Fi onboard if only one service request could occur.


- Sky High Economics

Kinai Infotech is addressing the lack of inflight games for visually impared passengers with ten games adapted for people with limited to no vision that can be played with gesture control.


Astronics’ Smart Aircraft Intelligent Bin Sensing solution received the APEX/IFSA award for best cabin innovation at APEX EXPO.

A number of industry-leading partners such as Amazon have collaborated with airlines to sponsor onboard Wi-Fi. This could lead to the further development of such partnerships to encompass content with revenue sharing arrangements or other possible customer acquisition revenue.


- Sky High Economics

Astronics Ballard Technology also announced the release of a new “extended range” version of the compact webFB Smart Aircraft Interface Device (AID), which enhances the capability of the webFB line by allowing use outside of the flight deck and enabling real-time, secure data transfer off the aircraft.


PDT, an Astronics Company, presented insights into some technologies for aerospace companies to keep their eyes on for possible future cabin integrations, such as LiFi and new charging technologies.

comfort & experience


Jetlite’s jet lag reducing cabin lighting solution has been integrated into an Inflight VR prototype headset. Their goal in integrating the jetlite algorithm is to enable jet lag reduction while passengers are enjoying VR entertainment onboard.


Panasonic Avionics has been working with digital toy studio, Toca Boca, on inflight games for kids. It is now developing an inflight map product for children as an option on their 3-D inflight map platform, Arc.


The skyclip is a simple solution for making watching content on various devices hands-free.

Astronics AES introduced a new retrofit in-seat passenger power solution for aircraft. The new EmPower® Xpress outlet housing unit enables the fast, easy installation of EmPower USB power on aircraft seats.


Astronics AES was selected to provide the USB-C in-seat power system for EL AL Airline’s Boeing 737-800 Fleet and has successfully completed the first of 15 installations of Astronics’ newest EmPower in-seat power system. Astronics AES was selected to provide the most modern and highest power passenger electronic device (PED) charging technology available for EL AL’s Boeing 737-800 fleet.


JetBlue is also leaning on biometrics to make the travel experience better. The company’s COO, Joanna Geraghty, mentioned during the panel sessions that she is wanting to make the entire experience, from check-in to the gate, smoother with technology. Currently, biometrics are only being used by JetBlue for check-in.

The Star Alliance is working on a passenger biometric data interchange among its airlines, potentially streamlining the experience for the passenger when traveling within their partner airlines.

Delta Airlines’ CEO, Ed Bastaian, touched on the fact that the airline is leveraging biometrics for streamlining the security process. CLEAR is the airline’s biometric system, which is currently available in more than 60 of the world’s busiest airports.




photos: https://www.octaspringtechnology.com/news/

Vanema and WESSCO International showed off the bedding they developed together that utilizes foam Octaspring Aerospace technology, a significantly lighter alternative to similar products. The material is also recyclable, making the offering all-around better for the environment.

Xiamen Airlines was the first carrier to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Since then, they’ve implemented 4 categories of projects with 95 sub-projects.


In an APEX panel session, chief service officer of Xiamen Airlines, Chen Yizhen, said things like cabin blankets are being recycled into slippers and shoe bags.


The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for Airlines ranked the world’s most sustainable airlines of 2018.


During the Women in Innovation panel, participants said innovation must be scalable, sustainable, and add value to the customer.

Questions? Comments?


Contributors: Gil Cavada, George Guffey, Erik Moses, Jake Vail, John Hannon, Brian Perille

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