APEX in Profile: Ben Fuller

Image: FTS Technologies

Ben Fuller
Director of Marketing, Americas
FTS Technologies

Ben spearheads the marketing and business development divisions in North and South America, as well as in the Caribbean, for FTS Technologies, a leading provider of turnkey wireless solutions for the airline industry. Prior to joining FTS, Ben served as director of Sales, Latin America, and director of Global Marketing at digEcor.

Fast Facts:
Location: SLC
Now watching: Parks and Recreation
Years in the industry: 6
Passport stamp you wish you had: Egypt
The future of flight will be: Simpler

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Own the banker.” People like to do business with people they know, understand and trust. The term “own the banker” refers to who the bank is more likely to lend money to: the guy who attends the banker’s kid’s soccer games, has dinner with his family and becomes a close friend, or the guy who shows up last minute with the world’s greatest idea. Own the bank, own the relationship, be sincere and honest and you can be successful.

What have the last 12 months been like for FTS?
The last 12 months have gone by super fast and been a whirlwind – in a good way. As a small startup in a risk-averse industry with a number of entrenched companies, it’s been a blast battling to break into the market and get a solid foothold, which we have successfully done. We’ve partnered with five airlines already, received supplemental type certificates from both the FAA and EASA, shown our product around the globe and been well received. We’re excited about 2018 as we continue to grow our footprint and get our product flying in more planes and markets.

FTS is largely funded by a Chinese enterprise. What are the benefits and the challenges that this presents?
The challenge can often be the stigma that if it comes from China, it may have been farmed out to the quickest and lowest bidder and may therefore be lacking in quality. It’s a hurdle we jump over often. Luckily at FTS, we control the entire product, both hardware and software, and we know its background and the quality standards we hold ourselves to, not to mention the FAA, EASA and regional air authorities. That control of our offering then becomes a benefit, as it allows FTS to be more agile, better able to customize solutions and move quickly in the marketplace with a team that is global, smart, efficient and innovative.

“Companies can mine big data all day long, but how about knowing passengers’ names or where they’re headed with the info on your wristwatch?”

What is your favorite feature of the Xstream system?
I love the Flight Butler smartwatch application. It just makes sense for flight attendants to have everything they need in terms of information right on their wrists. It simplifies their job and personalizes the flight experience for the traveler. Every airline wants to drive loyalty – what a simple way to make it happen. Companies can dig through and mine big data all day long and try to find ways to be more effective in a number of areas, but how about knowing passengers’ names, where they’re headed and what carousel their luggage will be at with the info on your wristwatch? It’s simple and powerful at the same time.

What do you think FTS products might look like in the year 2050?
Just spitballing here, but how about a seat or small space on an aircraft where you personalize everything around you, from the lighting and ambience to what you are seeing around you? Think of a holodeck on a plane. We would let passengers customize it when they buy their tickets. Imagine the ancillaries that would come from that, all the personal upgrades and customizations. Maybe you’re at the beach or a virtual U2 concert for the whole flight, and then you want to be onstage with a customized guitar. The airline could charge for all three virtual experiences, and everybody wins.

“APEX in Profile: Ben Fuller” was originally published in the 8.1 February/March issue of APEX Experience magazine.