IFExpress: John, we assume you will be moving to the Chicago area… any expectations? Any trepidations?
J.W.: “Yes, I have relocated to the Chicago area and am thrilled to be joining my colleagues here to start launching the 2Ku era. As for trepidations, having spent the last eight winters in Colorado, I’m not quite sure what Chicago winters will bring, less skiing I’m sure.”
IFExpress: Regarding your new areas of responsibility (operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales) which do you think will give you the most challenges and which the most enjoyment?
J.W.: “The role in itself will present many challenges as well as enjoyment across all departments as we begin the journey of rolling out 2Ku to our airline partners. Making sure that deployment goes as smoothly as possible is a large part of my new role as COO.
Over the years, I have discovered I have a natural love for optimizing operations within organizations and am really looking forward to leading those functions within Gogo’s commercial aviation business.
For one of my challenges, I’d say learning to manage the folks in sales, as I used to be one myself.
Putting in place the foundation of 2Ku for our airline partners that have clearly recognized 2Ku’s operational excellence is certainly the most exciting challenge. More than 1,200 aircraft across 12 airlines have made commitments to this technology that will change the face of air travel on a global scale. To be leading that innovation is not only a huge milestone at Gogo, but in aviation as well.”
IFEXpress: From a bigger perspective, can you: A. give our readers the today view of Gogo, B. tomorrow’s view under your new leadership, and C. the product view of the next 5 years at Gogo.
J.W.: “Right now is really a very exciting time for Gogo. As the summer travel season comes to an end for the airlines, we are truly stepping into full 2Ku production mode. By the end of the year, we have committed to having 75+ 2Ku aircraft installed and into 2017 and 2018, we’ll be ramping up production quite a bit to get through our backlog of 1,200 aircraft. Given how quickly the airline industry has taken to 2Ku and recognized its technological advantages, I expect in the next five years that we will announce many global partnerships for 2Ku. Additionally, we will continue to expand our product offerings, focus on bringing the connected aircraft to life and develop our next generation regional ATG network that will be a big benefit to both CA (commercial aviation) and BA (business aviation).”
IFExpress: We understand that is some markets (biz jet?), Gogo offers a text/data service (low speed), why is that not offered for a low cost solution for the many users who want minimum service on a commercial service airplane?
J.W.: “We actually do have a messaging pass for commercial aviation (CA) passengers. For CA, this messaging application enables passengers to stay in touch with the ground with popular messaging applications including iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. If passengers are T-Mobile customers, they can also take advantage of free in-flight texting on all Gogo equipped flights.
For BA and CA both, the service actually works on high speed networks. In general, we think that low speed networks will become increasingly more focused on the cockpit v. passenger services.”
IFExpress: Can you tell our readers a little about how the business aviation market differs from the commercial airline market and do you envision entering other markets like military, etc.?
J. W.: “If there is one major differentiator between BA and CA it’s in the size of the fuselage hence the antenna technologies which are applicable. With Gogo’s range of products for both BA and CA, Gogo is extremely well positioned to service both markets.
In terms of BA vs CA, from an operations perspective, there are striking similarities with the big difference being access to aircraft. Commercial airlines are not keen on taking planes down to change technologies, which creates challenges when you are delivering new technologies. But there are definitely more similarities than differences.”
In closing, John told IFExpress; “While I’ve had a lot of fun over the last eight years managing the BA group, I’m realizing my real passion is in the big airplane world. It’s truly great to be back in the airline world once again and I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends in Singapore.”
With over 30 years in the aviation industry, Jorge Mompo has joined the digEcor team as the new Director North, Latin America and Caribbean Sales. Mompo will be based in the America’s office in Springville, Utah and will be handling all Sales and Marketing activities in the Americas’ region. Jorge began his aviation career in the areas of Business Aviation Technical and Support, subsequently moving into IFE where he held diverse Engineering and Sales & Marketing positions in companies including Sony Trans Com, Panasonic and Lumexis, serving mainly the Americas. Mompo commented, “There are numerous growth opportunities in the Region where digEcor’s comprehensive integrated flight experience suite of products for IFE and cabin will be a perfect fit for current and future needs. I’m looking forward to continuing my close working relationships with all the customers in the Americas Region encompassing Airlines, OEMs and MROs.” Jorge will be at Singapore at the digEcor booth and you can contact him here: +1 (305) 781-9798 Mobile – +1 (801) 691-7257 Office
Thales, a global leader in space, avionics, and connected inflight entertainment, announces two milestone agreements with SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines and their passengers FlytLIVE, the most efficient inflight connectivity experience over the Americas. FlytLIVE by Thales will start operating mid 2017 using in-orbit satellites. Thales signed an agreement with SES for tailor made connectivity services over the Americas optimized for commercial aviation.
