By Patricia Hume, COO
The global airline industry is on the cusp of a connectivity revolution. According to a recent white paper published by the London School of Economics, “currently 3.8 billion passengers fly annually, with only around 25% of planes in the air offering them some form of onboard broadband. This is often of variable quality, with patchy coverage, slow speeds and low data limits. By 2035, it is likely that inflight connectivity will be ubiquitous across the world.”
Whether on the ground or in the air, we expect connectivity. We want to game, work, talk, listen, watch, snapchat, message, and we need to be connected to do so. We are addicted. Recall Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: people are motivated to achieve certain needs and some needs take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival. Connectivity is now a basic need. It is no longer just for business travelers, as the X and Y generations have institutionalized the need for mobile connectivity. Let’s face it—everyone needs to be connected.
Now more than ever before, the airlines also understand that keeping us connected is a requirement. And why not? While their initial investment is high, the ROI is well worth it. Giving airline passengers seamless, secure and reliable connectivity translates to a whole new economic opportunity through the creation of ancillary revenues. Keeping their customers “always best connected” means more revenues for them. Offering advertising as well as value-added services such as inflight purchasing and streaming of premium content increases long-term customer value, and the airlines are now racing to enable and improve the in-cabin connection experience.
Connectivity must be ubiquitous therefore we expect that our connection experience is easy, seamless, invisible, and without hassle. At iPass this is our mission. As a leader in global mobile connectivity, we not only appreciate the importance of always best connected, but we have spent more than 20 years understanding how to do it and innovating to make it a reality. We have created the IP and know-how to deliver a technology that provides a ubiquitous connected experience. We are agnostic as to the way the data is transmitted – whether it is on Wi-Fi or cellular or satellite. And as part of this journey, we understand how to create the best inflight connection experience. We are working with the inflight Wi-Fi providers and the airlines around the world to help them offer the critical capabilities of single sign-on, authentication, commercial clearing house and reporting, seamless device onboarding, inflight network analytics, device analytics, and loyalty member propositions with our door-to-door connectivity capabilities and location services analytics. It is a full and robust combination of software technology and big data analytics that is unsurpassed.
iPass is dedicated to working side by side with the airlines and the inflight broadband service providers to improve the connectivity experience and to help you meet your basic need to be ALWAYS BEST CONNECTED.