Three Considerations for Choosing an AID Solution

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The aircraft interface device (AID) is not a new concept, but the two-thirds of airlines that have yet to adopt the technology are starting to learn what others in the industry have already discovered: that a new generation of AID solutions integrated with edge computing capabilities are helping airline personnel make better, more data-driven decisions faster than an airplane can fly.

While many of today’s new aircraft are being delivered by the manufacturer with an AID solution already installed, there is a massive ecosystem of unconnected aircraft across the fleets of many airlines around the globe. With the potential to improve operational efficiency, enhance passenger experience, enable proactive maintenance, and increase sustainability, airlines are looking to connect these aircraft with AIDs.

But which AID solution should airlines choose? And what capabilities, characteristics, and functionality should airlines be looking for when evaluating AID solutions? Here are three considerations that I feel are important to keep in mind when choosing an AID.

1) A focus on cybersecurity

Any IT or cybersecurity professional can tell you that a system that becomes connected is almost immediately a target for malicious actors. For this reason, any AID solution an airline implements on their aircraft must be developed with a focus on cybersecurity.

AID solutions should be built to meet all current cybersecurity standards and with all current security best practices in mind. They should also be certified and accredited to demonstrate that they’re safe and trustworthy. But that’s still not enough.

Any AID solution should be subjected to rigorous penetration testing to ensure it is resistant to the ever-evolving and increasingly sophisticated threat landscape facing modern aviation . It should also be monitored in real-time to ensure that no unauthorized individuals are attempting to gain access to the aircraft.

2) Edge computing capability

This should come as no surprise to those who read my previous article on the evolution of AID solutions. While integrating any AID solution can help airlines by aggregating system data and making it accessible to stakeholders and decision-makers, an AID with edge computing capabilities can enable much more.

By aggregating and analyzing aircraft system data at the edge, the AID can quickly identify problems and alert those who need to know. Also, since the AID is parsing through mountains of data on the aircraft and only sending alerts, there’s no need to pay to transmit a large amount of data from the aircraft in the air to airline personnel on the ground.

Edge computing capabilities turbocharge the AID and turn it into an engine for making faster, more data-driven decisions. By identifying important information and alerting key personnel about anomalies or incidents, the AID prevents airline personnel from being overloaded with data. It also prevents important information from falling through the cracks.

3) More than one thing

Many modern AID solutions can do only one thing or connect only one thing. For example, they may aggregate aircraft system data and push it to only the flight crew’s EFB. Or they might only be able to record flight safety data and make it accessible to safety personnel.

In my previous two articles, I outlined numerous ways the AID can benefit airlines. I also identified many different organizations and stakeholders within an airline that could benefit from having access to aircraft system data. If an AID can only do one of these things, airlines effectively leave benefits and capabilities on the table.

They might be able to improve flight safety but not increase flight path efficiency – minimizing costs, cutting carbon emissions, and avoiding flight delays. They might be able to make aircraft system data available on the EFB but not enable preventative, proactive maintenance by pushing alerts and important system data to maintenance personnel on the ground.

Retrofitting an older aircraft with an AID solution takes time and costs money. If an aircraft is going to be taken out of service to have an AID installed, that AID should deliver a significant return on that investment. The best way to ensure that the AID pulls its weight is to purchase and install an AID that can perform many different functions across the entire aviation ecosystem.

To learn more about the benefits of a more connected aviation industry, click HERE to download a complimentary copy of the eBook, “The Connected Aviation Ecosystem.”

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