A thought-provoking NBAA-BACE session in the Innovation Zone examined how technology trends may soon impact business aviation in new and creative ways. Presenter Jimmy Cho, a senior leader in Boeing's Digital Aviation division, explained this transition by noting how companies like Amazon have emerged and thrived in a variety of industries not by producing products, but rather serving as intermediaries in providing services.
"The capital model for the use of technology is generally a huge constraint on business," Cho said. "Digital transformation through technology flips that paradigm."
Consumer technologies also hold the potential to expand far beyond such relatively mundane tasks. The proliferation of connected devices such as smartphones, and biometric variants of common household items (think of a dog collar with a built-in, Bluetooth-enabled pedometer), had led to an unprecedented amount of information held in the cloud that soon will need to be measured not in megabytes or gigabytes, but zettabytes, or one sextillion bytes of data.
And that's only the beginning. Augmented reality takes digital technology and overlays it upon the real, physical world. That offers real-world possibilities in many business aviation professions, from pilots utilizing augmented displays on the flight deck through enhanced synthetic vision, to allowing aircraft maintainers to closely examine components of a highly detailed holographic engine before – and during – their work on the real thing.
Furthermore, "smart" connected devices like Apple's Siri and the Amazon Echo do more than simply provide users with quick responses to simple tasks through normal, everyday conversation. Each inquiry also offers a new opportunity for the device to learn human speech patterns and how humans want to utilize these helpful tools – the building blocks of predictive technology, and actual artificial intelligence.