The top global mega-trends in airline travel clearly define the present and future of aviation travel today and a few of the changing keywords and phrases are defining terminology that drove the Singapore APEX show: Connectivity, Innovation, Individual Empowerment, and Productivity are just a few of the terms that stood out to us. Another way to put it is basically travelers are using technology to improve their travel experience, lifestyles, and their world in general. Makes sense! In fact, “Connected” was probably the most commonly used word and we heard and saw it in action all over the show, in the city offices/buildings/shops, and in travel – folks have their smartphones and tablets out everywhere and find them more interesting than just about anything around them. But more importantly, this connected, informational lifestyle change has affected the future of travel locally and internationally. You had better believe folks like the airlines, retailers, and Google see that connectivity is the future.
CONNECTIVITY & TRAVELING TODAY
The APEX Conference in Singapore clearly demonstrated that connectivity is the heart of travel by Millennials and the rest of the device focused population. Interestingly, some 40% of passengers carry all 3 devices – laptop, smartphone and tablet – and, yes, we did the same! One expert noted that some 83% of passengers carry a smartphone onboard while over 50% of passengers value onboard Wi-Fi as a key criteria in airline choice. This certainly explains the unofficial show focus on the subject of travel connectivity. It is what is needed and so it is what’s happening.
Mobile services are becoming a big deal: an amazing 57% of travelers are using self-service for check-in and some 89% are aiming to implement mobile check in and boarding by the end of 2016. And there is no end to the airline apps that provide utility and reward for uploading. One technical meeting even tried to sort out all the data communication and ticketing communication issues that exist because every airline and ticket information collection effort is different and standards are in need of development.
Make no mistake, connectivity is a big deal today but it is about to get even bigger. Presently, some 4,982 airplanes are “connected” aircraft, but by 2025 there will be 16,560 connected aircraft, and when we refer to the connected aircraft we mean passenger connectivity and airline operations data as there are already connections to and from the flight deck for pilots and flight critical information. Further, reported digital ancillary revenues are tracking connectivity growth. For example, one speaker reported that in 2015 revenues were $40.5 Billion and by 2020 they are predicted to reach $130 Billion!
Today’s modern traveler, as one speaker stated, is “embracing connected platforms, living online, and discovering more through digital technology” and by just visiting an airport you will find that statement true. And, of course, Google sees a place (market) in pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight, connectivity options – smart folks! As one industry panelist said: “The digital world enables the discovery of the real world!”
During APEX the IFExpress team talked to some 50 to 60 companies and we found a lot of real stories that we will deliver in the coming weeks; however, we thought that we would give our readers some hints, thoughts, views and temptations of what is to come in the next month or so.
WHAT WE SAW – SOME SURPRISES, SOME EXPECTATIONS
1) From a general perspective, companies were focusing on the end-to-end experience for the passenger. For example, enabling the airline to engage the passenger via the airline app after ticket purchase but before the date of flight. Continuing the engagement process through the airport, onto the aircraft and until the arrival at the hotel/home. This is mostly being implemented through software upgrades, software hooks, and data mining but there were some new products and services in the offering. Airlines want to be able to ‘engage’ their passengers more throughout the trip – providing a tailored experience even in drudge class.
2) This was a year where IFExpress saw more focus on software iterations vs. new hardware/technology developments. Mind you, this is a broad generalization as there were some updates to existing servers with larger SSD and one or two new technology applications being exhibited. However, on a whole we saw a focus on utilizing existing hardware with improved software to enable data acquisition to enhance the passenger experience and improve the real-time evaluation of aircraft operations all enhanced by increased memory. Both of these have been longtime goals either by the airlines, OEMs or both.
3) IFE vendors were also focusing on the ability to provide the airline with operations information real-time. For example, this will enable the airline to reduce down-time of aircraft, increase turnaround time when there is a mechanical issue. The benefits of real-time data acquisition will be achieved by utilizing the various methods of communication now available to the airlines – broadband (satellite), Wi-Fi, 3G/4G cellular, and gatelink. The method of transmission is determined by the critical nature of the data and the transmission environment. For example, if there was an engine issue, it could be transmitted real-time to the ground so a repair crew could meet the aircraft upon landing, facilitating a quicker turnaround of the aircraft and maybe even keeping the next flight’s departure on time, possibly through an existing non-engine data communication network. Obviously, certification of these and competitive solutions will greatly affect these connectivity solutions. But, all of this saves the airline money in the long run. Obviously this would work with more certainty for an IFE screen that was malfunctioning or a seat that was inoperable over a cabin connectivity ground-to-air link.
