APEX in Profile: Mark Rasmussen

Mark Rasmussen
Vice-President and General Manager, Mobility

Mark leads Intelsat’s Mobility business unit, which offers global satellite-based solutions for the aviation, maritime and connected transportation markets. With Intelsat, Mark has more than 13 years of experience in the mobility sector. That experience includes reaching major agreements to provide Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellite capacity to many of the world’s largest service providers.

Location: IAD
Now Reading: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight
Favorite Aircraft: The “Triple 7” (Boeing 777). It’s a fantastic design, and saying it is like winning in Vegas!

Every job has a cool factor. What’s yours?
I’m helping to connect moving things – and the people who travel in them – with highspeed access anywhere, anytime. Think about it: It really wasn’t all that long ago that you strapped in for a flight and were forced into a total communications blackout from gate to gate.

What trends do you have your eye on right now?
I’m monitoring the development of low Earth orbit satellite constellations. The potential merger of Intelsat and OneWeb could transform aero broadband with low latency, fiber-like broadband and polar connectivity that would ensure passengers remain connected for a full flight on international routes. That cannot be done today.

What do you think is the most overlooked aspect of the passenger experience?
Hands down it’s hydration. What if we put sensors in every seat? Those sensors could monitor passengers’ vitals and alert the flight attendants when their body temperature is elevated and they may be thirsty. It might be a bit futuristic, but with the advent of the Internet of Things, it’s not out of the realm of applications that have the potential to improve air travel.

“Everyone likes to be the king of their own little domain, and connectivity lets them rule from 30,000 feet.”

Why is connectivity important to the passenger experience?
It brings the universe to your airline seat. Everyone likes to be the king of their own little domain, and connectivity lets them rule from 30,000 feet. Instead of wasting time during travel, they can communicate with others, access information and make things happen from the air.

What’s your crazy idea to improve the passenger experience?
For me, a climate-controlled sleeping pod would be the ultimate. I’m a little bit Goldilocks – I like the temperature and the noise level to be just right when I rest.

How do content and entertainment expectations change for people when they travel?
People who don’t otherwise consume a lot of content in their daily lives develop an appetite for it on a long flight, frankly, because there’s less to do and plenty of time to kill. It’s a way to transport someone’s mind away from their immediate surroundings and into more familiar or more entertaining places. On the flip side, those who normally consume more content are going to be looking for their favorites and expect to find them. They want the experience to mimic their living rooms or offices.

What have you used in-flight Wi-Fi for?
One time, I was able to connect to Slingbox, which lets you watch your TV from anywhere over the Internet. I logged in and started flipping through the channels, then noticed a text from my wife. She couldn’t understand why the channels on our TV at home kept randomly changing. Of course, it was me! I thought it was cool, but my wife, not so much.

“APEX in Profile: Mark Rasmussen” was originally published in the 7.3 August/September issue of APEX Experience magazine.