One interesting thing about an increase in connectivity, there is a plethora of uses for it that weren’t always in the planning stage! Our lead story this week is based on a use for connectivity that made the possibility of turbulent weather reporting a reality via the use of a flight crew tablet, a Flight Weather Viewer app, and of course Gogo connectivity.  The following is just one usage for increased connectivity on planes. Our image this week is one from the Gogo website and we thought you might find it an interesting addition to the weather story.

While today’s feature is a far cry from IFE, it is one of improved flight experience via connectivity. IFExpress was not surprised when we found out that the folks at Delta were involved in reducing the impact of inflight turbulence and so we did a bit of research. We asked Gogo what the story was and we were directed to Delta talks turbulence for a bit of background. Delta airlines has had their eyes on reducing turbulence impact for some time and to give you an idea of the magnitude of the turbulence solution, here is one sentence from the article that sums up the value of ‘working the problem’: “According to NASA’s Weather Accident Prevention Project, turbulence costs airlines approximately $100 million every year. It also makes customers and crews uncomfortable, and in rare cases, can even cause a few bumps and bruises on board.”

Obviously, the issue for Delta is turbulence, but the issue here for Gogo is connectivity, and when we contacted their communication source, Morgan Painter, she noted: “…we are really excited about this partnership and have heard great feedback from DL’s pilots around improved flight safety and efficiency – as the article mentions, some even have been calling it “an industry game changer”. This is just another partnership that gets us one step closer to the reality of a connected aircraft.” Aha, the magic words you will hear more and more about in the future… and the reason we found this turbulence solution intriguing relies on The Connected Aircraft. Gogo noted:Check out this link,  it includes information about our technologies, airline partners and vision for the connected aircraft.”

As we mentioned earlier, our rectangle is a picture of the aircraft hardware involved in the Delta solution which also employs a Delta Flight Weather Viewer App on the crew devices, all working through Gogo connectivity. Together the system and the crew get the information they need to make the right flight decisions to handle turbulence: climb, descend, slow down, or change route. “Predicting the where, when and intensity of turbulence is notoriously difficult to do. But Delta has developed a new, industry-leading app that’s helping pilots better spot and avoid it.”

“For Gogo, we are providing the broadband connection between the Delta tablet EFB (Microsoft Surface) and associated app and ground servers,” the company notes. Here’s what Delta says: “Setting Delta’s app apart from similar technology, the data is customized by aircraft type, since turbulence affects a 737 narrowbody differently than a much larger A330. It is also available in real time, thanks to fast and secure connectivity via Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi network, instead of through the traditional ACARS digital datalink system that’s been in place since the late 1970s. Bandwidth and network speeds offered by Gogo vs. legacy datalinks is a key difference inherent with our technology where latency is measured in milliseconds for supporting successful TCP/IP communications.”

With more than 16 commercial airlines, 2,800 connected aircraft (and some 7,000 business jets), Gogo is in a good place to help a lot of fliers. Network speed and data connectivity will certainly change the world of commercial flying… and besides it’s hard to enjoy inflight entertainment when the plane is bouncing all over the sky.

(Editor’s Note: We wanted to give our readers a view of what hardware is involved in the connectivity solution and that is why we chose the airplane graphic. You will probably understand the Ku antenna, onboard server, and internal cabin pax Wi-Fi antennas. However, there are two boxes that we had to get a bit more data on: KANDU and MODMAN. For you tekkies: “The MODMAN (Modem and Manager) is the interface between the antenna and our equipment, and is responsible for converting the satellite data stream. This in turn feeds into the onboard Gogo server and on to the cabin wireless access points, allowing your devices to connect over Wi-Fi. The KANDU (Ku/Ka Aircraft Networking Data Unit) is what physically controls the antenna. It interfaces with the aircraft navigational systems to control the movement of the antenna. The KANDU is also responsible for making sure the system reconnects to the right satellite as a single satellite can only cover a certain area, which means longer flights may switch between 2 or even 3 different satellites.” There, now you know… )


Panasonic:
Panasonic today announced that its weather division, Panasonic Weather Solutions, is providing ground operations weather forecasting to Denver International Airport. The company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE) provides detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting for significant convective and winter weather events.

Panasonic’s FCoE delivers unparalleled weather forecasting information, with days-out accuracy, via customized products that offer at-a-glance ease of use, while their meteorologists utilize highly-accurate and unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Denver International Airport ground operations with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasting for informed decision making.

