Honeywell and Inmarsat modernise in-flight connectivity
Honeywell and Inmarsat have signed an exclusive agreement to provide global in-flight connectivity services to business, commercial, and government aviation customers around the world. Under the terms of the agreement, Honeywell will develop, produce, and distribute the onboard hardware that will enable users to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network.
The agreement is estimated to represent US$2.8 billion for Honeywell in sales of hardware, customer service, and maintenance to airlines, government entities and OEMs over the next two decades. Global Xpress is scheduled for launch in 2013, with global service for commercial, business aviation, and government customers available in 2014.
By combining Honeywell’s satellite communication capabilities with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress connectivity, travellers will be able to do everything from real-time social media, to video conferencing and multi-media presentation development while in-flight virtually anywhere in the world, with an experience designed to be similar to being at home or in the office. The deal is intended to give passengers fast, reliable in-flight connectivity for their iPads, smartphones, tablet devices, and laptops while crossing oceans.
“With this new service, the flow of information will no longer stop when the door to the aircraft closes,” said Tim Mahoney, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell identified global aircraft connectivity as a future growth trend, and through the combination of the recently acquired EMS Technologies, Inc.’s broad technology offerings and Honeywell’s global aerospace franchise, the company is the perfect partner to launch the Inmarsat Global Xpress aerospace network. We believe this new network will significantly expand the connectivity options of consumer, business, and government customers around the world.”
By 2016, it is estimated there will be 10 billion mobile devices in the world, and a global population of approximately 7.3 billion people. Demand for data traffic is expected to grow by a factor of 50 for smartphones and a factor of 62 for tablets. By 2016, it is estimated that 71% of all mobile traffic will be used for watching videos. With the roll-out of the Global Xpress network, Honeywell will be in a good position to deliver airborne connectivity solution to this rapidly expanding market.
“Global Xpress will be the world’s first global Ka-band service for aviation customers and will raise the bar for in-flight connectivity,” added Leo Mondale, managing director of Global Xpress, Inmarsat. “Honeywell is the most qualified and credible technology partner in their field, and has put forward a superb technical solution for the Global Xpress aviation user terminal. Building on its truly global presence, which today supports a broad portfolio of aviation products and services, Honeywell will offer world class customer service, support, and maintenance for the Global Xpress connectivity products worldwide.”
Global Xpress connectivity
Global Xpress will operate in the Ka-band, with four-times the bandwidth available compared to alternative solutions in Ku-band. This expanded spectrum resource, delivered via spot beam technology, will enable Global Xpress to outperform Ku-band based services in both speed and cost.
Honeywell already supports Inmarsat’s current premier aviation service, SwiftBroadband, so it is meeting the increasing need for global in-flight communications today, while building a bridge to better and faster communications when Global Xpress launches.
“Passengers worldwide are hungering for better connectivity and more expanded services during flights, driven in part by the explosion of tablet devices,” said Carl Esposito, vice president of marketing and product management at Honeywell Aerospace. “Airlines are taking notice of this development and placing a higher value on passenger connectivity as a way to add value and differentiate their services.”
Government and military connectivity options
With this new service, government users can communicate mission-critical information with ground bases regarding details about position and status of manned and unmanned aircraft. Additionally, Honeywell believes that the network connectivity requirements of government users to “always be on” will drive an accelerated level of adoption of this service to meet critical mission requirements.
This service represents a high value for government customers, enabling them to buy comparatively inexpensive satellite communications, and use an already established global consistent network to send data across for many purposes.