Hornbill Blog

Working at 37,000 feet with Hornbill

I was flying to Orlando today heading over to Fusion 2017 and it turns out that Virgin Atlantic now have Wifi on board.  The last time I used Wifi on a plane was on a domestic flight in the US where the technology was based on ground-to-air communications and that made sense from a technical point of view.  However, over the Atlantic there is no ground so the communications is plane to satellite (Ku-band) in both directions.  I was sceptical but for a mere £15 for the duration of the flight I thought I would give it a go and see how it works.

Well it is fair to say I was quite impressed, it works pretty well most of the time, there is the odd drop out but its 90% good.  It’s also pretty fast.  A round trip time of around 1 second most of the time, is not the broadband speed we are used to but for browsing the web and working it is more than acceptable.   

Working at 37,000 feet with Hornbill 1

As per the title of this article the first thing I was keen to try was our own platform to see if I could collaborate. It works brilliantly, here is what I have been doing for the last couple of hours.

  • Reading numerous workspaces, posting, commenting, uploading images etc., all flawless.

  • Watching embedded video

  • Answering RFP questions

  • Reading emails in our shared mailboxes

  • Booking subscription orders and generating quotes

  • Viewing live status of customer instances and our platform

  • Approving Holiday Requests

  • Provisioning Instances

  • Viewing and Progressing Service Requests

  • Viewing reports on our service desk and website analytics

  • And even writing and publishing this article from 33,000 feet in the air

Everything has been done on Hornbill - it is worth noting that we have a number of apps running on our Hornbill instance that are not generally available in our app store, this is why I am able to do so much diverse work on Hornbill. 

To draw a comparison, I tried to access my personal (work) mailbox using Office 365 and it consistently fails, to be fair I have a lot of messages in my inbox, by contrast our email in Hornbill works flawlessly, even on folders with 50,000+ messages in it. To access my Office 365 e-mail I had to activate the Outlook Desktop client which does seem to work really well.

Ok so we all know this technology is available so we should not be surprised that it actually works but experiencing just what can be done with the right technology and the right applications is still something that is impressive and worthy of comment – what a great age we live in where technology and IT can enable this sort of capability, it was only 30 years ago when many of had to re-position the antenna on the top of our TV set in order to get a good picture, a mere 30 years on and the technology is beyond gimmicky we can actually do real work in the air which in my mind makes long haul flights more viable than ever. 

Of course there is a down-side, I am now working against the clock as I only have 30% battery life remaining before I am once again off the grid. All that technology at work and I am scuppered by the lack of a charging port and battery capacity.

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