CEO, Paul Margis, said: “Our Weather Solutions division sets the standard for world-class weather forecasting. We are proud to partner with Denver International Airport Ground Operations to deliver the most accurate weather information available for operational safety and efficiency.” He also noted: “Denver International Airport can be confident that the weather forecasting they receive from Panasonic will provide them with an operational advantage, from proper staffing levels to staging the right equipment and materials appropriate to the weather circumstance.”


Inmarsat:
A career in the rapidly expanding space industry is not just about launching and flying spacecraft according to Inmarsat, a world leader in mobile satellite communications. Announcing the company’s search for its next generation of ‘space pioneers’, the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Michele Franci, emphasised that to remain a global leader, Inmarsat is focused on attracting world-class engineering talent.Inmarsat’s third ‘Technology Development Programme’ (TDP), which was launched today at New Scientist Live in London with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake and graduates from Inmarsat’s second TDP programme, is designed to start the space engineering careers of five STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates. The winning candidates, selected from UK and European universities, will have the opportunity to undertake a two-year placement with Inmarsat and the offer of a permanent position on the successful completion of the program.


SITA:
The Greater Orlando Aviation Administration (GOAA) today unveiled a new standard in airport displays that will span the length of five football fields to create a fun and interactive check-in experience for the 42 million passengers who travel to and from Orlando International Airport every year. SITA, the air transport technology provider, has partnered with Synect to design and install the ultra-high definition video wall, which fully integrates with the airport operational systems to deliver dynamic way-finding along with flight information, destination time and weather, security and gate information. In addition, the family-friendly airport can now display engaging games to entertain its young travelers and decrease perceived wait times.

The digital canvas, which will span 1,560 feet (475 metres), comprises more than 700 55” LG LCD screens to create a vast and continuous video wall, essentially creating digital wallpaper. The new digital experience at Orlando also includes installations from the curb side to the terminals, including outdoor digital displays, self-check-in and way-finding video walls.

We first heard about meshed aviation networks a few years ago but not much has happened in the build and test phase until now. In the past, and as far back as 2008, mesh networks have found use on the ground and in the air with the military. However, in the last couple of years, mesh networks have found a proposed place, specifically in aviation papers like this one. Interestingly, Wikipedia notes; “The 66-satellite Iridium constellation operates as a mesh network, with wireless links between adjacent satellites. Calls between two satellite phones are routed through the mesh, from one satellite to another across the constellation, without having to go through an earth station. This makes for a smaller travel distance for the signal, reducing latency, and also allows for the constellation to operate with far fewer earth stations than would be required for 66 traditional communications satellites.”
Now, the Airborne Wireless Network folks are targeting the communication to and from the ground, through moving aircraft paths… that is, the planes have antennas that talk to each other, as well as, to ground stations – look at it as a flexible, moving wireless network that does not use satellites, but rather, uses the airplane(s) as the communication nodes to ground stations. As the reported requirements for off-plane data increases, as well as the development failure prediction capability based on more data, communicating black box testing, and passengers and crew data usage goes up – another method to send it might be useful! The concept in our first story is the result of a lot of new technology brought about by new data handling capabilities, advanced antenna processing, flexible spectrum management and frequency-agile transmissions and importantly, software defined networking. While Airborne Wireless Network has kept a low profile about their operation, you are going to hear a lot about the technology, and a lot about their product in the future. Stay Tuned!

Airborne Wireless Network:
Airborne Wireless Network (the company) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding with Kansas City-based Jet Midwest Group (Jet Midwest). It states that both parties have agreed to enter into a definitive agreement by September 30, 2016. The memorandum further states that Jet Midwest Group would be providing up to three Boeing 757-223 Jetliners to Airborne Wireless Network for its ‘proof of network concept’ and FAA certification testing. Two of these Boeing 757-223’s have tentatively been designated for the company’s use.
Once the aircraft have been fitted with Airborne Wireless’ equipment and ground-testing has been completed, the company plans to fly these commercial jets from Roswell, New Mexico to Kansas City, Missouri. According to the FAA, this will be a historic “first ever” flight of a meshed commercial airliner-based network. Their plan is for global service of real-time data performance developing a virtual airborne “worldwide web”. One of the advantages of an airplane-based is, of course, no space junk which is a big deal. The only hang-up is you have to get a lot of folks in the game with all their aircraft before enough coverage is available as a reliable connection service. If there are enough players, the advantages, however, result in multiple signal paths, a true “meshed network”, and no single point of failure. We are sure you can see the issues, especially since we are in the heyday of potential signal hacking but being some 30,000 feet above ‘bad guy’ signal sources may have value, not to mention the removal of ground-to-air and air-to-ground weather-related signal and distance losses. This is worth watching.


