I am probably behind the curve on this one but I am writing this post using Airtran’s WIFI on a cross country flight. Two rows up there is a guy by the name of Mark Malkoff (@mmalkoff). A comedian/filmaker whose latest project is living on an airplane for a month. I got curious about the WIFI thing when I noticed he had twitter up so I dug out the laptop, paid my $13 and decided to try it out.
At times I am in awe at how far we have come with the technology. When you really think about the miracle of writing a blog post at 500MPH and 32K feet and having it published immediately you can’t help but think its cool. Haven’t tried the corporate VPN yet though because I’m too fat to reach the FOB on my key chain in this tiny little seat.
About ten years ago I worked on a project to try and enable this type of capability (for an airline that will be obvious but remain nameless). I was involved to help architect the content management and distribution part of the project and was fortunate enough to spend some time with some incredibly bright folks. We learned a great deal in the effort even though the decision at the time was it was too expensive. We weren’t thinking social computing or blogs back in the day. It was a hard enough trying to figure out if we should piggy back on cell networks or ACARS. We were exploring just about everything we could think of to provide a descent user experience. Email store and forward seemed like the best we would ever be able to do at one point.
The title of the post is Content Management at 32K Feet. This is precisely what I am doing now. Sure I’ve done the obligatory Twitter and Facebook update but I am typing this directly into the hosted WordPress. I could be working on content for virutally anything. Forget ECM 2.0. This is ECM 32K , or 35K, or 28K – Whatever your cruising altitude might be. The turbulence isn’t helping my spelling but the implications long term to productivity and mobility are far reaching. At the end of the day its like any thing else – it took the right amount of time, the right amount of money and development of a market that makes it worth the collosal expense to make it work. This really is the market and the technology catching up with one another.
To give credit where its due – Marko blogged about airline WIFI in one of our very earliest posts on BMOC. He likened it to old dogs learning new tricks but he was talking about the airlines. I think the old dogs that will benefit most will be the travelers that push for greater access to ECM in less traditional environments. This old dog for one loves the new trick.