Technology has the potential to stabilise and to disrupt. Big data, biometrics and virtual reality all have a role to play in changing the aviation industry, but how will these new technologies be deployed, and what measures will companies need in place to manage risk? In this article, we look at the top six technology trends that are changing the face of the aviation industry and give you a glimpse into the future of commercial flight.
1. Blockchain technology
Cryptocurrency might be the most prevalent example of blockchain technology, but for the aviation industry there is a diverse range of potential use cases for this powerful software based technology.
Utilising biometrics, blockchain technology could change how the aviation industry manages the identification of passengers and crew. With security concerns more important than ever, but customers demanding faster, more on demand access, a technology that provides a high degree of security almost instantaneously could play a significant role in revolutionising how we fly. In fact, there are many global companies already utilising blockchain technology for identification and authentication management.
Private or semi private blockchain poses an interesting solution to the aviation pain point of managing and tracking baggage, particular in lengthy flights and transfers where different agents take custody of baggage, blockchain could provide passengers and agents with better tracking and accountability.
2. Virtual reality
Driven by the consumer market, virtual reality (VR) continues to grow in sophistication, while costs are slowly coming down, capacity is growing exponentially.
VR simulations are already helping pilots train better across a wider variety of aircraft, including those that are still being manufactured. Through VR and mixed reality scenarios, pilots can access a wider variety of cockpits and simulate different weather conditions and stress tests without risk or heavy expense.
Throughout the industry, companies that leverage this high momentum technology will gain an edge over the competition.
Virtual reality is also shaking up the sales process, allowing clients to view aircraft inside and out using virtual reality headsets. Similarly, resorts, cities and other destinations can be explored through mixed reality prior to booking.
These 3D guided tours provide insight and peace of mind for potential customers, allowing them unprecedented levels of transparency driven by software. They also act as exceptional marketing materials.
3. Cloud data
The global phenomenon of leveraging cloud technology for more sophisticated data analysis has a number of applications within the business aviation community.
MORE FLUID SALES AND BOOKINGS
The days of brokering complex charter flight deals are mostly behind us. Now, companies leverage mobile friendly booking systems to give customers greater advantages when it comes to chartering the perfect flight.
BETTER TRAFFIC CONTROL
Cloud enabled taxi and air traffic control systems provide a clearer picture of air traffic and airport infil and exfil. Shared data across flight corridors mean safer and more efficient routing of traffic and better communication between towers.
INCREASED EFFICIENCY IN OPERATION
Cloud hosted tools allow for a number of efficiencies and improvements in the overall management of any charter service or fixed base of operations.
- Staffing and scheduling is easier to monitor, as are fuel costs logistics.
- Access to a wide selection of catering and runway services means better competition.
- Predictive data provides opportunity for a tailored solution, allowing charter services to deliver what the customer wants, for a better price.
4. Enhanced security over the network
Technology solutions also have the potential to create technology problems. With smart devices so prevalent, cybersecurity becomes a significant concern and area of investment for companies across every pillar of the industry. Enhanced cybersecurity allows businesses to:
- Protect customer data
- Reduce the risk of fraud
- Protect company IP
- Provide safer charter services to clients
WIth air flight on the forefront of scrutiny when it comes to risk management, cybersecurity solutions are changing how the aviation industry operates and does business.
We’ve already looked at how blockchain might leverage biometrics for better identity management, but the biometric sector has a wider role to play in the changing face of the aviation industry.
Right now, face and fingerprint biometrics are being used in consumer level smartphones, so customers have become more comfortable with the use of biometric identity management. Soon, the demand for app based biometric identification could supercede existing biometrics.
Application comes down to ease of use. En masse, guests prefer a more efficient use of biometric scanning. One that works reliably, but also quickly. The challenge for the aviation industry is to provide this in a way that is acceptable to customers without compromising security compliance and protocols.
6. Technology that empowers your guests
Like many industries, technology provides the aviation industry with a nearly unlimited potential for growth and disruption. Leveraging these emerging trends and breakthroughs requires clear thinking and focus. Most importantly, technology should always be deployed in a way that empowers your customers.
Whether it’s changing the way they book, to better multichannel communications and updates, to providing a risk free experience, choice, safety and ease of use must be at the forefront of any operator’s business strategy. As we move into a future where customers expect more, faster and easier, only those companies that embrace technology will be around tomorrow.