Following extensive market feedback and support from industrial partners, Airbus has decided to proceed with an IoT Platform for the cabin, known as the Airbus Connected Experience.
Up to now, this has been a concept study, which is ‘coming to life’ following cooperation agreements signed with three best-in-class partners: gategroup, Stelia Aerospace and Recaro Aircraft Seating – with more to join.
The platform will link in real-time interconnected core cabin components, including the galleys, meal trolleys, seats, overhead bins and other cabin elements. As well as allowing data exchange throughout the cabin for the crew, it is also planned that consolidated information could also be uploaded to the Skywise cloud for subsequent trend analytics.
The connected cabin will provide airlines, flight crews and passengers with significant benefits. For flight crews it means that they can access an integrated platform which keeps pre-flight and real-time data in one place, while passengers will receive a more personalised travel experience. And for airlines the platform would allow them to use the aggregated cabin equipment usage trends (of the connected elements) to perform predictive maintenance analytics over their entire fleet – thus improving the overall cabin service reliability, quality and performance on board all their aircraft. The platform will also allow wireless streaming to passengers and will enable airlines to host third-party applications for movies.
Soeren Scholz, Airbus’ SVP Cabin & Cargo Programme said, “As airlines drive to improve operational efficiencies and reliability, they can now look to the Connected Experience, offered by Airbus together with our industrial partners, to link different elements of the cabin, seats, galleys and trolleys into one central data system.”
He adds, “This seamless inter-connectivity within the cabin will also be of tremendous benefit to passengers who will be able to enjoy individually tailored, personalised and high-quality inflight service.”
Real-time interconnected core cabin components
Examples of the Connected Experience components will include:
- The Connected Galley will enable passengers to pre-order from a dedicated prediction of preferred food and beverage for passengers – which also reduces waste and increases passenger satisfaction. It will also enable cabin crew to benefit from full transparency of inventory management for efficient operations, as well as facilitating remote passenger communication to deliver quick and personalised passenger service based on individual preferences.
- Connected seat will provide passengers with personalised seat position settings as well as remote ordering of preferred beverage or meal via personal devices. And onto their IFE screens passengers will be able to receive customised content including movies of interest or relevant advertisement for topics they are interested in – such as recommendations for concerts they would enjoy at their destination.
- Connected bin. Not only will a ‘smart’ bin indicate free space to place passengers’ luggage faster, but it could also enable space management so that passengers can book the space for the bags in advance.
The market has reportedly clearly expressed interest in having Airbus in the ‘driving-seat’ to develop an IoT platform integrating the data within the cabin. This platform is designed to be linefit and retrofit and will be available on the A320 family first, before extending to other Airbus programmes.
Not only is this platform fully compatible with Airbus’ Open Software Platform (OSP) currently offered as a service, but the connected experience will also be ‘Skywise Ready’ for future data analytics – allowing predictive maintenance.