4) The aforementioned services also provide the vendors with the ability to offer the service of monitoring and evaluating other non critical (or not as critical) data to an airline – especially if the airline doesn’t want to analyze the data in house. This is a potentially new revenue stream for the vendors and possibly a field for new vendors.
5) Much of the software iterations we saw at the show allowed the airlines to tailor their GUI and media in house and real-time. As an example, airlines now have the capability to analyze whether movie “A” is being viewed as anticipated, if the viewing falls short of anticipated numbers the airline can switch it out with another option prior to the current media cycle being completed. This not only keeps the media fresh but allows the airline to get better value from their media expenditure. Also, the ease of using these software tools allows airlines to potentially have a smaller number of individuals working on media management. We should mention that with this approach to content monitoring the possibility of linked content loading is also an example of real-time performance monitoring.
6) With the advent of Wi-Fi, gatelink, etc. we are seeing faster media load times. We also saw the ability to load new content while the aircraft was in use as mentioned above. This all saves time for sure now, and money in the future.
7) Broadband solutions are finally coming online to make the aforementioned a reality by providing global coverage. Some vendors are investing heavily in either their own satellites or purchasing dedicated transponder space.
AND MORE OBSERVATIONS
8.) There were a few of 100+ airplane IFEC hardware deals pending (and done) that may be a surprise to some.
9.) There were a few new IFEC entrants comprised of young, technical developers who want a piece of the IFEC business and we will watch their growth. And yes, some of the troops were from the old school companies that have less to offer, or offer nothing at all new today.
10.) One company, and one company alone, offered a true Bluetooth in cabin wireless connectivity solution with both low data and high data solutions.
11.) USB – C is here and the folks from IFPL will have more to say about it in another story.
12.) As Ka-Band connectivity makes the scene we might even see lower competitive data products, but that is, of course, a prediction.
13.) One company in the flight path mapping arena blew our minds with the way their ‘Silicon Valley’ Top Dog showed IFExpress his plans to deliver a planned and plotted solution to your travel plans, in the air AND ON THE GROUND.
14.) Some new entrants to the IFEC madness have a couple seemingly good ideas that we had never heard of and plan to surprise us all soon!
15.) It is always a surprise to visit a vendor that told us what was coming last year and we missed the big picture – only to get a personal awakening this year. ‘Passenger connectivity before, during, and after a flight’ is the subject and the folks at SITONAIR really had their act together about it.
16.) Happy 25th Birthday GoGo!
17.) There is no place better on earth to throw an outdoor reception than Singapore: The top of buildings provide a view unlike no other on this planet, and they feature the best of everything. Thank You Gogo, Panasonic, Thales, APEX and everyone else that provided an incredible list of evening entertainment and hosting – you folks are the best! Be sure to check out our flckr link for expo images!
IFExpress talked to many attendees about the show and we decided to share some of their comments with our readers:
1) Attendance was noted: “I was surprised how well-attended it was, considering all the people from North America that I knew would not make the trip.”
2) “Education Day on Monday before the EXPO had some very good presentations – Hopefully they should all be posted on the APEX website soon (audio and PP slides).”
3) We asked about technical/products announcements that made sense and one respondent noted: “FTS Technologies’ flight attendant app for the smartwatch was the best that I saw.”
4) Another area that really counts is networking and the value of getting together: “The networking was great – events were fun and talked with a lot of people.” We couldn’t agree more.
5) Industry news is always a big deal and we asked one news expert and she told IFExpress: “The biggest news had to be the Rockwell acquisition of BEA, depending on their strategy for ‘hands-off’ management vs integration into the Rockwell family. If RCI takes a hands off approach and lets BEA continue to operate on its own, then the news might be different. If RCI tries to integrate it into RCI operations or develop an IFE system to sell with seats as a package deal, then it’s possibly even bigger news!”
6) One vendor told IFExpress: “I don’t know if co-locating with AIX Asia and FTE really achieved any cross-over attendees that would not have gone to APEX anyway – every time I went down to see AIX and FTE the floor there it was really dead.”
