Passenger experience driving investment in “connected” aviation technology

Enhancing the customer experience is the most important driver for aviation leaders to embrace next generation “connected” technology, according to an Aviation CIO Outlook 2015 survey.

The survey, conducted by Terrapinn Connect with hundreds of airlines and airports from around the world, reported that 82% of respondents cite customer experience as one of their top 3 drivers, followed by operational efficiency (69%) and ancillary revenue (55%).

Aiming to capture the status of connected technology adoption in the aviation industry, the results show that the majority of airlines and airports are at the brink of investment. Most of the respondents were piloting solutions (37%) or considering the business case (27%).

When questioned about the barriers holding them back from being connected, budget, legacy system challenges and regulatory restrictions emerged as the top 3 inhibitors.

It comes as no surprise then that systems integration ranked top of the priorities for future technology investments. However, the results also confirmed purchasing trends towards the next generation of “connected” technology, including mobile apps, Big Data analytics, enterprise mobility and wi-fi infrastructure.

These solutions tend to be growing in popularity because they achieve the triple win of improving experience, efficiency and generating ancillary revenue.

Staff roaming the airports with tablets, for example, can deliver a more personalised and efficient service to customers. Big Data and mobile apps are also being leveraged to deliver targeted marketing offerings and capture much-needed additional revenue from travellers.

Yet does the trend towards more automation and self-service in aviation spell bad news for service staff keeping hold of their jobs? Not according to the survey, with 68% of respondents predicting that technology would only partially replace staff, as opposed to 15% who anticipated a complete replacement.

The overall response was largely in favour of futuristic technology developments supporting service improvements. An overwhelming 77% voted that wearable technology is the “future” of aviation as opposed to only 22% who dismissed it as a “fad”