OEM Partner Updates
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS: GET JETCONNEX
On a recent flight from the Caribbean to New Jersey, passengers inside a business jet browsed the internet, went back and forth between CNN and other broadcasts, perused documents on their computers back home and texted loved ones.
In other words, it was just another day in this office in the sky — in this case, on board the flagship Gulfstream G650ER.
“JetConneX has been good for us,” said an avionics technician whose employer has a fleet that includes four large-cabin Gulfstream aircraft, including the aforementioned G650ER. “It allows (our CEO) to have the office-in-the-sky experience without getting frustrated at the slow connectivity we used to deal with.”
Gulfstream completed its first installation of the global high-speed WiFi system known as JetConneX in the fourth quarter of 2016. What’s followed are nearly 250 more installations on customer aircraft worldwide – G650ER/G650s, G550s, G450s and GVs.
“Before, the (fastest speed) we could get was a megabyte,” the avionics tech said of the pre-JetConneX days. “Now, we can get six or seven megabytes. In the airplane, that makes a world of difference. We can use VPN. It used to take forever to load a (web page) – over a minute. Now, it’s a matter of seconds.”
How important is high-speed data for the avionics tech’s company and many others around the world?
“The internet makes the (trip) go, not the wings or the engine,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”
Making the transition to JetConneX a smooth one for customers has been the strategic partnership formed by Gulfstream and Satcom Direct (SD), the service provider for most Gulfstream operators with this Ka-band system. Gulfstream’s Technical Operations department includes a replica Network Operations Center (NOC) that mirrors and is connected to the original NOC at SD headquarters in Melbourne, Florida.
“It’s been phenomenal,” said Gulfstream Customer Support’s James Kelley, a program manager for Cabin Systems/Technologies and New Business Development, of the Gulfstream-SD collaboration, which includes on-site SD employees.
“We are able to troubleshoot aircraft with connectivity issues faster than we ever have and with more efficiency,” Kelley added.
As good as JetConneX is compared to the days of dial-up internet service, this revolutionary product might not be as popular if it did not come with such a depth-laden support network.
“It’s all about the customer support,” the avionics tech said. “I feel like a good sales person can sell me one (avionics package), but it’s the support that sells the second, third and fourth.”
THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT: HOW BOMBARDIER INTELLIGENTLY CONNECTS YOUR RIDE
Creating the ultimate customer experience is paramount at Bombardier Business Aircraft, so when it comes to creating a seamless connectivity environment for an immaculate home or office in the sky, there are several ways customers can maximize their in-cabin aircraft experience.
To help them get up to speed, we sat down with Blair Mcewen, manager of sales engineering, customer support, to explore some key options.
Q. Aircraft connectively has evolved in the past few years, and Bombardier Business Aircraft is at the forefront of the changes. What do customers need to know?
A. The most important thing to realize is that the onboard connectivity experience has been greatly enhanced. There is a marked upgrade in connectivity speed throughout our aircraft fleet. It’s gone from a slow to connection to one that offers 15MBPS, which creates a truly home-like experience. This enables customers to unlock many other capabilities in their aircraft, from entertainment and productivity, which were just not possible before. Bombardier has been a pioneer in this regard, the first in the industry to launch Ka-band.
Q. Can you talk a little more about Ka band and its many benefits?
A.Three main things jump out when we talk about the benefits of Ka band. First, it offers outstanding, world-wide coverage, and keeps customers connected in all stages of flight and on the ground. Speed is also important – Ka band offers customers incredible connectivity speeds at some 34 times the existing SBB solution. Finally, it all leads to incredible service, including customized plans for business aviation. It’s also the only product to offer committed minimum speeds.
Q. Connectivity consistency throughout the flight is always critical. How do customers ensure they’re constantly connected?
A. Business aviation customers need to be connected wherever they fly worldwide, so reliability is very important; you don’t want to have a system that limits availability. The worst thing that can happen is to be connected at the beginning of a flight, and lose that connection as the flight progresses. ATG systems don’t work on the ground, and instead connect at 10,000 ft. They also don’t work over water and outside the U.S. Inconsistencies like this limit the onboard experience, so at Bombardier, we’re always working to provide customers with consistent connectivity options.
Q. How can customers utilize their Cabin Management System (CMS) and router to leverage their connectivity?
A. The way we consume media is so different today than from a few years ago. Instead of using media players and other devices, we now consume media on demand wherever our personal devices and high- speed internet can take us. With high-speed internet on board the aircraft, customers can replicate their home or office environment throughout a flight.
To maximize their connectively experience, customers must ensure that their router is capable of handling and managing all connectivity solutions on board. It’s also important that they modify their cabin management system (CMS) to bring connectivity into the CMS loop. This will enable them to view video through streaming devices like Apple TV. Without updating the CMS, customers will only be able to stream programs on a personal device – and not utilize the power of the bulkhead monitors and cabin speakers.
With an upgraded CMS, customers can maximize their entertainment onboard, unlocking all the potential of the home-in-the-sky or flying office environment.
Q. Finally, talk a little about Bombardier’s flagship Global 7500, the most luxurious and longest-range business aircraft in the skies, and how its connectivity breakthroughs set it apart.
A. The Global 7500 aircraft is the most luxurious and industry-defining business aircraft ever built, and it was designed from its inception with connectivity in mind. Its CMS and tip-to-tail connectivity solutions provide the high-speed connectivity solutions that perfectly replicate an office or in-home experience. Bombardier’s high-performing Ka-band offering matches the high-performance of the aircraft – the best aircraft in the skies features the best connectivity solutions.