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INTERIORS: IFE and seat vendors come together

In-flight entertainment (IFE) manufacturers and aircraft seat specialists are embracing a new paradigm that sees them working together like never before to bring standardized, integrated IFE/seat solutions to market.

IFE stalwarts Panasonic Avionics (stand 6F25) and Thales (6B20), newcomer Lumexis (6C40) and Zodiac unit Sicma (7D50) are all in various stages of developing high-end IFE for slimline seats. Panasonic has already announced agreements with B/E Aerospace, Recaro Aircraft Seating and Zodiac's Weber Aircraft division.

An arrangement between Lumexis and Recaro was revealed early this week at a conference on IFE and seats held by the World Airline Entertainment Association, which has rebranded as the Airline Passenger Experience Association.

"We have projects going on with all the key players. You will see some of those concepts at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. Go to their [booths] or come to ours. We're talking with the two big ones but we're also talking with the newer kids on the block. We have a very exciting integration of the Lumexis system," says Recaro product manager economy class Holger Friehmelt.

IFE and seat suppliers haven't always seen eye-to-eye or operated in step with each other. Vendors typically worked independently of each other, only to have their products joined mainstream.

"There was a somewhat adversarial relationship in the past. Some might not agree with that, but it's true," says Panasonic director, product line management Marshal Perlman. "IFE suppliers and our seat partners realize that we must work more closely with each other and at an earlier point in time. The benefits include better collaborative development, reduced complexity for airlines, and the opportunity to create game-changing products for the industry."

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