Last month, we had the opportunity to speak with several different thought leaders in the aviation industry to discuss their 2018 reflections on the progress the industry has made. Many pointed to the growing prominence of big data and its notable role in shaping technology shifts in the aviation industry. So how will that play out in 2019?
As a follow up to our earlier article, we touched based again with Vivek Sheorey, Managing Director and CEO at Laminaar Aviation InfoTech Pte. Ltd, about his predictions for aviation in the New Year. Sheorey emphasized the importance of not only capturing the massive amounts of aviation data produced but making sense out of it to improve the industry as a whole. He points to initiatives like AIXM and SWIM as important jumping-off points for a modernized data management approach. Here’s what he had to say in his conversation with us:
Connected Aviation Today (CAT) Editors: What technologies and solutions do you believe will make a significant impact on the connected aviation ecosystem in 2019?
Vivek Sheorey: I think there are a handful of technologies that will notably impact the connected aviation ecosystem in 2019:
- The XML’ization of aviation data, namely the Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM) – This approach to data management will enable aviation data to flow more smoothly from one point to another. [According to TechTarget, “The XML (Extensible Markup Language) standard is a flexible way to create information formats and electronically share structured data via the public Internet, as well as via corporate networks.”]
- ICAO’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM) initiative – According to an ICAO’s manual for SWIM, the program “will complement human-to-human with machine-to-machine communication, and improve data distribution and accessibility in terms of quality of the data exchanged.”
- ACARS/ADS-B – These technologies will continue to ensure reliable connectivity and communication throughout the aviation ecosystem.
- Online Electronic Flight Bag/Electronic Flight Folder (EFB/EFF) in the cockpits, streamlining the paperwork process and ensuring that the flight crew has the most accurate and up-to-date knowledge about the flight.
CAT Editors: What challenges will the industry need to address in the coming year?
Sheorey: The industry needs to deal with unlearning and relearning how to tackle data management. Everyone in the aviation chain will have to undergo a massive transformation as the aircraft gets connected with “fatter” data pipes on the ground and in the air.
There will also be the transition from voice guidance and instructions to textual/graphical data, which may lead to a data overload in the cockpit. Air traffic controllers and pilots will have to adopt new training methods to account for that.
Additionally, IT systems on the ground will need to undergo a major transformation as big data pours into aviation ecosystem servers. New, innovative, and real-time decision support tools will be required to leverage and manage that data.
CAT Editors: Any advice for how industry can collaborate with operators and government to ensure that advances are made?
Sheorey: Industry players on all aviation forums (e.g. SWIM, AIXM, etc.) must have high involvement to bring about progress. Being the harbingers of change, industry must drive the initiatives, rather than follow and inform other parties in the aviation ecosystem about the right approaches.
CAT Editors: In our earlier piece, you mentioned that 2018 was the year of aviation embracing big data’s potential. What do you predict for 2019?
Sheorey: If 2018 was the year of aviation embracing big data, 2019 will the year of “data insights,” where technologies like predictive analytics, deep learning, and cognitive computing can play a more prominent role in decision making.