Big Fast Data in Aviation

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It is a well-known fact that big data is a big part of the aviation industry. Each flight generates terabytes of data that requires real-time analysis to optimize flight operations, maintain safety and meet all compliance requirements. The ability to process terabytes of data in real-time, aka ‘big fast data’ is a huge competitive advantage for an airline as it leads to better service with lower operational costs. It also reduces the spend on storage hardware as not all data is important and by filtering it in real-time, only the relevant data can be stored. This view is further strengthened by the following aviation use cases:

1. Predictive Maintenance – Most airlines have different parts of an airplane scheduled for maintenance at different intervals of time. This model has been in use for a long time but is highly risky as a piece of equipment could malfunction at any time. Now airlines are deploying several sensors on their airplanes to proactively determine if the equipment is working as desired or not. This approach is only effective if the data from the sensors can be processed in real-time to enable immediate reaction to a potential issue resulting in lowered risk and reduced downtime.

2. Compliance and Safety – With the recent incidents in the aviation industry, there is additional pressure to maintain compliance and safety. This can be done in real-time by setting up all the compliance rules & safety criteria and validating them against a streaming data set comprised of data from flight sensors, flight management system, vertical navigation system, etc. The system is built to trigger alerts, in real-time, if there is a potential compliance breach or a safety concern.

 3. Real-time Insights – Greater visibility to all factors that might influence a flight, internally and externally, benefits both – the pilots and the ground control team. These insights can help update flight plans, conserve fuel, provide early notification of upcoming turbulence to passengers, etc., in real-time, by correlating data from different sources like airplane engines, weather conditions, air traffic control and flight management systems. Dynamic pricing of the highly volatile and limited airline inventory is another benefit of real-time insights that can be setup to run-based on demand, holidays, time of day, number of available flights, etc.

Software AG’s Big Fast Data platforms; Apama (complex event processing engine), BigMemory (in-memory data management), and Universal Messaging (high-speed, low-latency bus) are perfect fits to enable these use cases for the aviation industry. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.


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