Emteq has announced retrofit specialist Flying Colours as the launch customer for its new eConnect cabin management system. The equipment will feature in Bombardier CRJ aircraft upgraded by Flying Colours, and Emteq is also now offering it for retrofit on Airbus A320 family aircraft, including the ACJ models.
The eConnect product, about the size of a standard briefcase, is evolutionary, according to program manager Greg Cornell. “There are three functionalities in this one little box. Through it the user can control lights, cabin temperatures, window shades, plus, their interface also becomes a portal for streaming movies, audio and the Internet,” he explained. “It’s all built into the eConnect line replaceable unit. This is a wonderful single-box solution that saves weight and complex installation.”
U.S.-based Emteq claims that eConnect is the industry’s first Wireless N router, widening the bandwidth available for uploads and downloads. Still, that’s not what makes the eConnect evolutionary, if you ask Cornell.
“A lot of people are coming out with the iPad app controllers for the airplane,” he told AIN, “but we wanted to capture the entire market, not just iPads and iPhones. We found out that Android devices have taken over the market. We also did some research and found out that Microsoft Windows is by far the most commonly used operating system on the market. We realized that if we develop only an Apple app we were cutting ourselves short.”
Instead, the company made the eConnect with an HTML5 user interface that will run on any portable device, even a Blackberry or Kindle Fire. “You can log on to the wireless access point provided by eConnect in the aircraft and control key functions–temperature, cabin lighting, window shades and more–with your browser from any device with connectivity,” said Cornell. “It was quite a bit of work; there were some hurdles to overcome going to HTML5. But our mission was to support any kind of wireless device that came onto the aircraft, and HTML5 let us do that.”
The eConnect has the ability to integrate with existing systems, or new systems. “We create a bridge to the eConnect from any existing system to add in the functions of the eConnect,” explained Cornell. “Our target market is the bizjet with a very brief downtime. Our product is very generic, but customizable. We can even customize the graphical user interface; say, to add a brand logo,” he continued.
Emteq (Stand 2161) also has a plan for keeping those connective devices working throughout the trip. “We developed our IntelliUSB and IntelliOutlet that can be installed into seats so that passengers devices can stay charged. Both can be easily retrofitted to existing seats,” said Cornell.
The IntelliUSB includes built-in circuitry for 28VDC power, eliminating the need for a cumbersome converter, all in a rugged and cost-effective package. The IntelliOutlet has built-in ground fault interruption (GFI) and current limiting capability, eliminating the need for an external GFI box, relay, indicator light and circuit breaker. All outlets have adjustable current limiting and a wide input voltage allowing one part number to work for many installations. The IntelliOutlet can be ordered in different formats, including universal, North American or European.