I said for quite a while that Aerospace would be one the last companies to embrace the use of cloud computing due to the security requirements. The benefits, particularly for a company of our size and geographic diversity, have been clear for years–easier business continuity, faster rollout of upgrades, and better computing surge capability at lower cost. What surprised me was how quickly vendors embraced cloud for government usage (which met the bulk of our security requirements), and then allowed a Federally Funded Research and Development Center to be allowed into that space. As a result, we have made significant steps into cloud solutions, both in Software as a Service and for cloud computing (to handle significant surge computer simulations and analyses). As for our industry partners, they have a more difficult time utilizing cloud services because of the security demands (and they cannot typically use government clouds). If they are big enough, they can create their own internal systems efficiently, but smaller companies still struggle.
There are opportunities there, primarily in manufacturing and monitoring of parts. Space systems have traditionally had heavy emphasis on detailed simulations anyway, since you cannot easily replicate all the conditions in a lab, and utilizing a “digital twin” can make it easier to collect and maintain information on a part’s configuration and condition. However, security will continue to hamper adoption. The key aspect of IoT is open communication of a “thing” regardless of where it is, and this demands certain communications, which are not always appropriate in a secure environment. Further, even if security could allow the right communications, many of the parts can be very sensitive to electro-magnetic interference and will not function properly in the presence of other signals. At our corporation, we are limited on where we can put WiFi due to a) proximity to secure areas and b) proximity to sensitive antennas or other equipment. Those are real limitations to implementation of IoT.