Major aerospace trends to watch at Farnborough International Airshow 2016

June 21, 2016
FARNBOROUGH, England, 21 June 2016. Accenture has identified four major trends to watch at the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow, taking place outside London in July.

By John Schmidt, Accenture

FARNBOROUGH, England, 21 June 2016. Accenture has identified four major trends to watch at the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow, taking place outside London in July.

The aerospace trends to watch are:

· Silicon Valley and the Talent Threat

· It’s About Execution, Not New Orders

· Ascent of Disruptive Technologies in Aerospace

· Doubling Down on Data Deluge

Silicon Valley and the talent threat

Silicon Valley has entered the aerospace industry. Expect this trend to accelerate and be a bigger story at Farnborough than it has ever been at this event.

At the show keep an eye out for new and established companies rolling out new unmanned aerial vehicle with a wide range of new capabilities, increased autonomy and better communications.

Recent news points toward this subject of conversation unfolding at this major airshow. Last year, Airbus announced it was establishing a corporate venture capital fund; Airbus Group Ventures, as well as a technology and business innovation center in Silicon Valley. The major aerospace manufacturer aims to expand the company’s international presence and enhance its ability to identify and capitalize on innovative and transformational technologies and business models.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Aquila unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and Google-owned Titan Aerospace are in their respective test phases. Once completed, these UAVs will beam down Internet connectivity to remote corners of the globe.

With the commercial UAV market expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2020 (growing by 14.1 percent year-over-year) and the defense market expected to amount to $6.6 billion, the market presence of these new industry players remains small – but their influence and involvement will start to be felt more within the industry.

It’s about execution, not new orders

For the past several Farnborough and Paris Air Shows, a big news storyline has been the number of new orders won by the major aerospace manufacturers. This year, expect this story to be less prominent.

A bigger story will be about how these manufacturers are executing on delivering the existing orders – including the many they have landed and announced at the major airshows during the past few years.

The big challenge in the industry is about getting these planes to market on time. How to accelerate delivery, which digital strategies to use, what operational and supply chain efficiencies to focus on will be key subjects of conversation during the airshow.

Another thing to watch is how the commercial aerospace supplier base will leverage digital technologies to help them respond to the increase in rates planned. Delivering more airliners at a faster rate while holding costs down and maintaining the highest quality will be a challenge for the industry.

Ascent of disruptive technologies in aerospace

A combination of powerful market forces and disruptive technologies are reshaping the future of aerospace and defense, offering exciting opportunities in intelligent automation, robotics, augmented reality and wearable technology. There will be more news about these technologies and markets than at any previous Farnborough Airshow.

Companies are already automating tasks and processes in their organizations, with extensive use for knowledge worker and IT tasks. This is set to increase across all areas of aerospace and defense. Accenture’s research reveals that 85 percent of the industry’s executives expect artificial intelligence to have a significant impact on the industry in the next three years.

At the airshow, expect new examples of how intelligent automation is becoming an essential part of business operations for the digital age, from customer service interactions to field worker tasks.

Augmented reality was a big story to come out of the International Paris Airshow last year. Expect this to continue at this year’s event. As increasing pressure to deliver on time and at-scale drives manufacturers to take a more hands-on approach to supply chain, technicians will increasingly be equipped with Internet-enabled smart glasses to conduct virtual production inspections of airplane seats and other in-cabin applications.

Internet of Things

According to Accenture’s research, 85 percent of industry leaders believe the Internet of Things (IoT) will cause significant industry changes. Thirty percent indicate it will lead to a complete transformation of the aerospace industry.

At Farnborough Airshow, Accenture expect to see IoT solutions on display that will offer the potential to create new revenue streams for service providers.

Doubling down on data deluge

Aircraft are generating unprecedented volumes of data - raising demand for big data capabilities. Accenture’s research shows that 88 percent of aerospace and defense executives estimate the growth of data volume managed by their companies will at least double during the next year.

By embracing the power of computing ‘up in the clouds,’ increased data gathering and analysis is becoming an industry standard. This opens new opportunities for innovation and efficiency.

Data will play a key role in addressing the immediate challenge aerospace supply chains face meeting existing aircraft orders, and will also lend a much-needed helping hand at a time where large orders are increasingly vulnerable to deferrals and cancellations.

At Farnborough Airshow, expect to notice a shift from the traditional supply chain to a new and improved software-influenced version as manufacturers take the route of shorter development cycles for quick delivery of large orders to reduce the risk of deferrals or cancellations. From supply chain control towers to analytics, and from smart parts tracking to collaboration across the extended supply network, aerospace and defense companies are proving the value of digital technologies far beyond its traditional use mainly in aerospace engineering.

Nine out of 10 aerospace and defense executives say data is becoming the basis for entire business models and are exposed to more risks than they are equipped to handle as a digital business, Accenture’s research finds. Over the past two years, industry executives have also seen twice as many privacy or security breaches than they have previously.

At this year’s airshow, there will be more news about data security than at any previous Farnborough International Airshow.

Accenture Digital and Technology Showcase at Farnborough International Airshow 2016

Once again this year, Accenture will be showcasing a set of cutting-edge technologies bringing together the industry insights, functional expertise, and customizable solutions and capabilities to deliver the change and value our aerospace and defense clients need in today’s highly disruptive environment.

Our Digital and Technology Showcase, available by appointment on Tuesday July 12 and Wednesday July 13 (9:00 – 18:00) in the Accenture VIP Chalet located in the Flightline Corporate Hospitality adjacent to the main runway, will be featuring demonstrations including wearable technology, biometrics and facial recognition as well as connected devices and real-time location and tracking solutions.

John Schmidt is global managing director for Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense industry.

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