Connected Software Solutions Move from the Cockpit to the Cabin

The Aviation Industry was one of the pioneers in the adoption of Information Technology both on the ground and in the aircraft. A plethora of innovations have been fuelling both flight operational efficiencies and inflight passenger experiences since the early twenty-first century. Airline booking and reservation procedures were some of the first large-scale online systems developed. Additionally, Avionics has incorporated ground-breaking technologies to provide inventive solutions on board the aircraft.

The application of Information Technology onboard the aircraft, however, was drastically different.  While IT did offer an array of advantages in aviation, it was accompanied by a considerable number of complexities. The lack of suitable, compliant devices and the challenges with communications bandwidth served as major barriers to progress. The technology landscape witnessed a shift in the early 2000s with the emergence of EFB solutions. These electronic applications were being used as the most effective means to store integral flight data. Commercial off-the-shelf laptop devices were deployed to improve communications, particularly in areas such as cellular and wireless.

These developments, coupled with support from regulators, enabled airlines and their software partners to deliver a range of innovative solutions to reduce costs, increase profitability, and ensure compliance in a market that was valued at $4.18 billion in 2019.

Early implementations tended to lay emphasis on cockpit-based applications and operations for the Flight Crew. This has changed significantly since the advent of tablet and smartphone devices that are more ergonomically functional than bulky laptops.

While cockpit-based Flight Operations solutions tend to focus on cost savings and efficiencies, the Cabin offers a whole new range of opportunities for increasing revenues. Passenger Relationship Management systems (PRM) can provide Cabin Crews with valuable information about customer preferences to target sales and provide passengers with a highly personalised travel experience.

Applications such as Cabin Defect Logs can be used for both cost savings and increased revenue. For example, identifying a problem with a first-class seat and reporting this in-flight to ground maintenance, will be instrumental in saving on costs. Moreover, it could potentially free up a high-value seating option for the next flight sector.

Connected Aircraft Technologies are now driving digital transformation across the board in the Aviation Sector. The extension of this into the Cabin area has helped increase profitability, not just through cost savings but by enabling significant new revenue opportunities, and providing a real improvement to passenger experience.

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