7) Another IFE vendor told us; “Except for the wireless apps, no real standout technical or new product announcements that we saw. Probably the next most interesting things were the VR experience by Neutral and the Immersive Glasses by Skylights. Also, Ron Chapman’s Bluetooth text communications product working over Iridium is real interesting too.”
8) Another show goer told us we could also add a mention about the new APEX Awards and the fact that they were expanded from 2 to 8 categories this year. “It’s a step in the right direction since IFEC is too diverse a subject to shoehorn all the products and services into a couple categories.” And, we couldn’t agree more!
Lastly, we need to say that Joe Leader and his team of real experts did a great show job. Thank you for inviting us and keep up the good work!
- Technology enables airlines to connect with their fleet, increasing efficiency of maintenance and content management
Singapore | October 25, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) has today announced the launch of ZeroTouchTM service- its unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience.
Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “As an industry leader and trusted partner for over 35 years, Panasonic understands the infrastructure and support airlines require. Our data-driven, real-time ZeroTouchTM service combines all areas of our in-house expertise to help airlines maximize the efficiencies of their business and reduce their operational expenses.”
“Using the ZeroTouch service, our customers gain a seamless and efficient method to operate and manage their aircraft — from any location, at any time. They’ll have real-time visibility into fleet performance. They’ll use a robust infrastructure that lets them continuously and seamlessly improve their operations and the passenger experience. In essence, they’ll be able to solve real business challenges.”
The ZeroTouch Service Vision: Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.
When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more will be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet.
Strategic planning also will be made easier through the actionable insight solution provides. Airlines are presented with both a detailed picture of their aircraft and a broader overview of their fleet. This allows more informed decisions to be made in media consumption, system health monitoring, aircraft maintenance, and much more. The service automatically downloads critical operational data during flight meaning maintenance teams are notified of upcoming tasks and are able to prepare solutions prior to landing.
ZeroTouch Service Deployment Timeline: Today Panasonic is in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700 Megabytes to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day.
By the third quarter of 2017, Panasonic will enter a Phase Two trial, which will leverage a new, more robust and more efficient core infrastructure and an enhanced management console. During this time frame, the company will also introduce the Enhanced Cell Modem with advanced Wi-Fi capabilities that will open up a third communications pipe to the aircraft.
Full commercial availability including content, media and software loading as well as operational data offloading is expected to immediately follow the Q3 2017 trial.
Melbourne, FL | September 19, 2016– Global aeronautical communications provider, Satcom Direct (SD), announced today it has acquired AircraftLogs (“Stewart-Ratliff Aviation Services, Inc”), a company based in Columbus, OH, that offers the latest technology in aircraft flight scheduling software and tax reporting tools for corporate and private flight departments. With the purchase of AircraftLogs, SD adds scheduling and tax capabilities to its Integrated Flight Operations Management portfolio.
Founded in 2005, AircraftLogs provides web-based aviation data management solutions for corporate and private aircraft. It has become a market leader for scheduling software with the release of a web-based solution that incorporates a user-friendly dashboard and high level of customization to address specific customer requirements. AircraftLogs also has industry-leading financial and tax reporting, which simplifies IRS and SEC reporting. Across the industry, flight departments and their IT organizations have been selecting AircraftLogs as their platform for the future.
“Customers spoke and we listened. The addition of AircraftLogs to the SD family enables SD to provide an integrated flight department offering with enhanced capabilities, advanced technology and an unmatched level of expertise to revolutionize the aviation industry,” said Jim Jensen, Founder and CEO of SD. “The flight starts with the schedule and ends with tax reporting. AircraftLogs gives SD, and our SD Pro management platform, a total solution that corporate flight departments have been asking for, allowing them to always be in sync with their aircraft.”
SD Pro, which launched in March 2016, was designed to compile the critical information every flight department needs and display it in real time. Every individual user has a dashboard which is customized to their role potentially giving them access to communications systems status, flight tracking, flight logs, aircraft status and intent, maintenance data, and scheduling data. The acquisition of AircraftLogs will add key features and functionality to the SD Pro platform including a rich suite of scheduling and tax reporting services, providing the aviation industry a complete flight operations management solution.
