Next-gen air-to-ground technology is transforming inflight experience. SmartSky Networks' network, hardware and digital services are redefining connectivity. President Ryan Stone gives a window on his world:
"Business jets have long been marketed as offices in the sky. From individual owners to private charter passengers, everyone knows the advantages of having a connected experience in the air that is similar to the one in your office or living room on the ground.
"The Covid 19 lockdowns of the past few years have brought an even greater dependence on internet connectivity, in all aspects of our lives, with platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams keeping families connected and companies running. But to date, existing inflight connectivity services have typically fallen short of expectations, and all too often a private jet flight ends with an email not sent, cloud-applications out of sync, or an important video call missed. Owners, crew and charter passengers, now so familiar with responsive connectivity on the ground, are frustrated to find a slow, unresponsive, and inconsistent wi-fi service on business jets.
"At the same time, more and more data is being generated by aircraft in flight. Operators and application developers rely on real-time, accurate data to make decisions and improve the flight experience. That data can be analysed in real-time to improve maintenance operations, reduce carbon emissions, or continuously calculate new routes to avoid weather and turbulence. Unfortunately, they typically have to wait for data to be delivered after the aircraft lands as most inflight connectivity systems are too costly for operational data, or simply cannot support multi-gigabyte transfers of data in the hours of flight. The limitations of high latency (delays in data transfer), low bandwidth, satellite-based or legacy 3G cellular ATG connections are often to blame, and services relying on these technologies have held back the potential for data to drive significant improvements in aviation.
"Foreseeing these challenges, SmartSky developed its ATG technology, hardware and digital services to change the inflight connectivity experience. With 20 times more capacity available in the 60MHz of unlicensed radio spectrum, SmartSky’s network gives users unprecedented levels of data transfer to and from the aircraft with the throughput and responsiveness needed for real-time applications. Simply put, more spectrum and an ATG network architecture means more speed and very low latency to deliver data faster than ever before. Similar to land in real estate, in the world of wireless connections, spectrum is the scarcest resource. SmartSky has harnessed the power of this resource through its innovative technology.
From real-time aircraft performance data for situational awareness applications to business continuity and the mission-critical task of keeping the family entertained in mid air, reliable data exchange is essential to maximising the inflight experience. Utilising the unlicensed spectrum band ensures unprecedented capacity for applications that demand high bandwidth, low latency and two-way, real-time responsiveness.
"After our lockdown experiences, seamless connectivity is now expected almost everywhere we go, and business jets are no exception. In an increasingly competitive market, connectivity provides an important competitive edge. Carefully choosing a provider optimises investment. The right network can deliver the effortless functionality we all expect on the ground to an aircraft in the air."