With FlytLIVE, inflight connectivity solution, airlines will receive the best connection speeds for passengers and passenger entertainment using Ka-band HTS, they claim.
Two currently in-orbit satellites comprise the initial network for the Americas; a third satellite provided by Thales Alenia Space – will be launched in 2020 to meet anticipated market growth over the Americas.
(Editor’s Note: IFExpress will have more on this deal soon.)
- ARINC, AEEC, Rockwell Collins are putting on their big show in Toulouse France this year (Oct. 13 – 14) and a couple meetings caught our eye – specifically 7E Next Generation Cabin Data Bus and New ARINC Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System. Here is more info – ARINC Industry Activities | AEEC | Upcoming Mid-Term | Meeting Material | Drafts for Adoption Consideration
- The FAA says don’t turn on or charge your Samsung’s new Note 7 on an airplane! FAA Warns Airline Passengers Not To Use Samsung Smartphone The Wireless Week reported: “There have been dozens of aircraft fires caused by lithium batteries, so many that the batteries are no longer welcome as cargo on passenger flights. In one of the most recent incidents, a Fiji Airways Boeing 737 was preparing for takeoff from Melbourne, Australia, when smoke was discovered coming from the cargo bay. The plane was evacuated and the cargo unloaded. The source of the fire turned out to be lithium-ion batteries in a passenger’s checked bags. Hoverboards and e-cigarettes are banned from flights for the same reason.” Here is another article on the subject.
- If you get a new iPhone (7) but you have earphones with a jack… no worries on board. Just get a Lightening Dock… or, here are four other solutions 5 Ways To Use Headphones With iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus | Redmond Pie and use those jacked earphones!
Endicott, New York | April 14, 2015– Vistara has selected BAE Systems’ IntelliCabin in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, which provides inflight wireless streaming of preloaded content to customers’ personal electronic devices across all three cabin classes in its fleet of A320 aircraft. The system also includes fully integrated Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablets for business class customers. With its state-of-the-art wireless technology and unique user interface, the fully integrated IFE system provides travelers with entertainment options beyond those currently available aboard commercial flights.
The entire fleet of Vistara will incorporate the IFE system, expected to go live in another six months. In the interim, BAE Systems is providing Vistara’s business class customers with customized Samsung Galaxy tablets with specially selected preloaded content. This interim solution will be available to Vistara’s business class customers on flights of more than two hours duration beginning in March 2015.
“We are extremely happy to be launching the pioneering technology of in-flight wireless streaming in India. The first of its kind IFE solution is the outcome of much deliberation and we sought to ensure that it was innovative, ground-breaking, and novel for our customers.” said Prasad Menon, chairman of Vistara. “BAE Systems’ IntelliCabin IFE system offers the latest technological innovations, which includes the potential for live TV and full WiFi on board.”
“BAE Systems’ unique and state-of-the-art Samsung tablet solution can be customized to meet the customer demands of an exceptional and enriched IFE experience,” said Phee Teik Yeoh, chief executive officer at Vistara. “The company’s IFE system is completely aligned with Vistara’s futuristic vision, underscoring our commitment to delight customers with intuitive thoughtfulness.”
Global technology leaders BAE Systems and Samsung have partnered to deliver the state-of-the-art IFE system, which can be experienced in business class using customized Samsung Galaxy tablets and on customers’ personal electronic devices across all cabins. It delivers movies, TV shows, magazines, and games through a rich and responsive user interface.
“Vistara’s selection of our IntelliCabin IFE supports the airline’s vision of providing an enhanced travel experience for its customers,” said Dr. Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice president and general manager of Commercial Aircraft Solutions at BAE Systems. “We are confident that Vistara’s customers will enjoy our next-generation IFE system — specifically, its unparalleled user interface.”
The tablet-driven IFE system is one component of BAE Systems’ IntelliCabin suite of products, which provides an integrated, scalable approach to aircraft cabin management through in-seat power, dynamic LED lighting, and a cabin crew interface.
