IAG's Addison Schonland has just had a powerful discussion with ASiQ chief Ron Chapman about the firm's SafeCell system, which "provides an alternative approach for passengers to use their mobile phones onboard aircraft without the requirement for installing complex GSM PicoCell network infrastructure". We've discussed this solution briefly in the past. It's all about Bluetooth baby and it plays nicely with Iridium or Inmarsat or Thuraya, according to Chapman!
Key quotes from Chapman:
"Text email on the aircraft is going to be free with us. Text messaging, as in from your phone to someone elses email on the ground, will be free. It's limited by the number of characters. It will probably be 100 characters of text..."
"But that's not real-time. That's why it's cheap. It's not real-time. You're leveraging off the Internet. You're bundling it up off the aircraft....
"Real-time stuff is SMS. That's when people are expecting an immediate reaction to what they're doing and so that you're going to pay for. But we think if you make it affordable people are going to use it as they do in everyday life."
But perhaps one of the biggest revelations in this call is the fact that teenagers will test the software on the ground before ASiQ releases it, or as Chapman says "pushes it into the airline world". And the solution has been integrated into two mega social networking sites (probably not hard to guess which two) for that testing. Check out the entire podcast here:
(Photo above from Schroder & Schombs PR Flickr stream)