DN - Defence Notes

WAEA: IMS and Zodiac aim to change the IFE game

9th September 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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HANDHELD IFE market leader The IMS Company has agreed in principle to team with Paris-based cabin interiors and aircraft systems provider Zodiac Group in a joint venture to tackle the inflight entertainment equipment market.

To be named IMS-Zodiac, the new undertaking will "change the way this industry looks at IFE," says IMS chief executive Joe Renton. "The air transport industry, buffeted by rising fuel costs and unprecedented challenges, needs paradigm-changing solutions that relegate traditional IFE to the past."

He's echoed by Maurice Pinault, senior VP of Zodiac's cabin interiors segment: "We believe our strengths are highly complementary. Coupling Zodiac's global reach, financial stability and seat-integrated technology with IMS' IFE expertise, market standing and product portfolio can lead to smart, innovative and reliable alternatives to traditional IFE products and services."

One of the prime drivers behind the tie-up, which is due to be finalised before the end of the year, is understood to be the work that Zodiac group member Sicma Aero Seat is doing on a new embedded IFE architecture combining fibreoptic cable with a high level of processing power in the in-seat screen. The programme entered the public gaze at the main Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg earlier this year. Zodiac is believed to have been particularly attracted by the potential for extra development impetus that IMS could bring to the project.

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