Remember BAE Systems? They were the folks that introduced a new in-seat power system at a previous IFE show. Well, that device has seen further development with boxes that supply 4 USB 5 VDC and 4 110 AC, 2 Amp, outlets… sort of a smart power junction box. But this story is not about inseat power, it’s about their new IntelliCabin, next-gen cabin control system that is the cabin crew interface to in-seat power, IFE, LED lighting, dim-able windows, seat diagnostics, and cabin management. Jared Schoemaker, BAE Systems Director of Cabin Systems told IFExpress that he felt that IntelliCabin was not only their future vision for the cabin system, it integrates with Samsung devices! More on that in a minute. The IntelliCabin solution provides, power to passengers, delivers enhanced passenger experience via tablets, integrates the latest lighting technology, centralizes and simplifies crew control through mobile devices, improves diagnostics (implements prognostics – we need to find out more about this), and reduces acquisition and operating costs. If the IntelliCabin product sounds familiar, it was the BEA System folks who brought about the Attendant Control Panel that is the heart of the interior lighting control for the Boeing B737 Sky Interior. Now, back to Samsung – BAE Systems has an MOU with none other than Samsung… whose name is cropping up everywhere in the aviation – now space – business. BAE plans to integrate the Samsung device world into the IntellicCabin architecture with their latest devices (tablets, phones, whatever), and they will integrate that model into crew management. Lastly, they plan to integrate these efforts into BAE systems global support network. We will keep you posted as this all develops. The BAE system demonstrated operation with a 12.2” Galaxy NotePro, a Galaxy Tab 10.1”, a Galaxy Note 3, a Galaxy S5 and the great Gear 2 Smartwatch.
A recent trade pub (FierceWirelessTech) noted that industry associations are taking the side of inflight telephony in the US: “The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) said in a joint FCC filing that they support the commission’s proposal to remove what they called ‘outdated regulatory barriers for access to in-flight mobile connectivity.’ The commission’s plan has the potential to make in-flight mobile connectivity (IMC), “including data, text, and even voice connectivity,” available to consumers aboard airborne aircraft, the three trade groups noted. Despite public outcry over the FCC proposal, the groups contend that various stakeholders, “including IMC providers, off-board communications link providers, airlines and aircraft manufacturers, and industry associations, are generally supportive of enabling IMC in the United States.” Get ready to write your Congressperson.
We have been following Geoff Underwood’s Cashless Retail System (CRS) and we understand a trial is in work. When we asked him about an update, he cautiously responded; “We have been talking to Airlines about the system and are expecting a trial within the next month or so. That’s as much as I have today!”
While the Gogo – AT&T saga continues, we wanted to give our readers another couple inputs on the debate. Firstly, Gogo has countered the AT&T announcement with their own view of next-gen solution for US connectivity that should make competitors a bit nervous – read it here.
Next, we discovered another article about one of the Big Dogs in the telephony business and it got us thinking: It seems Ericsson has been testing moving cellular connectivity in an article referring to cellular testing on/for trains: ”First up is Ericsson, the world’s largest network equipment provider, which said it is testing two new features–Dynamic On/Off and Dual Connectivity–that are being considered for LTE Release 12. Ericsson said the functions are both geared toward lowering the power requirements of wireless network base stations. Ericsson said Dynamic On/Off is a feature that mutes a base station when it is not transmitting data. The benefit is two-fold: inter-cell interference reduction and the possibility for the base station to go in a lower power consumption state,” Ericsson said. As for Dual Connectivity, Ericsson said the technology would allow a user to receive data from two base stations simultaneously rather than only from one. “In some cases, users will be able to download a file twice as fast as today due to the dual connectivity to the LTE network. Because users are served faster, base stations are more often inactive and thus can go more frequently in a lower power consumption state,” the company said. Then we discovered how they were testing… in a jet plane! Draw your own conclusions but it looks like they could build AT&T’s hardware.
Ever heard of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra? One reader, Robert Bogash is the kind of a guy who does. His retired-Boeing-other-job is with Seattle’s Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. Bob’s vision was to get one of the twin prop workhorses into the museum and his website has documented the story of doing it… in pictures. Very nice restoration, Bob is a genius with vision. Check it out here – you won’t be disappointed!
And speaking of Oldies But Goodies – The Dash 80 rolled out 60 years ago last week – May 14, 1954. The Seattle P.I. had a nice photo spread.
