Teledyne Controls is leaping into the corporate-jet passenger information marketing scene as an equipment and software integrator, promising services “so powerful you’ll think you never left the ground.” These include worldwide voice and broadband data, real-time Internet and e-mail under the umbrella SmartCabin Office.
The West Los Angeles, Calif. company takes on the likes of Honeywell, which recently announced ePaxx, and Rockwell Collins with Airshow 21, as it seeks a share of the emerging business in providing worldwide voice and broadband data products. It plans to back up its advertising slogan by concentrating on business office functions with lower-cost systems containing fewer components. “We’re not featuring in-flight entertainment or cabin environmental control…all those whistles and bells. Our focus is strictly on the airborne office environment,” said Jody Glasser, Teledyne’s senior director for advanced technology, at a company users conference held March 11 to 13 in Los Angeles.
Glasser and his colleagues expect their SmartCabin Office product and services mix to achieve swift and deep penetration of the corporate market because it makes extensive use of existing in-service hardware and software from Teledyne and its program partners, and because installation does not require STC approval. Glasser said a principal SmartCabin Office strategy is “to take advantage of the higher data rates now becoming available without replacing a customer’s already certified avionics.”
State-of-the-art Technology; End-user Simplicity
SmartCabin Office architecture presents a building-block menu of capabilities, implementation and cost options offering systems as comprehensive as head-of-state VIP configurations or as simple as bringing high-speed voice and data interfaces to a single business-jet cabin seat. Glasser added that despite its technological sophistication, the system should not tax the user’s attention or test his computer knowledge. “Regardless of what’s happening behind the curtain, the results must be invisible to the user.”
Elements of SmartCabin Office, notably the Raytheon MagnaStar UHF air-ground radiotelephone, are already in wide service aboard airliners and corporate aircraft. Teledyne, the MagnaStar marketer, intends to leverage the more than 3,000 MagnaStar installations by incorporating alongside them SmartCabin equipment and service packages. This, it said, will provide corporate aircraft passengers access to ground-based voice, fax and data services whether in the air or on the ground, anywhere in the world.
Teledyne claims the accessibility of these services will exceed hotel-room connectivity and approach that of the office environment. SmartCabin Office will support additions to the voice communication already provided via MagnaStar over the Verizon cellphone network, through AirCell, and by satcom over the Inmarsat Aero -H, -I, -H+ and -M and Iridium services.
The introduction of Inmarsat Swift64 services, processed by the HSD-128 high-speed data terminal from EMS Technologies, will provide both uncompressed broadcast-quality voice and packet data. Teledyne bills the HSD-128 as the first dual-channel global high-speed data solution using the new Swift64 net-work of mobile earth stations. The receiver/processor unit contains two 64-kbps data channels bonded to make possible the 128 kbps throughput. This will be the cornerstone of a SmartCabin Office suite, including an onboard file server (CommServer), an access unit for wireless telephone and PC use in the cabin and a wireless Teledyne GroundLink for communication with the outside world while virtually anywhere on the ground.
The SmartCabin architecture offers a range of mix-and- match configurations, from a basic stand-alone high-speed data receiver/processor and individual voice and data access through a digital telephone and notebook PC, to various combinations of individual and networked voice and data services access.
Glasser informed user conference attendees that SmartCabin Office installations can be accomplished under FAA Form 337 and will not require an STC, although some installers are choosing to gain STC approval, largely because this allows them to earn parts manufacturer approval authority. Glasser noted that none of the SmartOffice equipment introduces safety-of-flight issues because its functions are confined to the cabin. Installations on specific aircraft are generally subject to HIRF (high-intensity radiated field) radiation tests as part of the Form 337 process to ensure non-interference with aircraft systems. Thus far no SmartCabin Office component has shown the slightest effect on other avionics, even when placed in close proximity.