Disrupting The Way We Fly - For The Better

By Monika Panpaliya, Senior Director - It International, Boeing

Monika Panpaliya, Senior Director - It International, BoeingTwenty years ago, if you had told me that with the click of a button on my phone, I could have ordered food to my residence or could have hailed a cab to drive me from one spot to another, it would have seemed impossible. But, cab companies and the ‘dine-out’ sectors have experienced something remarkable – disruption.

Technology disruption is a phenomenon wherein an innovation creates an entirely new market and new products replace existing ones. Examples abound throughout the history of technology disruption – think of automobiles replacing horses, cell phones replacing landlines or emails supplanting mailed letters through the post. While the process is not always enjoyable for the industry being disrupted, it brings about a leap forward for our communities and our society.

From an adoption point of view, the aerospace sector has displayed a particular affinity towards disruptive technologies. The primary reason for this is the need to deliver to the customer that are demanding more, for less. For global aerospace majors, such as Boeing, constant innovation is a necessity to stay ahead of the competition.

Technologies that enable aircraft to fly higher, further, faster and with lower fuel consumption are the result of disruptive technologies that have changed the way we fly or travel. A prime example of disruption in the way we T CIO INSIGHTS DISRUPTING THE WAY WE FLY – FOR THE BETTER By Monika Panpaliya, Senior Director - IT International, Boeing build aircrafts has been the adoption of composite materials, that are stronger and lighter, which allow airframe components to withstand higher levels of stress. It is truly unimaginable, given that the first airplanes had fuselages created of canvas!

“Technology disruption doesn’t have to be a threat, it can be an incredible asset to companies willing to put their resources and focus into innovation”

The future of aerospace promises to be full of disruption. From drones navigating the skies with deliveries to urban flight mobility, the potential is enormous. The need for technology infrastructure to support such endeavors is massive, including encryption and blockchain to protect data and transactions, ever increasing amounts of data and tools to make use of that data.

It’s not just airplane design and production, however, that is being redefined by disruption. Services, support, and maintenance of airplanes are being actively reimagined with the help of Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and cloud computing. The focus is now on proactive, as opposed to reactive services.

The resurgence of the Indian aerospace ecosystem, due to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ vision has opened up a number of opportunities for step-change innovation to take flight. India’s inherent capability to innovate is supported by incredible resources in the form of talent and opportunity.

Examples of how Indian startups can disrupt the way the world flies can be seen in the ideas presented by the finalists of the recently held Boeing HorizonX India Innovation Challenge 1.0.

One finalist, Merxius, developed a product that enables the creation of Extended Reality (XR) applications to use the Internet of Things (IoT) for aerospace. HUVIAiR, another finalist, refined custom unmanned aircraft services and software solutions for survey and workflow management and ZestloT, the third finalist, explored solutions that connect and airport and the airplane ecosystem using IoT to optimize ground handling at airports and improving on-time performance of airplanes.

If this is a yardstick to go by, the potential for India-created disruption in aerospace technology is immense. The maturity that the Indian aerospace ecosystem has displayed to overcome the challenges in creating self-reliance is remarkable. The seamless integration into the global supply-chains for some of the world’s most advanced airplanes has been possible only due to disruption.

In Bengaluru, Boeing’s India Engineering and Technology Center (BIETC) is installing an integrated lab for Internet of Things (IoT), Analytics, Mobility, 3D experiences, and Systems Integration Lab. We’re developing software at Boeing using an agile and modern method that delivers value faster. We’ve doubled our existing footprint, and we are recruiting and scaling up exponentially, with diversity of our workforce in mind. We aim to employ over 2,500 employees in specialized fields such as Product Lifecycle Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Data Analytics and Software Design for aerospace. The IT talent and capabilities available in India will be an enabler for success across the world.

Technology disruption doesn’t have to be a threat, it can be an incredible asset to companies willing to put their resources and focus into innovation.

Disruption, in the Indian context, is a boon; one that has the potential to allow Indian industries across the board to leap-frog generations to come to par with the rest of the world quicker than projected.

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