i In the Sky: Mobile Technology at 30,000 feet

United Airlines will roll-out 23,000 iPhone 6 Plus handsets to their flight crews that will be used in the cabin for purchases from passengers, as well as internal communications like email and the use of official documents like the pre-flight safety briefing.

United also states that in-cabin issues, such as discrepancies that the cabin crew happens to come across that might need repairs, can be documented into a tool that presents real-time status of the cabin environment.

This isn’t United’s first rodeo when it comes to mobile device integration into operations. 3 years ago, United investigated a digital flight-bag solution that allowed the removal of some paper based solutions for pilots in the cockpit.

While commercial airlines are an emerging market for mobile, they aren’t the only folks in the sky who are utilizing tech for tree-based solutions.

The USAF Air Mobility Command EFBT (Electronic Flight Bag Team) was awarded the Air Force Chief-Of-Staff award (CSAF) in 2012. The award was based on a solution that was:

“…against the grain of a Microsoft culture and outdated security policies…”

The 21-man team out of Scott AFB sought to complete the objective to develop a single automated platform that could replace paper based flight references used by 16,000 air crew personnel. The EFBT delivered the iPad, as the AMC solution for an Electronic Flight-bag that would span 100 units over 5 commands, in June of 2012.

Examples like these are becoming more and more common. The integration of mobile technology into the most restrictive of environments. I’ll go so far as to say, if you aren’t at least considering mobile solutions for your next tech insertion, refresh or tech replacement project…perhaps you should seek another perspective.

Mobile-First or Mobile-Next. That’s where we are headed.

BONUS: If you are interested in demonstrating just how powerful the relationship between your iPhone or iPad has with things that fly, try this:

Open Siri and ask:

which aircraft are flying overhead?

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