Virgin Atlantic has announced the company will be trialling Sony's new SmartEyeglass and wearables to help improve airline maintenance and engineering processes. Engineers at London Heathrow airport will make use of Sony hardware, including tablets, smartphones and the wearable tech over the course of eight weeks.
Utilizing said hardware will enable Virgin crew to remove paper altogether from some engineering processes and reduce journey time between an aircraft and technical control. The goal is to have engineers not only saving valuable time by remaining on the aircraft during turnarounds, but will also contribute to Virgin Atlantic's targets to reduce paper waste.
The SmartEyeglass units will be connected to an app running on a nearby smartphone that will allow engineers in the trial to submit a completed form requesting further technical assistance. Real-time video calls will be possible to ensure staff not on the ground are able to see issues from the engineer's point of view for rapid assistance. It's a neat idea.
Virgin Atlantic is launching an innovative trial with Sony Mobile Communications to test how new wearable technology can help improve the airline's maintenance and engineering processes.
Engineers working on Virgin Atlantic aircraft at the airport and in the hangar will be testing the use of Sony's SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1, tablet, mobile phone and SmartWatch 3 in an eight-week trial, starting next week. The trial will take place at London Heathrow and will test how the technology can be used for real time communication between the engineering team on the aircraft and in the engineering support areas.
Using Sony's SmartWear alongside a smart phone or tablet will remove paper from some engineering processes and reduce the journey times between an aircraft and technical control. This will enable the engineers and technicians to remain on the aircraft during turnarounds – helping to save valuable time, as well as make a significant contribution to Virgin Atlantic's targets to reduce paper waste.
Phil Maher, Director of Operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: "We're delighted to be partnering with Sony to trial wearable technology within our engineering team.
"We are proud of our recent innovation work to provide the best possible experience for our customer facing roles and we're pleased to now be exploring how new technology can contribute towards our essential operations procedures. It's a great way to empower our people by providing instant access to the information they need to be more effective in their roles."
During the trial, engineers will be able to receive notifications on their SmartWatch 3 devices about any changes to job allocations, or detail in the tasks. Managers will be able to get instant feedback that the engineer has read the notification and that the task is in hand.
Engineers will be able to use SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 to take pictures or video of the tasks they are working on. This will be linked to an app running on a smartphone which will allow the engineers to efficiently complete and submit a form requesting further technical assistance. SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 will also be used for real-time video streaming to allow office-based engineering staff to see a problem from the engineers' point of view in order to provide more rapid technical assistance.
Dennis van Schie, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications said: "We're excited about this partnership with Virgin Atlantic, and exploring how Sony's SmartWear can enhance daily tasks and operations. This innovative thinking in pushing the boundaries of how these products are used is a great example of what can be done with our SmartWear and we look forward to continuing to work with Virgin Atlantic on this trial and future initiatives."