AircraftIT MRO Journal Vol 3.2


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In the age of Netflix and GoGo - why isn't aircraft data real. Lessons learned from MH370 and AF447

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AircraftIT MRO Journal Vol 3.2

  1. 1. White Paper: Flatirons Solutions, Rusada, AirWorks Case Study: SFS Aviation Vendor Job Card: AV-BASE Systems PLUS… How I see IT, News, Upcoming and Past Webinars, MRO Software Directory V3.2 • MAY/JUNE 2014 MRO DATA IS COMING Realizing the value of information KEEPING MRO IT LEAN Improving the function that improves the business MOBILITY DEEP DIVE The future for Aerospace Mobility
  2. 2. Editor’s comment Data is the catalyst that turns experience into value but it’s powerful stuff and must be properly handled to do any good. If you lived in Europe during the 1980s, you will have become familiar with food mountains and wine lakes. But don’t be deceived, these were not good things; they were the result of a Common Agricultural Policy that, in its drive to ensure food security, ended up generating more food than Europe could consume… or sell or give away without damaging markets. Aviation IT faces a similar challenge today. Data volumes are growing exponentially with, not only traditional IT systems harvesting and generating data in increasing volumes but also Aircraft themselves starting to generate data on every aspect of their function before, during and after each flight. As with European food and wine, the basic idea has worked well, there’s lots of data: the challenge is what to do with the mountains of information, how to apply them to the useful purposes we had in mind when the harvesting and generating capabilities were first mooted. The organization, integration and application of data for business process improvement are our themes for the issue. We look at Data Warehousing, how it works, and how it can be used to drive better business through better information and reports. Mobility is a key component in the drive to leverage data as a business advantage and so our article on mobility, where it is going and how it can be used will tick a lot of boxes. And, looking to the wider context, if IT is used to improve other processes in the business, what about making sure that IT itself is lean? We have an article addressing that. Also, we always like to see how all of this works in the real world and so the case study on a new MRO solution for a helicopter operator will be of great interest. As always, you’ll learn how Michael Denis sees IT and be able to take a broader view of the news and information that matters in your sector. And Aircraft IT live demonstration webinars let readers research the software market from the convenience of their own desk to find a package that could meet their needs by accessing past webinars with more focus than ever while, of course, future webinars are a valuable resource available to every reader who registers. Data volumes and quality will continue to grow, systems become more capable and delivery more convenient. Whatever the developments, Aircraft IT MRO will continue to bring the best ideas to your desktop or tablet screen with every issue. Aircraft IT MRO: organizing information about your world for you. Ed Haskey 04 NEWS With an increasing variety of operating profiles, Aircraft MRO IT has to adapt to meet a growing range of demands. MRO IT managers can follow developments on and here in the Aircraft IT MRO e-journal. 18 CASE STUDY: FACING UP TO THE CHALLENGE OF OFFSHORE HELICOPTER OPERATIONS Brian P. McDonald, Director Asian Aviation Services (AAR); Management Consultant, SFS Aviation Co., Ltd. When SFS Aviation was seeking a software solution, they needed one that could address all of their needs and challenges throughout the business. 21 VENDOR JOB CARD ThedevelopmentpathandtechnologyinnovationsthathavebroughtAV-BASESystemstoitspresentsuccess. In this Job Card, Bert Vergeer, Vice President, Sales and Marketing at AV-BASE Systems, Inc. explains AV-BASE, its IT philosophy and its achievements. 22 UPCOMING LIVE MRO SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION WEBINAR A preview of the live MRO software demonstration webinar featuring AviIT, on 8th May 2014. 24 WHITE PAPER: MOBILITY DEEP DIVE Paul Saunders, Global Product Manager, Flatirons Solutions Mobility is the single word that encapsulates a host of IT issues from getting content to where people can use it to the Internet of things, identity and machine learning. 28 WHITE PAPER: LOST IN TRANSLATION? Tim Alden, Commercial Director, Rusada Warehouses ensure that variable inputs feed stable outputs. A data warehouse can ensure that multiple sources of data feed useful reports determined by need. 31 COLUMN: HOW I SEE IT Michael Denis asks; In the age of Netflix and GoGo, why isn’t aircraft data real? More than 40 years ago we’d put a man on the Moon after just a 10 year program. Why then, today, is it still difficult to integrate data from different systems? 32 PAST WEBINARS: KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AND ACCESS FOR INDUSTRY EXPERTS View Video Recordings of our Past Live MRO Software Demonstration Webinars. See full information and view video recordings of past MRO Software demonstrations, including: ADSoftware, Volartec and IDMR Solutions. 