Dr Joe Leader looks ahead to APEX Tech


APEX TECH 2023: Day One – APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader talks IFEC and connectivity convergence nirvana,” the events airline keynote speakers and why this years APEX TECH at LAX may be the most insightful TECH event in years.

APEX Media was fortune enough to sit down with APEX/IFSA CEO Dr Joe Leader prior to APEX TECH to get his thoughts on the event, the convergence of IFEC and Connectivity, and some of the fresh voices on tap this year. 


APEX MEDIA: Youre a hard man to pin down. Thanks for chatting with us today. Tell us about the overall theme of this years APEX TECH. 

DR. JOE LEADER: APEX TECH 2023 at LAX focuses on the in-flight technological convergence centered around our airline passengers. We have finally arrived at the long-promised land of nirvana where customer experience, connectivity, in-flight entertainment, and increased revenue with the stars aligned. 

APEX: Aside from the topics being explored, the roster of panelists at this years TECH is also very impressive. Talk to us about some of the fresh voices on the panels and what insights you think they might provide? 

LEADER: Let me point to a panel where nearly all of the voices are fresh on a very ripe subject: the convergence of IFE and connectivity.

Runway Girl Network Founder, Editor, and Publisher Mary Kirby on Wednesday, March 22nd leads a “dream team panel” with Estibaliz Aisain from Anuvu, Oliver de Courson from Vubiquity, Clare Josey from Spafax, Esdra Lamy from Warner Bros Discovery, Michael Valdez from Panasonic, André Valera from Touch, and Shafin Virji from West Entertainment. 

That’s a perfect ecosystem panel. I believe we’re going to hear about how content is being refreshed via connectivity today, the arrival of dynamic in-flight content changes, and how in-flight entertainment streaming will actually drive more airline content purchases to “hook” new streaming customers.

APEX: IFC Quality of Experience (QoE) is a central theme of the day one TECH sessions this year – particularly the current status of measuring and reporting quality QoE and plans for the future, including offering in-flight connectivity for free. Talk to us a little bit about that and where you think this is all going moving forward.

LEADER: Free in-flight connectivity has been part of the JetBlue ecosystem for a decade now. We’re seeing an increase of bandwidth at the same price, lower price, or free. 

APEX: Speaking of JetBlue, tell us about the member airlines giving keynote addresses this year. What insights can attendees look forward to gleaning from their presentation?

LEADER: We have two incredible airline keynotes this year. On day one, we have Air China Vice President & General Manager Dr. Zhihang Chi.

He’s an incredible visionary. We last had him speak at APEX TECH in 2019 and nearly every one of his predictions came true. Now, he joins us again as China comes roaring back in flight. He’s ideally positioned to open APEX TECH as a futurist thinking about end-to-end passenger experience driven by the best technological possibilities to serve customers.

On day two, we have JetBlue Director of Product Mariya Stoyanova celebrating 10 years of free in-flight connectivity, talking about moving from Amazon Prime streaming, started eight years ago, to their new NBC Universal Peacock offering tied to JetBlue loyalty, and the quantum leap JetBlue conducted in on-screen personalization. I’m flying back from China for my one-on-one with her on Wednesday.

APEX: What are some of the other highlights youre excited about at this years APEX TECH at LAX?

LEADER: I love learning from APEX TECH. On day one, I’m most curious about the morning session on how the new generation space ecosystem will affect in-flight connectivity. The subject of personalization, ancillary revenue, and brand reinforcement also comes front-of-mind. There’s no captive audience quite like an airline passenger.   We have long had the technology to deliver the right message to the right people. Airlines and their suppliers now are determining how to leverage that knowledge to maximize customer revenue.

Since we’re more than double the attendance of APEX TECH 2022, more than anything, I just cannot wait to see everyone. APEX TECH does an amazing job pulling together our airline and supplier technical leaders. The biggest advancements occur from the engagement of our members working together towards a more advanced future. I believe that APEX TECH 2023 at LAX will be the perfect springboard for the remainder of our year.