“We are thrilled to be joining the SD family. SD leads the aviation communications industry and with the addition of AircraftLogs to the SD family we can provide the best solutions of any company in our industry.”, said Doug Stewart, President of AircraftLogs.
United Kingdom and China | September 14, 2016: Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has signed an agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company (MCN) and Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) to provide aviation safety services to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Operators.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was unveiled at ATC Global 2016, which is taking place in Beijing this week, and outlines MCN/ADCC’s intention to offer cockpit communication services, including Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety services, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Classic Aero is a high-quality voice and data safety service currently used by most of the world’s airlines. It offers reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS) that meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) global flight tracking requirements.
SwiftBroadband-Safety utilises secure IP-based broadband capabilities that far exceed those of other connectivity alternatives. It offers global, high speed, connectivity for cockpit and aircraft operations, with airlines benefitting from greater efficiency, reliability and capacity at a lower cost. The solution is always on and always secure, delivering next-generation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications such as graphical weather.
Inmarsat’s partnership with MCN and ADCC is expected to be finalised later this year and fits with the announcement made earlier this year of plans for a MCN and Inmarsat joint venture to provide comprehensive aircraft cabin and connectivity solutions across the PRC.
Otto Gergye, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President of Airline Market Development, said: “Inmarsat is a trusted provider of aviation safety and operational services. More than 95% of the world’s oceanic aircraft currently use our services for communication, navigation and surveillance and we are set to achieve an important paradigm shift in cockpit communications with our advanced and highly-secure new SwiftBroadband-Safety service.
“We look forward to serving China’s aviation industry alongside MCN and ADCC. The country represents one of the largest growth markets in the world for aviation, with annual growth rates of more than 5% per year. Both in-service aircraft and passenger levels are expected to more than double in the next 20 years. Our partnerships with MCN and ADCC also reinforce Inmarsat’s commitment to supporting China’s One Belt One Road strategic vision.”
Song Zhen, Vice President of MCN, said: “MCN, ADCC and Inmarsat are strong leaders in their respective markets. This agreement is an important step in establishing a partnership that combines our individual strengths to provide China’s aviation industry with market-leading connectivity services for optimised cockpit and aircraft operations.”
Zhu Yanbo, Vice President of ADCC, said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with MCN and Inmarsat. Together, we can support the growth and efficiency of China’s aviation industry by providing airlines with access to the best safety communications solutions in the market today, with the well-established Classic Aero service, and with the advanced next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety service.”
GEE’s Enterprise Data Warehouse Trusted by Airlines Globally for Business Intelligence and Analytics
• Cloud-based platform for commercial aviation analytics and intelligent airline operations
• Analytics subscription services trusted by airlines globally to improve operational reliability and to monitor key operational performance metrics
• Most comprehensive historic and real-time operations data available for over 400 airlines globally
• Fuses real-time aircraft-generated data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
• Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, improves passenger experience and enables airlines’ digital transformation
Los Angeles, CA | September 6, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced Alaska Airlines, which has been ranked the No. 1 U.S. airline by The Wall Street Journal on key operational and customer metrics for two years in a row, awarded a contract to GEE for its Masflight Enterprise Data Warehouse. GEE’s secure and high-performance data warehouse provides the most comprehensive and trusted aviation operations data available for mission-critical airline analytics and performance monitoring.
Alaska Air Group operates Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, which together with its partner regional airlines, serve more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. Alaska Airlines, an industry leader in flight completion rates and on-time performance, has been ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers in North America by J.D. Power for eight years in a row.
“A key element to Alaska Airlines’ success is investing in cloud-based analytics and intelligent applications that support our operation in real-time,” said Dan Audette, Director of Operations Analytics & Strategy at Alaska Airlines. “GEE’s knowledge of airline operations, coupled with their high-performance enterprise data warehouse technology makes them a good partner for the company.”
“We are honored to provide Alaska Airlines with our cloud-based analytics platform that simplifies analytics, real-time competitive benchmarking, and fleet-wide performance monitoring and alerting,” said Edmund Otubuah, Managing Director of Products, GEE. “The Masflight platform will provide key decision-makers with real-time situational awareness and serve as a decision-support tool to support historical analytics and improve operational workflows.”
