October 2018, Las Vegas
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Bravo! Frequency set to revolutionise airline communication
A company started by three frustrated airline pilots has won a recent EyeforTravel start-up competition, and the exposure at the event “exceeded all expectations”
Frequency, the winner of EyeforTravel’s recent start-up competition in San Francisco, was born out of the daily frustration of three airline pilots - First Officer Justin Perry, Captain Darach O’Comhrai and Captain Kris Vansteenkiste.
Frequency's three founders
“We’d had enough of using a dated, inefficient and overly complicated web of communication systems in the cockpit for critical and safety related communication while passengers, on the other hand, were using the most high-tech video calls and so on to communicate with family and friends,” says O’Comhrai.
With a combined 40 years of experience at the frontline of aviation, and qualifications in engineering, legal, business and technology, the three co-founders have developed a revolutionary internet- based communication system for the aviation industry. According to O’Comhrai, Frequency “combines the advantages of the nine existing airline communication systems in a singular, user friendly system, and in doing so makes flights safer, decreases delays and reduces costs. “
We’d had enough of using a dated, inefficient and overly complicated web of communication systems
The trouble with current communication methods is that while they have evolved in line with new technology to meet specific needs, none have been able to replace the previous. In addition, while all have distinct advantages, each form of communication also has numerous restrictions and limitations. For example, VHF is relatively short range and highly congested, HF has very poor sound quality and low reliability, ACARS is basic text only, satellite phones are very expensive, mobile phones can’t be used in flight.
There are numerous benefits for airlines too that include:
- Reducing complexity: By bringing a complex suite of communications into a single system, Frequency significantly reduces the risk of an accident resulting from communications.
- Improved efficiency: The efficiency of an airline’s operations is improved by using the optimum method of communication at any given time whether it is voice, text, photo or document.
- Fewer delays: Poor communication directly leads to delays, not only frustrating passengers but also having a direct impact on costs. The team argues that Frequency will be significantly cheaper than the existing suite of communication.
To date, Frequency has been largely self-funded but has received a grant from the Irish government agency, Fingal Local Enterprise Office and seed funding from the Shannon Propeller Program.
The positive feedback we have received and willingness from airlines and organisations to trial our product has been great
In the next three to six months, the plan is to develop and test a minimum viable product, which will then be piloted in two airlines. Assuming all goes according to plan, a fundraiser will be needed to build the team, develop the commercial product and generate sales. Frequency is a monthly subscription service, which will be charged on a per-aircraft and per-user basis.
O’Comhrai has high praise for EyeforTravel’s Digital Summit in San Francisco: “Winning the award has been huge. The exposure to and contact with industry leaders has been amazing. We had hoped for certain potential outcomes prior to the Summit, but the actual event far exceeded our expectations. The positive feedback we have received and willingness from airlines and organisations to trial our product has been great.”