Person on board an airplane holding a smartphone. Photo: Lina Kivaka.

MIAMI – The Seamless Air Alliance will support a proof-of-concept for seamless roaming in early 2021. The inflight connectivity approach also looks to set new standards to ensure enhanced Internet services.

The alliance announced the action after it introduced the Seamless Release 2.0 standard, reported Runway Girl Network. This encompasses the definition of a communication method for eight functional components. Therefore, the suppliers can design and build interoperable “OpenIFC” components.

Back in early 2020, the alliance published its first standard, Release 1.0. This established the world’s first modular platform architecture for inflight connectivity through the mentioned components.

According to Seamless CEO, Jack Mandala, the collaborative work would ensure airlines can rapidly adopt new technologies from multiple suppliers. Through this method, the businesses will not require customization or complete replacement of equipment on their aircraft. For 2021, the alliance looks for an innovative approach to cellular roaming over Wi-Fi.

Mandala further stated that carriers have stayed engaged and active with Seamless. In fact, American Airlines (AA) and International Airlines Group (IAG) have joined the alliance in recent months. In 2018, only Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines (DL), OneWeb, and Sprint were members of the alliance as founders.

Seamless Air Alliance members include Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM and Aeromexico. Photo: Jason Toevs.

New Horizons in the Sky for 2021

Alongside the new seamless roaming development, Intelsat, a recent member of the alliance, announced its plans to acquire Gogo. Through a reached agreement, Intelsat director of aero products, Mark Richman said that the new inclusion would guide them to redefine the IFC ecosystem and passenger experience.

Beyond the Seamless Air Alliance’s commitment, Intelsat also said that it could be able to support the free Wi-Fi model for DL passengers. This would be a reality once it owns Gogo.

On its part, Seamless also expects to see materialize its standards in 2021. Mandala revealed that Release 1.0 requirements are ready for use as part of procurement and the airline RFP process. For early next year, Release 2.0 is moving into distributed, virtualized laboratories for validation testing. On the latter, the alliance set midyear as the deadline to have full functionality.

Featured photo: Person on board an airplane holding a smartphone. Photo: Lina Kivaka.