Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
April, 23rd 2013

Timothy J. Wholey, Global Leader, Aerospace & Defense Industry, IBM Global Business Services

Timothy J. Wholey, Global Leader, Aerospace & Defense Industry, IBM Global Business Services

By Timothy J. Wholey

We live in a world that’s exploding with data. From smartphones and social networks, to airplane instrumentation and atmospheric readings, we capture more data, more quickly than ever before. It’s estimated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated on the planet every day.

This incredible amount of data creates challenges and opportunities for organizations, particularly in the aviation industry, because of the volume and variety of data it generates. Air traffic demand is expected to triple over the next 20 years, with passenger aircraft and fleets doubling during that time.

(First in a series in support of Big Data Week)

Companies must accelerate their transformation to become more competitive, create distinctive new services and have a flexible infrastructure that can accommodate growth.

Airbus A380

Airbus A380

 Data and analytics are being used to rethink how aircraft is built from the electronics systems, instrumentation and its physical structure; how to more efficiently manage aircraft operations and more. Advanced analytics can help airlines increase sales and customer loyalty, even improve fuel management and efficiency.

Today’s aircraft are increasingly instrumented and intelligent machines, filled with networks of sensors, monitors and actuators that create, store and communicate data. An airplane can generate up to a half terabyte of data on a single flight. That data can be used to enhance services up and down the value chain – mining insights, expediting decision making, or providing feedback for new product and service design.

An example of this is seen in IBM’s work with Airbus, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of passenger airliners. The company has been tasked to help Airbus strategically transform its current fleet service offerings and develop new ones that will help airline customers take advantage of Big Data to increase operational efficiencies, manage fleets more effectively and improve customer service.

For aircraft operators and airlines, harnessing the data that a commercial aircraft generates and then analyzing and evaluating data patterns can result in things like improved aircraft operations, on-time performance, cost efficiencies and ultimately a better customer experience for those traveling.

In an environment where maintaining operational efficiencies are the table stakes, Big Data can provide an advantage. Aviation and aerospace organizations that challenge themselves to consistently drive insight will be able to use it to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace and even create new business opportunities and revenue streams.

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