Vancouver, BC | August 11, 2016– Boeing Vancouver today announced that it will open a new downtown laboratory focused on data analytics-driven software solutions. The Vancouver Labs will be focused on rapidly conceiving of, building and scaling solutions that help airlines and other aircraft operators increase efficiencies and drive costs out of their businesses. The Vancouver Labs complement the company’s facilities in Richmond, B.C., which today employ more than 200 highly skilled software engineers and data scientists.
“The expansion represents a natural extension of Boeing Vancouver’s analytics, software development and professional consulting work,” said Boeing Vancouver president Bob Cantwell. “As one of the largest analytics groups within Boeing, we are well suited to house the new Vancouver Labs, which will focus on delivering data-driven solutions at a rapidly increased pace over traditional development.”
By leveraging data science insights, reducing traditional enterprise development cycles and working with customers in a consultative manner as products are developed, the Vancouver Labs will work to deliver innovative solutions to Boeing’s global customer base at an accelerated pace. Boeing Vancouver’s new labs will create new jobs, while facilitating local knowledge transfer and enhancing partnerships between Boeing, other technology companies and academic institutions across Canada.
“We’re delighted another tech giant is expanding its work in B.C.,” said Amrik Virk, B.C. Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. “Boeing Vancouver is tapping into an amazing talent pool with a long history of delivering great innovations that have made the world a better place. Bringing new ideas to reality and driving the future of tech in B.C. is exactly what we aim to foster as part of our #BCTECH Strategy.”
“Boeing’s new labs office will be a significant addition to the province’s growing technology sector and demonstrates B.C.’s reputation as a leading hub for technological innovation,” said Teresa Wat, B.C Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. “B.C. has a highly skilled knowledge-based workforce, and this is a great example of how they are being recruited to support the needs of a global leader in the aviation sector.”
The Vancouver Labs are designed as an open concept space to maximize collaboration and creativity among multi-disciplined teams with skills in UI/UX design, data science, consulting, and Agile software-development. Boeing Vancouver, formerly known as AeroInfo, will move into the new facility in September 2016.
Connected Aircraft data visualization, monitoring and alerting for decision support and aircraft tracking
- Integrates real-time Connected Aircraft information via high-speed satellite streaming
- Merges aircraft-generated position data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
- Configurable alerting to enhance situational awareness and track fleet-wide disruptions
- Meets ICAO GADSS requirements through global multi-source flight tracking capabilities
Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, and enables airlines’ digital transformation
Los Angeles, CA | July 29, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced the launch of Airview Opsconnect™, a cloud-based application that tracks and visualizes operations, identifies and alerts operational disruptions, and improves on-time performance through integrated web-based tools.
Built on GEE’s masFlight analytics and business intelligence platform, Airview Opsconnect fuses Connected Aircraft data streamed over satellite with ground-based surveillance, flight status and weather information to identify and manage high-value operational problems. The application displays aircraft position and tracks, identifies taxi-out delays (even at airports without terrestrial surface-surveillance) and alerts users to operational exceptions, disruptions and cancellations. Airline managers will be equipped with a do-it-yourself application that simplifies analytics, information querying, including competitive benchmarking, and automates performance reporting by airport, fleet and network worldwide. Together with masFlight, Airview Opsconnect enables ICAO GADSS compliance for aircraft tracking and reduces airline exposure to regulatory penalties while improving the safety of operations.
“Airview Opsconnect provides airline executives and front-line crewmembers industry-leading insights into real-time operational performance, showcasing GEE’s integrated Connected Aircraft capabilities and leadership,” said Bernard Asare, VP Connected Aircraft Systems. “The app unifies real-time, in-flight data with weather, flight information, and ground-based surveillance with a user-friendly interface to support mission-critical airline decisions and addresses regulatory flight tracking requirements.”
Airview Opsconnect is offered with GEE’s Airconnect Global in-flight connectivity system and can ingest data from both third-party and internal airline data platforms. For more information or to schedule a demonstration of the platform, contact email@example.com.
Real-time Connected Aircraft data streams now available for business intelligence and analysis
- Accesses the most accurate, timely and granular flight data through satellite links
- Merges aircraft-generated position data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
- Platform analyzes fused data for schedule planning & operations management
- Fully integrated with GEE’s Airview suite of applications
Los Angeles, CA | July 28, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced the real-time integration of Connected Aircraft data streams with GEE’s masFlight airline operations data platform, which now features real-time flight tracking and satellite-transmitted surveillance data for accurate, complete and informative operational analytics.
