If you’ve ever used the Wi-Fi onboard an airplane you know that it wasn’t built for speed… or consistency. And while mundane tasks like checking email or instant messaging with the office seem challenging at 30,000 ft – who would ever think of #Realtime web sharing in such conditions? We would! That’s who!
As we have built our collaborative customer interface platform, one principle we have worked hard to adhere to is being as reliable as “Dial Tone”. While this may not sound exciting, it is quite a feat to achieve. While in a sharing session, we are committed to reconnecting (without disruption) sessions that communicate over poor Internet connections or low bandwidth environments, like coffee shops, cell phones, or even airplanes.
To be honest, I have been curious if our tech could withstand the challenges of in-air Internet since we first conceived the product in 2010 – but it wasn’t until earlier this month that I dared try such an outrageous exercise. And the results surprised even me.
As a first step, let’s outline the conditions of a Click With Me Now #Realtime in-air Internet trial.
1. Both the host & guest computers are connected to the Wi-Fi of the airplane
2. The airplane employs a web traffic cache to server to reduce the amount of data to/from the Internet
3. The plane transmits the data to an orbiting satellite
4. The satellite transmits the data to a point on the Earth in Arizona
5. The content of the cwmnpreview.wpengine.com website is retrieved from a data center in Virginia
6. The communication from the Host computer and the Click With Me Now cloud service occurs to/from a data center in Oregon
7. The communication to the Guest computer and the Click With Me Now cloud service also occurs to/from a data center in Oregon
8. All return traffic to the computers on board the airplane occurs in reverse over the satellite link to the airplane
So… with all of those challenges in place, we still decided to give it a try.
The opportunity presented itself while on a return trip from Philadelphia to St. Louis. I was on board with Nathan Baldwin – one of our Enterprise Account Executives. As we would have expected, the initial loading of the website was slow — just like any other website loaded on board that day. Then I clicked our sharing button and that’s when the magic happened, everything worked as usual.
1. Our Host interface opened as expected and I was able to choose to share from my web tab in #Realtime with Nathan (in Seat 14B).
2. He received his email invitation just like a land-based session and simply clicked the link to join the session.
I will admit that the experience was not as responsive as a land-based session. But this is to be expected from the slow / restricted connection of the in air Wi-Fi. Both Hosts & Guest received intermittent connection warnings, but they both were able to recover and as you can see in the header image we were able to conduct a sharing experience with our TrueView experience fidelity and pointer position sharing. What is even better is that our use of standard HTTPS communications were not restricted by the on-board router nor was our traffic identified as streaming since we operate over a very low bandwidth footprint model.
To be clear in-air sharing is far from a standard use-case, but what this experience represents is much more profound. It proves that our insistence on building a secure, reliable, resilient, open standard and low bandwidth platform was rewarded with a successful trial in even the worst of network conditions.
If you use a first or second generation co-browsing point solution try this yourself and see how you stack up against our #NextGen Collaborative Customer Interface Platform.
If you would like to learn more about our #NextGen platform – Click Here and request a Demo for yourself!