New Apple Watch App Gives Airborne Cabin Control

November 25, 2015

Your Apple Watch isn't just for humdrum ground-based tasks like checking email, tracking your heart rate and taking phone calls anymore. Honeywell is in the final stages of developing a new app for the smartwatch to help business jet passengers and crew to manage cabin controls in aircraft equipped with Ovation® Select.

Ovation Select is Honeywell's all-digital, high-definition, state-of-the-art cabin management system that provides business jet passengers with in-flight entertainment, business productivity and connectivity.

When paired with an iPhone, the wearable device unveiled by Apple earlier this year is now able to do everything from notifying the flight attendant that you need more coffee to controlling cabin lighting, video displays, cabin temperature, flight map information and electronic shades.

The new app is similar to the Ovation Select apps already available for Android and iOS devices but with several additional features.

"For example, a flight attendant can trigger the fasten seat belt annunciation for display on  passengers’ Apple watches," said Bill Rowell, Senior Manager, Cabin Systems and Data Link Technical Sales. "Or passengers and cabin crew could text each other when it's inconvenient to leave their seats or just don't have their iPhone handy."

According to Rowell, the Apple Watch app offers two "personas" — one customized for passengers and one for the flight attendant.

To operate the app, the Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone via Bluetooth while the smartphone itself is connected to the aircraft's Ovation Select Wi-Fi backbone.

The app is expected to be available in the iTunes store in December. While the app itself is free, Honeywell will charge an activation fee to develop the customized skins for each aircraft configuration.

"We'll continue to add features to the Apple Watch app, as well as develop apps for other wearables as they come to market," Rowell said.