34 WHITE PAPER: ALSO A BUSINESS PROCESS Ravinder Pal Singh (Ravi), CTO and CIO, Air Works While IT is the driver of leaner processes in other parts of the business, it should also operate as integral to the business, seeking to make its own processes lean. 38 EVENT PREVIEW: AIRLINE & AEROSPACE MRO AND OPERATIONS IT CONFERENCE 43 MRO SOFTWARE DIRECTORY A detailed look at the world’s leading MRO IT systems. CLICK HERE: Send your feedback and suggestions to AircraftIT MRO CLICK HERE: Subscribe for freeAircraftIT MRO is published bi-monthly and is an affiliate of Aircraft Commerce and part of the AviationNextGen Ltd group. The entire contents within this publication © Copyright 2014 AviationNextGen Ltd an independent publication and not affiliated with any of the IT vendors or suppliers. Content may not be reproduced without the strict written agreement of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of their companies or of the publisher. The publisher does not guarantee the source, originality, accuracy, completeness or reliability of any statement, information, data, finding, interpretation, advice, opinion, or view presented. AircraftIT MRO Publisher/Editor: Ed Haskey E-mail: Telephone: +44 1273 454 235 Website: Copy Editor/Contributor: John Hancock E-mail: Magazine Production: Dean Cook E-mail:
  3. 3. 8 | NEWS | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | MAY/JUNE 2014 ENGINEERING HOLDING, RUSSIA’S LARGEST DOMESTIC MRO PROVIDER, CHOOSE AERDATA’S STREAM DIGITAL AIRCRAFT RECORDS SOFTWARE IN mid-February 2014, AerData, provider of software and services for the aviation industry, announced that Engineering Holding, Russia’s largest domestic MRO provider, is to acquire STREAM aircraft records software. STREAM (Secure Technical Records for Electronic Asset Management) is a web- based solution used by some of the world’s largest airlines, lessors and MROs to manage aircraft and engine records. Commenting on the announcement, Mark Nieuwendijk, Managing Director of AerData said; “AerData have been working closely with Engineering Holding’s team to take full advantage of the benefits that STREAM can bring. It’s also our first customer in the rapidly expanding Russian airline and MRO market to implement the global standard in aircraft records on the STREAM platform.” Marat Tereshenko, General Director of S7 Engineering said; “We wish to adopt a global standard for managing records within our MRO customers. STREAM will integrate with our MRO IT system allowing full transparency on closed maintenance work, thereby increasing our quality and efficiency as we continue to grow our fleet and third party maintenance activity.” He added; “We are pleased to be making this announcement with AerData, a company that has a history of supporting successful large scale implementations with major airlines.” AERDATA’S IRISH OFFICE MOVES TO NEW LOCATION AT the same time, mid-February 2014, AerData announced the relocation of its Irish-based office to a new site in Dun Laoghaire, South County Dublin. Commenting on the announcement, Godfrey Ryan, Director Marketing and Sales, AerData said; “We established AerData’s presence in Ireland in 2011 and have grown the office to such an extent that a new location was needed to house the expanding team and provide a convenient location to host customers from Ireland and abroad.” He continued; “The high specification office is adjacent to Dun Laoghaire railway (DART) station which provides convenient connections to the city center, just a 20 minute journey away, and transport links nationwide make [the new office] easily accessible from anywhere in the Emerald Isle.” CROATIA AIRLINES CHOOSES AERDATA’S STREAM DIGITAL AIRCRAFT RECORDS SOFTWARE IN late February 2014, AerData announced Croatian flag carrier, Croatia Airlines, as the latest airline to acquire STREAM aircraft records software. Commenting on the announcement, Mark Nieuwendijk, Managing Director of AerData said; “Croatia Airlines is another great example of a company that will adopt STREAM for its own fleet and for its third-party maintenance work. The wide-ranging benefits for both applications are proven. We look forward to supporting Croatia Airlines for many years to come.” Davor Bujan, Engineering and Technical Support Manager, Croatia Airlines said; “STREAM consists of an easy to use and fully functional records management system that can integrate with our maintenance planning system. Our business is about fulfilling the requirements of customers both inside and outside the company, day to day and at major events like lease return or heavy maintenance work for other airlines. STREAM will go a long way towards satisfying those objectives.” AERDATA ANNOUNCES ‘REPAIR MAP’ MODULE FOR STREAM STILL in late February 2014, AerData also announced the launch of Repair Map, a new structural repair and damage management tool in its STREAM aircraft records software. To bring this about and to deliver a superior functionality to STREAM, AerData have exclusively partnered with