Virgin Atlantic Engineers to Trial New SmartWear devices from Sony

By: Maxine Sheppard

March 2, 2015

Virgin Atlantic Sony SmartWear.jpg

We’re 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 our 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. The SmartWatch 3 is Sony’s latest generation “smartwatch” and features a unique in-built GPS sensor and on-board local memory, while SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 is a transparent binocular lens eyewear device that superimposes useful information on a natural eyeline. It uses augmented reality hologram optics within a monochrome display for efficient energy consumption and clear readability in a wide range of environments.

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 support areas.

Saving time and reducing waste

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 our targets to reduce paper waste.

Virgin Atlantic Sony SmartWear SmartWatch.jpgOur engineers are trialling cutting edge Sony technology to save time and reduce waste

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Sony to trial wearable technology within our engineering team,” said Phil Maher, our Director of Operations.

“We’re 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.”

Real time communication

During the trial, SmartWatch 3 devices will be used for engineers to receive notifications about any changes needed, and 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’re working on, and this will be linked to an app which will allow the engineers to request 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.

Virgin Atlantic Engineers wear Sony SmartWear.jpgSony SmartWear offers real time communication between our engineers and office-based staff

“We’re excited about the possibilities that this partnership with Virgin Atlantic brings to identify unique use cases for how Sony’s SmartWear can enhance daily tasks and operations,” said Dennis van Schie, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications.

“This innovative thinking in exploring 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.”

Interested in how we’re using new tech at Virgin Atlantic? Read more about our augmented reality game at London Gatwick or Apple’s iBeacon technology at London Heathrow.


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

Categories: Our Future