Bandwidth constraints “won’t be an issue” on aircraft in three to five years: Zodiac exec

August 4, 2013

APEX, Multimedia

wifi usage 540x300 150x150 Bandwidth constraints wont be an issue on aircraft in three to five years: Zodiac execWe talk a lot about inflight connectivity constraints on the APEX Editor’s Blog. One need only enter “the matrix” that is Twitter to appreciate the fact that passengers want more bandwidth on board…and they want it now.

We also know that connectivity stakeholders are working diligently to keep pace with demand. Some players in the wider ‘passenger experience’ space are optimistic that they’ll succeed.

Take Zodiac Aerospace, for instance. I recently got the chance to speak with Zodiac VP sales and marketing Robert Funk about connectivity, and here’s what he said: ”These [IFC] companies aren’t dumb, and they’re spending their money right now trying to sort out that problem. I believe that in the next three to five years, that will be sorted and bandwidth won’t be an issue. I’m a positive thinker.”

Funk also sees himself as a realist. “Consumer electronics – in my personal opinion, not necessarily Zodiac’s – but in my personal opinion will drive what happens in connectivity and seat-back [IFE] activity long-term, not necessarily this year or next year, but ten years from now. When I fly, and I fly a lot, virtually on every triple seat today, there is at least one passenger with a handheld [device] or a Kindle or whatever. That’s only going to keep going up. So [now the question is] how do you pump movies and content to those devices?”

Do you agree with Funk, and think embedded IFE has perhaps a ten-year lifespan? Or do you think those seat-back screens will continue to play an integral role in the passenger experience for decades to come? The answer to that question could very well depend on whether Hollywood studios will ever decide to permit the streaming of early window movie content to passengers’ own devices (to date, they’ve certainly given no indication that will happen).

Content consumption, passengers’ PED use during critical phases of flight, and the gradual rollout of inflight connectivity across the world fleet are just some of the topics that will be vigorously discussed at the forthcoming APEX EXPO, which will be truly integrated with IFSA in Anaheim, California.

The keynote address at the EXPO will be presented by none other than Fox CFO and executive VP Dean Hallett, who will discuss the accelerating pace of technological change, the challenges and opportunities this presents for the filmed entertainment business, and Fox’s approach to leveraging new technologies in its production, marketing and distribution strategies. I do hope that you can join us!

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About Mary Kirby

Editor in Chief - APEX Media Platform | Previously Senior Editor at Flight International where she led the magazine's coverage of in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) and aircraft interiors | Former proprietor of the highly-regarded Runway Girl blog, which focused on the passenger experience | Regularly speaks at industry conferences about airborne communications, ancillary revenue opportunities for airlines and social media | You can connect with Mary on Twitter, LinkedIn

View all posts by Mary Kirby

3 Responses to “Bandwidth constraints “won’t be an issue” on aircraft in three to five years: Zodiac exec”

  1. David P Berman Says:

    Two points. First, Hollywood won’t change until the revenue from individual devices exceeds that which comes from airlines. You’re starting to see that today with more non-film content on the installed IFE systems.

    Then comes the bandwidth issue–it is far easier to upgrade airport connections allowing passengers to download content on the ground prior to boarding than it is to deliver individual streams to passengers in flight. Look for someone to figure that out soon and put high speed connections at the gate area for specific airlines coupled to high quality content. Your device will read the bar code on your boarding pass and grant you access.

    Bandwidth for email and browsing in flight will remain limited especially over water.


  2. Dan Says:

    In-seat (seat back or embedded) installations won’t be significantly impacted by Funk’s
    observation (which by the way is true). The consumer bringing device onboard is a great thing for the airlines and IFEC /content suppliers. Everyone benefits! Long haul and short haul flights.
    Content delivery and consumption has now taken on a yet another dimension.
    For those who live in countries like Netherlands (average bandwidth is 200mbps) will never be satisfied in air if the expectations aren’t calibrated, as I don’t see getting 200mbps to every single pax on an aircraft happening in the next 10 years!


  3. Gary Herrera Says:

    I agree. I am become a passengers and you’re right I want more bandwidth I am not satisfied with just one. By the way you did a good post. Keep it up!


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