the product developers of Repair Map, German- based Soft Aviation. Commenting on the announcement, Mark Nieuwendijk, Managing Director of AerData said; “The management of repairs and damages is reliant on data, specifically the records that identify the damage and then support the repair. We have integrated this new tool to enable airlines to centrally manage their repair files, including all the supporting documentation linked from STREAM along with a smart graphical interface.” Wolfgang Kliem, Managing Director of Soft Aviation said; “STREAM is a fully functional records management system that now can be the basis for an airline’s repairs and damages repository. The Repair Map feature can support direct linking with the documentation in STREAM but we have also enabled its ability to integrate with the airline’s MRO IT system to have a seamless link between ‘live’ damages and repairs and STREAM. This will allow airlines to provide third parties with real-time access to repair information on demand.” AERDATA LAUNCHES ‘GEARS’ AIRCRAFT INSPECTION AND AUDIT SOFTWARE MOVING to early March 2014, AerData announced the launch of GEARS, a new software tool, designed to standardize data collection for routine audits and inspections. GEARS (Global Electronic Asset Review System), is a digital tool that can control the quality, consistency and efficiency of data collection by utilizing standard procedures and guidelines. The assigned ‘inspector’ completes a series of pre-defined questions and at the end, based on the answers, multiple reports can be generated and shared. Commenting on the announcement, Vincent van der Gulik, Director, Products and Services, AerData said; “GEARS was developed to address the problem of gathering data in a standardized way for routine audits and inspections. Lessors can deploy their standard audit template in GEARS for technical reps to complete and be sure that the data they collect is the right data, collected in a standardized format. For airlines, the principal is the same. When an airline has Quality Reviews to carry out, they too may utilize GEARS to efficiently manage the data collection and distribution.” He continued; “GEARS is designed to integrate across the AerData product platform, most notably CMS and STREAM. This means that customers who use one or both of these products realize the benefits of automated data transfer from GEARS to CMS as well as document linking from STREAM. This will improve the quality of data entry and reduce the costs and risks normally associated with manual data entry.” GEARS is offered as a stand-alone tool via AerData’s web browser-based Dashboard or integrated with CMS and STREAM if the customer is also subscribing to those AerData products. In addition, AerData can also offer GEARS through AerData Technical Services (ADTS) if customers wish to outsource audits and inspection work MCAP CHOOSE AERDATA’S CMS AND STREAM SOFTWARE PACKAGES STILL in early March 2014, AerData announced that MC Aviation Partners Inc. (MCAP), the commercial aircraft lessor, has chosen AerData’s CMS and STREAM software. CMS (Corporate Management System) is a lease and asset management solution used by the majority of the world’s aircraft, helicopter and engine leasing organizations. Commenting on the announcement, Mark Nieuwendijk, Managing Director of AerData said; “We are delighted to announce that MCAP has selected our services. In the process, MCAP will migrate from their legacy lease management platform to the CMS market standard. In addition, they become another major lessor to standardize its records management with STREAM.” Hiroshi Nakanishi, CEO of MCAP said; “We sought to substantially improve our operating model and key to this was the selection of an appropriate suite of dedicated aircraft leasing tools in CMS and STREAM.” He continued; “The functionality opportunities of both solutions, already proven within the industry and the experience of AerData in migrating data from other systems were the primary requirements for us. However, of equal importance was the partnership approach of AerData in this project.” SMBC AVIATION CAPITAL CHOOSE AERDATA’S STREAM AND GEARS SOFTWARE BY mid-March 2014, AerData was able to announce that SMBC Aviation Capital (SMBC AC), has licensed STREAM aircraft records software and GEARS asset review system. GEARS (Global Electronic Asset Review System), is a total asset review management tool designed with in-field experience and IT to ensure quality, consistency and efficiency in any asset review. Commenting on the announcement, Mark Nieuwendijk, Managing Director of AerData said; “We are delighted to announce that another major lessor has chosen STREAM for the management of its technical documents. It is also a pleasure to see that SMBC AC has chosen GEARS, a product it has been trialing since late last year. GEARS will deliver SMBC AC standardized data collection and reporting across its inspection and audit program in an efficient manner.” Diarmuid Healy, Head of Technical Asset Management, SMBC Aviation Capital AerData progresses on all fronts plus moves to a new office in Ireland Image supplied with kind permission from Soft Aviation
