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Kontron recently soared into the world of aviation at APEX Tech, an event hosted by global non-profit organization and one of the world's largest international airline associations, APEX. 


Positioned at the forefront of advancing the aviation industry, APEX cultivates thought-leadership, creates business opportunities through events and helps set new industry standards. Yves Beaumont, Kontron's Avionics Product Manager, attended the APEX Tech event, held over two days in Los Angeles, California. With a deep understanding of avionics technology, Yves engaged with industry leaders, sat in on keynotes by Delta, Qatar Airways and Emirates, and discussed Kontron's contribution to elevating the passenger’s travel experience. 


I had the pleasure of sitting down with Yves for an insightful interview, where we delved into the key highlights and trends from this year's industry conference.


1.Trends and insights 


Can you share key insights or trends in avionics technology that you found noteworthy during your time at APEX Tech?


Key takeaways from my discussions were that airlines are increasingly prioritizing two things:

·       Flexibility

·       Faster time-to-market


The demand for agility is driven by a need to stay ahead of competitors. Airlines want to seamlessly integrate the latest technologies into their operations as soon as they are available on the ground. They also don’t want to be attached to one vendor for hardware, software and services.


Flexibility in our solutions

They care about flexibility not only to streamline operational processes but also to adapt to market demands. This gives them a strategic advantage over their peers. One of our most flexible solutions is our portable infotainment wireless system, the Cab-n-Connect™ P100. This all-in-one, lightweight platform can be carried onboard to support up to 100 passenger devices for 8 hours of streaming video. It helps accelerate their time-to-market, since it doesn’t involve complex installation processes… you just carry it on, and deploy


Strong partnerships are key

I learned how important the collaboration between airlines and forward-thinking suppliers like Kontron is to elevate the travel experience. We’re actually members of the Seamless Air Alliance, an industry group formed to improve in-flight connectivity for passengers. The alliance promotes an open architecture approach, encouraging collaboration among airlines and technology providers like us. This effort will help advance in-flight connectivity solutions even more.


2. Impactful discussions 


How did Kontron's avionics solutions make an impact at the event, and were there specific discussions that stood out to you?


Key topic #1 – Multi-constellation satellite technology

It didn’t take me long to see that multi-constellation satellite technology would be a part of every discussion I had. The use of multiple satellite constellations is essential for modernizing communication and navigation systems for aircraft. I spoke about Kontron's Ace Flight™ 4783 Dual MODMAN as an important contributor to this evolution. 

By integrating with multi-constellation satellite systems, our Dual MODMAN allows airlines to switch from one network provider to another. It supports reliable connections and signals, giving them more global coverage. For attendees who didn’t know about this product, they were really intrigued.


Key topic #2 – Markets are merging

Another key topic was how Telecommunications and Avionics markets and merging. There was a very clear need to leverage on-ground technologies and apply them to the skies! Many attendees at APEX Tech were impressed by how we’ve integrated features from our telecom servers into avionics systems. With ground-based solutions such as our multi-edge ME1310 and its outdoor version, the RS1310, our goal is to help airlines enhance connectivity and data transfer between ground and air. 


Key topic #3 – Sustainability matters

A third topic that stood out was sustainability. More than ever before, it is a huge concern for airlines. They want to reduce their environmental impact. In listening to interesting presentations, I realized that the weight of equipment is key. 


Airlines know that lighter equipment means less fuel consumption and drag, lowering carbon emissions and their operational costs. Kontron’s embedded computers were designed specifically with this idea in mind. Our mission has always been to offer airlines the ability to do more with less equipment onboard by integrating multiple functions into each of our systems. It’s safe to say we’re moving toward a greener future.


3. Future developments


In your role as Product Manager, how do you see the information gained at APEX Tech shaping Kontron's future avionics products?


There were specific industry problems addressed that I’ll make sure to prioritize when developing upcoming products. 


More storage capacity for content caching

Passengers expect a lot of content during their flights, including movies, TV shows, music, and other media. Meeting these demands means more storage space that many servers can’t accommodate. At Kontron, we like to keep passengers happy while taking into consideration constraints on weight and space. Our upcoming Ace Flight™ 4609 server will be tweaked to add more storage capacity than the previous version. I spoke to key players in the Content Delivery Network (CDN) space who were also present, and the plan is to build stronger solutions by collaborating even closer with them.


Content uploads done remotely

In an ideal world, airlines would like to perform content updates whenever they want, without having a technician present to remove and replace the SSD card every 30 days. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case today. We are working on a new gateway router called the Ace Flight™ 1700 that enables automatic synching once an airplane lands that can help address this challenge. 


With ongoing collaboration with our technology partners, Kontron is actively looking into how to continue to solve this problem by building solutions that enable pushing/uploading content remotely without the need for human intervention.


4. Lasting impressions


Were there any specific moments during the event that left a lasting impression on you, and how do you believe they contribute to Kontron's overall position in the aviation industry?


The “living room experience”

What you’ll find interesting is that airlines are trying hard to recreate the same entertainment experience found in one’s living room setting, 30 000 feet in the air. They are calling it the “living room experience.” For in-flight entertainment, this means more personalized options, and an atmosphere that makes the cabin feel less like a small space and more like a relaxing place. Kontron is making an effort by offering connectivity solutions that allow passengers to stay connected during long haul flights through Wi-Fi and other services.


Free Wi-Fi for all

Last but not least, I can say that all airlines are working towards providing free Wi-Fi to all passengers. I took a flight recently and was connected the entire time for about $20. I remember it being twice the price just a few years ago. Although we haven't quite reached that point yet, we are heading in the right direction. With a solution like Kontron’s CWAP Cab-n-Connect™ A300 that is less expensive, more compact and higher performance, airlines save more on CAPEX. My take on this, is that if we continue to modernize their infrastructures, strengthen the user experience and save airlines money, naturally the next step would be free Wi-Fi for everyone.


If you’d like to learn more about how Kontron is elevating the passenger experience, contact us at avionics@kontron.com to reach one of our industry experts.



About Yves Beaumont

Yves Beaumont is responsible for leading the development of Kontron’s Avionics product line based out of Montreal, Canada and serves as the liaison between technical, business and design teams. With an engineering background, and 20+ years working in technology, Yves is a dedicated product leader and strategic thinker, highly motivated by being able to find and deliver valuable hardware solutions to the IFE&C market. Yves holds a Bachelor’s of Electrical Engineering from Laval University in Quebec, Canada.




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