Polycom KIRK Wireless Phones Go to New Heights with EMS Sky Connect

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Polycom KIRK Wireless Phones Go to New Heights with EMS Sky Connect Polycom KIRK Wireless Phones Go to New Heights with EMS Sky ConnectPolycom KIRK Wireless Phones Go to New Heights with EMS Sky Connect

17 December 2009

Busy executives need to stay productive, even when their office is 30,000 feet in the air and flying at 450 miles an hour across oceans, deserts, or polar ice caps. That’s why when corporate and private jet owners need reliable, high quality communications, they turn to EMS Sky Connect for satellite-based tracking and voice systems featuring Polycom, Inc. [Nasdaq: PLCM] wireless telephone solutions.

The Polycom® KIRK® wireless telephone systems, which are based on the digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) standard, outshined all other alternatives when Sky Connect evaluated wireless solutions, according to Iain Ronis, director of communications for EMS Sky Connect, a division of EMS Technologies. Ronis said owners of cabin-class aircraft have high expectations in terms of quality and aesthetics. Aircraft such as the Gulfstream® G-IV jet can cost millions of dollars to outfit with custom interiors, and for that class of customer, expectations are high.

"Most commercially available handsets don't have the quality, aesthetics or ease-of-use that our market requires," said Ronis. "Then we tested the Polycom KIRK handset, and that was it."

Sky Connect's solutions tap into the Iridium global satellite communications network – the only network offering coverage of the entire Earth. That means Sky Connect customers are never out of reach. The company's Fort? in-flight phone system, designed for communications ranging from voice conversations to checking email, incorporates Polycom's KIRK Wireless System 300 (KWS300) and KIRK 5020 handsets.

Sleek and lightweight, Polycom's KIRK 5020 handset proved ideal for Sky Connect's wireless Fort? product line. "There is an undeniable market need for an affordable and feature-rich flight phone," said Ronis, "With the Polycom KIRK 5020 handset at its heart, the Fort? system meets that need. The system lets passengers move around the cabin while still using the phone, and that adds an important level of convenience."

Another key advantage of the KIRK 5020 handset is Polycom's noise cancellation technology. "We needed a phone that will suppress the surrounding noise," said Ronis. "The sound footprint of an aircraft represents a lot of challenges. Even in a cabin-class aircraft that is quiet by most people's standards, you have ambient noise. The more you can reduce that, the happier users are. And here, Polycom really delivers."

Polycom's audio clarity is essential not just for those onboard. "Historically, when you get complaints about noise over a phone connection, they tend to focus on what the person on the ground hears," explained Ronis. "We've never had any complaints about audio quality of the Polycom handsets. These have been among the most reliable phones we've ever sold."

Ronis added, "The flexibility of the DECT-based KWS300 turned out to be a very nice plus. We can install just one base station and support up to four lines, and that reduces installation costs. We didn't find anything else that was as flexible."

Sky Connect distributes its Fort? system through companies that specialize in furnishing aircraft interiors. The company also has placed Fort? units on passenger jet aircraft so crew members can communicate with corporate offices and other destinations without tying up cockpit communication channels. Ronis said the company is in talks with airlines to outfit first-class cabins with the wireless systems, having recently secured Federal Aviation Administration certification for the Fort? system in Gulfstream G-IV class aircraft.

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