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Making Air Flight Safer Using Big Data

Posted by QuoteColo on November 14, 2013 - Updated on November 12, 2013

As I write this, I am 37,000 ft. above the Earth heading for New York City, bound from San Francisco. My point of departure is important to note because it was the sight of this years Cloud Computing Expo. The event, put on in Silicon Valley feature numerous great technical keynote sessions concerning the latest and greatest in Cloud tech.

However, none was more interesting than a keynote presented by an established voice over at GE Software. The keynote presentation centered on how GE is using Big Data touch points to make air travel safer. This is important for various reasons.

Touch Points

The most pressing aspect of the keynote came in the form of Big Data touch points. The basis of GE air travel touch points concerns using collected data before, during and after a flight to continually perfect engines. Before the advent of Big Data systems and analysis software, GE, for all intensive purposes, was only conducting three major touch points of data on airplane those engines. Those touch points happened during pre flight engine checks, checks performed during flight and a singular check conducted post flight. All told, before the advent of Big Data and Cloud based solutions, GE collected an astoundingly limited three points of data.

This should go without say, yet only three points of data collection on engines carrying millions of people across the skies on a yearly basis is foolhardy at best.

Big Data and Cloud Touch Points

This all changed with the onset of Big Data and Cloud solutions. By utilizing the best Big Data censors and software, GE now has the ability to collect hundreds if not thousands of data touch points before, during and after a flight. These Big Data touch points are then used to upgrade and perfect engines.

The importance of Big Data and air travel is two fold. The most important aspect of Big Data and air travel comes in the form of real world use. All too often companies and firms use Big Data to track the sales patters of consumers. Ex. A company analyses the yearlong coffee spending habits of a routine customer. Seeing that the customer in question only purchases a bagel with vegetable cream cheese when he/she also orders an extra bold roast black coffee, the company tweets at the company to come into the store to get a weeks worth of free bagels with the purchase of aforementioned coffee.

In this sense, Big Data has a use but it isn’t a true real world use. This is what makes Big Data in aviation so important. Unlike the ability to get a free bagel, Big Data and Cloud solutions within aviation are, in real time, making air travel safer. With Big Data, engines are becoming stronger, safer, more powerful and more able to function under real time weather conditions.

The second major impact of Big Data touch points and Cloud solutions on aviation is real time, in flight air control to plane communications. With more and more plans gaining Wi-Fi and connectivity, all of the data touch points collected during a flight have the ability to be accessed by flight specialists on the ground. Through instant analysis of collected data, air specialists on the ground gain the ability to help pilots course correct, fix and resolve issues before they arise and make more informed decisions concerning the in flight mechanical capabilities of their airplane.

The take away here is Big Data is making air travel safer in real time. It is yet another example of how the Cloud and Big Data are making real time large impacts on the performance and safety of millions of people.

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