GOODBYE JOE:
Last week, Boeing’s Father of the B747, Joe Sutter, passed away at 95. Mr. Sutter was involved with many planes that Boeing built like the B377, the “Dash 80”, B707, B720, B727, B737, and famously as the Father of the B747. He was a nice man and always had the time to say hello… goodbye Joe.


AIN PRODUCT SURVEY CONGRATS!
AIN reports in aircraft cabin electronics this year that, Aircraft Cabin Systems came in second in their Product Report Survey. Gogo Business/Satcom Direct tied for first place. Additionally, Satcom Direct won for overall product reliability. Check the survey results out here.


AIRBUS:
AIRBUS announced orders from VIETJET for 10 A321ceos and 10 A321neos and JETSTAR PACIFIC for 10 A320ceos; and MOU from VIETNAM AIRLINES for 10 more A350s. We also note that AIRBUS delivered 61 airliners (47 A320 Family, seven A330s, six A350s, and two A380) in August versus 44 (32 A320s, 10 A330s, two A380s) in August 2015. It has now delivered 400 some aircraft in 2016.


THE DELTA MESS:
Delta has reported a $100 million loss from those 2300 lost flights last month, which was blamed on a bad router and data backup capability. Wow, that’s an expensive router! Check out the full story.


AIX ASIA:
From the folks at Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia we get this bit of info about the show – “AIX Asia will welcome more than 50 exhibitors across seating, onboard retail, passenger comfort and more, including Geven, ZIM and Mirus Aircraft Seating. We are co-located with the Future Travel Experience Asia EXPO and the APEX EXPO, bringing together over 150 exhibitors to Singapore this year and creating the airline industry’s biggest fall event for the passenger experience industry.” IFExpress will be there October 24 – 27, 2016 and we hope you will too. We should also note that while the Zika virus has now infected 151 individuals in Singapore, the first locally-transmitted Zika infection was reported this past Saturday but most cases reported are from foreigners. “We have been tracking Zika for a while now, and knew it was only a matter of time before it reached Singapore,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted on his Facebook page. “Our best defense is to eradicate mosquitoes and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore.” Singapore is the only Asian country with active transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. We are bringing our Sawyer Picardin (Consumer Reports highest rated insect repellent – look it up.


VARIOUS LINKS WORTH YOUR TIME:
1. How to Keep Your Mac or iPhone Secure When Traveling Overseas | The Mac Security Blog
2. FAA Tightens Safeguards on Lithium Batteries on Airplanes – WSJ
3. Why You Should Drink Milk Before A Road Trip
4. Long TSA Delays Force Airports To Hire Private Security Contractors – Slashdot
5. ViaSat (VSAT), Eutelsat Receive New Contract in Europe
6. The Ultimate Guide to Travel Plugs
7. Travel hacks to avoid fees for Wi-Fi, extra legroom


auf Wiedersehen AXEL!
“As of today I will go on a sabbatical leave! Still unbelievable for me, but after a very long time at TriaGnoSys and Zii, I will give up work responsibility, and enjoy various other activities, family and friends, which I gave too low focus in the past.  So I am leaving with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other.  Looking forward to seeing you soon again, take care, Axel”

Chicago, IL | May 4, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that Delta Air Lines has increased its commitment to Gogo’s industry leading in-flight connectivity technology – 2Ku. This increases Delta’s total number of 2Ku committed aircraft to more than 600.

“Delta customers have expressed an interest in their time in the air being as productive as their time on the ground, and 2Ku satellite offers a vastly upgraded in-flight Wi-Fi experience,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “By committing to more aircraft with 2Ku technology, we’re providing Delta customers with faster and more reliable in-flight connectivity as a part of Delta’s commitment to always delivering the industry’s best on-board services.”

“With 2Ku, Delta will be able to deliver a better inflight experience to its passengers wherever they fly around the world,” said Jon Cobin, Gogo’s Executive Vice President, Global Airline Business Group. “We know how important it is to Delta to bring this technology to passengers and we plan on getting it deployed on these aircraft as soon as possible.”

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is designed to be open so it’s compatible with multiple satellite networks, which means the technology will be upgradeable over time without having to touch the aircraft. This flexibility will help ensure Delta is future ready and ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.

