IFPL Follows Consumer Trends To USB-C With Modular Power Products

An integrated seatarm solution proposed by IFPL. Image via IFPL

While there are still a variety of power-plug adaptors needed to fit the many devices passengers need to power onboard, IFPL is preparing for the broader adoption of USB-C and other power options by introducing seamless seat integration and easy port upgrades.

Working with seat manufacturers, IFPL has split the USB single unit design into two modular components: a DC to DC converter and a small USB Remote Power Outlet (RPO) which can be easily integrated on existing and new seat designs. The converter can be located in the arm, seat pan, or an alternate location and the modular design allows simplifies swapping the RPO, as needed. 

 As IFPL points out, consumer trends are moving towards USB-C outlets, with a greater range of electronics adopting these ports. According to an IHS Markit report on USB-C trends, “The number of devices having at least one USB-C port is forecast to increase at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 70 percent, growing from 300 million devices in 2016 to just under five billion devices in 2021.”

“The total market, in terms of revenue attributed to USB-C connectors (including both basic and the full-featured versions), is forecast to grow at a five-year CAGR of 30 percent, reaching almost $1.2 billion in 2021. The wireless and computing (PC) segments currently driving the USB Type C adoption will continue to be the largest product segments through 2021. The wireless segment, including mobile phones, media tablets and their accessories, is expected to remain the largest adopter of USB-C for the next five years, followed by the computing, consumer electronics and automobiles segments,” the report continued.

Last year, Apple switched to USB-C ports on the latest generation iPad Pro. USB-C ports have also become standard for a newer consumer laptops, including the Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro, Dell XPS, and Lenovo Thinkpad. Popular Android smartphones have also adopted USB-C, including the Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus and Google handsets.

“The introduction of USB Type-C connector unveiled an essential change in the wired interface technology market. A key feature is its smaller size form-factor and reversibility compared with traditional USB Type-A and USB Type-B connectors. USB Type-C connectors also have higher data rate capabilities, it supports simultaneous high power delivery function and they are compatible with other wired interface standards through various Alternate Modes (Alt-Mode),” Dinesh Kithany and Noman Akhtar state in their 2018 USB Type-C Report for IHS Markit.

There is also a surge in interest in wireless charging solutions. Mark Reed, IFPL’s director of Business Development, North America, points to findings from the Wireless Power Consortium survey that suggested, Consumers see value in seeing more Qi charging locations beyond the home: Places where consumers spend the most time are popular charging locations. According to the Wireless Power Consortium, 66 percent of consumers use wireless charging at home. Cars and offices are also popular charging locations. However, there is a strong interest in wireless charging at other locations, including hotels, motels and other public lodging, as well as travel and retail environments such as airports, coffee shops and restaurants.

IFPL will showcase its selection of integrated power outlets at its booth at AIX 2019 in Hamburg. These include built-in, bi-directional USB-A sockets that prevent damage by customers inserting the plug incorrectly; Swappable USB-C connectors; dual USB-A and USB-C connectors, wireless charging solutions; and a ‘charge to charge’ solution which allows airlines to monetize access to power.