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Staying Competitive in a Changing Market

4 min read


Michael Small, president and chief executive officer of Gogo

Michael Small serves as president and chief executive officer of Gogo, which provides in-flight internet to passengers on more than 8,500 commercial and business aircraft. Small brings more than 30 years of experience in the communications industry to his role and is focused on preparing the company for the next wave of innovation.

Small offers his insight on the industry and where it’s heading in this post sponsored by Gogo.

Question: What is one of the most significant changes we’ll see in the in-flight connectivity market in the next 10 years?

Answer: One of the most significant changes within the next few years will be an increase in bandwidth. Gogo’s newest technologies – 2Ku and GTO – are truly game changing in terms of the amount of capacity they will bring to an aircraft, opening many new opportunities for us. While we are in the beginning stages of this evolution, more bandwidth will unlock a number of new services that will enhance airline operations and consumer experiences.

Q: Where do you think the most significant growth will occur in the company in the next few years? How do you expect to manage that?

A: The most significant growth for Gogo will come as we continue to expand our business globally. Gogo has successfully proven our expertise domestically and we are starting to expand that experience on a global scale.

To help us manage this growth, we continue to invest heavily in our technologies. We have also added to our team of experienced industry professionals and now have representatives serving each region of the world.

Q: What is the biggest challenge your company is facing this year? The next 10 years?

A: The biggest challenge for Gogo, and really the industry as a whole, is keeping up with the insatiable demand for bandwidth. It’s true for mobile providers on the ground and it’s an even bigger issue in the air. Today, consumers expect to be connected at all times, no matter where they may be geographically, and they expect to be able to do everything they can do at their offices or in their homes.

Q: How do you plan to stay ahead of the competition, especially in international markets?

A: Since we launched commercial aviation in 2008, Gogo has proven that we are ahead of the experience curve and have the necessary scale to make this business successful. With more than 20 years of experience and more than 8,500 aircraft flying with our services, we know what it takes to deliver reliable connectivity solutions on a global scale.

Gogo will continue to invest heavily in our technologies and products to stay ahead of the competition. We believe our recently announced 2Ku is the fastest solution available in the marketplace and expect it to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps. The 2Ku antenna is two times more efficient than others in the commercial aviation market, which makes it capable of providing more bandwidth at less cost.

We are also getting ready to launch Gogo Text & Talk for commercial aviation. This product allows you to use your mobile device to make phone calls and send SMS messages through our Wi-Fi system without the need to add additional equipment.

And we continue to lead the way with our wireless in-flight entertainment product, Gogo Vision, which allows you to stream on-demand entertainment to your own Wi-Fi enabled device.

Gogo is truly an end-to-end service provider, managing everything from certifications and regulatory approvals to customer care. We believe this is a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Q: What’s the key to recruiting and keeping top talent?

A: Gogo has been an incredible success story, largely due to our employees. Gogo is unique in the sense that there are many different industry backgrounds working together to create a unified goal.

At Gogo there are indefinite learning opportunities as we continue to grow. Giving employees the freedom to be innovative in creating new products and technologies is a very enticing thing.

Once one of these products or technologies launches, celebrating the win is also incredibly important. What we are doing here is groundbreaking and it’s important that employees are recognized for that. Employees want to know they are making a difference. With Gogo, you can literally see yourself as part of a team that is changing the in-flight experience.