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Rockwell

Rockwell Collins is leaving the in-seat video marketplace to focus on in-flight connectivity. Image: Maxim Sergienko

APEX Insight: Rockwell Collins is leaving the in-seat video marketplace to focus on in-flight connectivity and plans to launch a new audio-video-on-demand cabin wireless solution in the near future.

Announced last fall, Rockwell Collins’ acquisition of B/E Aerospace will be finalized “within three weeks,” according to Richard Nordstrom, senior director, Global Marketing at Rockwell Collins. “It’s a mating of our best-in-class flight deck capability with B/E Aerospace’s best-in-class cabin capability.”

In a change of in-flight entertainment strategy, Nordstrom explained that Rockwell Collins’ recent decision to exit the in-seat video (ISV) marketplace had as much to do with the competitive environment as the conclusion of the B/E deal. “We find that a lot of people are driving prices down just to get the order and not to run a business. We’re here to run a business – that’s why we’ve been in business for 80 years,” said Nordstrom.

“We’re here to run a business – that’s why we’ve been in business for 80 years.” — Richard Nordstrom, Rockwell Collins

But while the company might not be manufacturing ISV components, it won’t be very far from the technology. “We’ll still be involved with embedded IFE because we’ll be working with the partners B/E already has, like Thales and Panasonic,” he said.

Nordstrom sees the potential in onboard Wi-Fi and connectivity, given that the vast majority of passengers are flying with their personal electronic devices – that’s a key part of Rockwell Collins’ future IFE strategy. “We have a brand-new audio-video-on-demand cabin wireless solution that we’ll be introducing soon.”

“We have a brand-new audio-video-on-demand cabin wireless solution that we’ll be introducing soon.” — Richard Nordstrom, Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins has decades of experience in virtually every aircraft system, from nose to tail, and from wingtip to wingtip. Terabytes of data are already produced in flight by every component and system, from the engines to the coffee maker. Right now, Rockwell Collins processes more than 50 million messages a day for more than 2,000 companies using its ARINC Global Network, and that will no doubt increase as aircraft become “smarter” and more connected.

That’s the main driver for the company’s overriding strategy. “It is to be the best in connectivity, the most agnostic and the best integrator of connectivity the airlines have ever seen,” says Nordstrom.

Howard has been passionate about aviation since he was a little kid, and is a pilot who loves to fly gliders and just about anything else with wings. He's a frequent contributor to aviation magazines and blogs.