Onboard Roaming Communication Services
With planeroaming, if you have a PDA or smartphone with wifi
and there is an onboard wifi network, you can communicate and
be reached on your Mobile Telephone Number without the need
to have an on board cellular base station.
Providing communication services to their passengers by Airlines and Aircraft Operators
has proven to be a cumbersome and lengthy process, which so far has prevented that on board people
could access the same portfolio of services they enjoy on the ground.
The capacity of the air to ground pipe is, of course, dictating which services can be offered, but there are still
two major remaining obstacles, the large number of involved parties in the business model and regulatory aspects.
PlaneBill has as solution where the problem is divided into two domains, the air communication domain and the ground communication domain.
The air communication domain is fully controlled by the airline and uses onboard unlicensed
wireless technology for the passengers devices such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, technologies
which do not require the involvement of mobile operators, neither have licensing issues in most countries.
With this "femto" wireless coverage, many communication services can be offered,
starting from SMS, MMS, e-Mails, VoIP and more, both for outgoing and incoming traffic, enabling passengers to stay connected during the flight.
The air communication domain and the mobile networks joins at an Airline Communication
Proxy (ACP). This ACP can be equipped in a modular way to offer from SMS up to full Voice services and is available for
the Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms.
The on board server, handles together with the ACP the service control path and the service data path.
The ACP in turn, can control an entire fleet of operational aircrafts, flying or at airports.
The benefits of the separation is two fold for the airline. No lengthy discussions are necessary
to obtain agreements with third parties (Mobile Operators, Wireless Internet Service Providers),
and furthermore the billing process is again split,
enabling the airline to define an own pricing strategy and cash directly the services from the passengers
according to their own introduction strategy.
The final piece needed by planeroaming is the passenger client, which works on board and on the ground. These clients are available for
Windows Mobile and MAC OS X (iPhone/iPad) and Android, with ongoing development for Symbian S60, BlackBerry and Palm Web OS. All the hard work is done by the cooperative work between the client and the server applications, and the GUI provides and easy and intuitive interface.
Below there are some PlaneRoaming screenshots.