GEE, Panasonic, Gogo, Honeywell and More…

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GEE/Universal Suit
Perhaps the on big news release today was found on Digital Music News. They note that after a couple years of litigation, UMG settled for a $15 million dollar payment with an additional 1,360,544 shares of GEE stock. Some 4,500 songs were allegedly infringed as well as videos. Earlier, we estimated that worst case, the deal could hit GEE with a deal worth hundreds of millions, however, we now have a settlement with the lawsuit dismissal and no admission of guilt or liability. Actually, GEE will survive this story and we think they will continue to do well. We also note that GEE’s PR folks did not respond to our request for information (no surprise). Here is the whole story. And here is another link with a different spin.


Panasonic:

Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and Yahsat today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore new ways to offer a broadband connectivity solution serving several mobility markets in the Middle East within the next three to five years. In addition, while final terms are still being negotiated, the MOU allows both parties to further investigate the launch of a Yahsat satellite constellation that would serve Panasonic’s general mobility needs in aviation, maritime and terrestrial transportation, and also give Yahsat the ability to use Panasonic communication related technologies and services where practical. Moving forward, Yahsat and Panasonic will assess the various technical requirements for such an offering. The companies will explore a wide range of factors including the type of frequency to be used, the coverage and capacity needed to serve flight routes in this region, the type of antenna and radome to be used, and the certification requirements of such a solution.

In addition to the previous news story, Virgin Atlantic builds on in-flight entertainment innovation by adding live TV to 787s. Customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will now be able to tune in to live television onboard its 787’s, thanks to a partnership with Panasonic Avionics and IMG. This new service will be available to customers travelling on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and initially three channels will be available – Sport 24 for all the live sporting action from around the world, and BBC World News and CNN International for breaking news around the clock. Sport 24 will be showing action from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, Premier League, NFL, UEFA Champions League, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Golf Majors, MotoGP, and the Ryder Cup.


Honeywell
Recently, the folks at Honeywell conducted an interesting IFE Survey that begins: “In Honeywell’s third connectivity survey passengers shared increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings. It’s clear that consistent, faster in-flight Wi-Fi is a must.”

Here is a quick review of the situation: “Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.” The survey revealed three key reasons airlines need to act quickly or risk losing business:

1. Wi-Fi is the Premium Service Travelers Demand.

  • Lack of in-flight Wi-Fi has become intolerable as passengers shared they’d be disappointed or frustrated without access to this service.

2. Wi-Fi Should Be Like Breathing. Simple, Reliable and Not Something Travelers’ Worry About.

  • Reliable connections on flights anywhere in the world and fast speed to stream audio or video to sites like YouTube or Netflix are essential to passengers’ Wi-Fi experience.

3. Millennials Mean Business When it Comes to Wi-Fi.

  • More millennials than older generations have switched from their preferred airline to an airline that has better in-flight Wi-Fi options.

Here is how the study unfolded: A survey of airline passengers by Honeywell (NYSE: HON) reveals more than increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings compared with the company’s 2014 study. Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.

If you don’t want to sort out their findings, the following is a summary: 1. Traveler Loyalty Lies With Wi-Fi, 2. Consistent Connections Are Critical Everywhere, 3. Millennials Value Wi-Fi More Than Most.

IFExpress really found some results interesting enough to ask a few more questions of Honeywell’s Gwennie Chung.

1. We would like to know more about the questionnaire?

ANS: The Honeywell Aerospace Connectivity 2016 Survey was conducted between April 11th and April 20th, 2016 among 1,008 Americans ages 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi in the last 12 months.

2. Where were they interviewed – on-line, mail?

ANS: Using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.

2. Are you talking about working Millennials or any other factors?

ANS: In this survey, Millennials are (travelers) born between 1982 and 1998.

3. Was travel price/cost involved. If not, why not?

ANS: Yes, we did have a question on pricing but the way it was framed, we find that it may not be relevant/accurate relative to the current landscape and decided not to use this data.

4. Domestic vs International connectivity preferences?

ANS: We did not distinguish domestic vs international for every question but… For a majority of travelers, it’s essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90%), and fast speed to stream audio or video from sites like YouTube or Netflix (83%). (I myself, also don’t care where I’m traveling too, I would like to have the same service anywhere I’m going to.)

6. Preferences (when I did this stuff) were: 1.Airline, 2. Price, Time….IFE and Connectivity was 5th or 6th…and
I realize that was when planes had props, however, I would be interested in today’s preference order.

ANS: We did not have this ranking.

7. Did you get any results for old timers (like me)?

ANS: We did compare Millennials to older generations.
More millennials than older generations (73 percent versus 63 percent) say Wi-Fi availability impacts the flights they book. Because they value a connected experience more than older generations, more millennials find it important to have fast speed to stream content (89 percent versus 77 percent), and more than 1 in 4 have switched from their preferred airline to an airline with better in-flight Wi-Fi options (27 percent versus 15 percent).

8. Can you get any validation of the required bandwidth for a full plane of connectivity mavens… I am trying to figure out how much is “enough”!

ANS: Most travelers find it essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90 percent), and one that is fast enough to stream audio or video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix (83 percent).

We don’t have any information to share on this as there are too many variables.

9 Did you separate demand/price for staggered connectivity – 1. Texting, 2. Email, 3. Surfing, 4.Streaming. Does Honeywell see
a variable pricing as a solution – “The more you pay, the more you get”?

ANS: No, we did not.

10. So here is the bottom line: Will people change airlines, regardless of flight or connectivity cost, just to have Internet?

ANS: As the survey data shows, more than 1 in 5 (21 percent) have already abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi (up from 17 percent in 2014).”

(Editor’s Note: A “Thank You” to Gwennie and the the entire Honeywell team and we would like to add one thing – while the study focused on Wi-Fi because that is the connectivity of today on aircraft, we are aware that cheaper, non-WiFi solutions are in the works and we suspect technology like Bluetooth, which is on the horizon just might cause the term “connectivity” to be used instead of just Wi-Fi!)


Gogo
Gogo is announcing that they have received regulatory approval from various Chinese regulatory bodies through their local partner China Telecom Satellite, and will work with China Telecom Satellite to offer in-flight connectivity service on international flights operating in and out of China starting in October. “This is really a ground-breaking moment as we expand our global reach as an organization into China and other parts of the world. For passengers on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, this means they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China’s in-flight communication market and both parties will extend the cooperation to Chinese airlines in the future.” We also note, Gogo currently has one International airline partner operating with service to China, and recently announced it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Noted Michael Small: “For passengers, this means on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space.” You can read more about this partnership on here on Concourse.


Sadly, we report: “I Just wanted to pass the news to you that I am leaving Thales for family reasons. I am moving back to TN and will be leaving the Aviation industry. Its been a great run but it is time to focus on my family after the last 10 years of much travel. Mike Moeller, Vice President, Business Development.”

(Editor’s Note: Mike, we will miss your animated presentations for sure, but mostly, we will miss your wonderfully fun and valuable show booth designs!)

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