Subscribe Free
in Technology / Features

Hub at the centre of Doha's latest thinking

Posted 1 November 2017 · Add Comment

European electronic systems giant, Thales, is using its innovation hub in Doha to develop subjects as varied as airliner in-flight entertainment and cyber security training. Alan Dron finds out more.

Thales created its Doha Innovation Hub in 2013 in the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), the emirate’s research and development centre.
Thales Group owns the hub, with company employees working full time on both cyber security and in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) development.
The hub is part of Thales’ overall research and development programme, on which the company spends some $2.2 billion worldwide annually.
The European technology group has close links with Qatar Airways, with the airline having, some years ago, selected the Thales TopSeries system for its large fleet of Airbus aircraft. The Thales system is also being installed on the airline’s Boeing 787 fleet.
A year before the innovation hub opened, Thales and Qatar Airways jointly launched a development and training centre at the QSTP. The innovation hub grew out of this initial link.
At the opening of the development and training centre, Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, noted that the facility would ensure the development and implementation requirements of the airline would be met more quickly and allow speedier updates for IFEC content on its aircraft.
Al Baker pointed out how important IFEC had become for airlines and passengers: “Fifteen years ago, IFE played a very small part of an airline’s product offering. Today it has a crucial role in a passenger’s decision-making process when deciding which airline to choose.”
The importance of IFE systems continues, as anyone who has been on a long-haul flight in recent years can testify. Frequently, passengers can be seen engrossed in their seatback screens even before wheels-up, playing games, catching up on new movies, or gorging on multiple episodes of favourite TV series.
That importance is likely to continue. It seems increasingly likely that the trend over the next few years will be for passengers [not withstanding the latest short-term security measures] to use their individual computers or tablets to screen content streamed direct from the internet through a new generation of aerials pointing either at satellites or ground stations.
This will potentially save money for airlines, if they can strip out hundreds of relatively heavy seatback screens and all their associated wiring, saving substantial amounts of weight and thus improving the fuel-burn of their aircraft.
Today, all the local IFE content provided by Thales to Qatar Airways is developed and produced at the QSTP.
A second major subject handled by the innovation hub is the increasingly critical area of cyber and computing security, with air traffic management (ATM) being among the areas studied.
ATM computerisation was one of many areas that developed before the threat of cyber sabotage emerged. While security can be designed into new equipment, it has to be ‘back-fitted’ to older systems.
Qatar being a multicultural country, Thales has been providing classes at the hub to 36 students from all over the world. Four Qatari students achieved internships in Thales’ QSTP activities: two interned in the IFE head office of Thales in Irvine, California, while the other two developed cyber security tools in Qatar.
Thales Qatar makes a point of developing female equality in the workplace, with two-thirds of its students and interns being women.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Jazeera Airways announces Q1 2018 earnings

Jazeera Airways has announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2018.

Flydubai to operate flights to Sulaimaniyah

Fydubai has announced that flights to Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, will resume from 10 May 2018.

Ras Al Khaimah snapshot flight returns with Seawings

Seawings’ Ras Al Khaimah new season snapshot tour has returned to target the growing tourist market to the Emirate.

Rwanda launches ‘Bucket List Rwanda’ Travel Packages exclusively for Middle Eastern residents

The Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda’s governmental organisation responsible for promoting Rwanda’s tourism initiatives abroad, has launched luxury and weekend getaway packages, which have been exclusively tailored for

Etihad launches loungewear collection at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways leveraged its sponsorships of global fashion weeks and its Platinum Partner status of Louvre Abu Dhabi to launch a new Emirati designed loungewear collection at an exclusive reception held last night at the iconic

FedEx Express named a UAE Great Place to Work

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx, has for the eighth consecutive year been ranked amongst the ‘Best Workplaces in the UAE’ for 2017-2018, by Great Place to Work.

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
BIAS BT271017161118Istanbul Airshow BT22018SOFEX BT2018Global Aerospace BT2018MEBAA BT1004121218GATM BT1004061118EBACE 2018Cargo BT1004091018ArabianTravelMkBT250418ASDubai BT1004091018AirportShow BT1502090518