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How Big Data Is Transforming the Aerospace Industry


This article provides information on the aerospace industry and how it is making use of Big Data. Additionally, you will also learn about:

1) Big Data’s impact on the industry

2) The use of IoT and sensors

3) Big Data’s role in the Race to Mars

big data and analytics


In the twenty first century, it is a consensus that data is important. Websites need data to optimize and tailor your experience, businesses need data to understand what their consumers want, even your smart devices at home use data so that they can cater to your needs. In a world where data is so important, it’s actually given rise to a new phenomenon: Big Data.

Big Data is quite literally just a name for an extremely large set of data which can be analysed on a computer and then subsequently reveal patterns and trends. As you can tell, everyone wants Big Data to analyse the market and their target audience.

So, it’s really no surprise that Big Data is getting bigger and reaching out to almost every major industry in the world. As it is getting cheaper and gaining more momentum, we find that every day newer industries are making use of it to make their daily processing easier.


The Industry So Far

The aerospace industry as a whole has always been ahead when adapting new technologies so it’s really no surprise that it too is using Big Data to improve its overall performance across a range of different operations. While we find big names in the industry such as Boeing and Airbus using data sensors to understand not only how they can further develop more efficient aircraft, we also see that smaller, newer companies like SpaceX also joining in on the trend and using data sensors to further improve rocket technology.

But it doesn’t stop there. The aerospace industry is expanding its use of data to understand and improve its current technologies. It uses analytics to enable suppliers to behave more efficiently and connect Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to further optimize the supply chain in the market. OEMs make further use of data analytics in order to perform predictive maintenance, track performance, optimize processes and more.


The Aerospace Industry & IoT

The industry also makes use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and related devices and sensors to collect vast amounts of data and analyse them to learn about all sorts of things. This covers a range of tasks- from the analysis of operation data from the shop floor, required to understand how quickly and efficiently work is done in the workshop, to simulate conditions the aircraft might need to withstand in order to survive in extreme cases of turbulence and weather. Big data is helping the aerospace industry improve for the better. Furthermore, we find that IoT and sensors are able to save operators time-consuming disassemblies which might occur due to an error in assembling as it is able to provide regular updates on the assembling process of an aircraft or rocket; through this, it is easier to look into issues that the shop floor may be facing and dealing with it before the problem gets too big. It also helps operators and supervisors make targeted decisions that improves the overall effectiveness of the assembling process.

But that’s not it.

With the help of IoT, the aerospace industry is able incorporate intelligence into the very components and devices used in the process of both creating a craft- from the boardroom to the workshop- using complex flight data which was previously not available. By making the devices ‘smart’, it is much easier to see what’s happening, to monitor both the shop floor and business side of things taken care of in the boardroom, so that critical components can be monitored and analysed so that they improve both machine productivity and reliability.

big data and analytics

Data Has A Big Role In Aerospace

Productivity, as you know, is very important in the aerospace industry. Companies want results and there is only one way to deliver: analyse as much data as possible to showcase possible short term and long-term progress. In the aerospace industry, time is money and Big Data can help companies keep track of their progress.
Traditionally, the use of data has always existed in the aerospace industry. After all, you need a copious amount of data to correctly analyse and simulate a flight on simulators. From its very conception, the industry has making use of data to be able to perform. It’s not really practical building an aircraft or rocket worth billions of dollars without having the data to support that what you’re doing will not have any long-term consequences. Because of this, it’s really no surprise that the aerospace industry is making use of Big Data and related technologies. In fact, given the current industry climate, it was inevitable.

Why Big Data is Particularly Attractive to Aerospace Companies Today

This decade has probably been one of the most exciting decades for the aerospace industry. There’s a race for who can land a manned spacecraft on Mars and you have companies like Boeing, NASA, SpaceX and other companies from all around the world wanting to make their mark. Because of this competition, there’s really no surprise that aerospace companies have turned to digital technologies to increase efficiency- because that is important; a mistake is not affordable- and be able to deliver in a smaller amount of time.

The United States, though previously a pioneer in the industry, is actually finding itself in hot waters as China, Japan, India and other countries are coming into the field to put their mark. As recently as 2013, China launched a manned expedition to the moon. India plans on doing the same. Meanwhile Japan has partnered with various aerospace countries to make it Mars before SpaceX or Boeing.

It’s a race against for these companies and so it makes all the more sense for them to use a growing number of sensors on infrastructure and assets, to monitor and analyse their progress. After all, sensors are able to massive amounts of data in a small amount of time. This data is then used to map out assembly time on the shop floor, models of aircrafts made on computers based on this data can help create virtual situations which the aircraft might experience in real-time and more. In fact, using Big Data actually saves the costs of developing prototypes as every scenario is tested on the virtual model of the craft to ensure that nothing goes wrong. This way it’s easier and more cost-efficient to directly jump into developing a real-life model, based on analysis. It saves time, increases efficiency and companies are able to cut back on manufacturing costs and use it for Research and Development (R & D).


The aerospace industry is doing well with its use of Big Data and other technologies. Of course, much work can still be done in the field, but it’s great that the industry is leading the way in innovation. In fact, following the aerospace industry’s example, we find a lot of automobile and marine companies also turning to the use of Big Data. Therefore, in the end, it is safe to say that Big Data has not only improved, but it has also changed the game in the aerospace industry. It’s going to be very interesting to see just how far the industry will come along in the next few decades as it continues to use these technologies.

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