Honeywell says it is offering a number of operational improvements for airlines using enhanced levels of connected aircraft technologies and services. In a Q&A session, John Peterson, vice-president and general manager, software and services, Honeywell Aerospace reveals more.
The increasing customer demand for greater Connected Aircraft technologies and services goes well beyond providing a seamless cabin experience for passengers - it spans maintenance and fleet management personnel, as well as flight and ground crews.
Q) What is driving the types of connectivity trends and demands placed on your company by today’s customers?
Our customers are always looking for connectivity solutions to help improve daily operations. For example, pilots use tablets to improve navigation or view crowd-sourced weather information to ensure they avoid inclement weather, increasing passenger safety and securing more on-time arrivals. Meanwhile, airline operators can download real-time data to monitor fuel usage or share aircraft health and usage information with maintenance personnel for better predictive maintenance.
We’re responding to these trends by developing software solutions that harness the vast amounts of data curated by aircraft, and are applying artificial intelligence (AI) and data science to provide customers with steps they can take to increase operational efficiency and safety. We are seeing the start of a serious technology investment wave fuelled by advancements in reliable, in-flight connectivity. In fact, Honeywell’s recent Connected Aircraft Report expects investment in connected technologies to rise significantly during the next 12 months, and to increase even more rapidly over the next five years.
Q) What specific areas of the interior are you involved with?
Given our extensive mechanical heritage, Honeywell Aerospace equipment can be found on virtually every aircraft in the world. At AIX 2019, we’ll be showcasing the GoDirect services platform, which is at the centre of bringing reliable, in-flight connectivity to the cockpit and cabin. Through a single login, customers can access more than 50 services that can help improve safety, performance and cost-efficiency.
Q) What kinds of hurdles does your company need to overcome in order to design products taking them from concept to reality?
[caption id="attachment_26163" align="alignright" width="295"] John Peterson, senior director, connectivity services at Honeywell Aerospace[/caption]
Fortunately, connectivity has reached a point of maturation where its value is being seen both inside and outside the cabin. Connected technologies are no longer a concept they’re now a reality, delivering proven results to airline operations. Honeywell has long paved the way in bringing innovative connectivity solutions to the sky. One of our latest concepts is the next-generation black box, which we are designing with Curtiss-Wright. We plan to use satellite connectivity and streaming data to reinvent the aircraft black box recorder. We are developing new hardware for the boxes, along with software to make it easier to access real-time data. Honeywell's Connected Aircraft software will be integrated to store, retrieve and analyse data.
Q) What kinds of aircraft connectivity developments will we be seeing in the future?
One of the industry's biggest problems is fuel consumption and the associated financial and environmental costs. Today, more than 30 customers across the globe manage more than 2,300 aircraft every day using GoDirect Flight Efficiency, and we expect more airlines to continue investing in connectivity solutions that address this. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to improve and expand the features and services within the GoDirect suite. Developments will include greater configurability features that enable the customer to have more customisable options at their fingertips.
Q) Have we hit the ceiling now in terms of ground-breaking and as yet undreamed-of connectivity?
The industry demand for connectivity innovation is here to stay. And as such, we expect to see continued innovation in this space as we continue to unlock new ways to use connectivity to solve today’s aviation problems. From collecting more data, to providing stronger and even faster in-flight Wi-Fi speeds, we can expect to see increased accuracy and performance in the future. These increases will help operators, pilots and maintenance teams improve efficiency and safety while decreasing costs for owners.
Q) What differentiates your company from the competition - why should a customer use you over your nearest rival?
Honeywell is uniquely positioned with a wide-range of proven services that utilise connectivity to bring actionable data to our customers in an easy to understand way. We are also able to offer customers connectivity solutions to meet any type of mission. In addition, our technical heritage means that no other company has the breadth of offerings or expertise which includes over 80 product lines that serve multiple industries.