Since its 2011 introduction, GEE’s masFlight has utilized ground-based radar and ADS-B surveillance systems to track and analyze airline performance, employing data from hundreds of commercial, government, and primary data sources. Information including flight schedules, flight status, radar and ADS-B surveillance, surface and atmospheric weather conditions, and airport surface operations is analyzed. Global airlines employ GEE to monitor operations, improve flight scheduling, benchmark against competition and power enterprise-wide business intelligence platforms.
With the integration of real-time data from the Connected Aircraft, GEE now provides airline executives and operations managers with the most current and complete views of flight performance. GEE can access information from it’s navAero aircraft interface devices, proprietary Airconnect Global in-flight connectivity systems, or third-party communications links. Flight profiles, including three-dimensional flight tracks, can be updated every second with full data encryption and segregation for security. Based on airline requirements, GEE can now also utilize real-time maintenance, in-flight entertainment and environmental data to supply business intelligence and improve operations workflow.
The cloud-based platform is accessible on a subscription basis with an available library of dashboards and visualization tools highlighting key performance metrics. masFlight integrates with third-party business intelligence systems including Tableau, SiSense and Oracle, and has a robust programming API for local system integration.
“More than 300 airlines worldwide operate fleets with over 20 aircraft and each faces the same challenges in collecting, fusing and analyzing the information they collect from their aircraft,” said Bernard Asare, Vice President of Connected Aircraft Systems. “masFlight leverages petabyte-scale cloud data processing and analytics capabilities to fuse real-time Connected Aircraft data with ground-based surveillance and flight status systems for the most accurate, timely and actionable operational visibility.”
EBACE Geneva, Switzerland | May 24, 2016– SD Pro brings together patented Satcom Direct (SD) products and services with best-in-class integration partners to deliver real-time data about the aircraft via a single interface. SD Pro lets you view and manage flight logs, performance data, scheduling, trip planning, maintenance information, operating history, and more. Demos of the new technology are available at Satcom Direct’s EBACE exhibit S115.
SD Pro aggregates information from multiple sources the flight department is already using, into a web-based display, so that every member of the team can access it from their desktop, tablet or mobile device. Designed to be a single point of access, the SD Pro interface displays the information via modules on its customizable dashboard that can be tailored to meet the varying needs of flight departments and individual team members. Operators can choose which modules to add to the SD Pro dashboard based on their operational requirements.
“We conceived the idea for SD Pro when we saw how members of aircraft management companies and flight departments had to access numerous information sources, multiple screens, and disparate access points to do their jobs. SD Pro changes that by bringing together many of these functions into a modular dashboard. We’ve already partnered with a number of providers to integrate the systems flight departments use most – and more partnerships are in the works,” said David Greenhill, President of SD.
SD Pro not only brings together information from multiple third-party providers, it offers powerful data capture capabilities from its value added services, FlightDeck Freedom® (FDF) premium datalink service, and the Satcom Direct Router (SDRTM). This allows the extraction of operational data from the aircraft such as telemetry and position data, fuel indications, operational parameters and more. Revolutionary SD Pro technology processes the data and securely stores it in the state-of-the-art SD Data Center. SD Pro is designed to grow, with additional modules in development to deliver the functionality flight departments require.
“SD Pro synchronizes the flight department with the aircraft, in real-time. The SD Pro platform is even more powerful when combined with the SDR and FDF. Their advanced data capture capabilities create a reliable historical record for the life of the aircraft, and save money by accurately capturing cycles and times down to the second,” said Jim Jensen, Founder and CEO of SD. “The future of flight operations management is here.”
For the past three or so years we have known PXCom’s Cyril Jean and from a personality point-of-view, he is one of the nicest in the industry. Lately, he has been on our radar as a potential industry tree-shaker. Let us explain.
While he has been in our industry, Cyril has towed the straight line when it comes to the application of entertainment content for the travel industry- specifically as we know it, inflight entertainment content and information solutions. In the past, he and his company have been looking into a ‘more evaluative solution’ …our words, not his. By that, we mean, his solutions have been (till now) standard inflight entertainment and travel destination related. However, we recently got an interesting press release and Infographic from PXCom that got our attention on the Personalization Cycle.
