Siri and Magikarp Test Honeywell’s Connected Aircraft

July 28, 2017 | Author: Lukas Maly & Miloslav Kafka

It started as "ordinary" flight tests at BRQ International Airport in Brno. (Actually, flight tests are never ordinary) Data acquisition for purposes of multiple projects, asking the pilots questions, staring out of the window and taking pictures… you know just the usual stuff.

But this time WAS different! We got to test our Connected Aircraft equipped with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, which just happens to be powered by Honeywell’s JetWave. If you don’t know what that is – it’s basically super-fast, super reliable WiFi for planes! I had already heard about it, because I follow Honeywell Aerospace's Facebook, but the idea of being able to actually test the internet connection myself was intriguing. (I mean… aren't there supposed to be dedicated engineers for that!?)

airportBRQ Airport (Photo credit: P. Pilát )

Anyways, I am seated in the aircraft (with my seatbelt on, of course) with all my project stuff installed, running and recording. What now? I started by tapping on social network icons and checking the feeds. We're taxiing. Better put that phone away. We're aligned with the runway. Ordinary aerospace engineer's "impairment" - checking aircraft's take-off configuration - flaps 2, no speed breaks. Should I go to cockpit to check controls? Engines revs up, V1, rotate, and we have a lift off.

AirportBRQ Airport 

Within minutes, the imaginary seat belt sign is off. Back to reading that article. "No Service". Snap! What did you expect at 20,000 ft. Mr. Aerospace Engineer!? Wait a moment. I almost forgot – I need to connect to that super-duper GX Aviation powered by JetWave. I turned on the WiFi locator and found a connection called Honeywell Rocks. Password? Let’s try "Honeywell." Success! I am connected. (I feel like hacker.)

There have always been two main drivers for higher computing power and for faster network connectivity in the dawn of home computing.

PC Games and Movies (you know what type of movies I mean, right? The kind you can stream from your Netflix account or Amazon).


Those same drivers are similarly valid in today’s IoT world. Video Games Market reached nearly $100B in revenues in 2016, up 8.5% compared to 2015. For the first time ever, mobile gaming (which you can also read as always connected gaming) has taken the lead from PC’s with a growth rate of 21.3%. Region wise, Asia continues to dominate worldwide, even making e-Sport equally respected to normal sports like Soccer (or football, as we call it in Europe).

I mean, would you expect presidential candidates to create maps for RTS (Real Time Strategy) games? But that time has come. Just check out this recent article featured in Engadget, titled “South Korean presidential candidate campaigns with 'Starcraft' maps”.

As you can see, it is natural, for us Millennials, to accept games as regular form of entertainment. Some might even say we prefer games over movies or TV! So, it was pretty straight forward when we thought about user experience scenarios to test on our connected plane.

We started with Pokémon – it’s a game, it‘s mobile, it’s fun! (Really?). Anyways, we made a promise to our coworkers we would test it out.

Well, guys and gals, I am really sorry we tried really hard, but this fish wasn’t gonna fly...


Even with the latest update - Pokémon couldn’t keep up, It had nothing to do with our internet connect, the game didn’t like how fast we were moving. (We were in a plane going 500+ mph) But don’t worry, you can still play while seated in the plane on the ground.

So what should we do instead? How about a LAN party!?

Oh wait, we should probably do some work first. Let’s interview one of our colleagues.

Hey Siri,….


Yes you Siri. Let’s try something more specific.


Ok, next… question is


Oh yes, we also have some doubts where the future of AI lies.


I know it was interesting question. So…what is the answer?


Hmmm, Wait a second is there any underlying meaning in this response? Should we start to fear?

Siri        Siri

The bottom line -- Siri works in clouds just like she works anywhere else.

Overall, this was not your "engineer standard" test of connection - pings, download bandwidths and so on. This test was rather a "user standard" test of connection and to be honest I had my doubts. Prior to the test I thought, talking to Siri (that might work), listening to Spotify (hmmm, possibly on lowest quality), FaceTime with family (just audio... and maybe), watching Netflix (this must be coming from marketing guys), 4K YouTube videos (is he nuts!?) and playing StarCraft II online (WAIT, WHAT!?). But now I am in the air and I am quickly discovering that everything I thought was impossible is possible!


Let's try to share photo of the 757 I took on airport. (Don't forget about #HoneywellRocks and #WifiThatFlies hashtags). No problem. That's cool. FaceTime with my wife - works. 4K YouTube videos - flawless. Wow, it all worked! I was pleasantly surprised. I wrote to my colleague, Miloš, that I suspect playing online game might be even possible.



Suddenly, I am building my base. My friends are not going to believe me. I'm at work, playing StarCraft against my boss at 35,000 feet! I am taking photos, screenshots, selfies, recording videos as proof!




Wait a moment, what's that? Miloš' army. Crap! While I was taking selfies, he was building an army…


Lukas Maly

Lukas Maly

Lukáš joined Honeywell in 2014. He works as R&D Scientist at Advanced Technology Europe in Brno. His main responsibility is leading the project Pilot State Monitoring and running the Friday Afternoon Experiments activity. Lukáš likes to spend his free time with his wife Míša, reading books or coding.

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Miroslav Kafka

Miloslav Kafka

Milos is a proud father of three children, 2 girls and one boy. He joined Honeywell in 2006 and held multiple roles in Aerospace technology development of avionics and flight control systems. Previously, he worked for industrial, consumer and automotive software and hardware development companies. Currently, he is the Director of Engineering Operations for EMEAI part of Honeywell Aerospace's European Engineering and Technology. His hobbies span from music and composition to software development.

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