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Digital transformation and aviation (according to EBACE)

Thursday June 6th 2019

Director Bruce McGregor attended the annual EBACE aviation conference which was held in Geneva between 21 – 23 May 2019.

Following the conference, Bruce shares his thoughts about EBACE and the future of the aviation sector.

EBACE 2019 in full swing

How was EBACE?

I have been attending EBACE for a number of years now. Yet again, I was impressed by the quality of the attendees at the conference which spanned a good breadth of the aviation sector. The event organisers had ensured that the conference and the industry talks which took place had been tailored to suit the aviation world of 2019 and beyond.

How is the aviation sector embracing digital technologies?

From my conversations at EBACE, it is clear to see that the world of aviation is on the road of transitioning and becoming more digital. An example of this is the role of digital transformation and developing fully integrated online services was a key point of interest and focus.

Another area where there was also interesting discussion, with the people I spoke too, was around digital validation (including digital signing) of important documents (e.g. certificates) as a requirement, particularly, where such documents already formed key steps in current business workflows. The fact that digital certification and validation process are already available and technical challenges are already well understood and dealt with, as per our digital certification service for registries, for example, is all good news for the parts of the aviation industry that require this kind of digital transformation service.

Was the importance of document validation explored at all?

Yes, this point was discussed with most of the people I met at EBACE. The digital validation of documents, people and entities presents a material opportunity for aviation businesses as part of any digital transformation programme they have in place and will save them time and money and increase efficiencies, while also improving their overall service offering to their customers. The ability to guarantee a document and importantly the person or entities identification, using a fully trusted and validatable digital certification/signature process is rapidly becoming the norm rather than a future nice to have.

The role of blockchain within aviation is a hot topic, was this discussed at EBACE?

Yes, this formed one of the breakout sessions at the ‘innovation zone’ at EBACE. Blockchain within aviation (and this applies to many industries) is a new technology and is still unknown with limited case examples available but as in many industries there is considerable hype around the view that ‘blockchain has the answer?’ However, one of the take-home messages, which I feel is really important to grasp, is that blockchain is a technology and not a ‘panacea’ to all problems.

Anyone or any business considering a ‘What should I use blockchain for?’ should step back and first ask the question ‘what is the business problem or need that I am trying to address?’ and ‘is this need fully understood and considered?’ Once the answers to these business requirement questions have been progressed then the next question should be ‘okay, what are the technologies available that best address this?’ Blockchain may, in some cases, be one of them but it’s as likely that there is tried and test technology already available and eminently suited as a solution to the problem at hand.    It may well have a place in some cases but cut the through the hype and ensure that it really is the right technology solution for the known problem or business objective.

To learn more about PDMS can help you and your aviation needs, please download our aviation brochure or reach out to Bruce McGregor