TrueNorth Avionics Connects Your Smartphone In-Flight Over Iridium Satellite and More


TrueNorth Avionics Founder Mark Van Berkel highlighting products such as their BlackBerry emailer

Ever wondered how Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis stay connected even as they spend so much time traveling between countries? Well they do it thanks to a company called TrueNorth Avionics, based in Ottawa, Canada. The company partnered with RIM to give them an airborne solution for their corporate fleet and have since grown the company to support all smartphones and more solutions.

The TrueNorth OpenCabin platform is modeled after a smartphone app platform that allows you to add features and capabilities much like adding an app. The integrated suite of apps lets you modify your system as your needs change, without needing major hardware upgrades. Some OpenCabin features include:

Phone: an all-digital, IP (Internet protocol) system and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) capable of making voice calls over Iridium, Inmarsat Classic Aero, Inmarsat Swift64, Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, VoIP (eg. Skype) or any other network connecting via a 2-wire, CEPT or SIP-based Ethernet interface
Directory: offering a built-in customizable phone book and a user-configurable directory
Fax: enabling aircraft operators to send and receive faxes via the Iridium or Inmarsat networks
ClearCall: providing the clearest possible voice connection
Router: a high-performance app for transparent integration of broadband Internet connections
Accelerator: providing both data acceleration and data compression for signals going to and from global satellite networks
Firewall: for robust, real-time security
VPN: for transparent connectivity to your company’s Virtual Private Network
Network: which provides DHCP services and LAN connectivity for Ethernet devices
Hotspot: for easy-to-use, power-adjustable WiFi links to mobile voice and data devices
Smarter™: an advanced smartphone interface that automatically creates a WiFi email connection for your BlackBerry or iPhone over Iridium, Inmarsat Swift64, Inmarsat SwiftBroadband or other data network
Big Board™: a master graphical communications tool for managing aircraft communications and links
Connection Manager: to simplify the user experience
Backup: which quickly restores any unique configuration settings

The above is just initial list of features based on apps you can enable with the OpenCabin system. To buy the TrueNorth BlackBerry Emailer product, you’ll have to shell out around $11,000. If you can afford a private jet, then this may be the perfect solution for being able to use your smartphone in-flight. Otherwise, you may be out of luck unless your flight has WiFi.

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