Connected Aircraft: Speed to Market is the Difference Between Success and Failure

  • Celestica  |
  • 2019-03-29
AIX2019 Interior

The expectation of “always on” connectivity has increased over the last 10 years – driven by the advent of emerging technologies that satisfy consumer desire to be connected anytime, anywhere – even while traveling at 500 mph 35,000 feet in the air. This compels OEMs that produce aircraft connectivity solutions to get to market fast at lower costs and with high reliability. Celestica provides its customers with this necessary combination of cutting-edge innovation, quality and speed to ensure they stay ahead.

The aviation industry is undergoing considerable changes as it enters the transformative era that Celestica calls the Acceleration Economy – marked by increased customer demands, emerging technologies and globalized innovation and competition. To win in this fiercely competitive market, OEMs rely on supply chain partnerships to shorten the product development cycle and implement solutions that accelerate their innovation.

For nearly 20 years, Celestica has been a trusted partner to the world’s leading aerospace OEMs. We take a complete product lifecycle approach to deliver unique value to our customers and bring their innovations to life. As passengers demand that the level of electronics in aircraft increase, Celestica’s deep experience in design and manufacturing process development, specifically, in developing custom electronics solutions for aerospace connectivity applications drives competitive advantage.

Wi-Fi internet access has become table stakes for airlines, and passengers today are demanding an even smarter, more Connected Aircraft. They want an experience that mimics what they have on the ground: high speed connectivity that enables them to work, use email, share documents and leverage the same business applications they use in the office. That connected experience applies to their entertainment options too, such as streaming high-quality movies, viewing apps with preloaded content, listening to audio content and receiving live updates on the status of their flight.

Celestica enables high-reliability systems and assemblies found in almost every aircraft in flight today, many of which contribute to the passenger experience, including high speed internet connectivity and in-flight entertainment systems. 

Celestica’s engineering experts understand the complexities of enabling ‘always on’ connectivity at 30,000 feet, and work in close partnership with our customers to give them the flexibility to quickly respond to market demand. Recently our team collaborated with a leading aerospace OEM to enable a satellite communications gateway for in-flight connectivity.

Most passengers might think the newer types of technology enabling this seamless, connected experience reside within the aircraft itself, but in many cases, it is delivered via satellite communications. Networks of these satellites provide aircraft with broader coverage so that passengers can continue to stream, send emails, or consume content while traveling over the ocean or remote parts of the world. 

However, the benefits of a Connected Aircraft extend beyond facilitating passengers work and entertainment. Real-time data architectures and smart sensors collect data that can be analyzed, streamed and used to continuously improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of the aircraft.

To that end, one of the most promising areas of the Connected Aircraft is around predictive maintenance. The sensors embedded in components and systems on the aircraft can transmit real-time data while in the air, so ground-based maintenance crews are alerted - by the components and systems themselves - if there’s a need to repair or replace anything before the aircraft even touches down. This helps speed up the repair process, avoid flight delays and drive faster turnaround times.

The industry is also beginning to see the benefits of predictive maintenance on inventory and demand forecasting. Using real-time data, combined with historical data, maintenance planners can better model and predict when parts will be needed.

It is an exciting time for the aerospace industry and OEMs have an opportunity to play an even more critical role in bringing innovative and efficient products to the market to enhance the passenger experience. But to maintain leadership, OEMs must aggressively position themselves to anticipate the next set of customer expectations and improve their speed to market. That will require a strategic shift in how they enable products. 

The OEMs who maximize the value of their assets to identify new collaboration models, inject innovation and drive profitable growth will be the most successful.

Learn more about how Celestica’s complete product lifecycle solutions