APEX TECH 2023: Longtime APEX TECH member, NetForecast Director of Aviation, Mary Rogozinski, gathered a panel of industry experts on day of the event to discuss measuring, using and reporting IFC Quality of Experience (QoE).
Featuring panelists Alan Jones, Chief Technologist, NetForecast, Inc.; Benny Retnamony, CEO, eSpace; and Peter Lemme, Chief Consultant, Seamless Air Alliance (SAA), Rogozinski’s session opened with her asking the trio how they would both define and measure IFC QoE.
Lemme got the ball rolling by clarifying not simply what quality of experience is, but perhaps even more importantly, what he feels it is not — namely, quality of service.
“So, when we hear the term quality of service and then we hear the term quality of experience I think it’s very easy to get confused,” explained Lemme. “But, actually, there’s a big difference between the two. We spent a whole Seamless release cycle trying to figure out what the difference is between the two and what we concluded was that quality of service is really talking about a metric that’s related to a group of users. For instance, all the passengers on an aircraft, maybe the passengers that have purchased a browsing session or a messaging session, each one of them is treated somewhat as a group. You’re not differentiating between one user or another within that group. You’re treating all of those users equally – that’s quality of service.”
“If you’re differentiating between the users, that’s quality of experience. So, when we talk about quality of experience, we’re really talking about individualized experiences, not a group of people’s experiences. And that’s just an easy litmus test.”
Jones broke it down even further, referencing the four key network metrics behind QoE, or what he referred to as “the building blocks” of the IFC customer experience: latency, bandwidth, loss and DNS resolution time.
“We all know QoE is subjective,” added Retnamony. “But in aviation, it’s even more subjective.” And though his company, eSpace was founded fairly recently in 2019, Retnamony said they quickly determined that there are tiers of QoE.
“So there is, of course, an application QoE: how well was the app performing on that flight? There’s a network QoE: how was the network performing? Then there’s a user QoE: which is basically what was the user trying to do and were they able to do that in-flight? Then finally, there is an overall flight QoE,” Retnamony explained. “Was the QoE a positive experience across all the passengers on the flight?”
Another thing to remember when considering QoE noted Lemme, is that applications are where QoE really lives and/or dies.
“You can’t measure quality of experience generically, you have to measure QoE against an application,” added Lemme. “Every application has its own measures of QoE and they’re all very different types of applications: browsing, messaging, social media applications, news, sports and other kind of broadcast stuff. These are applications.”
But no matter how QoE is defined and determined at present, Rogozinski encouraged those in attendance to explore the informal QoE specification/guidance document posted on the APEX Members Only page online.
“A small group of people put it together, it was really meant to be a guidance document to help inform airlines and certifiers and so forth,” said Rogozinski. “But I would love to reopen and revisit it and maybe get additional input now that QoE has become a really hot topic.”