First, we had planned to write this Hot Topic around the recent Las Vegas CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and tekkie love fest but our volunteer IFExpress reporter dropped off the face of the earth… we suspect that he is in some off-the-strip keno parlor still trying to win back the money we fronted him. Moving on, besides all the crapgadget laptops, apps, games, the one item we found IFE-friendly was the surge in Ultra HD “4K” displays. While the ones at CES were gigantic (which is where “4K” shines), better screen quality is always a class differentiator. No doubt, biz jets will get ’em first, but classy carriers will pickup the slack. Last year at CES Sony and LG brought the absurdly priced and oversized devices, this year, Toshiba, Samsung, Panasonic, and others were there delineating a trend. What is a Ultra HD display you say? Simply put it is a high res product with better everything… “4K” Ultra HD TV 3,840 X 2,160 pixel display (“4K” = 8 megapixel Ultra HD, while 1080p HD is 2 megapixel – 4 times the information… at that price ratio as well). Panasonic and Sony also showed a “4K” OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display that really has future potential for applications that require lower power & lighter weight, and from what we hear they were terrific. You can probably guess who will have the first aircraft “4K” model but you heard it here first. Most likely only in First Class but at least in the beginning. Video display trends have a way of getting on to the aircraft but there are issues like increased bandwidth (fiber optics?), cost, size, etc. The real problem: “Where is the content?”
Today was a big day for Facebook as they rolled out “GRAPH”, their new private search feature. What has this to do with IFE? Not much; however, you can bet users on connected planes will be GRAPHing their Facebook accounts for the best lunch spots in airports, or hotels in San Francisco, or pickup bars in NYC, or possibly, what airline gave me and my friends the best deal on a flight to Hamburg last year! There, it does have IFE connections! While this development won’t make Google too nervous it does open the door for future e-commerce deals and gives the Facebook community a new term – Personal Social Network Search, or PSNS.
Heard about the Super Wi-Fi Summit? This meeting will explore and define the work in sorting out all the opportunities and ongoing FCC related initiatives to develop “white spaces” for ground Wi-Fi expansion. This effort is beyond the current developments to increase Wi-Fi throughput to at least 1 GB/sec, at 5 GHz (802.11ac). The “white spaces” are usually bulk unused RF spectrum between used bands, unused or previously allocated spectrum. Wikipedia says: “Most commonly however, these white spaces exist naturally between used channels, since assigning nearby transmissions to immediately adjacent channels will cause destructive interference to both. In addition to white space assigned for technical reasons, there is also unused radio spectrum which has either never been used, or is becoming free as a result of technical changes. In particular, the switchover to digital television frees up large areas between about 50 MHz and 700 MHz.” A lot of them are in the TV bands, and while we are not aware of aviation related onboard Wi-Fi conflicts, time will tell. “Houston, we may have a problem.”
Perhaps you have seen the latest Samsung advertisements pushing mobile phone bump technology. Well now there is a new high speed format developed by Sony. Basically it is a near field, high data rate communication tool and it certainly may have future potential on planes. How? What if your friendly carrier wants to send you a paid movie or a complete route schedule of their flights (and give you a deal in the process). Just “bump” the hot spot on your seatback. Now that almost everyone has a mobile device, all you need is an app and a plane so equipped. Link
And lastly, Panasonic’s announcement at CES outlining their intent to become a Web Broadcaster got us thinking about their potential to do the same thing through their onboard Global Communications Suite! Stay Tuned on this one.
The recent Boeing teaming effort with Korean Giant, Samsung has a lot of IFE people scratching their heads. In case you missed it the news read: “Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., [OTN: SSNLF] announced today that they will explore working together to research and develop technologies that improve in-flight entertainment and communications, as well as enhance factory productivity.” Boeing noted that the relationship would; “broaden and deepen the Korean industrial ties to Boeing aircraft production.” This is a joint R & D development program and, oddly enough, it was not with one of their two IFE suppliers or a known wireless entity in the aviation business.
While Boeing typically puts deals together for their technical, political or sales advantage, the drivers behind this deal are not obvious. In fact, we heard from a number of IFE aficionados and there seemed to be more confusion than acceptance. Here is what one manufacturer of avionics hardware told IFExpress after we asked if Boeing held a competition with them for product or technology: “Unfortunately, you may know more than we do. We were surprised by this announcement ourselves. This agreement appears to be at a level above the wireless groups we are currently working with at Boeing. Since we currently have wireless business and will have future wireless business with Boeing, we certainly will be watching how this evolves. Currently, I am not sure how this impacts our business with Boeing given that Samsung currently does not have wireless aircraft products. Clearly, Boeing will be requiring wireless products that meet their stringent qualification requirements for aircraft applications. Samsung currently does not have those capabilities to develop or manufacture rugged wireless aircraft products as far as we know.”
