“Way”…but first, a little background.

If you remember a story we did on SafeCell you will note that the plan by the Aussies called for little Bluetooth networks connecting to app-downloaded Smartphones that are so popular to travelers. The latest twist is a picocell wireless router developed by ASI which should make the installation of the interior network much easier. If you remember, early Bluetooth was tested by Intel in the ninties and because of signal levels and operation frequencies, the results showed that Bluetooth frequencies were way under the noise floors for FAA/FCC requirements. We asked prez Ron Chapman about the new product and he sent us the following in a email:

“The fascinating thing about Bluetooth is that its been round for such a long time in every day use as a mobile phone head set, but due to its initial lack of range and speed it was never really considered a viable data link.

Even today the software Apps mobile phones vendors provide, to connect your mobile to your PC are all different and cumbersome. We could see that range and speed would take care of itself with the Bluetooth V 2, but the single biggest challenge would be, building a simple single interface to all mobiles and that’s what we have achieved.

Now we can shift data from any mobile to any other mobile using the one App, while at the same time our broadcast mode allows users to receive multimedia info without going through the full pairing process. This is a real benefit to airlines as every passenger with a mobile can receive information, even before they have downloaded the App.

The other thing that is appealing about Bluetooth is, it’s the only wireless aircraft system recommend under the Intel report that could be left on during critical stages of flight. So aircraft interference is not really an issue at all.

In regard to our roll out plans, what I can tell you is before SafeCell Airline hits the skies, it will be launched on the ground. We have a ground version of SafeCell that we have been testing on 2 social networks that combined have 800+ Million subscribers. With these interfaces in place, once they are in-flight they would automatically have an account, so billing would not be an issue.

We plan to launch the ground version next month which gives us the opportunity to bullet proof the software before it hits the airlines.” For more information take a look at theSafecell Data Sheet, read the latest SafeCell Press Release or you can contact Ron Chapman at ron.chapman@asiq.com.

Melbourne Australia 19th February 2010
Ron Chapman CEO of ASiQ Limited announced today that SafeCell will change the rules for in-flight messaging.

Ron stated “When we created SafeCell, the initial App was designed as a low cost Mobile phone platform for corporate jets. Refer ifexpress article

We have now tested our App on every available aircraft satellite network and recently received the latest Inmarsat swift broadband aircraft system.

We activated the SafeCell App on multiple mobile phones and were simultaneously sending SMS, MMS and Voice messages in both directions. As such, we are now confident we could accommodate the messaging requirements of 400+ passengers on a jumbo.

Not only that, unlike existing systems, SafeCell does not incur GSM roaming charges and we see no reason messaging in an aircraft should be more expensive than on the ground and its time someone did something about it.

As such, for the first time in aviation communications history, the price of SafeCell in-flight messaging can actually be cheaper than on the ground. We are talking of providing an SMS service that could be as low as 5 cents per message and MMS for under 25 cents, plus Instant Messaging for free.

We know from our competitor’s flight test on QANTAS and Air France that hundreds of messages are being sent on flights, despite their high roaming charges. We believe that SafeCell’s lower cost will make it affordable for all passengers, not just the business traveller.

The SafeCell App achieves this, as it makes the Bluetooth connection on the mobile the primary link and connects to a Bluetooth hotspot in the aircraft. SafeCell delivers its service via low cost satellites through the Internet, avoiding the GSM roaming charges.

The App makes a Bluetooth dumb phone smart and a smartphone even smarter and as Bluetooth is up to 3 Mbps, speed is not an issue.

We now see SafeCell as a real option for all airlines.”

Later this month ASiQ will release the worlds first certifiable Bluetooth Hotspot

October 5, 2009 — ASiQ Limited announced today that it has successfully tested the new MMS capability of the SafeCell system on the latest Thuraya network and the existing Inmarsat network.

