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5 Emerging Technologies for Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

Digital transformation is always important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve with the latest technologies and trends. This is especially true in a technology-focused industry like aerospace and defense.  

Read on to learn more about what digital technology is currently emerging as essential in the industry and how businesses can go about effectively implementing it to give themselves a technological advantage. 

What Does Digital Transformation in Aerospace Mean? 

Digital transformation in aerospace and defense means implementing the latest technologies to enhance processes and overall operations. This comes in many forms like automating a time-consuming process, using AI to make informed decisions, utilizing cloud services to streamline data management, and more. 

Individually, these technologies are powerful tools that can reshape parts of a business, but together they have the power to improve operations organization-wide and give businesses a competitive advantage over those who decide to do nothing and stick with the status quo. 

Technologies Leading the Way for Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense Industry 

To digitally transform, optimize, and streamline processes, aerospace and defense businesses need to enlist the help of many unique technologies. Here are 5 key technologies being used today in aerospace and defense. 

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are being used within the aerospace and defense industry to gain insights into their operations that were inaccessible before.  

54% of executives say that AI implementation has increased productivity 

This is thanks to AI’s ability to sift through datasets that are too large and too complicated for humans to do in a reasonable amount of time. The sheer amount of data being collected by modern technology makes AI a necessity if businesses want to make use of it all to drive decision-making. 

2. Cloud Technology 

Cloud technology in aerospace and defense acts not only as a major innovation in the way businesses can collect, manage, and use their data, it’s also a gateway to other impactful technologies.  

The cloud makes it easier for businesses to access and implement new technology like AI, machine learning, analytics, and virtual reality (VR) that can streamline operations, save money, and improve collaboration organization-wide. The cloud is the catalyst that makes industry 4.0 possible, bringing connectivity, clarity, and data into more processes. 

67% of enterprise infrastructure is already residing on the cloud 

The cloud also makes businesses more flexible with easy scalability and saves money previously spent on physical infrastructure like on-site servers and storage and the dedicated teams needed to keep them up and running. Instead, businesses can rely on the security and management of trusted data storage facilities. 

Related: Data Center Tiers: What Are They and Why Do They Matter? 

3. Automation 

Automation can be used in a variety of processes in aerospace and defense including process automation on a factory floor, in a supply chain, during flight, in the backend, and other processes, including: 

  • Customer service  
  • Marketing 
  • Part manufacturing 
  • Supply management 
  • Industry 4.0 data collection and organization 

The possibilities for automation in aerospace seem nearly infinite as more manual, complicated processes are being given over to the robots who can do them more quickly, more efficiently, and with fewer errors. 

In coordination with other technology like AI, processes like preventative maintenance can be automated completely to handle part performance tracking, replacement part ordering, and maintenance scheduling. 

4. Industry 4.0 Connectivity 

With modern sensors and data technology, aerospace businesses have more insights into the workings of their factories than ever before. Industry 4.0 is all about connecting devices and equipment to collect data on performance to help businesses make data-driven decisions to optimize processes, monitor equipment, and make predictions based on data analysis. 

This predictive analytics is one of the largest benefits of having a more connected set of industrial technology is the ability to use data and AI for preventative maintenance. This means using trends to predict when parts are going to break down or reach a point where they require attention.  

With predictive maintenance, businesses can order parts and schedule repairs before the parts break down, reducing downtime 

5. Modern Cybersecurity  

With so much business done using the cloud and other digital means, having the ability to protect that technology has become an absolute necessity. 

Aerospace and defense companies have become big targets, especially when working with the government. 

Cybersecurity in aerospace and defense requires a layered approach to defend all corners of a business. Because modern hackers have so many attack vectors, businesses must be able to defend all fronts, including protecting data, people, machinery, and more. 

Additionally, if working with the Department of Defense, proper cybersecurity standards are required in order to achieve compliance with CMMC. 

Related: CMMC Requirements Overview (eBook) 

Key components of a strong aerospace and defense cybersecurity plan include: 

  • Network monitoring 
  • Next-gen antivirus software 
  • Endpoint protection 
  • Edge security 
  • Access management 
  • Backup and disaster recovery 
  • Secure data protection 

In Conclusion 

Keeping up with the latest innovations in technology can be a complicated, never-ending task for businesses looking to digitally transform in the aerospace and defense industry. But, when done effectively, making use of these technologies can provide a major competitive advantage that optimizes key processes, making operations more effective and more efficient. 

Learn more about how emerging technologies like big data, automation, and AI are impacting the aerospace and defense industries in our Resource Center.