  4. 4. MAY/JUNE 2014 | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | NEWS | 9 CLICK HERE FOR FULL SOFTWARE DETAILS AND FOR A DEMO said; “We are pleased to announce our new working relationship with AerData through the use of their STREAM and GEARS systems. These systems will help to streamline processes in our business and assist our ambitious growth plans over the coming years.” WAYPOINT LEASING CHOOSE AERDATA’S CMS AND STREAM SOFTWARE PACKAGES STILL in mid-March 2014, it was announced that Waypoint Leasing, a leading global helicopter leasing company, has chosen AerData to support its leasing and records management as it grows its customer base, takes delivery of new aircraft and expands its business. CMS (Corporate Management System) is a lease and asset management solution used by the majority of the world’s aircraft, helicopter and engine leasing organizations. Commenting on the announcement, Mark Nieuwendijk, Managing Director of AerData, said; “Waypoint is our ideal partner – it is a pioneer in the helicopter leasing industry, dedicated to forming long-term partnerships with operators and sees the value of our services. We are delighted they have chosen two of our core systems, CMS and STREAM, to support their ongoing operations and growth of their business.” David Gorsky, Vice President Operations and Technical, Waypoint Leasing, said, “As a large helicopter leasing company with customers and aircraft all around the world, we regularly invest in infrastructure systems that support our activities and the continuing growth of our business. The powerful combination of both of AerData’s solutions, already proven with major lessors and airlines, met our rigorous requirements. We look forward to building our relationship with AerData and leveraging their expertise for the benefit of our customers.” MINSHENG FINANCIAL LEASING CO. CHOOSE AERDATA’S CMS LEASE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE IN early April 2014, it was announced that Chinese based financial leasing company, Minsheng Financial Leasing Co., Ltd (MSFL) has chosen AerData’s CMS software. Commenting on the announcement, Paul van Tol, Managing Director of AerData said; “We are delighted to announce another new customer for CMS, this time from the rapidly expanding Chinese leasing industry. MSFL are already a well-established and recognized name in the Asian market and CMS will assist them expand their activities using an industry standard lease and asset management platform.” Zhang Bo, Vice President and Director of Aircraft Leasing Division, MSFL said; “We wanted a straightforward and reliable solution to manage our aircraft leases.” He continued; “AerData was a name recommended to us as the market leader in this area so it was a natural decision to assess the capabilities of CMS, AerData’s IT infrastructure and support. We look forward to growing our portfolio utilizing this solution.” Flatirons Solutions Enters Into Exclusive Support Agreement with EMC for Docato REINFORCES EXPERTISE IN XML-BASED CONTENT LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FLATIRONS Solutions announced in late February 2014 that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with EMC Corporation (EMC) to support and sell the EMC Docato Component Services solution. The agreement includes providing support for existing Docato customers as well as sales and support for new Docato licenses, reflecting Flatirons Solutions’ expertise in XML-based content lifecycle management solutions for aerospace, automotive, electronics, financial services, government, healthcare, and publishing industries. The Docato Component Services solution was part of EMC’s 2007 acquisition of Netherlands-based XHive, which included the XDB database and was integrated into EMC’s Information Intelligence Group (IIG). At that time, EMC notified XHive’s Docato customers that it would end of life the Docato system in 2014. Flatirons Solutions had previously licensed the Docato source code from EMC and uses the XDB/Docato stack in the structured content lifecycle management solutions it provides to its aviation and aerospace customers. “EMC IIG performed a considerable amount of due diligence and has selected Flatirons Solutions, a long-term EMC partner, to continue to support existing Docato licenses and to sell and support new licenses,” said Barry Ruditsky, vice president of OEM sales for EMC’s IIG. “Flatirons Solutions has helped many EMC IIG customers develop solutions for their organizations using Docato. This expertise and Flatirons Solutions’ active customer base using the XDB/Docato stack in production environments afford them a unique position to carry the technology forward.” “The agreement to support EMC’s current Docato customers and carry the Docato platform forward is a reflection of our continued partnership with EMC,” said JD Sillion, chief solutions officer for Flatirons Solutions. “Flatirons Solutions brings more than two decades of content lifecycle management experience to EMC’s Docato customers, a strong foundation upon which we will continue to support and evolve the platform to meet customers’ unique business requirements.”
