Download Ascent Look Out 2016+


  • Delivering a fully connected passenger journey
  • Fully leveraging IT to increase reactivity and services
  • Moving to a digital world to address main challenges
  • Industry eager to find fuel alternatives and cut emissions
  • Air traveler numbers to grow 5% annually for next 20 years
  • Commercial production to increase 20% annually by 2025
  • 3D printing market to grow at a CAGR of 20.47%
  • Passenger numbers in airports to reach 7.3 bn by 2034

Digital Journey

Today’s connected aircraft offers passengers fast, reliable connectivity, while enriching the in-flight experience for pilots and crew. Armed forces personnel expect a similarly productive in-flight experience, leading defense organizations to adopt familiar civilian technologies adapted for military use.
Manufacturers and operators of civilian and military craft are leveraging insight shared by the connected aircraft to open new high-margin revenue streams. They are also building deeper relationships with passengers and partnerships outside the industry that extend their capabilities.
Manufacturers have to balance building a high-quality highly-tailored product with minimizing operational cost. More than that, they need flexibility to cope with erratic production cycles of sophisticated end products that require deep integration between mechanical, electrical and software components.
Safety and security is always at the forefront of any new innovation, but today’s growing reliance on data and increase in connectivity bring with them a greater diversity of threats and amplified responsibilities. Additional complexity in manufacture only brings additional security and safety challenges.

Stéphane Janichewski

Head of Defense & Aerospace Market

Aerospace is facing huge challenges in line with its significant growth: increased services to passengers during their journey, manufacturing production ramp up with increasingly demanding airlines and reducing the CO2 footprint. Aligned with the digital transformation of this ecosystem, IT is part of the solution.

