Internet of Things (loT) in Aviation
We are at the onset of a smart age where the internet has revolutionized our lives. With the flurry of smart devices, organizations are identifying opportunities to leverage their benefits, to drive massive gains in efficiency while delivering greater value to customers and staff through new business models.
Internet of Things (IoT) is a common buzzword the days, but what exactly does it mean? IoT refers to an ecosystem of connected physical objects, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. How many objects? The limit is our imagination, not the number of devices or objects.
It is mind-boggling to try to guess the number of devices that will be connected in the years to come. Tech researcher Gartner predicts that there will be 25 billion connected things in use by 2020 while internet specialist CISCO predicts the number to be around 50 billion. Whatever be the exact figure, it is large enough to give ample amount of information to data scientists and miners to use it to come up with business models that help serve customers better and add to the bottom line of organizations.
As for the airline sector, IoT offers multiple opportunities to improve operational efficiency, and provide augmented services to passengers. There is, in fact so much opportunity that the challenge is what to focus on. Airlines and airports have already started experimenting with IoT and the projects include improving passenger experience, baggage handling, tracking pets in transit, equipment monitoring, and generating fuel efficiencies.
Some of the airlines and airports that are reaping the benefits of IoT include Helsinki airport, London City Airport, Miami Airport, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa Airlines and Delta Airlines.
Every single component of every Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 is attached to a wireless aircraft network providing real time IoT data on everything from performance to required maintenance. These systems allow aircraft engineers to know when the aircraft’s engine performance deteriorated during mid-air and are ready to look into the issue as soon as the aircraft lands. This allows Virgin Atlantic to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach. While Lufthansa Airlines launched its RIMOWA Electronic tags for easy baggage tracking, Delta Airlines partnered with Bit Stew Systems to use IoT Analytics to reduce down times and lower fuel costs.
Airports are also using IoT for improving passengers’ experiences at the airports. One of the ways that IoT works is when a passenger arrives at the airport; the airport app notifies the passenger about which gate to use to optimally enter the terminal based on the security queues. The airport app analyzes the passenger’s historical shopping patterns and recommends the retails shops at the airport which best aligns with the passenger preferences. The app also finds out the passenger’s food likes and dislikes and suggests the most suitable food outlet. The app also displays the map of the airport to the passenger including available seating areas with power sockets and the directions to the seats.
SITA’s Airline IT Trends Survey 2016 indicated that 29% of airlines have commenced the major IoT programs up by 13% from 2015. A further 38% of airlines are planning research and pilot projects over the next three years.
Having said that, IoT cannot work in silos. IoT tend to generate and require huge amount of data from various sources and to provide accurate suggestions to the customers, complex predictive analytics is required. Therefore it is a combination of Big Data, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence that would be required to deliver effective value to the customer.
Blog by Paritosh Agarwal
Business Analyst at RTS