  5. 5. 24 | WHITE PAPER: FLATIRONS | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | MAY/JUNE 2014 Mobility deep dive Mobility is the big thing today but, asks Paul Saunders, Global Product Manager at Flatirons Solutions, where will it go next: what is the current and future state of mobility in aerospace and what about wearable technology?
  6. 6. MAY/JUNE 2014 | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | WHITE PAPER: FLATIRONS | 25 THE OTHER DAY my five year old daughter asked me ‘what shape is the Internet: what does it look like?’ I thought for a minute then turned the question back to ask her what shape did she think it is? She felt it would probably be a rectangle (after all, screens are rectangular). It was a good answer but I want to demonstrate in this article that it’s not rectangular but is rather the shape of an engine or an ECU; or it might be an IFE screen or a wrist-worn activity tracker or a watch. Whatever it is, we need to look outside of the rectangle, beyond what we already know, to mobility and where mobility is going for us. BRENDA Let’s start with an example that is well outside of what we do. My mother in law, Brenda, is the grandmother of my children and the worst technophobe. She’s also a writer who has written books which she sells on Amazon plus she does talks… and she decided she needed a website. Instinct suggests that if a family member asks you to build a website, run a mile: it must be like the worst client ever. But actually this turned out to be interesting because Brenda had a really good understanding of what she needed. When we sat down to work out what she needed, she said that it should be a responsive website. I thought that was incredible; a woman who’s a technophobe asking about responsive websites. But she’d thought about it; she understood her audience. Her readers were buying her books and reading them on a Kindle, so her website had to be designed first to work on a Kindle before laptop or tablet formats. But I found it instructive that a grandmother can make IT decisions based on what her users need? WEBSITE PAGES It got me thinking that there are a lot of airlines who, over the last couple of years have done a really good job providing their passengers with what they need in terms of mobility. Most airlines will have a mobile site and will probably have an app that does a good job catering to their consumers from that point of view; but how many have the tools — their portal, their infrastructure, their intranets — where their own internal consumers, their workers who are also mobile, have the same access to a responsive site? WHAT’S CHANGED? In the past couple of years, a lot has changed with technology: we’ve now got a completely different paradigm. With Kindles and iPads, they say that when you go on a train or a plane, whereas people used to talk with each other, they’re now buried in their content. I don’t think that’s completely true as this has always been the case; but the media for content has changed from paper to screen. “…we’ve got a completely different set of expectations about how information is managed, we expect it to be delivered anytime, anywhere on any device and we expect to do it cheaper, faster and better.” CLICK HERE FOR FULL SOFTWARE DETAILS AND FOR A DEMO
  7. 7. 26 | WHITE PAPER: FLATIRONS | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | MAY/JUNE 2014 THE FUTURE A look at the future of mobility shows trends and mega trends which, for the purposes of this article, are what I say are mega trends? MEGA TREND #1 TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN NETWORKS AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS The first one is really two trends linked together: technology driven networks and the Internet of things. Traditionally the Internet is built up of data entered by humans, i.e. if you flew a sector, you’d write a techlog, sign it off and it would get faxed back to base. Now we have eTechlogs; again manually driven but there’s also engine condition monitoring and other automated functions. Remember what I said earlier, the Internet is no longer ‘rectangular’ but it’s the shape of components. Technology driven networks are the opposite of bureaucratic hierarchies. Whereas we used to pick up paper documents to find out where we were and where to go, we now simply tap into one of many technology driven networks to find hotels, restaurants, places to go… anything: going beyond where we would normally have gone to find information. This is going to be big in our industry. Even today, if a programmer wants to find out about a particular line of code, they Google it: they don’t read the manual. This is how things work today; this is how the Internet works: everybody Googles stuff. We don’t do that in our industry if something goes wrong with our aircraft we go and phone technical services and, if they don’t know, they’ll read the manual; and if that doesn’t know they’ll phone the OEM and two days later you might get an answer back while, all the time, the aircraft’s been grounded. But people are starting to work around that; Skyping colleagues and so