The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding across industries as the prevalence of big data is allowing analysts to leverage information and improve just about every aspect of the way things work. Aviation is no exception. With so many variables involved in air travel, the IoT is paving the way for our understanding of optimization across the board.
Flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) programs are becoming more robust, relying heavily on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies to manage their broad scope. This has, in turn, led aviation insiders to adopt intelligent wireless access points (WAPs) and in-flight connectivity (IFC) in their jets. Together, this digitization of essential systems has opened the door for IoT in aviation.
3 examples of the BizAv IoT at work
Reliance on legacy systems and the capital-intensive nature of the industry as a whole have made IoT adoption slower in the BizAv field than in many others. However, many innovations are beginning to take hold. Here are just a few:
- Crew assistance — Fly-by-wire technologies have been in place since the 1970s and have dramatically improved flight safety and efficiency. However, pilot presence, which means making sure cockpit personnel have all the insights they need before, during, and after takeoff, is still invaluable.
- Big data maintenance — Another GE venture, Taleris™, is a company leveraging IoT technologies to vastly improve maintenance for jets of all types. One of a growing number of companies like it, Taleris utilizes a series of sensors and beacons throughout an aircraft’s many vital systems to collect and analyze data to minimize unscheduled maintenance and delays.
- Flight path optimization — Predetermined air corridors and flight paths offer certainty once a jet is in the air. But BizAv IoT tech is making it possible to safely adapt and adjust routes midflight. More than just air-to-ground communications, the IoT is enabling air-to-air data communication so pilots can anticipate and avoid intersection points, keeping jets safely in the air on the shortest possible trajectories to their locations.
And these are just the IoT innovations on the jets themselves! Smart airports and customer-facing technologies are moving the industry ever closer to interconnectivity where big data may someday optimize the entire private flying experience.
See a problem, solve a problem
As the industry broaches the cusp of BizAv IoT innovation, insiders may quickly realize the true power of big data insights. When they do, the floodgates could open for even broader adoption and innovation. Just as it’s doing for manufacturing, offices, and utilities, the IoT is bringing efficiency, accountability, and automation to aviation, improving existing fly-by-wire technologies and enabling insights throughout.