2Ku installations have already started on the 737-800 and A319 fleets, and additional Delta fleets will be retrofitted with the new system. Delta will operate more than 35 aircraft with 2Ku by the end of 2016.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of a Hot Topic series we call “Speakers’ Corner“. If the title sounds familiar it’s origin began in the Northeast corner of London’s Hyde Park where open-air public speaking and debate are allowed. While the British version of this democratic podium allows just about anyone to get on his or her soapbox, IFExpress has only asked folks who really know their stuff to share it with our readers. Meet Jonathan Alford, author and editor of the travel blog “Travel Technology and Consumer Experience – Thinking Forward“. Jonathan understands technology (probably because of his day job), the travel experience, and the impact of social media on our business. We were lucky to get him for this kickoff piece. If you are interested contact Mr. Alford directly.

What Delta’s Amazon Deal Signifies For Ancillary Merchandising and Digital Entertainment – by J. Alford

For the first time recently, I experienced the new deal between Delta, Amazon, and Gogo and am encouraged in several ways.

Though I have worked in travel technology, strategy, and finance for many years, I am less familiar with the historical inner workings of IFEC. However, I’m also a consumer and have enjoyed commenting the past couple of years, hoping to identify ways in which airlines, WiFi providers, and other partners can create a better – and more profitable – passenger experience.

In late 2009, mobile technology, fierce competition in digital media and entertainment markets, and airline WiFi installation trends seemed to present opportunity as they converged. At the time, I put forth an approach with a few basic elements:

1) Use mobile technology and digital entertainment to drive ancillary revenue in a departure from the traditional IFE value chain
2) Position passenger markets as a customer acquisition channel for strong consumer digital entertainment brands and to deliver a more compelling experience
3) “Think outside the flight” with mobile and location merchandising to expand revenue opportunity

Now, the Amazon deal makes an interesting story not only in IFEC, but by showing that airlines (and possibly hotels) are recognized as a potentially large customer acquisition battleground in the cutthroat digital media and entertainment industry fight for “living room share.”

This is not just IFEC anymore – and thinking in the context of the broader Digital Media industry could be constructive.

What’s so special?

To start, it’s good to acknowledge Delta and Gogo for adapting to deliver a more compelling passenger experience.

Not to ignore IFE trailblazers like JetBlue and Virgin America and what other airlines are doing, but a marriage of Delta, one of the world’s largest airlines, and Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and disruptive force in the book and entertainment industries, is noteworthy.

Also noteworthy? Delivering a better passenger experience and driving ancillary revenue are not mutually exclusive.
First, note Amazon’s presence on Delta’s web homepage – positioned as “Your Pre-Flight Destination…for…books, music, and travel essentials”.

Next, note the free Amazon access dominant on the Delta-Gogo home screenshot and Groupon’s placement to target deals based on the destination.

What is being recognized is that airlines offer – at least for a snapshot in time – the holy grail of merchandising. They know exactly when travelers are thinking about what they’re going to do on their flight, where they’re going, and what they have always been high impulse-buy consumers of – books, movies, music, and more.

Think they won’t be tracking retail, Kindle, and other purchases to personalize merchandising to travelers who also use Amazon in everyday life?

What is not yet seen is a dedicated channel for Amazon Video, but I’d imagine we will as in-flight streaming and seat-back technology improves and/or a new revenue sharing model with studios is formed.

For now, Gogo provides video downloads, but in the future, a democratized model rather than “walled garden” is more aligned with today’s expected consumer digital entertainment and commerce model.

… Read More

NEW YORK, Feb. 19 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) , the official airline sponsor of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival taking place April 22 through May 3, continues to support emerging filmmakers and independent film through the airline’s third annual national film competition: Delta’s Fly-In Movies.

Five short film finalists were selected by programmers of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival from thousands of entries. From March 1 through April 12, Delta customers on flights equipped with Delta on Demand, the airline’s personal, seatback in-flight entertainment system, can view all five short films for free. The films also will be available for viewing at delta.com/flyinmovies where customers can rate each film from their own internet connection or at 30,000 feet on Delta aircraft equipped with Gogo(R) in-flight Wi-Fi. The film rated highest by viewers will be featured in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Short Film Program.

“Given our global reach and diversity, Delta’s partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival is a natural fit,” said Gail Grimmett, Delta’s senior vice president of New York. “Through the third annual Delta’s Fly-In Movies Competition, it’s exciting to have our diverse customer base screen these five original works and ultimately select the winning entry to be featured at this Festival promoting talent from around the world.”

“The five works — all moving, funny and powerful in their own way — embody a broad range of genres in the craft of short storytelling. The films exemplify high levels of filmmaking as each succinctly takes the audience through a complete emotional journey,” said Maggie Kim, Shorts Programmer for Tribeca Film Festival. “We would be proud to select each of these works for the Tribeca Film Festival but are excited to engage our audiences with this unique opportunity to play a role in shaping our program.”

