Aerospace companies could unlock an estimated £18 billion in value over the next decade by harnessing digital technologies, according to new research from Accenture.

The study found that by investing in digital technologies, the aerospace industry could unlock value equivalent to 21% of its GVA. New revenue streams could grow the industry by 9%, generating £8 billion in new revenue over ten years. On top of this, the industry could reduce costs by more than £10 billion and pass on £3 billion cost savings direct to consumers.

Accenture’s analysis used the methodology developed in partnership with the World Economic Forum to understand the value of digital transformation, for both industry and society.

The research identified several ways in which digital technologies can transform the sector and boost productivity. For example, big data analytics can provide a better understanding of in-flight use and operation so processes can be calibrated, and autonomous robots and co-bots are expected to increase efficiency by eliminating defects in manufacturing. There are also direct benefits for consumers including reduced costs, improved experience, and increased customisation when it comes to in-flight entertainment, luggage and end-to-end travel arrangements. In addition, digital technology will significantly reduce carbon emissions during construction and aircraft use.

“Most aerospace companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential. This research quantifies the potential prize for industry, individuals and society if they get this right,” said Ben Salama, Managing Director at Accenture Digital. “The solution is what we call Industry X.0. It’s an action plan for embracing technological change and profiting from it. More than just transforming into digital businesses, aerospace companies must look at how they reinvent operating models, production and value chains.”

Industry X.0 is how Accenture defines the digital reinvention of industry, when businesses use advanced digital technologies to transform their core operations, their worker and customer experiences and ultimately their business models. New levels of efficiency are achieved in the core of R&D, engineering, production and manufacturing through integrated systems, processes, sensors and new intelligence. Worker and customer experiences are redesigned and personalised.

The level of demand for Industry X.0 is revealed in Accenture’s survey of 931 executives from 21 countries. Only 13 percent of respondents say their businesses are getting both greater efficiency and business growth as a result of their digital investments. 80 percent want new efficiencies, new growth and new experiences to be delivered all at the same time, and 64 percent agree that failure to leverage the components of digital value will cause them to struggle for survival in the future.