In the link, it noted “Now it’s time to take traditional screens already built into passenger seats and bring them into the digital revolution. With new available technologies, these screens have become an actual digital media with the capacity of communicating directly with each passenger’s smartphone. This is a revolution that offers incredible opportunities!” which really caught our eye. Not only does the piece poo-poo the old pop-up window advertising concept, it outlays a new concept for that process that focuses on ‘personalized message content’ – “People more readily accept ads that are targeted to their immediate situation. If not, the advertiser risks being permanently blocked by an ‘ad-blocker’. In other words, all of the marketing tools being developed are currently focused on personalizing message content.”
“In this environment, PXCom has launched a research program aiming at creating a model to personalize services depending on the destination. This model takes into consideration the latest technology available in current passenger entertainment systems, and anticipates future evolutions.” We had to find out more, so we contacted PXCom’s chief, Cyril Jean and asked a few questions:
1. IFExpress Did you develop this yourselves or did you use an outside source?
Cyril: We developed PXCom-bound topics by ourselves. Our goal with this infographics and article is to try to federate the IFE stakeholders. As you can easily understand PXCom alone cannot do anything. This personalization cycle involves the IFE manufacturers’ teams. And yes, we are already exchanging with some of them on that topic.
2. IFExpress: Is this new concept considered an adaptive technology?
Cyril: Software experts will answer no, since we do not use adaptive algorithms. Yet, we can consider it is ‘adaptive’ since the weights of the factors change with the pax usages. (Editor’s Note: Cyril told us that personalization data companies like Google, Facebook or Tripadvisor are far-ahead of the IFE industry when it comes to personalization and we have to agree.)
3 IFExpress: This is the first of this technology we have seen for IFE, is that correct?
4. IFExpress: Please describe how this concept (or the software) works?
Cyril: Well, it’s all about data gathering and the core software is on the back office for data matching.
5. IFExpress: Can you give an example of how a user would input their preference or is there another way to get the preference data for the computer?
Cyril: A simple example is:
· Flight 1 : you browse the destination guide and open some “Arts Galleries” points of interest.
· Flight 2 : You’re flying to NYC, and the IFE has included in your “Personalized Selection” the latest exhibition at the MoMA (+ a skip the line offer), and the latest art gallery sponsoring its property.
· Flight 3 : The system is informed that you’re flying with your kids, and you find in your “Personalized Section” a special offer for LegoLand.
6. IFExpress: I say ‘computer’ but I really don’t know what I am talking about? Can you give a bit more info about operation?
Cyril: It’s all about the pax profile. Far more easy to implement with BYOD IFE. Regarding seatback screens, it mainly works thanks to the Companion App. Since the players (Airlines, IFE Manufacturers, PXCom) can access your inflight profile, everything can be stored in the IFE server, and downloaded/uploaded once the aircraft lands for back-office batch processing. The only intelligence which has to be loaded onboard the IFE server is PXCom’s software in order to match the factors.
7. IFExpress: I assume the passenger preference is determined by some pax-system ‘testing’ in the front end of the trip… but I do not have clue how the pax interaction with the system works. Can you help?
Cyril: The system records the browsing path, favorites selections and booking options for each flight. These records are used for the next flights.
8. IFExpress: What, exactly then, is the passenger profile?
Cyril: Our PAX profile relies on a list of characteristics as described in our infographics. Each point of interest/destination activity is tagged according to the same mapping. The platform operates the matching between the tags in real time.
9. IFExpress: How is it determined? Do passengers input any personal data so your system can determine ‘what they want or like’?
Cyril: Our platform’s requirements feature a special module enabling passengers’ inputs. Yet, there is currently a paradox well described in this article.
As explained in this article, pax are not ready to share personal data, except on social networks. Hence the solution may be found in partnerships with companies whose core business is social data gathering & analysis. In the “on-the-ground” world we are at the dawn of personalization-driven marketing. Passengers no longer understand a technological gap between on-the-ground and In-flight technology. Hence, the IFE industry has to listen carefully to the trends which are arising.
Inflight media has always been considered a premium relying on the sole quality of its affluent & captive audience. The IFE industry has an absolute opportunity to maintain this position… for the airlines’ ancillaries sake.
10. IFExpress: Is there any interest by airlines?
Cyril: To be fully transparent for the moment we do not exchange much on that topic with the airlines. They know what our goals are and agree with that, but the immediate future is to provide pax with our innovative services.
