What was involved in development of the AVANCE L5 cabin connectivity solution and its white-hot industry reception? Matt Harris spoke with Jeremy Tyler, senior director, Airborne Product Engineering at Gogo Business Aviation…
Gogo Business Aviation describes it as the most robust, high-performing system it has produced. The Business Aviation community would appear to agree. It took just 16 months from market launch for the company’s AVANCE L5 to surpass the milestone 500th business jet installation.
That milestone came and went in February 2019, and many more operators have had the system installed aboard their jets since.
Coming in a single configuration that delivers the ‘Gogo Biz 4G’ inflight experience, AVANCE L5 enables cabin occupants to stream video and audio, watch movies, access moving maps and flight information, and use personal smartphones, while flight crews can access real-time data for cockpit apps and remote diagnostics and support.
“People have grown to expect the same connectivity experience whether they are at home, in the office, or anywhere in between,” Jeremy Tyler, senior director of Airborne Product Engineering, Gogo Business Aviation tells AvBuyer as he discusses the perceived gaps in the cabin connectivity market that led Gogo to explore AVANCE L5 as a concept.
“Ultimately, Gogo saw a need to continue to improve the in-flight connectivity experience helping keep us on a par with the ever-growing expectations of users.” With that came the initial plans that led to the development of AVANCE L5.
One of the leading minds behind AVANCE L5, Tyler began his career with a telecommunications equipment and service provider, before developing hardware solutions for a company supplying rugged equipment to aviation and the military.
Those experiences gave him the foundation needed for the work he undertakes for Gogo today.
Jeremy Tyler, senior director of Airborne Product Engineering, Gogo Business Aviation
Challenges of Developing a Market Leader
As successful as AVANCE L5 has been, development naturally brought its challenges and the expertise of Tyler and his team was put to the test as the initial idea moved from concept to reality. “There are always technical obstacles when taking on new product development projects – whether it’s trying to meet size, weight, or power constraints, or issues with making everything work as designed,” he explains.
“Engineers always love a challenge, though, and usually can find a solution to difficult technology barriers.”
But according to Tyler, some of the most difficult challenges had nothing to do with the technology. “In aviation, safety, quality and reliability are also critical. And from a product development perspective, time to market and user experience are critical.
“The biggest challenges for us really came with finding a way to keep things running at a fast pace to keep up with the technology, without sacrificing safety, quality or reliability,” he reflects.
And while it’s not uncommon for a future product concept to undergo significant adaptations as development progresses, and as challenges and obstacles are negotiated, that wasn’t the case for the AVANCE L5, according to Tyler.
“As we began discussing the concept of AVANCE L5, Gogo’s senior leadership provided very high-level guidance and then let the development teams brainstorm to come up with the best solution. The concept we came up with is the AVANCE L5 product we have today,” he asserts.
“The latitude that our leadership team provided allowed the engineering team the opportunity to think more broadly about the design architecture and methodology.
“That helped us, and we ended up with a software-centric design that can be quickly changed and adapted to provide solutions for other connectivity needs,” Tyler added. The same software-centric approach allowed Gogo to quickly launch the AVANCE L3 product with minimal effort shortly after releasing L5.
Today’s Connectivity With Tomorrow in Mind
While a successful launch into the Business Aviation marketplace quickly becomes history, just how much was the ever-shifting future of cabin connectivity a part of the thought-process, ensuring it remains a viable solution for Business Aviation operators years into the future?
“Much of continuing to remain viable has to do with looking as far into the future as possible early in the design phase so that we can plan for everything we might need,” Tyler affirms.
That means it was crucial to the product’s development to build into the design the flexibility to quickly and easily make upgrades. “The software-centric approach provides this flexibility,” Tyler notes.
“As the market changes and new technologies emerge, we can make modifications to pieces of the AVANCE L5 design to quickly take advantage of these technologies without having to build a new solution from the ground up.”
Gogo has also taken a common software approach across its SCS, AVANCE L5 and AVANCE L3 products - an approach that Tyler says was critical, too, because “it lets us bring new and enhanced features to all our products more quickly and efficiently.”
Gogo 5G and Beyond: Waiting for the Next Big Thing
As Gogo Business Aviation works to build its 5G network and the onboard system that will bring it to life, the team is poised for developments elsewhere in the market that will allow it to further ratchet up the high standard it already offers in cabin connectivity. The question turns to what would make the ‘perfect’ product that today’s cabin connectivity solutions can’t yet achieve?
“The best solution combines the bandwidth and global reach of satellite connectivity with the low latency and lower cost that an Air-To-Ground network provides,” Tyler suggests. “Gogo 5G will be a great step in that direction, but there are always new developments that will take 5G even further, and that remains undefined.
“As the technology continues to evolve, a solution to the challenges we face in aviation such as minimal size, weight and power constraints, may be just around the corner. The key is to keep up with the technology so that we’re ready when the next big thing arrives.”
And going by what Tyler has told us, when that next ‘big thing’ does arrive after 5G launches, Gogo Business Aviation will certainly be a frontrunner in the race to respond… Stay tuned!
More information from https://business.gogoair.com/