The in-flight broadband revolution brings social media to 35,000ft


Focusing on the very latest developments in the new broadband communications dimension to contemporary commercial air travel, and on the increasing likelihood that the typical airline passenger cruising at 35,000 is now able to keep in touch with family, friends and work colleagues via voice, email, and social media, just as though he or she were on terra firma, the next programme in the GVF-EMP Partnership event calendar is focused on the inflight online revolution.

Martin Jarrold, GVF’s Chief of International Programme Development, and co-chair/moderator of AeroConnect 2016 – The In-Flight Online Revolution – which will take place on 11th November in London, and is sponsored by Hughes, Intelsat, and GoGo Air – commented, “The thematic coverage of this innovative event will encompass detailed analysis of the technologies, services, equipment deployment, and markets of the aeronautical in-flight connectivity and entertainment space.” Mr Jarrold added, “The greater availability of broadband satellite capacity over airline routes is increasingly able to ensure that the connectivity demands – or the In-Flight Entertainment & Communications (IFEC) demands – of the mobile broadband consumer as airline passenger are met. But, the programme will not only look at the airliner seat as a fully functioned extension of the office desk and domestic living room, that is the passenger (as consumer) experience of IFEC, but also at the airline carrier (and its employees) as consumers/users within this new paradigm of the in-flight connectivity ecosystem.”

Paul Stahl, Executive Director of Event Management Partners (EMP), pointed to a February 2016 speech at a previous GVF-EMP Partnership event given by Joe Leader, CEO of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), entitled ‘Airline In-Flight Connectivity: The New Paradigm of Passenger Experience’ as one of the seeds of the event, and a new addition to the Partnership’s portfolio. Mr Stahl noted, “Joe Leader’s remarks following an APEX survey of global passengers showed that Wi-Fi was rated the highest in terms of increasing satisfaction with the in-flight passenger experience, demonstrating a huge opportunity for in-flight connectivity.”

Alexander Preston, Editor of the Inflight Portfolio, co-chair/moderator of the conference and opening keynote speaker added, “The Economist magazine reported on US$10 billion of on-board passenger experience upgrades during 2015 for existing aircraft alone, and that half of all airline profits, industry-wide, are being redirected to enhance the in-flight passenger experience with Wi-Fi. Of course, reflecting this, satellite operators are increasingly covering the world’s principal commercial flight corridors with high throughput satellite (HTS) beams and service solutions.”

The event programme as a whole will seek to characterise the various determinants of, and the prime drivers of, the nature and scale of the investments being made today – and the investments being planned for tomorrow – by key market players to provide the infrastructure for the current generation, and for future generations, of in-flight connectivity.

In further comment Mr Jarrold added, “This extension of office, home and formerly earth-bound mobile broadband brings massive new revenue potential not only for the communications on the move (COTM) solutions provider marketplace, but also for the airline carriers, the connectivity investment budgets of which will be well-positioned within a multi-billions of dollars virtuous circle of enhanced revenues-increased profits-expanded investment.”

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