A WAEA workshop, a professor at MIT and more “C” love

Okey dokey smokey. I just booked my flight to Seattle to attend the WAEA single focus workshop on connectivity this month. This should be REALLY interesting as it comes at a time when airline and passenger interest in airborne communications is soaring.

Check out the whole agenda here. You’ll see that it boasts an incredible line-up of speakers, including IFE&C specialists, airlines and talking heads.

“On the speaker side, I’ve been organizing technology committees with WAEA for a number of years. I can’t ever remember an event that had so many speakers trying to volunteer and speak,” Lumexis chief technical officer Rich Salter, who co-chairs the WAEA’s technology committee, told me last week.

“I know we’re going to be bulging at the seams keeping people on schedule and contained. The interest is just phenomenal,” he added.

Personally, I’m particularly excited about Wednesday’s session on “regulatory and industry activities”. The session will address the woeful Hang-Up Act, which seeks to formally ban the in-flight use of wireless devices for voice communications in the USA (and which has been wiggling its way through Congress at a rapid rate).

I’m also keen to find out what people think about Professor John Hansman’s suggestion that airlines should scrap obsolete in-flight entertainment.

Hansman, who is director of the International Technology Center for Air Transport at MIT, said last week at the SITA IT conference that airlines should instead focus on providing the elements necessary to allow users to access media stored on onboard storage or the Internet through their own devices.

My colleague and friend Airline Business features editor Victoria Moores had a chance to chat with Hansman last week. Check out her video interview here.


It’s true that connectivity is making everyone think differently about IFE of late. Indeed, the “C” in IFE&C (or IFEC if you prefer) was only tagged onto “IFE” in recent years, but its new spot alongside the venerable IFE acronym is “an example of how important and prominent the communications part has become”, says Salter.

Another co-chair of the WAEA technology committee, Inmarsat aeronautical business director David Coiley notes: “We have major players Thales and Panasonic very much embracing connectivity in different ways, and looking to supplement and enhance their entertainment and infotainment.”

Like I said, this workshop should be VERY interesting. Plus, I can’t wait to catch up with my friends in the IFE&C world.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to A WAEA workshop, a professor at MIT and more “C” love

  1. Yossarian July 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    I just watched the video on a Delta aircraft with GoGo, it streamed without a hiccup. Cool.

    Next time I’m going to try a streaming movie from Netflix.

  2. Mary Kirby July 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    That is excellent! I love when things come full circle :)

  3. Nate Quigley July 6, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    As you know, we at LiveTV don’t necessarily disagree with the good Professor Hansman – at least not on all of his points. “At Home in the Air” will definitely involve wi-fi broadband and personal electronic devices. Of course we also believe that “At Home” will certainly include a screen in every seatback.

    I wish Victoria would have asked Professor H what his living room looks like. I bet he’s got wi-fi….AND, I bet he’s got a screen positioned at a comfortable angle directly across the room from his sofa. In fact, I bet he watched the Wimbledon finals on that very screen yesterday while sitting comfortably on that sofa!

    As it happens, I just stepped off a GoGo-equipped Delta 757-200 on a flight from JFK to SLC. The aircraft was also equipped with Panasonic’s excellent AVOD system that many readers of this blog have experienced. It’s a great system and it performed well. We departed at 9:30AM and flew about 5 hours. Being the inquisitive guy that I am, I walked around and took notes on what people were doing on the plane. Here’s what I saw (can you see where this is going?):

    In Business class:
    - all 26 seats full
    - all 26 screens were tuned to something
    - 1 laptop came out midflight, woman working but not on wifi
    - couple snoozers

    In Economy class where I was sitting:
    - nearly full flight of 158 economy pax. Maybe 4-5 empty seats.
    Using IFE – 72
    Reading book, magazine, or newspaper – 34
    Sleeping – 31
    Personal Electronic Device for fun (game or movie) – 14
    Working, reviewing or writing on paper – 6
    Working on laptop – 5
    Using Gogo wi-fi – 1 (Me)

    I’m not making it up. Maybe it was just an anomaly, but on this flight at least the score was “IFE 100, Broadband 1.”

    This comment is turning into more of a blog post, so I’ll wrap it up by reaffirming that at LiveTV we believe in broadband because we believe in “At Home in the Air”. But we continue to ask ourselves three questions based on what we’re seeing out there: when, how, and who pays?

  4. Ludwig von Hapsburg XII "Stinky" July 7, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Catching up on VH1′s Michael Jackson tribute videos, Yossarian? Don’t you work for a living? You remind me of the guy who sits across from me. Does nothing and seldom shows up to work. of course, the mere fact that I occupy the space nearest him probably has something to do with it.

    Nate-Do you work for the US Government? The only thing missing from your War & Peace “comment” was a commercial from Chipotle.

    And no one tasered you on this flight? Certainly someone walking around the cabin with a notebook and taking copious and voluminous notes would prompt someone to nail you. Especially, if you weren’t taking drink orders.

    The good news is that based on your report, Gogo is doomed and LiveTV reigns supreme. I guess the big advantage there is you have an IFE screen staring you in the face once you sit down. I’ll bet that helps.


  5. NateQ July 7, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    Hey Stinky. Glad you enjoyed the epistle and good idea about ad sponsorship. Wish I were paid by the word! I also love the conclusion you reach about LiveTV “reigning supreme”…sounds fun!

  6. Mary Kirby July 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Thanks so much for your comment. Quick question – did you make one trip around the aircraft (or more than one)?
    I’m starting to get an idea of how folks think about in-flight Wi-Fi – through the Wi-Fi survey running on the IFE&C site at the following link http://survey.iag-inc.com/interview.cfm?id=126
    So your comments are really helpful (BTW, have you taken the one-minute survey yet? :)

  7. Yossarian July 8, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Stinky-You can be so heartless. MJ was a great entertainer & wonderful human being. I suppose you think Al Sharpton was at the service with only his own publicity in mind.

    Starting drinking the Jesus Juice and accept that Tawana Brawley was forced to recant by the Right wing conspiracy.