The customer journey is being redefined in the aviation industry. Customers will be connected with the rest of the world, even inflight. This is something that business people have always wanted - to stay connected with their business 24X7. Inmarsat’s annual Inflight Connectivity Survey has found that 83% of passengers would choose an airline that offers inflight connectivity. With the number of passengers due to double from 3.8 billion to 7.2 billion by 2035 and huge demand for onboard Wi-Fi rising every year, bringing inflight connectivity to aircrafts is not only a huge opportunity for airlines but a critical business decision.
The findings make three things clear:
- Inflight Wi-Fi is going to be a mandatory service
- High quality inflight Wi-Fi will drive airlines’ ticket sales
- When travelling with children, inflight Wi-Fi will be a life-saver
This insight brings a huge opportunity for airlines and fleet operators. They can not only provide internet connectivity to their customers, but also use it to provide better and personalized customer experience.
According to Intelsat, two-thirds of airlines are expected to operate connected aircraft by 2019. There will be more secure and economical connectivity between the aircraft and internet in the future and it will be empowered by Edge (fog) computing architecture in the aircraft. This will empower the airlines to leverage the full power of cloud computing which enables access to unlimited content on the internet, and the full power of big data/analytics. Advancement in edge computing and a combination of Internet of Things (IoT), AI and Augmented Reality (AR) will help in delivering personalized content and service to customers onboard.
Currently, inflight services are very primitive and flight crews have been carrying out the services in the same manner for years. This is going to change dramatically.
- Safety announcements and enforcements: Aircraft attendants will no longer have to inspect seats, tray tables and seatbelts. Seats with sensors will provide information to the crew and passengers on tab devices and on the screen (in front)/phone respectively.
- Serving food and beverages: Passengers will be able to order directly over apps, with specific instructions if any.
- Responding to ad-hoc requests from passengers: Flight attendants will know the exact requirements of passengers and will not need to make an extra round to figure out the need.