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Real-Time Data Exchange in the Skies!

In less than four years, there will be more than 41 billion devices connected by the Internet of Things! ‘IoT’ is new technology that has been called the driving force of the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’ IoT provides the platform for sharing of data connected via the Internet to billions of devices. 

The benefits of using IoT in commercial aviation are huge - in fact, more than a terabyte of data (1,000 gigabytes or 1 million megabytes) was gathered from one single flight of an Airbus aircraft.

The aviation industry is a highly complex organization with a significant number of sub-structures.  IoT is proving that the sharing of data and the streamlining of operations leads to cost efficiency, improved customer experience and increased revenue when there is connectivity among all of the components, including ticketing, maintenance, Air Traffic Control, airports, catering and more. 

Passengers on Delta Air Lines can track the location of their bags in real-time utilizing a Radio Frequency Identification luggage tag system.  Lufthansa offers its passengers the option to check-in their luggage from home using ‘Smart bag’ and then simply dropping it off at the automated station. 

Additional IoT benefits include using hundreds of sensors to analyze engine health and fuel use and to detect aircraft problems and communicate any signs of developing issues. The IoT technology installed in newer jet engines is already helping to cut delays due to unscheduled engine maintenance and improving air safety and avoid dramatic failures, such as United’s Flight 328 earlier this year when cracks in the fan blades were detected. 

Airbus has launched its Connected Experience, which connects various parts of the cabin, such as luggage bins, lavatories and galleys, and provides the crew with real-time updates.   Miami, Helsinki and Tokyo Haneda airports are using iBeacon technology to communicate with travelers’ smartphones in real-time, conveying location-relevant information; estimated times to pass through customs; collecting data on foot traffic; adjusting staffing; etc., by placing hundreds of sensors throughout the terminals.

‘Smart planes’ worldwide will soon be able to communicate directly with maintenance, alerting ground of any malfunctioning parts way ahead of landing.  We have only just begun to see just how beneficial newly developed applications of IoT devices will impact the aviation industry.