Samsung has obviously been very successful in the mobile phone and tablet market and their consumer products are held in high esteem. After seeing a recent Galaxy product in LA, we were impressed with the quality of the handheld device. Further, PED hardware is one thing but FAA approved IFE and aircraft equipment is truly another! Their recent patent infringement lawsuit loss with Apple did cast some suspicion on their technology and business processes and others who we talked to were equally skeptical. For a bit more data, we sought others who had direct experience with this type of threat. One passionate and irate supplier was very disappointed with this deal and Boeing for a number of reasons and they told us: “My feeling is Boeing is not being fair or trustworthy in this business deal and they do not care about all suppliers who have been working with them for years. In IFE, for example, they choose only 2 suppliers for the B787 but now they are talking with Samsung? As we are an IFE component supplier, we can only talk to the two Boeing-selected companies if we want to sell hardware – we cannot even talk to other Boeing groups or individuals! Boeing has to know about Samsung and that they almost destroyed some consumer markets because of two reasons – hiring away capable engineers from established companies and currency exchange. This way they do not need to spend huge amounts of development money, but rather, pick up experts from overseas competitors. In the case of LCD products it was Japan and I feel confident in saying that they totally destroyed the Japanese LCD panel industry. Secondly, the Korean currency exchange rate is unreasonably low; therefore, their export products are selling at lower prices in overseas markets. Is this going to happen here with IFE products?”
To be fair, Samsung is a $143 Billion dollar company so they must be doing something right. Undoubtedly, their cost structures have helped them keep their prices in line and you don’t win new customers with old technology (Ask Apple!); however, the avionics business usually trails behind in hardware technology for a lot of reasons – testing, RFI/EMI, certification testing and approvals. By the time a new processor is approved for a piece of IFE hardware, the next generation is flying in a passenger’s laptop. This electronics time barrier is possibly what Boeing is seeking to overcome by working with an electronics giant.
Let’s address IFE and avionics patent technology for a moment. When Boeing looks to a Rockwell or Honeywell for a new piece of gear, price, patent exposure, experience, manufacturing processes are all part of the groundwork. We asked around if patent technology could be another reason for the Boeing choice. Another experienced manufacturer told us: “I do not believe Samsung has any important IFE patents in IFEC. In fact, I doubt if they are aware of the difficulties in using Wi-Fi on the airplane! For instance, when the B787 development program was started, Boeing was really looking for wireless connections to each seat and my old company was invited by Boeing to run actual signal transmission/receive tests. The final result was they ‘essentially gave up wireless efforts’. It is not as easy as people (including the Press) think. There will be a steep learning curve, I am sure of that.” Or, as another astute observer noted, “Another possibility that we have not discussed is the potential of this technology investment being related to airplane sales?” Reader’s Choice!
IFExpress has been planning a story on Mark Thompson’s (CEO) Thompson Aerospace Inc., developer and manufacturer of perhaps the lightest IFE system (1NET) out there – it pays for itself in advertising revenue. He just sent a note that should make the story even more interesting: “I am just doing a meeting with the advertisers, we can make over $20K a month per plane from advertising, this is going to change the industry.”
– Initial focus will be on aircraft in-flight entertainment and communications, and factory productivity improvement
SEATTLE, WA | October 22, 2012 -– Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., [OTN: SSNLF] announced today that they will explore working together to research and develop technologies that improve in-flight entertainment and communications, as well as enhance factory productivity.
A signed memorandum of understanding between the world’s largest aerospace company and the global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies will help broaden and deepen the Korean industrial ties to Boeing aircraft production.
Boeing and Samsung Electronics will initially start the development of advanced display and wireless networking technologies that offer more capabilities for passenger entertainment and ground-to-air communications, but are lighter and require less power. Additionally, the companies will explore opportunities to collaborate on projects involving productivity and enterprise mobility using Samsung’s current and future devices and solutions in hand-held mobile devices and other IT products.
“Onboard communications and networking are key elements to the passenger in-flight experience, and connecting the airplane with ground crews during flight is vital to airline operational efficiency,” said Larry Schneider, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Product Development. “The collaboration between Boeing and Samsung Electronics will explore the use of innovative technologies to advance the science in these areas.”
Samsung Electronics said the new research-and-development relationship with Boeing demonstrates its continued commitment to cement its leadership in enterprise information technology through superior products, software solutions and services, and building relationships with valued partners.
“The aviation industry is one of the most complex and sophisticated landscapes in business, with millions of passengers and employees passing safely through aviation systems every day,” said Bumcoo Cho, Samsung Electronics senior vice president of the Enterprise Business Team. “I am delighted that Samsung will work with Boeing to satisfy the fast growing demand of airline customers around the world. We will bring our expertise in multimedia and information technology to the forefront of aviation for a richer and more fulfilling connected experience while traveling.”
Boeing Research & Technology, the company’s advanced, central research and technology organization, will oversee the collaborative relationship for Boeing. The organization is focused on developing future aerospace solutions and improving the cycle time, cost, quality and performance of current aerospace systems.