The aerospace and defence industry is grappling with disruptive forces – from market developments including aggressive production ramp-up rates and new model introductions to technology innovations to geopolitical upheaval.

In response, companies are reshaping their portfolios through consolidation and new revenue streams, particularly in the aftermarket and sustainment segments. They also are embracing digital business models to improve revenue generation, drive efficiency, and improve supply chain performance.

According to our research, 97% of aerospace and defence executives say they are willing to digitally reinvent their business and industry.

Taking all of this in context, here is what we see as the most significant technologies to watch.

Five technology trends

Trend 1: Citizen AI

As artificial intelligence grows in its capabilities – and its impact on people’s lives – businesses must move to “raise” their AIs to act as responsible, productive members of society.

Our research finds that 83% of aerospace and defence executives expect AI will work next to humans  as co-worker, collaborator and advisor in the next two years

Trend 2: Extended Reality

Virtual and augmented reality technologies are removing the distance to people, information and experiences, and are transforming the way that people live and work.

The majority (96%) of aerospace and defence executives told us they believe extended reality will help close the physical distance gap when engaging employees or customers.

Trend 3: Data Veracity

As organisations become increasingly data-driven across their operations, the importance of trusting the data that companies use is rising inexorably.

Eight in ten aerospace and defence firms say they are increasingly using data to drive critical and automated decision-making, at unprecedented scale.

Trend 4: Frictionless Business

Ecosystem partnerships are becoming more important across the aerospace and defence industry.

Our research finds that nine in ten aerospace and defence firms believe the volume of data exchanged with partners will increase over next two years

Trend 5: Internet of Thinking

Businesses are making big bets on intelligent environments via robotics, AI and immersive experiences. But to bring these intelligent environments to life, they must extend their infrastructures into the dynamic, real-world environments they want to reach.

In fact, 93 % of aerospace and defence executives believe that the next generation of intelligent solutions are moving into physical environments.

A new kind of living business

To create intelligent experiences and responsive innovation, companies need to become agile, shifting to a more fluid, nimble, and open relationship model that enables dynamism across their organisation, partners, and customers.

Ultimately, a company’s infrastructure will be primed to embrace new ideas and technologies and anticipate and respond to changing customer and market opportunities.

Pathways to a living business

To become living businesses, aerospace and defence companies should transform based on five key pathways:

1. Target core and disruptive growth initiatives

2. Design products and services as hyper-relevant platforms

3. Build, prototype, and scale new and innovative experiences

4. Scale by plugging into a broader set of ecosystem partners

5. Rewire the culture by infusing a mindset that keeps customers at the core.

Ultimately, the key is pushing past the comfort zone to develop a new stronghold.

The process of becoming a living business not only offers a way to retain or regain traction now, but also ensures readiness to capture future growth.