The five films in competition include:

— “Cold Calls” by Jack Daniel Stanley: In this 80’s spoof, a woman receives increasingly bizarre phone solicitations from an obsessive telemarketer.

— “Eight Percent” by Alexander Poe: Two high school exes meet up ten years later on an awkward date.

— “Gerald’s Last Day” by Justin Rasch and Shel Rasch: Gerald the dog has been scheduled for his termination by the dog pound at 5 p.m. Can he seduce a potential adopter before his time runs out?

— “The Green Film” by Andrew Williamson: It’s not easy being green — especially when you’re a filmmaker. So how do you make the greenest movie of all time? Watch and learn.

— “Locks” by Ryan Coogler: Dante wears his hair in dreadlocks. When he goes to the local barbershop, we see into his heartbreaking home life and learn how big his heart is.

As part of Delta’s Fly-In Movies competition, the airline will fly all six filmmakers to New York City during the Tribeca Film Festival to attend a celebration hosted by Delta and the Festival where the winning film will be announced. In addition, the winning filmmaker will receive a pair of round- trip tickets for travel in BusinessElite, Delta’s international business class, anywhere Delta flies worldwide.

Through Delta on Demand, customers can enjoy live television, HBO programming, first-run and popular classic movies, a broad range of music, and a suite of 10 video games. Additionally, the airline’s Gogo In-Flight Internet service offers customers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), access to the Internet, corporate virtual private networks (VPNs), corporate and personal e- mail accounts, and SMS texting and instant messaging services.

Delta Air Lines is the world’s largest airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita, Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to 378 destinations in 66 countries and serve more than 170 million passengers each year. Delta’s marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta’s more than 70,000 employees worldwide are reshaping the aviation industry as the only U.S. airline to offer a full global network. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at delta.com.

Website: http://www.delta.com/flyinmovies/
Website: http://www.delta.com/

You are correct, pictured here is IFE’s Geoff Underwood (Inflight Peripherals) at a reception meeting HRH Elizabeth II after receiving the Queen’s Award for achievement in export or innovation. In Geoff’s words, “It doesn’t matter how big or small the company is… I guess it would be the same as a “Presidents Award” in the USA.  It’s the highest award that a company can get in the UK, and only a handful get it each year, so its pretty cool for our little company to receive this coveted award.” Right you are Mr. Underwood and we note that it took almost a year to get the humble UK business owner to tell us more. His words probably describe the scene best: “Ours was for export (international trade) because most of our products ship to the USA, and for the fact that we have gained business with world leading organizations (you know who they are). Once you have the Award, you can use the logo on your headed notepaper, and stuff like that, and you can generally use the status of the Award to “big up” your business.  Obviously, it’s not that well known in the USA, but in the UK and in Europe it’s well respected. I like to think that this has been achieved by producing good products, but also by gaining the trust of our customers through providing what we say we’re going to provide.  Our delivery record is excellent. We turn around new designs quickly, and the quality and reliability of our products is way up there too.”  

Geoff went on, “So, we got told about the award in April.  Then we were invited to meet HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. The coolest bit was being able to drive our car through the front gates in front of the Palace – They are the one’s you see in all the movies where tourists stand. Claire and I laughed our socks off when foreign tourists were taking photos of us… just in case we might be royalty!!!!  You’ll have to call her Princess Claire from now on! Inside, there’s a reception where you stand around talking with other Award winners. Then you queue up and get introduced to HM The Queen. Shake hands, bow, and then move on. Later in the year was the presentation of the actual Award. This is a beautiful cut glass bowl, and it was presented at our factory on the Isle of Wight by HM The Queen’s representative The Lord Lieutenant (pronounced Leftenant here in jolly old England). We invited loads of suppliers and customers, and had a great day, which included a tour of the Island on an open top bus!” Jolly good on you, Geoff! 

On another front, check out link on the AirCell/Delta vs. Ambit lawsuit:
http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/delta/stories/2009/02/18/aircell_delta_lawsuit_wifi.html. It seems a Brit with an international patent claims infringement, but we have never heard of the guy(s). Obviously, no comment from all involved but you might Google the title of the patent for more info… or check out this link: http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?IA=GB2007001278&wo=2007116209&DISPLAY=STATUS

You other IFE vendors who are dabbling in connectivity (you know who you are) might want to pay particular attention to this one:�
Lastly, we have been getting emails about a forthcoming legal battle between Digecor and E-Digital on the bench this week. Stay Tuned, it’s never dull here!