on. We’re going to embrace mobility and the Internet of things and use technology driven networks to help us do that. I don’t know what it will finally look like but that’s what’s going to happen. MEGA TREND #2 IDENTITY Identity is a big issue, and there are two things to consider… Identity is a really precious commodity and people don’t take very good care of other people’s identity on the Internet, e.g. NSA, GCHQ. But we’re going to start taking seriously what happens to our own identity on line so we need to think about how identity is used for employees and the implications of that because in the same way that advertisers can target you on the Internet and can have cookies saved that help them target you in advertising and things like that, we’re going to want to do the same with employees in terms of things like time booking, rostering, pairing. The other thing we’re going to see a lot more of is CREATE, DELIVER, CONSUME Back in the day, we had paper systems to create, deliver and consume content; and the aim was to deliver the right information at the right time to the right people. Whether it’s about producing manuals, getting them to the pilots by whatever means of delivery was used, getting them to hubs, engineers or getting training material; it’s always been about creating the right content and delivering it to the right people to consume in the way they want to. In today’s mobile age, the consumer age, we’ve got a completely different set of expectations about how information is managed, we expect it to be delivered anytime, anywhere on any device and we expect to do it cheaper, faster and better. That’s how the paradigm shift has manifested. HARDWARE Let’s look at what’s going on with hardware. Remember the mantra! ‘If you want it bad: iPad. If you’re happy to wait: Windows 8.’ I first wrote this about two years ago (see Aircraft IT volume 1, issue 6 September 2012) and it was the case then that the iPad had the software; the likes of Jeppesen and Lido were early adopters and there was a whole pile of other applications coming out for iPad at the time. On the horizon we had Windows 8, seen as the silver bullet that would allow us to do everything, everywhere on every device… everything that we had always wanted. Well, the situation still is, I believe, ‘If you want it bad: iPad. If you’re happy to wait: Windows 8.’ We’ve got a lot of choice with iPad and not quite so much choice with Windows 8 but there have been announcements from the likes of Delta and some other airlines that they’re looking at Windows 8. It seems that, if you’re running a project or you’re a pilot or an engineer, and you’re leading that project, you’ll probably go for the sexy consumer product, the iPad. If you’re in IT and you’re used to dealing with legacy enterprise systems like Active Directory, Citrix and all the stuff that users hate, you’ll probably choose Windows. Whatever you want to do and however you want to do it, it’s all about the use case. People ask whether they should have Windows or iPad or Android and it’s never an easy answer because it’s always about the use case. There’s a lot of interesting technology on the market now. Samsung with Android have every kind of form factor from under 2” for the Smart Gear watch through 7 inch and 10 inch tablets, right up to 20” monster devices. In Europe, Panasonic have done really well in the last year or so with a couple of big airline sales where people have chosen the 10” or 7” Toughpad but while I can see the appeal of these expensive ruggedized devices, I’m not sure of the need for them. The data on attrition rates, even for iPads, are really low because if you give employees something they enjoy using and allow them to put personal content on as well as company stuff, they’re going to take good care of it. THE iPAD IS A MACGUFFIN As well as being all about the use case, it doesn’t matter what device you have because introducing the iPad changed this small sector of aerospace IT in a way nobody would have expected five years ago. This new device wasn’t what the sector was about but it was a plot device, a way to allow us to embrace consumerism, to embrace sexy user experiences and user interfaces and to embrace mobility with all those good things that users want. It wasn’t about going to the Apple Store and buying an iPad, because we could have gone and got a Microsoft Surface for next to nothing from Microsoft if that was what we wanted or we could have got a nice cheap Galaxy Tablet from Samsung. But because the iPad had shown us the way in terms of what consumer technology could do within our industry, it allowed us to do these things which software vendors were forced to embrace as well and provide sexy user experiences, fantastic mobility and things like that. In the world of cinema, they’d call such a plot device a MacGuffin. Everybody needs to be prepared to deliver anything, anywhere on any device. “The data on attrition rates, even for iPads, are really low because if you give employees something they enjoy using and allow them to put personal content on as well as company stuff, they’re going to take good care of it.”
