Aircraft eEnablement could ‘revolutionise aviation ecosystem’

Jay Carmel, Avascent, speaking about eEnablement at the conference.
Jay Carmel, Avascent, speaking about eEnablement at the conference.

Avascent says eEnablement is poised to revolutionise the aviation ecosystem by using “data creation, subscription, analysis, consolidation, and value-added capabilities” to help airlines.

Speaking at the 2016 Aircraft eEnablement Connectivity and IFE Conference, Jay Carmel, an Associate at Avascent Group, said eEnablement will be critical for airlines and the aerospace industry.

He said airlines need to elevate it as a strategic imperative and devote proper resources and attention to its successful design and implementation.

eEnablement

But Carmel says there are a lot of guesses as to when eEnablement will really start to drive benefits.

“There are a lot of connectivity options out there, but it really starts with a use case. Whether you are looking at air-to-ground (ATG), L-band, Ku-band or Ka-band satellite systems the question really is ‘what solution do you need in your arsenal to deliver the results and economic benefits you need’,” he said.

He said that fleet growth will drive non-IFE inflight connectivity spend to nearly $1bn by 2021. He added that there may be a modest revenue decline from that peak until 2024 as traffic shifts from VHF to lower-cost networks, even though data usage will continue to grow.

“There is significant opportunity for the market to exceed current forecast expectations as new business models and subscription types counter the expected erosion in spend attributed to decreasing connectivity costs,” he said.

“It currently costs around $800 to send one Megabyte of data across Iridium’s existing L-band satellite network,” he said. “We’ve seen mobile phone data costs plummet and the same will happen in the inflight connectivity market.”

This was a great headline, but the reality is that data costs over Ku and Ka-band satellite systems have already fallen, perhaps to around $1 per Megabyte – the actual figures are closely-guarded secrets and dependent upon the fleet size and the deal the airline is able to strike.

Carmel felt that prices have to fall to around a “quarter per Megabyte” for eEnablement to really take off.

“Pretty soon, as wide-band technologies develop further, there will be a brand new opportunity for airlines and suppliers to develop and introduce eEnablement solutions.

“It is really important to understand where things are headed. Suppliers need to start placing bets on what the airlines will require,” he concluded.

Avascent and Closed Loop have a two-part white paper entitled “Connected Aircraft / Disconnected Airlines: The Strategic Imperative of eEnablement”. You can read part one and part two on Avascent’s website.

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