11. IFExpress: Is there any test being done by an airline… and what is the airline interest?
Cyril: It is far too early. Yet, I know that some players such as SITA OnAir have both technology and agility to perform this with PXCom.
12. IFExpress: What do advertisers say?
Cyril: Guess what? They love it, of course. Advertisers are more likely to pay when they have the ROI insurance. And such personalized offers are in the current marketing trends. PXCom “mission” is to participate in transforming the IFE from a tactic media (global broadcast of ads) to a strategic media (promotion of extremely targeted ads) focused on destination-related services.
Finally, Cyril told IFExpress: “PXCom is currently studying some partnership proposals with major retailers and big brands of fine delicacies in order to onboard the service in the early 2016. The competitive edge for these brands relies in PXCom solution’s portability from one IFE platform to another without any additional development.” Stay Tuned!
For more information, you might contact Cyril and
in conclusion, it might be interesting for the APEX or AIX crowd to consider a new discussion/research category – The Personalization Cycle?
1) AIX 2016 will welcome more than 50 new exhibitors for the first time, along with long standing exhibitors including Airbus, B/E Aerospace, Boeing, Panasonic and Zodiac Aerospace. It will be taking place as always in Hamburg, from 5-7 April, with the Passenger Experience Conference on 4 April.
2) Recently, we got an interesting letter from Boeing retiree, Bob Bogash about his efforts in the aviation safety area. Now we know, this is an InFlight Entertainment and Connectivity newsletter but Bob’s research into aviation safety is complete, data driven and available to read on his website.
When we asked about his data accuracy and his “recent” piloting certification, he responded: “I just report the FACTS, as derived from public documents, and where I give my opinion, I state it as my opinion. As far as “recently obtained pilot skills” goes, I got my Pilot’s License on July 15, 1964 and have been flying for 51 years”… Sorry Bob!
3) Hah! You thought we made a mistake in last week’s edition of IFExpress when we quoted the Gogo 2Ku flight test speed trial at 5 to 6 GB/sec… but you knew the answer was higher than it should be, yes 5 to 6 Gb/sec is correct. Our readers were tested and here is the first “winner” to note the discovery – Peter Lemme. And thank you for your input!
Melbourne, FL | October 29, 2015– Satcom Direct is the first Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB) distribution partner to provision and enable the new SwiftBroadband high data rate (HDR) service with Honeywell avionics, nearly doubling in-flight data speeds available to business aviation.
In its latest “first” for business aviation, Satcom Direct has made HDR service available to SwiftBroadband customers, providing a faster and more efficient broadband connection. HDR enhances passengers’ overall network connectivity experience by unlocking the ability to use high-bandwidth applications in-flight. The service can provide up to 650 kbps per streaming channel. Customers with a Satcom Direct Router (SDR™) can use Satcom Direct’s exclusive SkyBondSM service to combine up to 2 channels, currently, providing speeds of up to 1.3 Mbps. This is approximately two times faster per channel than traditional SwiftBroadband in-flight connections.
“The number one request we get from operators, passengers and VVIP customers worldwide is faster internet. Satcom Direct is constantly developing and leveraging ways to increase airborne data speeds, so it’s only natural we would be the first to bring HDR to business aviation. Checking email, streaming video, and internet browsing just got significantly faster for our customers and we couldn’t be more pleased to be able to deliver it,” said Jim Jensen, CEO and Founder of Satcom Direct.
Honeywell developed and tested HDR using its proven HSD-400 and HD-710 onboard hardware. The HDR service supports multiple new streaming configurations, including symmetrical and asymmetrical solutions, configurable in either half or full channel data rates. This allows the operator to select a configuration based on their connectivity needs. It is available to operators with select Honeywell terminals and the purchase of a license key, with some compatible models requiring an on-wing software upgrade to enable the service.
Other firsts Satcom Direct has achieved in recent months include being first in business aviation to prove its services over Inmarsat’s new Ka-band network in readiness for launch of the Jet Connex service; first to offer channel bonding via Cobham equipment for streaming over SwiftBroadband; first to provide global voice and text services using your number on your device at any altitude via its exclusive GlobalVTSM service; and it launched the world’s first IT certification for aviation, AeroIT.