Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ePT (ePT - Electronic Procedure Trainer for aviation pilots and cabin crew)
Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2017-09-30
1. To assess the needs and requirements for the initial customer segments
During the past 5 months we have engaged with several aviation experts, executives and training experts as well as safety managers to establish the foundation for scaling the business potential and market size. During this work we have learned that the aviation industry is truly global (except for very local regions such as parts of former Soviet Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and few countries in Latin America and in Africa). The same aircraft is flown using a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which are typically adopted to the local culture and tradition of the air operator. It therefore makes no sense to limit our market potential only to Medium size operators within EU - we should aim for the global market but in a structured roadmap and timeline. EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Asia, including China) and North America are the regions with most flights, highest competition and best IT infrastructure, which is why we will target these areas first. Secondly South America and Russia, and lastly Africa will be the target markets.
We have initially focused on two aircraft types, the two most common civilian transport aircraft, Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, both sold in more than 6000 units each. Phase 1 have clearly indicated that many other aircraft types should be offered. However, the huge number of aircraft types and models turn critical to have specific and tailored trainings to each aircraft type. At this point we realized that to offer ePT apps to all the aircrafts operating in aviation industry, with procedures customized to each operator would be a huge time-consuming job and we would not be capable to penetrate in the market as fast as we would like. Besides that, during Phase 1 interviews, where the focus was to demonstrate our ePT for pilots and cabin crew as our end-product, we received additional feedback from different air operators indicating the need of an editor platform to be used by their internal training managers with the goal to facilitate adaptation of training methodologies. Taking advantage of self-editing, the companies would create their own contents on their own pace and responsibility.
However, based on all the feedback collected in Phase 1, an editor needs to be complemented with key features required by end-users in order to be an attractive product and fulfil all the needs of training providers.
2. To establish plans for the optimization of our solutions and expansion of our services/added-value features offer
During the feasibility study, the follow features were identified as critical to the aviation operators:
Tracking and testing through third parties Learning Management System (LMS) – integration in LMS already implemented in operators systems.
Offline capability for use ePT in true anywhere and anytime.
Possibility to customize the training software with operator’s internal materials/procedures
3. To establish a scalable approach for tailoring ePT variants for airline company’s specific training processes
We have also learned that ePT must reflect company specific SOPs, that means 100% loyal to the internal procedures adopted by each airline. This requires that ePT has to be tailored to each airline company. In order to obtain a scalable product, we intend to further develop the Virtual360Editor (V360E) (a basic versions was created during Phase 1 activities) - a platform for operators to be able to create and insert their own content, which will allow them to perform and update their ePT in-house. We expect that some airlines are willing to pay us to create and even maintain the ePT, but others want to create the ePT by their own. In this way, for a complete scalable approach we intend to offer an approach based on Software as a Service (SaaS) product with client support etc. Finally, an easy to use user-manual will be provided. The initial feedback we have received during the feasibility study shows that this approach will be successful and will work well for the clients. In addition we will improve the V360E (Phase 2) to be an user-friendly interface. Our current experience showed that the admins we already have trained all indicated that they felt comfortable using the current version of the V360E and that it was easy to use.
4. To define strategies and tools for effectively communicating our value proposition to relevant stakeholders
Software as a Service (SaaS) is currently driven by a strong online presence, high profile on social media platforms, spreading word and it is accompanied by a very transparent pricing structure. Upon exhibitions of the ePT to end users, we observed the positive effects of users acting as references and performing endorsements on the value proposition of the ePT. The particular case of the target groups with a young and very active social platform audience (e.g. flight schools) will create positive user stories and then communicate the benefits and advantages to other potential end-users. This means that dissemination and communication activities directly targeting the pilots and cabin crew members are critical to AeL strategy for market penetration. We are planning to show our current version of the V360E highlighting its capacity to generate tailored ePTs for all phases of the training provided by flight schools and also show them our current generic versions of the ePT for B737 and A320.
For the B2B channel we will engage with airlines during tradeshows and conventions in the relevant regions (specifically WATS, APATS and EATS hosted by Halldale group). Also in the B2B segment we will use references from other operators to facilitate sales.
5. To establish agreements with reference end-users for the pilot demonstration projects of Phase 2
Three top level airlines, one flight school and training providers have been committed to be enroled in the demonstration activities planned for Phase 2 of this project.
6. To elaborate a detailed business plan for commercialization of the ePT technology/products.
We have during Phase 1 held several meetings/workshops with Væksthuset (a public institution established in Copenhagen to support SMEs) to obtain advices regarding the value proposition of our product and additionally we have been enrolled into a business coaching program with the specific focus on business planning. The product (V360E) will be offered as an optimization tool, allowing operators to provide their trainees more appealing training tools in a cost-effective way and also a more flexible solution (people can train at home, not needing to travel to formal training). Furthermore we will put emphasis on the fact that generation Y and Z (those born from 1977 and onwards) will demand tablet or smartphone training tools to be motivated, some might even think that using a book is old fashioned and will be prone to change company or career if training is book driven, not technology centred, the aviation industry is already experiencing challenges to attract the young generation to become pilots and cabin crew.
With increasing pressure for higher resource efficiency, institutions are being forced to look into proven solutions that improve the current training strategies with low cost per trainee. As the market confidence and AeL recognition increases we expect to expand globally. The most important benefits of our technology rely on improvements of trainee’s performance by reducing the failures in skill tests as well as reduction of sessions in expensive simulators. Our goal in the project (Phase 1 and 2) is to overcome prominent barriers that may hinder the successful market uptake of the technology. Furthermore, we aim to mature the technology and clearly demonstrate its benefits and functionality to the end-users. This will be achieved through trial demonstrations, which are critical for a wide market penetration. During Phase 1 we already received positive feedback and formal engagement from major stakeholders: three airline companies and one flight school. During the Phase 1 we have assessed in close collaboration with several stakeholders that our technology is feasible and there is a huge interest in having our product ready for commercialization.