Aircraft IT MRO – February / March 2015

Aircraft IT MRO – February / March 2015 Cover


Name Author
Wearable M&E Devices – The new era of hands free computing Suresh Subramanian, Principal Consultant-Aviation, Ramco View article
Column: How I See IT – 2015: The year we (finally) go mobile Paul Saunders, Solution Manager, Flatirons Solutions View article
Ask an Expert Michael Wm. Denis, President, Aviation Wikinomics, Inc. View article
Flexible MRO IT Systems for CAMO Mark Rogers, Commercial Manager, McLarens Aviation View article
Case Study: American Airlines: Mobility for Mechanics Blair Gregg, Managing Director of Technical Strategy For Maintenance & Engineering, American Airlines View article
TAP M&E RFID Case Study: Achieving visibility and traceability Fernando F. Matos, Head of Information Technologies, and Carlos Quinta, Head of RFID Competence Center, MEGASIS TAP IT View article
The top five key Civil Aviation MRO trends to watch out for in 2015 Espen Olsen, European Director for Aerospace & Defence, IFS View article

Column: How I See IT – 2015: The year we (finally) go mobile

Author: Paul Saunders, Solution Manager, Flatirons Solutions


Column: How I See IT

2015: The year we (finally) go mobile

Is 2015 going to be the year when mobile IT finally becomes ubiquitous for airlines and MROs? To be fair, many of our colleagues have been mobile for a number of years already; but I mean mobile, in the post-PC, iPad era sense of the word.

It seems a long time that I’ve been working with mechanics and engineers who had access to information systems at the aircraft from within the hangar or on the line. I remember installing wireless networks in an engine workshop as far back as 2001, which allowed mechanics to roam around the work environment following their engine as it moved from tear-down to build and on to test without having to log off from one computer to another… but this use case wouldn’t really be classified as a mobility project in the way that we understand it today. The hardware, software and utilities that accompanied Windows XP back in the day bear little resemblance to a mobility project that we would recognize today.
I’ve often spoken about the advent of the iPad as being the catalyst for the revolution of mobile enterprise. The availability of wireless networks, the quality of business software in terms of user experience, the choice and performance of hardware are all largely thanks to the rise of consumer mobility and the elevated expectations of users. The days of connecting to the same old business software via some clunky Citrix client on out-dated hardware is at an end. Now software vendors have woken up to the fact that mobility is not a passing fad, and they understand that they need to support mobile use cases as a cost of doing business.
Interestingly, I have noticed that although very early adopters wisely chose limited use cases, such as ordering parts or reading a manual, as their starting point for mobility, the next wave of adoption is being driven by more fundamental and sweeping business goals that are being implemented on an almost enterprise-wide level. The desire to go totally paperless, or to embrace the internet of things, are seeing a leap in user adoption from projects with a few hundred users, as per some of the pioneers of mobile technology, to several thousand users at a time with several tier one airlines having projects in the pipeline.
There is also still a real mix of technologies and approaches being adopted. Some people have predicted that the iPad has had its day, with many next-generation implementations favouring the latest batch of Windows tablets. Windows has indeed enjoyed resurgence in the Flight Ops world, with some early adopters of the iPad even contemplating switching back to Windows devices. But I have seen evidence of an Apple renaissance in aerospace being driven by engineering implementations. There is a mixture of commercial off-the-shelf solutions and home spun applications to tackle the various use cases that MRO and engineering users are posing for us technologists with no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to development approach. HTML and native apps are being blended in a mobile ecosystem where the user doesn’t care how it works… they only care that it just works.
I think 2015 is going to be an exciting year for aerospace MRO IT. I think it’s going to be the year when we stop worrying about whether mobility is a good idea or not. It’s going to be the year when we just crack on and get mobility working. Or at least, that’s how I see it.

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