CIO Talk

The Power of the Connected Aircraft

Michael Edmonds, President, Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace
Michael Edmonds, President, Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace

The aerospace industry is going through a monumental change right now, driven by the connected aircraft. What started as a revolution in the passenger experience about a decade ago has now forced airlines to re-examine what amenities are a must-have on each flight to stay competitive. This is just the beginning.

The ultimate impact connectivity will have on this industry will be felt well beyond the cabin. It will be a software revolution from nose to tail and air to ground — and the single biggest change aerospace has experienced since the Wright brothers took their fabled first flight in North Carolina. This will lead to a cultural and business shift within the industry, and Honeywell is here to lead the charge.

The software revolution, or digital transformation as many people are calling it, will open up data sharing in new ways and allow for ever-growing man-to-machine interfaces.  For aircraft operators this means real-time solutions for weather, flight planning, auxiliary power units and engine trending, and predicted maintenance will be devised to make use of the gigabytes of data aircraft are generating on each flight that today are largely going unused.

While 95 percent of this data has traditionally stayed on the plane, now that the aerospace industry has access to a high-bandwidth data pipe we have a new ability to pull this critically important data from the plane and create value from it. Honeywell is uniquely positioned with a broad installed base and an understanding of aircraft systems, software and satellite communications that enables us to use aircraft data and connectivity to optimize the workflows for aircraft maintenance and flight crews as well as enhance the passenger experience. We are modernizing the concept of aviation and accelerating how we innovate for it.

We are doing this by leaning on our aerospace heritage and our company’s innate ability to understand how to apply the “Internet of Things” beyond just connecting a product and turning into a smart device. Through a newly expanded, dedicated business unit we have an even stronger focus on developing connected aircraft offerings and supporting the industry in connecting aviation. We do this with a highly diverse and talented team that includes pilots, dispatchers, meteorologists, maintenance professionals and application engineers practicing agile development — and with the backing of 8,000 aerospace engineers.

Our team is already doing far more than connecting the plane and giving passengers the ability to stream videos on their flight. Honeywell is enhancing the concept of aviation, enhancing how airlines operate, enhancing how passengers fly and taking this industry into the digital age.

By Michael Edmonds, President, Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace

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