Business & GA, Commercial, Embedded Avionics

Global Connected Aircraft Summit Preview

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | May 29, 2014
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[Avionics Today May 29, 2014] Next week, Long Beach, Calif. will play host to an event  looking at the future of the connected aircraft, the Global Connected Aircraft Summit (GCA Summit). 

The aircraft that Gogo uses as an airborne test lab for new products. Gogo will be one of many companies attending the GCA Summit. 

The concept of new generation aircraft as nodes in a very broad network of interconnected systems, both ground-based and air-based, is rapidly developing as more operators install IP-enabled systems to provide not only passenger connectivity, but also data communications between flight crews while in-flight and airlines' ground-based maintenance and operations staff. 
Current and future use of the connected aircraft will be the discussion at the GCA Summit, which is the first of its kind to provide an exchange of best practices and ideas between avionics manufacturers, satellite service providers, airlines, airframe manufacturers and more in a time when aircraft connectivity is more important than ever, following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH370. 
In addition to the added safety of cockpit connectivity, a 2013 Honeywell Aerospace survey of more than 3,000 adults in the U.K., U.S. and Singapore showed that nearly 90 percent of fliers would sacrifice an extra amenity on their flight in order to be guaranteed a faster and more consistent in-flight wireless connection. In 2014, airline customers, like most individuals, expect to be connected everywhere. 
Honeywell is at the forefront of the connected aircraft concept, which the company recently discussed with Avionics Magazine regarding its new deal with AT&T to launch a 4G LTE-based in-flight connectivity service. That will place the company in a unique position to start tying mechanical system equipment, maintenance and diagnostics through its onboard avionics and data collection systems to truly enable the connected aircraft as a node in the sky.
But how can airlines provide a service that matches the connection speeds that passengers are used to on the ground? How can this be facilitated by carriers that fly on routes in the oceanic environment where bandwidth is limited or to destinations that feature the cabin Wi-Fi connection switching from satellite to satellite?
These questions and more are up for discussion with experts at the GCA Summit., which goes well beyond the impact of the connected aircraft on passengers alone. 
One of the biggest features of the conference will be opening keynote remarks from Steve Bradford, the chief scientist for architecture and NextGen development at the FAA's NextGen office. Bradford will discuss the FAA's goal of partnering with the industry to use connectivity with the flight deck to increase situational awareness both on the ground and in the air. 
During one of the planned panels, Kurt Weidemeyer, the vice president of strategy and business development at Inmarsat Aviation, and Isabella Panella, chief of systems for the advanced concept center at Rolls-Royce, will join two members of Honeywell to discuss how the maintenance process can be improved. 
There will even be an alternative industry case study, as Royal Caribbean Cruises' Director of Information Technology (IT) Gregory Martin gives a presentation on how Royal Caribbean improved the overall efficiency of its use of satellite technology to provide connectivity onboard its ships. 

Check out the entire GCA Summit schedule here.  

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