Having recently launched a low cost cell phone solution for Bizjets using the Iridium satellites, ASiQ is now concentrating its efforts on the upcoming airline program. As part of the airline system passengers will not only be able to send inexpensive SMS, IM and text email from their mobiles, but also photos. SafeCell MMS is a proprietary system that can deliver an in-flight MMS service from as little as 50 cents globally.

Ron Chapman ASiQ’s CEO stated, “The only way to provide cost effective mobile phone communications is to stay outside the global mobile roaming system, thereby avoiding roaming charges, which are standard with the existing in flight mobile phone solutions. Also by focusing on data only, we are able to substantially reduce the cost and weight of the hardware to less than 10% of competitive systems, making it affordable for all airlines. The first certifiable hardware is scheduled for delivery later this year.”

For further information: Contact Ron.Chapman@asiq.com

Today’s Hot Topic should really be titled “Bluetooth v3.0” but, to put the ongoing hardware convergence into perspective, we need to look at one concept driving PEDS, or in other terminology, Mobile Phones and Mobile Internet Devices (MID’s). And don’t worry, we have Inflight Entertainment impact…but we will get to that later.

The CS-LL concept can be described as the next movement in the mobile chip world who’s goal is to increase the “gozinta’s” and “gozouta’s” of mobile devices. As we rely more on portable electronics as our go-to device, the ability to interface with new sources such as cameras, Internet, DVD Players, iPODs, keyboards, mice, etc. and new output devices and locations like LCD screens, MP3 players, Internet, etc, your mobile device needs new connections at higher speeds, utilizing less power. Frankly, so does anything working with, talking to, and generally involved with IFE.

Remember the concept of hardware convergence in the first paragraph? Well the latest specification divulged by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group meeting, v3.0, really ramps up the possibility of much higher data rates…up to 24 Mbps! The new Protocol Adaption Layer mimics the 802.11 specifications and with 2 radios (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), the latest Broadcom devices allow bifurcated data channels that let the low speed information move thru Bluetooth connections and the high bandwidth content fly down the Wi-Fi highway. What once was 3 Mbps (v2.1) is now 24 Mbps, and by using the Wi-Fi protocols, better battery efficiency is an additional benefit.

Now, the IFE connection! Bluetooth v3.0 at 24 Mbps would have some potential for data loading. Assume that a 2-hour movie in H.264 or WMV might require 1.2 to 1.5GB of storage, so you can calculate the loading time based on the Bluetooth 3.0 level of deployment. With built in Wi-Fi protocols, one can imagine the flexibility of offering a data loader that operated in wired and/or wireless modes that could be offered as “one size fits all”…it adapts itself to the loading interface.

But the real interesting application is the one using your Bluetooth v3.0 MID on an airplane. That story has already been written and you can view that application in our premier edition of the IFExpress Special Edition – link below. Further, we really got interested in the cabin potential for this new version of Bluetooth after we wrote the story. So, we contacted Ron Chapman, the Australian IFE developer featured in the Special Edition about his expectations and view of Bluetooth in the cabin.

Ron told IFExpress, “The next generation 3.0 phone becomes your inflight video screen, particularly for those regional airlines that cannot afford to install the inseat or overhead IFE. Think of the weight, power, fuel, and cost savings! Safecell airlines will provide the very first step in this direction with some content capability. Both broadcast and individual download. Yes I know it’s a small screen but look at the Nintendo DS, where will it go with Bluetooth v3.0? When we created the Safecell concept in July 2006, I was of the opinion that if your cell phone can replace your camera and MP3, player then it will replace your DVD player – you don’t need to be Einstien to work that one out. So now, it looks like it can happen. With the amount content today’s generation handles and the integration of Bluetooth v3.0 into TV’s, all the IFE manufacturer needs to do is implement a short range low power chip in each screen/seat. Passenegers could then carry on thier own content and watch on the inseat screen (or vise versa) and no more cables to plug in. Obviously battery life is key, but at the moment phones are as good a DVD player and better than laptops on battery.”