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The Internet of Things is set to be introduced in Airbus aircrafts rolling off the production belt in the forthcoming years. Admittedly, a move that is said to ‘improve your future flying experience’ does sound like a frightening notion. From being tracked by your mobile phones, to computers/laptops, to speakers to home automation devices such as Alexa and Google Home, the last place one would expect or want to be tracked is when you are 30,000 feet mid-air!
Dubbed as the “connected experience” cabin, your every movement onboard is set to be monitored. From what drinks or meals you order to what movies or shows you decide to watch, where you place your cabin bag to even how often you use the onboard lavatory!
Effectively a succession of sensors positioned in the gallery’s, the aisles, the seats and even the lavatory door hatch will all be synched to the Wi-Fi of the aircraft that will in turn send the data to lightweight LED screens at the back of the aircraft as well as to iPads being utilized by the cabin crew. "We connect all relevant things in the aircraft cabin in order to deliver a more personalized service to the passenger," says Ingo Wuggetzer, vice president of cabin marketing at Airbus. Wuggetzer further added, “These components are already flying on our so-called flight lab to really test it in flight conditions", working in tandem with other airlines to roll out their updated A321’s in 2021 and the larger A350 two years later, this supposed “flight lab” is a test cabin onboard an existing Airbus A350 aircraft.
Intending to make the Airbus a more connected experience and to give the cabin crew a more detailed measure of the cabin, such as when the bathroom soap is running low or which gallery cart contains specific meals or to detect which passengers seat is not in the upright position. More than anything these digitally aware domains are just another means for the airlines to garner more profits and to sort through a massive repository of data which airlines can analyse and hope to improve their never-ending quest for cost efficiencies.
While the surface of the matter may appear to be simplifying of the stewards workload, in actuality it’s another way for airlines to monitor what really happens inside a cabin.
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