October 30, 2012
Credit: Credit: Aviation Week
Honeywell, named the exclusive wireless airtime reseller for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band for business aviation, is partnering with Arinc Direct and OnAir to distribute the connectivity services to the market.
Honeywell recently signed a five-year agreement to serve as a “master distributor” for Global Xpress, marking the company’s first entry into distribution of the service itself.
Honeywell earlier this year had signed an agreement to develop and provide hardware for the services for both commercial and business jet operations. That agreement has a potential value of $2.8 billion over 20 years. Inmarsat, though, selected OnAir and Gogo to distribute the service to commercial airlines.
As master distributor for the business aviation market, Honeywell will manage a network of providers that will offer the Ka-band services to business aircraft operators.
Under the partnership agreements with Honeywell, Arinc and OnAir will bring the services directly to the customer. The companies will develop a range of applications and services from entertainment and software updates to technical aircraft maintenance and customer support.
The service, to be available globally in 2015, will dramatically increase connectivity speeds – which currently average about 800 kilobits per second to 40 megabytes per second. “It is revolutionary,” says Carl Esposito, vice president of marketing and product management for Honeywell, adding that that the speed and network capacity will open the door to a range of applications not only for the passenger and pilots, but for the aircraft itself.
That connectivity is particularly important as more companies move to clouds to manage their information. It also comes as smartphones become ubiquitous. Honeywell notes that demand for data traffic is expected to grow by a factor of 50 for smartphones, and that by 2016 there will be 10 billion mobile devices worldwide. It also will enable pilots and crew to access real-time information from the cockpit.
As for the aircraft, Esposito notes the possibility of real-time health and usage monitoring. Global Xpress will enable real-time monitoring in much more graphical detail – like going from “a text message to a YouTube video,” Esposito says.