Show, Don’t Tell: Customer Experience Center Immerses Defense Decision Makers in Innovation

Customer Experience Center

Many decision makers across the defense community have found themselves in Huntsville, Alabama, at one point or another. Whether they were stationed at Redstone Arsenal, attending an important tradeshow, or working for any of the major defense contractors operating there, Huntsville serves as a hub of sorts for the defense community, particularly the U.S. Army. For this reason, Collins Aerospace saw an enormous opportunity to engage with their defense customers right on their home turf and stood up the Collins Aerospace Customer Experience Center.

“The individuals influencing modernization efforts like future vertical lift, flight testing, aircraft design, and space and missile defense are all local to us,” stated Ryan Scoble, Marketing Manager for MA&H at Collins Aerospace, in a recent interview. “We knew we needed to bring our solutions directly to those influencers in a way that truly showcased everything we have to offer across Collins Aerospace.”

Officially opening its doors in October 2021, the Collins Aerospace Customer Experience Center is the result of a $4.5 million dollar redesign of the company’s facility in Huntsville. According to Scoble, the space will offer customers access to a comprehensive mock aircraft setting including a realistic cockpit where interested parties can see the technology in action in a more realistic setting.

“With this setup, customers will be able to see exactly how an aircraft system feels within an airframe, eventually including the actual digital backbone that would be at their disposal in the aircraft as we tailor it to their needs,” Scoble explained. “This option presents a more accurate comparison of how these technologies will operate in an aircraft environment, not just sitting on a tradeshow floor or on a shelf.”

The center will also boast highly customizable offerings that make for a more personalized experience for every visitor. An example of the technology includes an interactive table and video wall, allowing for all the necessary information and media to be readily available and tailored for every meeting, including giving customers the ability to tour Collins’ offerings and interact with 3D platforms and product media.

Scoble outlined four key goals of the Collins Aerospace Customer Experience Center:

  • Create a modern, engaging environment that showcases the leading technologies that Collins has to offer the defense world.
  • Directly engage with Army Aviation and other defense leadership on a recurring basis in a way that’s mindful of their time and resources. “We can take just an hour or two of a leader’s day and show them everything they need to see, instead of arranging for a special visit to another facility or waiting for a tradeshow.”
  • Collaborate with industry partners and champion the value of a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA). “MOSA is the future of defense and we can show partners first-hand exactly how easy and powerful it is to plug into one of our open platforms.”
  • Provide a setting to demonstrate all emerging capabilities on the defense stage. “This dynamic allows us to capture invaluable feedback directly from the customer and ensure we as industry are bringing the technologies that truly meet their needs and expectations. We’re able to do this in a more flexible setting where we are not competing with packed schedules during an external event.”

Scoble expanded on the more high-level importance behind the Collins Aerospace Customer Experience Center, noting that this approach allows for more transparency and informed decision making among defense leaders. “A facility like this one allows us to show, not just tell,” said Scoble. “Seeing our technology in action allows customers to really understand how it will fit into their strategy and allows us to ensure we are hitting the mark in terms of delivering what they need.”