Las Vegas NBAA 2015: Part 1

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The National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition (NBAA 2015) closed last week in Las Vegas, Nevada and the event organizers reported that the show was once again a resounding success. IFExpress decided to go to see if there was any IFEC business interests for our crowd. You be the judge. From Nov. 17 to 19, the show featured more than 1,100 exhibitors in the Las Vegas Convention Center, and more than 27,000 attendees.

Why business jets? Honeywell Aerospace forecasts up to 9,200 new business jet deliveries worth $270 billion from 2015 to 2025. Further, of the total new business jet purchase plans, 19 percent are intended to occur by the end of 2016, while 17 and 20 percent are scheduled for 2017 and 2018, respectively. Operators continue to focus on larger-cabin aircraft classes, ranging from super mid-size through ultra long-range and business liner, which are expected to account for more than 80 percent of all expenditures on new business jets in the near term. More importantly for the IFEC folks, a lot of the new technologies show up in this market space first.

From a new aircraft at the show show perspective, about 100 aircraft were displayed in several locations – at a sold-out static display at Henderson Executive Airport and indoor displays inside the convention center and at various exhibitor booths on the convention hall floor. Attendees from the show represented all 50 U.S. states, and 96 countries, and yes, there were a few displays that the IFEC experts will be interested in… not to mention connectivity. Also, be certain to check out our link to Flckr where we have roughly 200 images from the show week.

Gogo

With a stunning delivery program for 650 NetJet inflight entertainment and connectivity systems, Gogo kicked off their NBAA program. The airplane provider will be getting voice and texting (via passengers’ own personal electronic devices), Internet, email, on-demand movies, television episodes, news, moving maps, flight progress information, destination weather and more.

Gogo’s John Wade said that no other connectivity provider will be offering more. Note the Biz 4g product that Gogo had at their booth. The box is actually a combination of four other boxes and Gogo has incorporated the whole system in one box – a real accomplishment. The system will incorporate dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi service and a host of other features, all in a single, lightweight enclosure. Key capabilities include streaming video and audio, email with attachments, Web browsing and service coverage in the U.S. and portions of Alaska and Canada. The air to ground system will be the next biz jet connectivity solution for years to come.

Gogo is also rolling out an expanded offering of datalink and cockpit services for BizAv from Honeywell’s Global Data Center. Further, they are rolling out a content update service that works on the ground to aircraft at Signature support facilities.

Editor’s Note: Here is a link to a good article on BizJet aircraft cabin communications.

Bizjet Mobile / ASI

The surprising and interesting thing about the Bizjet Mobile connectivity solution is the fact that it uses Bluetooth 4.0/Bluetooth Smart as the connectivity medium inside the aircraft. Have you ever used Bluetooth for sending a text/SMS message? Probably not. So we asked Ron Chapman and his team to set-up their server to communicate with our iPhone. The first requirement to communicate via Bluetooth was to download the new CHiiMP 4.0 smart app from the iTunes Store. Next we walked well over 100ft away from the server on the show floor and clearly sent and received a text message on our cell phone via Bluetooth 4.0 (Also known as Bluetooth Smart). It is interesting to note that the convention floor was jammed with Wi-Fi radiation but the Bluetooth connectivity never faltered. We asked Ron Chapman to explain how the system works today and he told IFExpress:

“For business aircraft equipped with an existing  Iridium System (according to Iridium around 12,000 aircraft).  All you need is a Bizjet Mobile configured iPod,  which connects via a custom serial cable to the aircraft’s Iridium data port. A serial port is standard on all iridium transceivers. The Bizjet Mobile configured iPod acts as the router. You then connect to the iPod with the CHiiMP4 App on your mobile device.”

He went on to say, “CHiiMP 4 provides bi-directional SMS and Text Email (no attachments)  plus Getmail. The ability to upload headers from your normal email account and upload the emails you wish to read.  Bizjetmobile has a GetMail interface to all major corporate and public email platforms. As its Bluetooth 4, the connection is automatic and happens in milliseconds.”

“If a Bizjet Mobile customer doesn’t have Iridium service, we can provide them with an Iridium Transceiver, so all they need to do is install a 3 inch patch antenna. At under $10K, this is the most affordable Iridium transceiver on the market. The iPod still acts as the router.”

Here is one thing you can be sure of – if you are sending and receiving data on a device that has an app that features Bluetooth 4.0 you are using a service from BizjetMobile… because, to the best of our knowledge, no one else out there uses this medium for networked data communication where multiple devices can connect via a single link. Typically, this service will be available at incredibly low prices if you want to send a text message that is less than 160 characters. And yes, you will have to download the app on the ground for iOS applications but this is normal. Oh and just in case you were wondering, business jet installations are pushing 40 customers. Perhaps the booth signage said it all: CHiiMP Now Powered by Bluetooth 4.0!! Faster and More Efficient. Worldwide Unlimited SMS Text & Email: $599/Month via Iridium.

Editor’s Note: Mobile operating systems including iOSAndroidWindows Phone and BlackBerry, as well as OS XLinux, and Windows 8, natively support Bluetooth Smart.

Next week we will cover ACS, Panasonic, Astronics, SmartSky and Astronautics.


AeroMexico is now using Rockwell’s MultiLink flight tracking service. Read about the HF data Link Service here.

Global Eagle has entered the BizAv market and with plans to offer a full suite of services beginning mid-year 2016 – to passengers and pilots alike. Business jet operators will be able to offer streaming-capable high-speed Internet access and data services, including Voice over IP (VoIP) and IP Television (IPTV), using GEE’s connectivity platform powered by partner SES’ global Ku satellites. GEE cabin connectivity, which includes content provision of TV and movies. Business jet operators will be able to offer high-speed Internet, streaming and data services. Further With GEE’s recent acquisition of Navaero and Masflight they will offer operational data services and Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solutions. We wondered if any of these solutions will end up in commercial as well?

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