  8. 8. MAY/JUNE 2014 | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | WHITE PAPER: FLATIRONS | 27 where an electronic signature is used. There’s a whole slew of ways an electronic signature can be included and the whole integrity behind that. Our industry’s built on integrity… high quality, high integrity very knowledgeable people. And as we try to build a leaner industry, conserve costs and resources there’s effort to deskill elements of our business and this whole identity thing is becoming a greater concern because we don’t want to be the guy who signs off on the aircraft that falls out of the sky somewhere. Identity will be a big thing. Again, I don’t know what it’s going to look like but we need to see it coming. Technology OEMs are doing a lot of work in terms of capturing identity through biometrics. The latest generation iPhone has a finger print scanner: we can see a lot of wearable technology as well, designed to help identify things (see below). MEGA TREND #3 MACHINE LEARNING The last mega trend is associated with Machine Learning. A couple of years ago this might have been described as artificial intelligence but that term implies something that isn’t there. However, there’s a lot of research and development going on with machine learning in organizations like ours (Flatirons Solutions) and such as Boeing and Airbus where systems are being a lot more pre-emptive about what’s going on, about what people need. At the moment if you’re going through an IPC (illustrated parts catalog) and you type in a part number, you might have to select ‘I’m searching for a part number’ or similar. In the future, MRO systems will behave a lot more like Google; you’ll just type something in and the system will recognise it as being a part number rather than, say, a serial number. There’s a lot of work being done on machine learning which will impact on mobility in a big way. PREDICTIONS THAT ARE NOT THE FUTURE WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY Wearable technology, like Google Glass, seems to be technology for the sake of it plus, in our industry, raises security and privacy issues. It might be interesting to track where your employees are, what they’re doing, capturing time and attendance automatically but we’re not embracing that kind of stuff right now using cheaper technology like RFID. Wearable technology is probably a few years off — Forrester says 2024 for the business sector. It might be quite big from a consumer point of view in next couple of years but it’s hard to see a viable use case in our industry. In closing, I’m reminded that we always need an acronym, so here is mine to help you remember the key things to do with mobility. I’ve called it ‘Be like Brenda’ Be like Brenda and think about a… Responsive design; Embrace the internet of things — all the stuff delivering data to you; and say… No to google glass, there’s no need for it; Don’t underestimate identity; and, finally, we need to think about mobility for… Any device, any platform — delivering anything, anywhere. PAUL SAUNDERS GLOBAL PRODUCT MANAGER, FLATIRON SOLUTIONS Paul is a trusted technology specialist who has been working for and advising MROs, airline operators, OEMs, and software vendors since 1998. He has unparalleled expertise in aviation software design and mobility, having worked on apps used by pilots and engineers all over the world. Often called upon for speaking and writing engagements, Paul is a regular contributor to AircraftIT Operations eJournal, Aviation Week, and other publications. When it comes to the adoption of emerging technology in aerospace, particularly with regards to mobility, Paul is a heavy weight visionary and geek. Paul joined the TechSight/X team in September 2013 and serves as a global product manager spearheading flight operations, training and mobile solutions. He is currently based in the UK. INTERACTIVE ASK THE AUTHOR A QUESTION CLICK HERE TO LEAVE YOUR QUESTION INTERACTIVE JOIN THE DEBATE CLICK HERE TO LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK ABOUT THIS ARTICLE AND START OR JOIN A DISCUSSION FLATIRONS SOLUTIONS Flatirons Solutions provides information management consulting services and solutions for Fortune 500 and other companies in the aviation and aerospace, enterprise, government, high-tech, and publishing and media industries — helping customers deliver the right information, at the right time, to the right people. The TechSight/X suite of products is an independent solution for technical information management developed specifically for the aerospace industry to create, manage, and deliver large volumes technical information in support of the production, operation, and maintenance of aircraft throughout their lifecycle. Wearable Technology MAYBE it’s because the genre is a derivative of the Bluetooth headset, a fashion accessory, it seems, reserved for the worst kind of loudmouth sales trolls, or because I’m just getting old and cantankerous, but I simply don’t get wearable technology. If the adoption of mobility in the work place has taught us anything it is that investing in a new technology without any real understanding of how it should be used is a waste of time and effort. There are some appealing examples of very niche use cases, such as with assisting medical surgery or with helping those with disabilities, but I’m struggling to understand the wider consumer or business appeal for this kind of technology. Virgin Atlantic recently announced that they were experimenting with how Google Glass could enhance passenger experience, presumably in order to more efficiently access company CRM systems. This kind of forced innovation doesn’t represent a leap forward in customer experience, it just creeps me out at the thought of the overbearing invasion of privacy. Sure, we would all like for flight attendants to know our drinks preference, but whatever happened to just talking to customers? Also, the idea of tracking employees and assets via RFID tags and other near field communication methods is not a new one. What activity trackers offer is an active device which can log in detail movements and activities whilst automatically synching with management software. This kind of device can offer much more scope than a passive RFID tag and could be used for more detailed activity and location tracking. It has implications for time booking, identity and location use cases. However personnel tracking can be a divisive subject for the work force and unions alike. I’m all for improving efficiencies of tracking resources, but as the cheaper RFID technology has not been widely adopted I don’t hold any hope for wearable activity trackers in the very near future. Part of the problem with the current crop of wearable technology devices is platform fragmentation. At present there is no single go-to platform for wearable device manufacturers and developers. Google are addressing this with the recent announcement of an Android software development kit for wearable devices, there are even rumours of Apple expanding their ecosystem in iOS8 to include health related apps which would suggest the embracing of wearable technology. This will see improved interconnectivity between devices and use case innovation. Forrester claim in a recent report that wearable technology is scheduled to become pervasive in the business world by 2024. But with current privacy concerns, security implications and a near to non-existent eco-system there will need to be some major re-imagination of wearable technology in the next few years in order to convince me of a viable future in the business. “…if a programmer wants to find out about a particular line of code, they Google it: they don’t read the manual. This is how things work today; this is how the Internet works: everybody Googles stuff.”
