Nonstop Connectivity: Striving for Ubiquity
In the past, getting on a plane was a short getaway from the digital world. For a few hours, you were able to not have to focus on answering emails. But in today’s world, we get upset when we get on planes that don’t have access to wifi.
This plugged in mentality has affected how we interact globally. As mobile connectivity becomes more ubiquitous, opportunities are being created for new players and industry veterans to shake up the way we interact, travel and experience. This panel discussed the implications of global connectivity and how it’s fueling the way we connect.
Ash Eldifrawi, from Gogo, says the company was founded on the concept of belief that people always want to be connected and the air was going to be connected. “We did it [wifi] on private jets for a while, then we got it on commercial jets. It went from 0 to 2000 planes very quickly. Our challenge is getting much more bandwidth now. Our new technology 2ku is satellite based, and we have to take planes out for a while to get them on the planes, but no one wants to wait. But it’s coming. The challenge is getting it rolled out as fast as we can though,” Eldifrawi said.
Tyler Dikman, CEO of LoungeBuddy, explained what the company does; it helps people access vip lounges at airports. “It’s around this expectation that you have access to the data you need all the time whether its online or offline. We have had to build our service around the idea that you may not have access. We have two types of travelers, some that have the access already (the road warriors) and then those who don’t,” Dikman said.
Barbara Messing, CMO of Trip Advisor, explains how Trip Advisor is the world’s largest travel site. “50% of our traffic comes in from mobile. You don’t always have access to wifi – so we made our app available in offline mode, which is exciting! But with wifi, you can get more access quickly. It’s important from travelers because we aren’t carrying around guidebooks anymore, were carrying around our phone. Wifi has been an essential part of traveling,” Messing said.
“This year you will start seeing speeds at 20x the current speed with the satellite tech. We will be launching special satellites that get you 100mb per second, and even more,” Eldifrawi said. “Megabytes are the currency of the world.”
Dikman explained that the easiest form of collecting data is by listening to what people are saying and looking at the screen (as creepy as that sounds). When you’re on a plane or airport terminal, anything that is on a screen is fair game. He says thats the easiest form of being able to collect information regardless of the security you have.
“Have you ever looked at someones screen next to you while your on a plane? People have this expectation that they feel like they’re in their living room, when it’s not really safe for a plane. I’ve seen so many random things, I wasn’t even looking, they just have their huge macbook open next to me. There is so much public information and we have expectations around technology and the usage of it,” Messing said.
“Our priority is solving travelers problems wherever they might be,” Messing said. “We want to make things easier for you. We want you to understand things quickly and easily, we know you want to know the weather or first thing you should do when you get off the plane.”