Technologies in the Digital Journey
Technology x y x (phone) y (phone) Impact Range Section Keys Description
Autonomous vehicles 90 29 88 40 Early Adoption 2017 Low Engineers are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to visually inspect aircraft during manufacture and maintenance. These ‘drones’ have relieved engineers from hazardous inspection activities and saved aerospace companies a great deal of time and expense.
3D printing 74 47 85 22 Early Adoption 2018 Medium 3D printing technologies manufacture light weight components. They’re extremely useful for MRO departments who can now quickly print any parts needed wherever the aircraft is situated around the globe. This additive layer manufacturing (ALM) not only reduces waste but also allows the manufacture of both very complex shapes that are almost impossible to build using any other technology and extremely light structures and components that drastically reduce the aircraft’s fuel consumption during its entire lifecycle.
Advanced data visualization 76 29 65 50 Early Adoption 2017 Medium Craft and component manufacturers are leveraging simulation to optimize design and production, and reduce manufacturing cost. Extensive virtual testing enabled by immersive 3D visualization technologies allows aircraft manufacturers to simulate the behavior of complete structures exposed to all kind of complex processes.
Augmented reality 66 43 72 40 Adolescent 2018 Medium Smart glasses use augmented reality technologies to display this information in a worker’s line of sight. Virgin Atlantic even trialed the technology with staff. They used the devices to provide real- time information to passengers, including details about local weather, and to translate information into foreign languages.
Cloud Service Integration 88 50 88 55 Adolescent 2018 Low Vital systems are also managed within the cloud and delivered ‘as a service’ wherever and whenever they’re needed. As the need for cloud-based functions grows, Cloud Service Integration connects processes seamlessly.
Context-rich systems 79 27 76 40 Early Adoption 2017 Medium The user experience is integrated across every channel of interaction – online, mobile, social, wearables and more – to ensure a seamless and consistent experience across all service, purchase and information paths. Behind the scenes context-rich systems consolidate intelligence from diverse systems to proactively anticipate each user’s individual needs. They automatically adjust content based on a user’s device-type and input capabilities, for example.
Cyber-physical systems 68 25 41 44 Adolescent 2017 High Around the manufacturing plant, sophisticated cyber-physical systems (CPS) monitor and control the physical environment to improve performance and safety. Localized sensing helps identify issues with machinery performance and reliability, while communication technologies send machines instructions for the next bespoke assembly.
DevOps 88 15 70 45 Early Adoption 2016 Medium Agile – or even DevOps – development methodologies allow users to see – and influence – innovative solutions before they’re even finished to ensure usability.
Distribued analytics 63 19 35 42 Adolescent 2017 High Behind the scenes streaming analytics supported by high performance computing analyzes millions of events in real time looking for evidence of suspicious behavior, with distributed analytics then supporting vital forensic analysis after an incident is detected.
High Performance computing 74 15 60 35 Early Adoption 2017 High Advanced simulations rely on a growing volume and diversity of data – data that is shared within the extended enterprise network between aircraft manufacturers and their supply chain. Big Data and advanced analytics powered by high performance computing allow manufacturers to process this vast amount of data and ensure it provides invaluable insight in a timely manner. Analytics will boost virtual testing, for example, by enabling a simulation solution that covers every stage of the craft’s lifecycle.
Industry 4.0
68 5 50 15 Early Adoption 2017 Transformational On the shop floor, the smart factory is helping manufactures respond to an increasingly complex and fast-paced production environment. Industry 4.0 technologies seamlessly connect the physical shop floor to the virtual IT systems that support meaningful decision-making and drive operational and strategic flexibility.
Innovation value webs 69 50 76 50 Adolescent 2018 Medium With so many new possibilities emerging, innovation value webs are helping aircraft manufacturers and airlines facilitate open innovation beyond the enterprise borders, enhancing collaboration and communication across the wider partner ecosystem. The new social business tools that lie at their core encourage the participation required to develop the new marketplace of ideas.
Internet of Things 80 5 50 15 Early Adoption 2016 Transformational Now part of the Internet of Things (IoT), the connected craft is also contributing to a wider picture of the environment. Information gathered is combined with intelligence gleaned from social media, meteorologists and a wealth of other sources to create a holistic view on our weather patterns, the impact of climate change or the battlefield.
IP networks 72 31 56 65 Early Adoption 2017 Medium Communications based on satellite technology allow pilots, passengers and crew to access information, entertainment and other resources safely in-flight or on-board. Connectivity within the craft includes the wireless integration of the growing number of consumer devices. Military aircraft might even soon leverage the IP networks that are increasingly being deployed in civilian aircraft. Sophisticated combat systems, for instance, might benefit from the video streaming that could enhance situational awareness.
Near field communication 93 15 85 50 Mainstream 2016 Low Passengers, pilots and crew can connect their own personal laptops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices within the aircraft using Bluetooth and near field communication (NFC) technologies to receive passenger-oriented services such as infotainment and social media information. NFC also enables the mobile wallet that proves a simple, effective and secure personal payment solution in-flight and allows passengers to receive coupons and interact with NFC-enabled advertising.
Prescriptive analytics 61 41 65 47 Adolescent 2018 Medium Potential issues are identified early and the right actions are executed early thanks to the prescriptive analytics that analyzes airplane diagnostics in real time then suggests maintenance options and their likely outcomes. This improvement in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) chain increases aircraft availability and enhances customer experience by reducing delays due to unexpected failures in the aircraft’s systems.
Quantum cryptography 34 38 50 38 Emerging 2019+ High Quantum cryptography will help ensure the security of high end transmissions and assure secured interoperability and collaboration for highly sensitive data.
Self-adaptive security 64 52 69 57 Adolescent 2018 Medium As craft become more connected and the threat of cybercrime increases. A new generation of cybersecurity techniques is being applied. Self-adaptive security helps craft manufacturers and operations teams on the ground look for evidence of specific suspicious behaviors to anticipate threats. Manufactures and airlines manage their data and services securely in their private clouds. Dynamic access control ensures staff, partners, passengers and personnel have access to the information and systems they need to access, but only when they need it.
Semantic technologies 56 45 60 55 Adolescent 2018 Medium Semantic technologies enable the integration of the diverse formats of data that come from disparate connected sources. They ensure analytics systems can understand the meaning of the data they process, whatever its format.
83 12 55 42 Early Adoption 2016 High Embedded sensors within the inner workings of the aircraft constantly stream billions of pieces of information back to its maker and airline crew on the ground. Streaming analytics allows them to analyze diagnostics and geo-location information on the fly in real time. Inside a military aircraft it enables electronic intelligence systems to analyze radar in real time to provide additional situational awareness.
Virtual assistants 83 52 83 62 Adolescent 2018 Low On-board or in-flight a virtual assistant provides information on the destination, arrivals and onward travel, and on the products and services offered in-flight. Interactive assistance improves customer service by freeing up personnel to address more specific questions and attend to those passengers with more specific needs.
Wearable computing 84 25 81 30 Mainstream 2017 Medium Engineers porting wearables such as smart glasses can, for example, view a new design before even building a prototype. Workers and maintenance engineers in the production plant use them to gain hands free access to the specific requirements for the aircraft they’re currently assembling or machine they’re currently fixing. Embedded cameras relay pictures back to base to record activities or tap into the insight of a specialist engineer – who could be located remotely, anywhere around the globe.

Radar View