With such rapid adoption of new connectivity and automation technologies, the aviation industry is quickly becoming full of untapped potential, especially when it comes to the mountains of data resulting from those technologies. But how can the aviation industry adapt to this new landscape and fully harness the power of its evolution?

In a conversation between Kelly Ortberg, CEO of Collins Aerospace, and Joe Anselmo, Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Week Network, during the recent Aviation Summit, Ortberg discussed important factors shaping the industry’s future like new talent attraction and retention and more interwoven approaches to the aviation ecosystem.

Exciting the Future Workforce

When asked about tackling the talent shortage in the aviation industry, Ortberg stated, “In the end, automation and AI will help us along the way…” He continued to note the challenges that come with attracting a new workforce and how to effectively go about replacing the large portion of the current workforce preparing to retire.

He went on to explain the importance of showcasing the many benefits of joining the STEM workforce and instilling that interest in children today, especially young women. “There’s no question that if we can get to those young kids, particularly young ladies, at nine years old or even younger and get them to understand that STEM jobs are fun, and they can do them, then we find that a high number of them are getting into the STEM fields,” said Ortberg. “We just have to keep doing that, whether it’s [Team America] Rocketry Challenge, whether it’s First Robotics, whether it’s Girls Who Code. All those things are meaningful things and I think we’re making a difference.”

Reframing Connectivity as an Ecosystem

Anselmo also spoke with Ortberg about predictions for the future of aviation and any impeding “revolutionary” updates to watch for. Ortberg echoed what other speakers at the event noted, saying that regulatory reform, not technology, will set the pace for the industry’s future.

“The connected ecosystem is really important, both for the legacy and this new emerging market. How to connect, have security, move information on and off the platform. That’s an area where we’re investing heavily in,” he explained.

He also added that revolutionary change is accelerating, but there is still a long road ahead before reaching the full potential of available technology. “This connected space is an example, and we have to think of it as more of a connected aerospace ecosystem as opposed to a connected airplane. We’re just at the very beginning of that…We’re producing a tremendous amount of data that we’re really not utilizing in a way that delivers value to the end customers…I think there’s a lot more that we can do.”

Moving Forward

By applying a forward-thinking, holistic view of the future of the aviation industry, especially with regard to the future workforce and how we optimize technology application, there is much growth to be seen in the space. We look forward to hearing from more experts like Ortberg about that progress.

Chelsea Barone

About Chelsea Barone

Chelsea is an editor for Connected Aviation Today, managing the day-to-day editorial activities. Chelsea writes for other federal government and technology industry publications. Her background lies in B2B and enterprise technology, specifically cloud computing, SaaS, travel IT, and mobile devices.