18 May, 2015
Phitek Systems Wins Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Award for its high-flying audio technology
Leading New Zealand-based aviation technology company Phitek Systems has won the Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product Award for its range of magnetic aviation audio jacks.
Phitek’s award entry demonstrated how it had met the challenge of delivering high-quality audio with smart electronic hardware in the highly regulated aviation industry.
Problems with traditional audio connectors can leave a passenger without access to inflight entertainment (IFE) – an experience they will forever associate with that airline – and for the airline significant replacement costs of up to US$1,000 a jack.
Phitek’s solution was to reimagine how audio might be delivered in the cabin using magnetic connection points eliminating the need for pins. Complex electronic engineering was deployed to create a product that is unique in the global aviation market.
Phitek CEO, Roy Moody, said Phitek’s magnetic jacks addressed both passenger and airline operator challenges. “We delivered an audio jack that eliminates pin breakage, can adapt to any IFE system, airline or passenger headphones; and delivers high-quality audio.”
Moody said Phitek then had to pass all the very stringent aviation regulations to get its product flying. “Our magnetic jacks have been tested for whether they are flame and water-proof, whether they continue to function at -55 degrees Celsius and up to near boiling temperatures and a myriad of other tests that non-aviation consumer electronic devices are not normally expected to, or could pass.”
Moody said the award endorsed the company’s smart approach to technology design. “This stamp of approval from a highly respected award demonstrates the quality, creativity and ability of Phitek to deliver innovative technology in the aviation cabin.”
Phitek magnetic jacks are sold through all major IFE companies including Panasonic, Thales, Rockwell Collins and Zodiac driving export revenue growth of over 30% year-on-year for the past three years.
The judges narrowed down a record number of submissions to 54 finalists in 12 categories. Phitek’s aviation magnetic jacks were chosen as a winner over entries from Dairy Automation, SnapitHD and Solar Bright with the judges mentioning Phitek’s “impressive product design and deep understanding of the market”.
On the NZ Hi-Tech Awards (hitech.org.nz)
The NZ Hi-Tech Awards celebrate New Zealand’s most successful high-tech companies and highest achieving individuals. Originally launched in 1994 as the VSI Electronics Excellence Awards, they have since evolved into a platform for recognising the best all of our technology industries: ICT, electronics, software, biotechnology, creative, telecommunications and digital media. A world-class judging panel included technology luminaries Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) and Craig Nevill-Manning (director of engineering for Google) as well as local judges Stuart Wilson of Endace and Peter Maire of Callaghan Innovation amongst others. Held in Wellington on 15 May, this year marks the 21st anniversary of the awards.
About Phitek’s magnetic jacks
Phitek’s magnetic jacks, when used with magnetic headphone plugs, eliminate the most common passenger damage to headphone cables by automatically releasing the headphone plug when a tugging force of more than 7N is applied in any direction.
The magnetic jacks cleverly detect what type of headphone is plugged in, for example whether the headphones can support noise cancellation or not and what type of plug is used, and switch how audio is delivered in response – a process we have patented. This clever detection means that passengers who bring their own headphones can still plug in, and that airlines can purchase from a wide range of headphone suppliers without needing to adapt their connection jacks.
Our integrated active noise-cancellation enables Phitek’s magnetic jacks to be used with a range of headphones and still deliver excellent audio.
Phitek’s magnetic jack has been designed in a variety of shapes for in-arm and seat-back installation and the product integrates with all airline inflight entertainment systems making it backward-compatible and future-proofed.
Phitek’s magnetic jack is the world’s longest-lasting aviation jack endurance tested alongside traditional aircraft audio sockets it is capable of 10 times more connection cycles compared with standard aircraft audio jacks.
Phitek’s magnetic jacks have passed the stringent qualification process for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.