Big Data, Internet of Things and Airlines

New airplanes like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 350 XWB are incredibly connected and generate terabytes of data per flight.

Virgin Atlantic is preparing for a significant increase in data as it embraces the internet of things, with a new fleet of highly connected planes each expected to create over half a terabyte of data per flight. (Source)

Here are some interesting use cases and information about the internet of things as it related to Airlines and how it will drive the need to explore data storage beyond data centers. Airlines are now actively moving data generated by the internet of things to the cloud.

Air France, KLM and partners have worked for the past year on developing an innovative electronic bag tag and baggage tracker.
It enables customers to label their luggage at home, drop bags at the fast bag drop and trace their luggage worldwide.
The companies are aiming to go live with the first customer groups at the end of 2014.
British Airways has unveiled an assortment of "interactive" digital billboards that change when planes fly overhead. A child on the billboard stands up and points at aircrafts as they pass, while the screen displays information about the aircraft, like what kind of plane it is and where it's coming from.
A GEnx engine contains 26 sensors measuring 300 parameters at a rate of 16 samples of data per second. The engine management unit stores over 150 million pieces of data during a long-distance flight, measuring flight performance, engine health and engine efficiency. Data can be transmitted to the cockpit and to operations centres on the ground, and is analysed and processed so as to monitor, predict and improve the performance and health of the engine.
This revolutionary device monitors your happiness then changes colour to reflect your mood. British Airways tested the "Happiness Blanket" on a real flight between London and New York.


Approximately 10% of all airline related delays are caused by maintenance problems. Predictive maintenance provides the capability to pinpoint problem areas and recognize impending equipment failures on airplanes. Maintenance delays represents millions of dollars per day for airlines.

The ThyssenKrupp elevators Internet of Things story has a lot of applicability to airlines around predictive maintenance and the ability to preempt issues with equipment and minimize costs associated with cancellations and delays (and most importantly, a huge safety issue)




Comments (3)

  1. Karl Schulmeisters says:

    This isn't IoT.. this is mostly SCADA.  And SCADA doesn't need Big Data (Machine Analytics) because the data is well formed, schema compliant and susceptible to traditional process analytics

    >>Approximately 10% of all airline related delays are caused by maintenance problems. Predictive maintenance provides the capability to pinpoint problem areas and recognize impending equipment failures on airplanes.<<

    This demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of how airlines are maintained and the amount of logging and monitoring data that comes along with this.  Many "maintenance problems" are actually a way for an airline to not fly a leg that is not sufficiently full for profitability.   Basically they log it as a "maintenance"  delay or cancellation,  since there is almost always SOMETHING that can get fixed.    

    So if Airlines used the much much LAXER tracking of ThyssenKrupp – they would be in trouble with the FAA

  2. S h i S h says:

    thanks for taking the time to provide feedback Karl. Yeah I do realize there are always practical challenges and non-technology related issues that make tech solutions difficult or impossible to implement. At the same time I do see Alaska Airlines and GE (with efforts like the Kaggle challenge others, looking for additional factors/data sources & using machine learning to make more accurate predictions around maintenance and delays.  

  3. S h i S h says:

    Also from :

    “The internet of things, in a broad sense, is where we are starting to see everything from planes to cargo devices getting connected,” Bulman said. "The latest planes we are getting, the Boeing 787s, are incredibly connected. Literally every piece of that plane has an internet connection, from the engines, to the flaps, to the landing gear.

    He continued: "If there is a problem with one of the engines we will know before it lands to make sure that we have the parts there. It is getting to the point where each different part of the plane is telling us what it is doing as the flight is going on.”

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