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Full connectivity on planes will bring various challenges

19/02/2016 by Stuart Mennell


There will come a time in the not-too-distant future where most, or all, aircraft will have "full connectivity" to the outside world via personal devices, say industry experts. While it goes without saying this will ultimately be a good thing, it will bring with it a fair amount of challenges too, reports the BBC.

One of the more obvious challenges that more sophisticated connectivity will bring is the risk of a data breach, says the BBC's business reporter in Singapore, Leisha Chi.

Reporting from Singapore Airshow, Chi spoke to Brian Davis, Honeywell's Asia vice president of air transport and regional aerospace, who says that it won't be long before passengers will be able to stay connected to their Whatsapp group chats, send emails and even watch live television events.

He said having the ability to stream video on planes will bring a "completely different parameter of customer experience that's never been touched before", but warns that huge amounts of data produced by each flight will need to be encrypted and protected.

Currently, a plane produces about 20 terabytes of data each hour, according to Software giant SAP, who works with nine of out ten airlines in the Asia Pacific.

Derek Maggs, South East Asia industries and value leader, told Chi that as things stand, most airlines are not using the data effectively, choosing not to use it to present algorithms for predictive maintenance or improving flight performance or fuel consumption.

Chi also sought answers on whether a plane can be remotely hacked and taken over, in the wake of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, with some conspiracy theorists suggesting as much.

However, the general consensus was that there is no risk of planes being hacked today. David Bruner, vice president of the global communication services at Panasonic Avionics, added that the industry has been working on a 'super firewall' for several years to stop this from ever happening.


Singapore Airshow, Aviation, Travel & Logistics, Telecoms & Internet

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