Low Cost & Regional

Passenger Experience Conference: Airbus vows to remove barriers to connected aircraft innovation

Airframe manufacturer Airbus will take a more open approach to IT architecture as it strives to develop the truly connected aircraft.

Speaking at the Passenger Experience Conference at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Tim Sommer, vice president connected aircraft, said Airbus wants to remove barriers to innovation.

“We really want to push to an era of openness and of innovation in the aircraft. We need to have a more strategic view of our IT architecture and make our aircraft natively connected.”

Airbus believes a more open platform will spur innovation by making it easier to work with third party partners and developers. “That’s part of our mission,” said Sommer.

Micheal Wolters, chief executive of digital transformation agency Banbutsu, said the challenge is to turn “dumb” products into smart connected products.

Banbutsu works heavily in the automotive industry that is turning the cockpit of the cars into a fully connected space providing a range of digital services to its users.

Wolters said this approach to customer centricity requires collaboration and that data is now a currency which companies trade to receive beneficial value.

“The willingness to share more data increases the better the services experience is,” he said.

“Most business systems are ego-systems where I put my brand at he centre and build everything around my brand.

“When it comes to data ownership, it’s a cultural topic. If you have a culture to make your service easily integrateable then the ownership is always with you.

“Who is building the service? That’s a more open question. I would say it’s first come first serve. It’s diverse.”

Sommer agreed that companies are ego-centric because they are not charities. “You cannot share data if the one sharing the data is not convinced of the value.”

The culture at Airbus is changing more towards being open and Sommer said the industry as a while is also “moving in the right direction”.

“Wolters said: “Cultural change is either initiated by organisations or forced by the customer. You can prepare for this or be overrun.

“Cultural change is a natural process that comes with digital transformation. Change is the only constant. There will always be someone opening things up to get you out of your comfort zone.”

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