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IoT: Shaping the Next Epoch of the Aviation Industry

IoT: Shaping the Next Epoch of the Aviation Industry
May 17, 2017

Co-Authored By : Maheswara Poothireddy

What is IoT

Before delving deep into aviation related IoT, we should discuss briefly what IoT is.

Internet of Things (or as it’s also known, IoT) is progressively becoming a topic of discussion both in the workplace as well as outside. Internet of Things actually refers to a network of sensors, vehicles, buildings or other physical objects, enabling seamless collection and exchange of data. IoT is creating opportunities to connect the physical world with computer based systems and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy, and economic benefits in addition to reduced human intervention.

Now that we have discussed what Internet of Things means, let us talk about its applications in aviation.

Internet of Things in Commercial Aviation

Commercial aviation comprises many segments – transportation, business aviation, freight, sport, personal aviation, and self-controlled unmanned aircrafts in recent times.

IoT has the ability to enhance reliability, quality, customer satisfaction and fuel efficiency in an industry that is predicted to grow extensively in the coming years.

The aviation industry can very well embrace the IoT concept and extend its applications

These applications can be across fields such as cloud computing, smart airports, smart baggage, tracking passengers, alerts, and actions. IoT also has the competency to maximize fleet usage, decrease operational expenditures, and analyze issues or complications in advance. Due to its manifold applications, IoT can be leveraged to consolidate the maintenance mechanism and thereby improve the execution of maintenance exercises. Therefore, the scope of IoT application is massive in the aviation industry.

Most commercial aircrafts still use outmoded engines with less than 250 sensors. This makes it difficult to detect and track the performance and mechanical movements. On the contrary, modern engines combine up to 5000 sensors, generating massive data (10GB per second).

This report is useful for aircraft maintenance. When the aircraft has landed, the data can be taken as input and investigated. Once we place IoT in the equation, data can be received in real-time by the maintenance staff on the ground rather than having to wait for the aircraft to touchdown. Maintenance troops will be able to detect any issues and analyze them before the plane lands, thereby empowering them to be ready with parts and engineers to get the issues resolved. By the time passengers claim their luggage around the baggage carousel, the issues will have sorted.

A question may arise: What is the need of collecting so much data?

Since latest aircrafts have started using high-tech engines, they require artificial intelligence in order to forecast engine demands and adjust thrust levels. This necessitates the need for data collection. Consequently, fuel usage and emissions are reduced by a considerable amount. Additionally, engine performance improves significantly.

Rolls Royce recently collaborated with Microsoft to leverage IoT techniques in making their airplane engines ‘brainy’, that is, more intelligent. They have endorsed Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite in order to determine probable faults in engines equipped with aircraft in business around the globe.

Similarly, some airports such as the Helsinki Airport, London City Airport, and Miami Airport as well as some airliners like Lufthansa Airlines, Qantas, Delta, and KLM have also commenced their IoT projects.


In one word, IoT can be dubbed as “opportunity”. By connecting devices and data, IoT presents infinite possibilities for organizations to transform themselves, gain entry into new markets, and harness data to drive timelier and powerful business decisions. At the same time, IoT projects give consumers fresh prospects to enjoy exciting new user experiences and satisfaction.

With a rapidly expanding market reputation, HCL has huge potential in IoT as well as in the aerospace domain.

HCL offers end-to-end IoT services across the entire lifecycle of an IoT project. The IoT services are personalized “based on where the customers are in their IoT journey,” -- Sukamal Banerjee, Executive Vice President and Global Head (IoT WoRKS).


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