In this instalment we chat to Todd Hill, Director, GCS Product Management & Capacity at Panasonic Avionics.
Don’t miss Todd’s forthcoming presentation at this years Mobility in London where he will give a keynote presentation on Wednesday 4th December at 9:40am on Aero hardware innovation: networks, terminals & antennas.
What do you see as the current key drivers for VSAT Mobility services globally?
At Panasonic Avionics, our focus is on providing a broadband pipe to aircraft flying all around the world, even over the oceans. There are two main drivers for connectivity on aircraft. The first is passenger demand. Today’s fliers have grown up with ubiquitous connectivity, mobile phone service, and they expect to be connected to friends, families and co-workers all of the time, even at 30,000 feet.
The second main driver for in-flight connectivity is that an aircraft can become a node on a carrier’s network. If they could monitor performance of their aircraft systems, if they could push relevant, personalized information to passengers, and if they could push important information including weather monitoring, etc., to their aircraft – all in real time – then airlines could operate more efficiently and ensure a lower total costs of ownership for their connected fleet.
What have been the biggest milestones for your company over the past 12 months?
More than 30 airlines have selected connectivity services from Panasonic Avionics. In fact, we now have more than 2,000 aircraft committed to our service. We continue to see explosive growth in these areas, and expect that connectivity will become a standard offering on long-haul aircraft.
How has the development of high throughput satellite technology impacted your company?
It helps ensure that our connectivity solution is the lowest risk proposition to airlines. Today, our network performance exceeds any other satellite network, and it will continue to exceed the performance currently promised by competitors in the future.
What would you say are the major challenges facing your company over the next 2 years?
The major challenge facing Panasonic is keeping up with demand for both installations and capacity. On the installation side we have taken the steps necessary to make sure we control our supply chain so we can ramp up production to meet demand. On the capacity side most people are aware of Panasonic’s recent push to overlay our worldwide coverage with spot beams in the areas where is makes sense. This will greatly reduce our cost per bit as the spot beams will cover over 80% of the air routes without compromising any of the advantages such as redundancy and live TV.
What hot topics do you expect to cover in your presentation at VSAT Mobility 2013?
Panasonic will focus on our network design that we are very proud of. Most the press recently has focused on which frequency everyone is using. Panasonic continues to be driven by delivering the lower cost per bit to the airplane and our network design delivers.
What do you hope to get out of VSAT Mobility 2013?
The opportunity to enter into meaningful discussions with key executives about our vision for in-flight connectivity