Following on from a record-breaking 2015 NZ Hi-Tech Awards in Wellington, leading New Zealand-based aviation technology company Phitek Systems took out the top Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product Award for its range of magnetic aviation audio jacks.
According to the judging panel, 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, says 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,” he says.
Moody says 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,” he adds.
For Moody, 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,” he adds.
Phitek’s magnetics 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 with Phitek’s aviation magnetic jacks were chosen as a winner over entries from Dairy Automation, SnapitHD and Solar Bright.
On selecting the Auckland-based firm, judges mentioned Phitek’s “impressive product design and deep understanding of the market.”