Soon mid-air Wi-Fi will be a ‘routine’ thing, but we can be the first few to take flight in Honeywell’s Connected Aircraft and get internet access at 24,000 feet!
Every schmuck worth a penny has one time or the other ignored the Captain’s polite request and either not turned off their phone or switched it on the minute the wheels of the big machine hit the runway. Patience isn’t something we’re blessed with, but that aside, the Internet being such an important tool in our everyday lives, needs to be more accessible.
Digital detox no more
This may not come as good news to those looking forward to a few hours of digital disconnect, but if the airport is your temporary residence, courtesy your unreasonable deadlines, you can kiss those stolen naps goodbye and get straight to work without wasting time, especially while flying. This will be a thing of our near future (hopefully by the end of 2017), once the Aviation Ministry grants the necessary permissions.
Connecting via satellite, we experienced live Twitter and Facebook updates, WhatsApp messaging and video calling features on this test flight, and may we say that we came out fairly impressed. Though our bosses aren’t all that picky, we’d still love to stay connected while flying. Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions must be put to good use.
Taking things seriously!
Among other things, updates of delays etc. can be conveyed to your family in real time and they, in turn can accordingly plan your pick-up. No more wasted time and energy waiting to receive signal or relatives bearing the wrath of cops who wouldn’t let them pull over even for an extra second! Blame the high fuel costs, blame technology and embrace yourself, ‘coz the estimated market for the Connected Aircraft is $7 Billion. Going by these estimations, the future of aviation will consist of predictive maintenance, better-managed weather communications, increased fuel efficiency and better maintenance, eliminating mechanical delays, among other added benefits.
It’s all in the numbers
Even as an estimate, $25 Billion worth of delayed flights make for an epic number. Add to it the wasted time and effort, an economy could really benefit from this technology. A regular Airbus A380 is fitted with as many as 25,000 sensors and single twin-engine aircraft can generate up to 844 TB of data from 12 hours of flight. You don’t need to be Einstein to figure that that means a whole lotta 32GB iPhone 7s out together (Approx. 27,000). Hence, increased fleet management (with reduced operational costs) and enhanced passenger experience (high WiFi speeds) are part of the larger picture.