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I recently joined the airline industry at the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Users Forum & Expo in Denver where airlines, suppliers and regulators came together to discuss today’s digital-era trends.

Beyond in-flight entertainment and the passenger experience, it was clear that the industry is also focused on extending the benefits of today’s technology innovations into all areas of their operations—on the ground and in the cockpit. During the event’s discussions, three priorities proved top of mind as it looks to technology to give it a competitive edge.

The first is an emphasis on pilot empowerment and advancements in the electronic flight bag in the cockpit as a tool to achieve that. The second is that airlines are also looking for and need end-to-end integration—bringing together the EFB device, infrastructure, management and software as a complete offering.

And the third priority, as aircraft connectivity becomes more accessible, is real-time data. Aircraft operators are looking for more real-time data integration that can enable their pilots to make better decisions during the flight.

We see the combination of smarter devices and cloud technologies as very relevant in solving the business needs of the industry, and Microsoft is focused on helping support the aviation industry to address current challenges through technology solutions.

The ability of Microsoft technologies to seamlessly move from devices, to applications, servers and the cloud makes it an ideal platform for developing the kind of lightweight, rugged and powerful software and hardware solutions airlines need.

In the event’s supplier expo, we were very excited to see so many technology vendors showcasing their solutions on a tablet running Windows. We also demonstrated our newest Surface 3 tablet and its advancements were very well received, with some of my American counterparts even calling it “the belle of the ball.”

The reason for this is we were able to clearly show its capabilities as a connected EFB to more easily address the industry’s needs, including its ability to seamlessly integrate with other hardware and communication solutions, its connectivity via 3/4G (including assisted), and completion of the FAA and EASA certification process.

The transformative potential of today’s digital technologies is real, and we are excited by the incredible innovation happening in the airline industry. If you’d like to learn more about how these advancements are enabling the industry to transform air travel from the ground up, you can read my recent blog here. And we have a whitepaper that shares Microsoft’s vision for the electronic flight bag. Download here.

LinkedIn: Greg Jones
Twitter: @gjonesMSFT