I hand the gate agent my boarding pass and head down the jet way. After a full day of meetings, I’m catching the red eye flight from ATL to SFO for more meetings. I take my seat and settle in for the long flight. Thanks to a last minute upgrade, I’m sitting in first class and look forward to some dinner, a little catching up on email, and then a nap. The flight takes off, climbs past 10,000 feet, and I take out my laptop, connect to the onboard wireless network, and I’m reconnected to the world.
The idea of in-flight internet is still pretty new, and non-frequent flyers are still surprised when I mention it or reply to an email from 30,000 feet. Almost 10 years ago, when I first started working my way toward road warrior status, a flight like this would mean you were completely disconnected from the world for 5 to 6 hours. If you were lucky, there was an in-flight movie, if not, you better come prepared. It’s amazing how things have changed, and how quickly the new “norm” is being adopted.
Today, you have a personal TV in your seat with live satellite TV, along with Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD). In flight entertainment (IFE) systems are becoming more and more complex with more and more options for audio, video, and games. Of course, you now also have internet access. These amenities are quickly becoming expected, not just a nice perk on certain airlines. I have to admit, when I board a plane that has not yet been outfitted with these “advanced” features, I’m disappointed. I’m expecting them to be there, and when they aren’t, I feel like I’m being provided with a lower level of service. Oh, how quickly we become spoiled!
So, what does this say about the technology industry? I think it says that there are always going to be the brand new discoveries and inventions that change the landscape, but there is also a trend toward taking existing technology and repurposing it. In-flight internet is the perfect example. It’s basically just cell phone towers upside down. There is a great explanation of how it works here from one of the largest providers in United States, GoGo. Take virtualization as another example. You have an expensive server running an underutilized application? Throw ESX on it and have it run four different virtual servers and applications – same technology, repurposed!
As this technology becomes more prevalent, how do you think it will affect the airline industry or travel in general? How long before the same data that is recorded to an airplane’s “black box” is streamed to ground stations using this technology? What are the security implications? With every new technology comes challenges, and in this ever connected world we have plenty! Of course, as this technology becomes more complex and more critical it will need to be monitored.
Chime in! – @LeeFreerNimsoft
Lee Freer is a Technical Sales Manager for Nimsoft and leads a team of solution engineers in the North America Eastern region. Coming from a systems administration and network security background, Lee has been in the IT Infrastructure Monitoring space for 8 years where his business insight and passion for technology are huge assets. Follow Lee online via Twitter and LinkedIn.