How Much Money Has Your IFE Made?
“The airline industry is a great industry, but it is also a terrible business.” – anonymous. This Hot Topic began as a simple phone call to Thompson Aerospace as a result of the CEO’s request for a return call. Planning a standard set of questions about new hardware, airline take-up, weight (Oh, it does weigh 3.2 pounds per seat) our interview began as most. Mark Thompson (President & CEO) began the data run down and if you have met him, you just hang on because a LOT of data is coming your way. And it did, a lot. Somewhere in the middle of the second question about advertising on the system he said: “… and we are generating somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 per month per plane with the IFE.” “Wait,” I yelled, “How do you do that?”
We are pleased to announce the issuance of our patent for how to use an local area network (ALAN) to mix different types of data on a Ethernet network.United States Patent Application No. 12/553,087 Title: METHOD TO PROVIDE CONNECTIVITY AND POWER FOR DIFFERENT AIRCRAFT SUB-SYSTEMS VARYING IN LEVELS OF CRITICALITY AND INTENDED PURPOSE WHILE USING A SINGLE PARTITIONED AIRBORNE LOCAL AREA NETWORK (ALAN) EPPG File No. 51010.2.P02US01
Apex Expo 2012 | Long beach, CA
Thompson Aerospace attended APEX 2012 EXPO Long Beach, CA in September with their new lightweight, seat-centric In Flight Entertainment (IFE) system, 1Net™. The Thompson Aerospace IFE system was installed in Pitch Aircraft Seatings new ultra light Pitch seats.
Aircraft Interiors Expo 2012 | Hamburg, Germany
Thompson Aerospace would like to invite you to visit us at Hall B5 Stand 5G50, at the Interiors show in Hamburg on March 27-29, 2012. The Thompson Aerospace IFE system will be installed in Pitch Aircraft Seatings new ultra light Pitch seats.
Thompson Aerospace announces launch with customer Bahrain Air
FLYING HIGH WITH BAHRAIN AIR LEADING THE WAY:
Bahrain Air Launches the 1Net™ Cabin Infotainment System from Thompson Aerospace.
The 1Net Cabin Infotainment System is part of the patent pending 1Net™ Airborne Local Area Network (LAN) providing power and data connections to various cabin functions.
Thompson Aerospace seat-centric approach to Infotainment delivers a lower weight solution than traditional In Flight Entertainment (IFE) offerings while allowing expansion abilities not currently supported by any other cabin equipment provider.
The key innovation of 1Net™ is the Power over Ethernet (POE) backbone, forming an Airborne Local Area Network and power distribution all in one. This unique application of this proven technology allows a significant reduction in the number of components resulting in a substantial reduction in weight compared to conventional systems. With the absence of under seat mounted components passengers enjoy greater legroom and comfort. Reduction in both weight and complexity greatly reduces the long term cost of ownership for the airlines. With its modular approach the Airborne LAN provides easy expansion for additional functionality through its many POE ports located throughout the cabin.
Onboard the newly retrofitted Airbus A319 aircraft, Bahrain Air passengers will enjoy in seat entertainment including on demand movies and music, browsing onboard and off aircraft catalogue offerings for purchase, viewing destination information and attractions, reading daily newspapers and making hotel and restaurant reservations. The airline will generate valuable ancillary revenue through on-screen advertising and from "per click revenue" sources.
Mark Thompson, CEO of Thompson Aerospace, believes that it is essential for cabin systems to bring value to both the customer and the airline. To achieve this, Thompson Aerospace has employed new technologies to reduce acquisition and operating cost of the 1Net™ cabin system for airlines while providing additional value to their passengers. Airlines are continually seeking ancillary revenue sources. For the first time the "per click revenue" feature incorporated in the 1NET™ system enables airlines to gain access to a revenue stream previously enjoyed only by ground based Internet companies.
Bahrain Air has partnered with Thompson Aerospace to become the launch customer for the 1Net™ Infotainment system and lead the industry into a new era of passenger service and information delivery.
New Kid On The IFE Block: Thompson Aerospace
Buried in the back of building 5 at AIX, we found Thompson Aerospace, headed by machine-gun speaking Mark Thompson,
we were greeted with a fusillade of facts and IFE prognostication: “We are not an IFE manufacturer,” he said, “We are a
‘focused solution’ company, founded and funded by aerospace professionals.” And yes, their business card says it all –
“Specializing in Improving Airline Economics.” This is a great value proposition for airlines because his focus is airline
profit. IFE, according to Thompson, is just another road to profitability and that credo seems to have leaked into every technical
decision in the development of their system.
For starters, the Thompson system is based on an Ethernet 100 Base-T backbone. Each IFE installed seat (including cabling) is only
a 3.3 pound addition to the aircraft weight and uses some 10 watts. That is quite respectable! Initially targeted for single-aisle
aircraft, the Ethernet seat boxes are designed for sidewall installation and can serve up to 10 passengers (sounds like twin-aisle
capability to us). The design of the box has been optimized by Thompson and, noted Mark,”…the cabling has been reduced by 2/3, as well
as, the cost of the cabling.” It looks to us like Thompson has taken an optimization razor to the whole system and what results is a very
airline/aircraft friendly design. We made the mistake of calling the system an Ethernet but we were quickly corrected by Mark. “We have developed a
Local Area Network on an aircraft.” It seems that the focus is on the aircraft and Thompson is aiming for an optimization of the electronics functions
in an effort to deliver a lower cost solution for airlines that has great money making potential. For a better understanding of their value proposition,
check out the comparison tool on their website.
Retrofit of Bahrain Air A319
At the facilities in Manchester, England the launch aircraft of the 1Net™ system was retrofitted in coordination with Tenencia. This Airbus A319 aircraft from the Bahrain Air fleet was brought in for a 10-day retrofit of the 1Net™ system including passenger infotainment portals for all seats and two cabin crew portals for controlling the 1Net™ system.
The modification was a success thanks to the combined effort with our installation partners and the 1Net™ system received the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
2011 Aircraft Interiors Expo
Thompson Aerospace made a splash at the 2011 Aircraft Interiors Expo in April with their new lightweight, seat-centric In Flight Entertainment (IFE) system, 1Net™. The 1Net™ system is a fully redesigned aircraft network allowing for a variety of information and entertainment options to be added to an aircraft at will.
A system based on Power over Ethernet (POE), 1Net™ combines both data and power in a single cable, cutting the number of cables for an aircraft in half. Next 1Net™ uses state of the art electronics to reduce the size, weight and power consumption of each component allowing for a simple network of Ethernet Switch Power Units (ESPUs) installed behind the wall to support an entire aircraft of in-seat displays.
Once the 1Net™ network is in place, the fun begins. A variety of current and future modular clients will be plugged into the network allowing for airlines to customize their fleet. The most of notable of these modular clients is passenger portal. The passenger portal delivers information and entertainment to passengers ranging from information about their destination to in flight movies and music to the ability to make purchases for both on aircraft and off aircraft delivery. In conjunction with the passenger portal is the cabin attendant portal, designed to both allow cabin crew members to control the 1Net™ system and perform their regular functions will reduced workload.