As the digitization of aviation rapidly transforms each aircraft into a platform rich in data and information, SD recognizes that connectivity systems are becoming increasingly complex. The SD Xperience delivers the possibility of customized solutions and bespoke integration to provide a unique system adapted for each aircraft’s mission requirements.
For the flight department, onboard crew, and all members of the operations team, it represents a whole new realm of knowledge with each new installation. To ensure customers can optimize the individually configured connectivity solutions, SD provides comprehensive training through its Entry into Service (EIS) program.
The bespoke sessions delivered by the EIS Technical Solutions Managers focus on the customer’s individual configuration and how it links together using the full SD ecosystem. The content may include sessions devoted to SD hardware, including the Satcom Direct Router SDR®, the SD Pro® operating system and its compatible modules, and SD ground infrastructure, including the SD Data Center. This can support virtual private networks, as well as the award-winning 24/7/365 customer support team.
In addition, the training presents troubleshooting scenarios with customized service demonstrations to ensure customers understand the full SD Xperience ecosystem. Cybersecurity awareness is highlighted to demonstrate the need for mitigation and elimination of the risk of cybersecurity events on the ground and in the air.
With reviews of applicable satellite networks, customers achieve a fully comprehensive understanding of how all the elements combine to deliver the powerful SD offering. This ensures flight department personnel and crew have the confidence to operate and manage all connectivity capabilities.
For on-site training, EIS team members carry custom toolkits complete with the most popular stream boxes, network cables, and other devices to best support and troubleshoot any unexpected issue at the customer location.
Courses take place at the SD EIS hangar, located in Melbourne, Florida, or on-site at the customer’s own location. More than 100 customers have taken advantage of the EIS option delivered at the Melbourne facility, while many more have opted for the on-site training, with the latest being Acropolis Aviation out of the UK, operators of the world’s first VVIP Airbus ACJ320neo.
VIP EIS program
Always at the leading edge of the industry, SD has recently introduced its VIP EIS program. As an aircraft enters into service with the newly installed system, an SD technician may spend up to two weeks embedded with the crew and flight department to help them navigate the system’s full potential. In some cases, customers request principal or owner flight support during this time to guide executives through the technology. This up close and personal approach efficiently familiarizes them with the modified, upgraded, or new systems.
This completely new concept for the industry signifies the importance that functioning inflight connectivity now plays in the business aviation sector. Chris Moore, President SD Business Aviation, told Simple Flying,
“For many operators, a connectivity failure is the equivalent of an AOG situation which is why we’re investing so heavily to support our customers. We understand that reliable, professional training is essential for the industry.”
The EIS service continues beyond the hands-on training. SD regularly reviews usage of each individual service and makes recommendations for upgrades or modifications as and when they are needed.
The customer support team is on hand to troubleshoot any issues and further educate flight department members to prevent future complications. This close relationship with the customer creates a better understanding of their needs, which SD uses to identify any additional services customers may need to improve flight operations. SD also regularly meets with its customer advisory board to discuss changing market needs.
“We support SD customers throughout the acquisition lifecycle, during configuration and installation, and then for as long as they are using our services. Without our customers we do not have a business which is why we put them at the center of everything we develop. As business aviation users ourselves, many of our products evolve from our own flight department requests, but we also engage regularly with our customers to best understand their needs,” explains Moore.
“As connectivity is essential for business aviation, we strongly believe it is our responsibility to ensure customers can maximize the significant investment made in sophisticated onboard connectivity solutions. Our training, the EIS program, and our customer support services form an integral element of the SD Xperience solution.”
In addition to the EIS offering, SD continues to provide a variety of educational options. SD created the world’s first accredited IT aviation certificate, aeroIT, for IT professionals, and aeroCNCT, created to support industry professionals that work with, or are responsible for, connectivity during flight. In response to COVID-19, which put a halt to many of its customer appreciation events, a series of training webinars have been introduced. The webinar series is now a permanent feature of the SD training program.