July 19th 2018 will see the transition to a new format for the GVF-EMP conference AeroConnect: Inflight ... Online: The Connected Revolution Continues ... at 35,000 feet. For the first time the event – comprising highly-focused industry dialogues with the satellite solution end-user aeronautical market – will be embedded within the specific user environment of one of the world’s major international air shows as AeroConnect@Farnborough, taking place in the cutting-edge venue of the Farnborough Exhibition & Conference Centre.
This major innovation will position discussion of key technological and service advances and user expectations in the inflight connectivity environment directly within the dynamics of one of the commercial aeronautical industry’s most important trade show gatherings. Farnborough 2016 attracted 82 of the world’s top 100 aerospace companies and this year’s show will include some 1500 exhibitors from 52 countries, encompassed within the context of the show’s various ‘Zones’ – including Aerospace 4.0, the Innovation Zone, and the Space Zone.
AeroConnect@Farnborough is organised with three key comprehensive, high-impact, and focused presentation and panel sessions, scheduled to enable all participants to both experience Farnborough’s celebrated trade show afternoon air displays and leverage the opportunity to network with exhibitors. Additionally, having been scheduled for the penultimate trade show day, the conference programme will enable speakers and attendees to continue their networking on Friday 20th July.
Martin Jarrold, Chief of International Programme Development with GVF commented, regarding the background to the conference, “The world’s networks of commercial airline routes – carrying increasing numbers of passengers, a constantly growing proportion of which are ‘Millennials’ and ‘Generation Z’ – are evolving. No longer will they be only a mode of transportation between domestic or international physical/geographical hubs, but also social networks in the sky.”
Mr Jarrold added, “Connecting the passenger (carrying two or even three wireless devices) to the home, to the office, to the circle of friends, to the YouTube ecosphere, etc., on aircraft that will increasingly become hubs in the communications sense of the word, will be increasingly commonplace via the technologies of fixed (FSS: Ku-band, Ka-band) and mobile (MSS: L-band) satellite systems and air-to-ground (ATG) networks. Whilst flight arrivals may always be subject to delays, widespread inflight connectivity (IFC) has most definitely arrived, or is at least undercarriage down, and on final approach.”
Demand for delivery of content to multiple devices per passenger exists the world over and most passengers are willing to pay for it. Use of personal devices – to stream video, access apps, browse the web, email, play games, video conference, and engage in social media – will progressively and completely replace long- and medium-haul on-board, server-based, inflight entertainment systems and introduce a common passenger experience for passengers of short-haul/low cost carriers.
Paul Stahl, Executive Director of EMP commented, “According to Euroconsult in their ‘Prospects for In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity’ report of May 2017 over 17,000 commercial aircraft will offer broadband IFC to passengers by 2021. NSR’s ‘Aeronautical Satcom Markets’ report, also of May 2017, forecasts IFC to be installed on 1 out of 3 commercial passenger aircraft by the end of 2019, and 2 out of every 3 by the end of 2026. Specifically, according to the NSR report, over 50 per cent of the addressable commercial passenger aircraft market will have IFC served by FSS and/or High Throughput Satellites (HTS) by 2021.”
Mr. Stahl continued, “Additions to the numbers of, and further improvements in the capabilities of, HTS operating in the Ku- and Ka-bands, according to Euroconsult, will result in the amount of bandwidth capacity dedicated to IFC reaching 21Gbps by the end of 2018, and increasing to almost 300Gbps by the close of 2026. Indeed, some of the industry’s leading IFC solutions providers have started to deploy networks offering up to hundreds of Gbps.”
Such developments, as well as others in, for example, terminal antenna technologies, will contribute to enabling commercial airlines – as their flights increase in number and their networks of routes expand to support growth in passenger demand – to meet the requirements of their customer base for a connectivity experience to at least match that (in performance and maybe of price) of their Wi-Fi or 4G experience on the ground; the passenger expectation of IFC will include the ability to video stream, not just update Facebook status and post a few Tweets.
The airline customer’s ‘Connectivity Experience’ will become, perhaps, the major element in their choice of carrier. Airlines, driven by this, will be forced to accelerate the rate at which they install IFC equipment to their fleets.
The programme for AeroConnect@Farnborough: Inflight... Online: The Connected Revolution Continues ... at 35,000 feet, sponsored by Comtech EF Data, Hughes, Newtec, and iDirect, will comprise three moderated and interactive presentation and panel sessions, as follows:
Session 1 0945-1100
‘In Orbit... Inflight... In the Cabin: The Technologies’
Session 2 1115-1230
‘Airlines & Customers: Aeronautical Applications & Passenger Services’
Session 3 1245-1400
‘User Expectations, Provider Capabilities: Business Models in the Cruise’