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Evolving technologies to be addressed at the first Seating & IFE Integration Symposium


A one-day Seating & IFE Integration Symposium will bring together experts from airlines, manufacturers, suppliers and design organisations with key responsibility for two major areas of cabin investment – seat and IFE/connectivity systems.

The impact of smart mobile technology will be the inaugural subject debated at this year’s Seating & IFE Integration Symposium – organised by Reed Exhibitions – that takes place on Tuesday October 1 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Confirmed speakers include : Zuzana Hrnkova, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing at Airbus; Alex Pozzi, Vice President, Advanced Design Group at B/E Aerospace and Jason Adams, Aircraft Interiors/IFE Supply Chain General Manager at Delta Air Lines.


According to a recent forecast report from Research and Markets, the aircraft interiors market is expected to grow to approximately US$12bn by 2016 with a compound annual growth rate of 8 per cent during the next five years. In 2010, the interiors sector was valued at US$8.4bn and the report cites customisation and brand positioning as key drivers for investment in interiors, in addition to the expanding worldwide aircraft fleet.


In light of this report, the opening session of this year’s Symposium, which takes place on the opening day of Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, will be timely as its theme will be Inspiration and Opportunity.  This session will be chaired by Vern Alg who has consulted on the exhibition for 5 years and has in total over 40 years’ experience in the aviation market.


The first speaker will be Gary Weissel, Vice President co-Managing Officer Aviation & Aerospace, ICF SH&E, who will present Consumer trends: the impact of smart mobile technology. Topic areas will include tablets and how their influence is shaping future seat design and IFE services. As connectivity spreads to all aspects of our world, another issue will be that of consumers who now expect 24/7 connection, which is triggering fast-changing trends in the cabin environment.


The second speaker will be Jim Cangiano, Vice President Sales and Marketing of Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas, who will focus on Evolving seat-centric technology. This will look at how seats are evolving in response to new thinking, new materials and new technology. Topic areas will cover how greater integration between seats and IFE can resolve the conflicting demands of increasing features and comfort for passengers, while keeping the solutions simple and lightweight for airline customers. From both passenger and airline perspectives, what is the prospect for closer integration to create more opportunities for passengers to personalise and customise their space in economy class as well as premium cabins. In addition, a key point will be looking at how seating can keep pace with the technology revolution and whether increased modularity is an essential part of the solution.


The second session, featuring Making the Business Case, will be chaired by Ken Herbert, Senior Vice President of Imperial Capital. The first presenter to open this session will be Jeffrey Everhart of Thales who will discuss Saving time, saving money by working smarter. This will detail best practices that are influencing the relationship between seat and IFE manufacturers, which include : industrial design – how seat and IFE designs integrate and adapt together; upgrade path – life cycles and how modularity plays an important role in cost savings; simplifying – how we are moving more to a “less is more” cost advantage; and cabin ambience – the importance of “style” e.g. colour matching.


This will be followed by a panel discussion on The business case for closer integration featuring Neil James, Executive Director of Corporate Sales and Product Management at Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer at Lumexis; and Jason Adams, Aircraft Interiors/IFE Supply Chain General Manager at Delta Air Lines.


The panellists will consider some of the critical issues, covering topics including: in order to deliver value to the bottom line and to customers, what do airlines really need from their seat and IFE partners; possibilities for airlines to deliver a distinctive brand experience with improved integration; and ways in which innovation in seat and IFE integration can help to maximise density and reduce weight for airlines while packaging a great experience for passengers.


The third session entitled Making Integration Happen will be chaired by Gary Weissel and the afternoon agenda will open with a scene-setting update on critical industry standards and the impact of regulations on closer integration between seat, IFE and connectivity.


This will be followed by a round-table discussion on Working through the integration issues involving Jeff McShane, Executive Vice President at Northwest Aerospace Technologies; Martin James, Senior Product Line Manager at Thales; Zuzana Hrnkova, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing at Airbus; and Jose Pevida, Vice President of Engineering at TIMCO Aerosystems and TIMCO Aviation.


Key subject areas will address: ways in which seat and IFE suppliers can work together to better define produces, reduce part numbers and reduce lead times; detailing collaborative working practices and how they are evolving; insight into how to manage the mismatch between IFE’s fast pace of technology change with seating’s longer development cycle; debating the challenges and opportunities within new materials; new approaches to ergonomics; and the impact arising from greater collaboration between seat and IFE on maintenance, repair and retro-fitting.


In addition to the current list of speakers, it’s been confirmed that Alex Pozzi, Vice President, Advanced Design Group at B/E Aerospace will also be present at the Symposium.


The final session under the heading, Delivering Innovation, will be chaired by Vern Alg and will highlight a number of casestudies looking at new models for delivering seat-integrated IFE and collaborative working practices. A Q&A discussion will bring the Symposium to a conclusion after which the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas exhibition halls will open for an Exhibition Preview and Industry Networking Party that will take place from 1700 – 2000.


Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, said: “With the introduction of new technologies and the need for airlines to fly lighter aircraft, there is no doubt that IFE and seat integration is a key topic and focus within the industry. This year’s Symposium will explore the emerging trends and issues in four interactive sessions covering many aspects of this fast-changing sector. The impressive roster of speakers will add expert insight and fuel incisive debate which we believe delegates will find both stimulating and thought-provoking.”


For more information please visit www.aircraftinteriorsexpo-us.com/symposium


For further information, please contact Carol Seath at CMS Strategic on Tel: +44 (0)20 8748 9797 or email carol.seath@cmsstrategic.com


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