Bei den Kirchhöfen, 20355 Hamburg, Germany
The past two weeks have been really gruelling. First, I went with Maneesh Sagar, the Chairman of MondoWindow’s Board, to the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. Just a few short days later, I was back in San Francisco at the Where conference. Both conferences are worldwide gatherings of key MondoWindow constituencies, but they could not be more different.AIX is the European counterpart to the September APEX show. As such, it attracts everyone in the world with an interest in what happens inside passenger aircraft—from airframers (not surprisingly Airbus had a huge presence) to airlines, from seat manufacturers to the people who make the bolts that hold the seats to the floor, and from caterers (poached scallops! vodka in a bag!) to in-seat power providers.
Maneesh makes a new friend in Hamburg.
And then there was in-flight entertainment. The IFE section of the huge show was like a conference in itself, and it was fascinating. There were the usual suspects, like industry leader Panasonic Avionics, whose notoriously closed-off “Death Star” booth reached new levels of arrogance, but there were also plenty of new entrants bringing a welcome exuberance to the show. In many ways, AIX 2012 was a major confirmation of what we at MondoWindow have been saying for some time: the emergence of consumer computing hardware in passengers’ carry-ons is creating the conditions for a new style of IFE that serves content wirelessly into passengers’ own devices. Indeed, Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect, which debuted to its first public demonstration, won a coveted Crystal Cabin Award at the show.And BoardConnect wasn’t the only one. There were systems from established companies like TriaGnoSys and Lumexis, convergent systems from connectivity providers like Gogo, Row44, and OnAir, and new offerings from entrants like VT Miltope, Bizzability, and others.All of these systems stream content to users’ own devices, and all of them need a map. That’s where MondoWindow comes in. Even aside from our revolutionary content and features, at its core MondoWindow is the only full-featured, browser-native moving map in existence. We received major validation at AIX when TriaGnoSys announced that MondoWindow’s hybrid, on-board hosted configuration would be available as an OEM component of their IFE systems. And we’re actively talking to just about every company in the space (if you missed us at AIX, get in touch).From “What?” to WhereWhile all this attention was very gratifying, it was a long time coming. When we first started talking about the MondoWindow concept at APEX 2010, we were met with blank stares and heads shaking “no.” But at the same time, we were floating the idea within the community of web geographers—the people responsible for things like Google Earth and a whole lot more. The Where Conference is that community’s annual confab, and the first time we went, in 2011, MondoWindow had just been launched in beta a month earlier. Everyone got it intuitively. The most common comment was “That’s so cool! I’ve always wanted that!”
Telling the crowd about IFE at Where. More pix here.
This year was no different: presenting MondoWindow to digital geographers is the easiest sell imaginable. I gave a short, punchy Ignite talk, bringing people up to speed on the latest in the IFE world, and all week long people came up to me and said what a great idea they thought MondoWindow is.As always the show was a blur of technology and content partnership opportunities for us. In addition to our existing friends and partners Stamen Design (whose team built MondoWindow’s core technology) and Bing (we use their map tiles), we had really great interactions with folks like ESRI (the granddaddy of GIS), DigitalGlobe (the provider of nearly all the satellite imagery you see online), and MapBox (who make the best online mapping tools around). The Where conference was also a chance to connect with other startups doing interesting things with location. It was fantastic to be able to talk to the people behind really cool initiatives like the Public Laboratory (they make low-tech kits that enable anyone to do really high-tech things), Hover (a very very cool 3D world), Kullect (like Pinterest for the real world), MyCityWay (an app that enables city exploration), and Discoverful (another real world, real-time sharing app).All of these initiatives are potential partners for MondoWindow. With one foot in IFE and one foot in the geoweb, we’re in the unique position of being able to, on the one hand, provide a broader platform for interesting geo-tools and geo-content, and on the other hand, to bring airline passengers some of the most thoughtful, engaging and cutting-edge location services in existence.It’s an utterly unparalleled situation: we are at home at both AIX and Where, with many friends and partners in both worlds. We’ve known this for a long time, of course—it’s our distinctive value proposition—but attending both conferences back-to-back, exhausting though it was, really brought things home for us: MondoWindow is IFE and MondoWindow is geoweb.