  9. 9. INTERACTIVE: GET INVOLVED! Why not get involved with the debate? Send your comments or questions to Michael by clicking here. How I see IT In the age of Netflix and GoGo, why isn’t aircraft data real? Michael Denis For the first time since 2001, I missed Aviation Week’s #MROAMevent: it was to attend the Abu Dhabi Global Aerospace Summit#ADG14; definitely the right choice. The Summit is an invitation only, biannual forum bringingtogether international senior executives from across theaerospace, aviation and space sectors for four days of thoughtleadership and future growth strategies. Abu Dhabi has squarelyestablished itself as the ‘Davos of aviation’, along with Seattleand Toulouse, where CxOs come to set the vision and agendafor the future. Common themes repetitively highlighted on theopen panels included manufacturing technology innovationssuch as additive 3D printing, advancements in air traffic control,leaning and synchronizing manufacturing and MRO networks, andpartnerships for collaboration. AIMING FOR THE MOON A highlight of the Summit that everyone was talking about wasDr. Buzz Aldrin’s impassioned keynote presentation of the Apollospace program as the benchmark of what can be accomplishedwhen government and industry partner and set definitive goalswith specific timelines. During Dr. Aldrin’s speech, I couldn’thelp but think about the chasm between conquering putting aman on the moon in a decade, over four decades ago, versusour industry’s current inability for two airlines with differentIT systems to simply exchange a visit package, task cards,maintenance records, or real-time performance data even afterdecades of industry standardization efforts. Information technology and the role of #AeroIT in enablinglean manufacturing, service parts optimization, labor productivity,mobility, etc… was the least directly discussed topic by far. LESSONS FROM DISASTER In the hallways, there were also considerable discussions aboutMalaysia MH370; what happened, would we ever find the aircraft,and what the ramifications for the industry will be, mainlyaround ‘real time’ aircraft performance data communicationsand combining the lessons learned and recommendations fromAir France AF447. Mary Schreivo, ex FAA Inspector General turned CNNcommentator recently said, “The importance of accidents toregulations in the United States [is significant]. We call the FAAthe tombstone agency … because they [regulate] by countingtombstones. And that’s not… being flippant because, in fact, theyhave to do a cost-benefit analysis before they put forth anyregulation.” Some believe the loss of MH370 is a seminal eventthat will change the industry. THE MEANING OF ‘REAL’ Real time’ data communications isn’t a technology challenge; itisn’t a cost issue, although some airlines may argue it should be.Preventing another AF447 or MH370 is simply a matter of will.Synonyms for ‘real’ are ‘genuine’, ‘authentic’, ‘factual’, ‘valid’ and‘true’. Because of airworthiness, we expect aircraft data to bereal – just not necessarily real time, real interoperable, or realstandard. Data, information, content, and knowledge are the oilsthat lubricate the system of systems that ensures airworthiness,as well as improves product lifecycles, supply networks, aircraftdispatch rates and asset utilization; ultimately improving thepassenger experience and cost. Which returns me to my opening question; ‘In the age of Netflixon-demand video and GoGo in flight WiFi, why isn’t aircraftdata real time and real seamlessly interoperable?’ Maybe by the next Global Aerospace Summit in 2016, aircraft datawill be real. At least that’s how I’d like to see IT. “Real time’ data communications isn’t a technology challenge; it isn’t a cost issue, although some airlines may argue it should be.” MAY/JUNE 2014 | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | WHITE PAPER: 2MoRO | 31
  10. 10. CONSULTING | TECHNOLOGY | OUTSOURCING Delays cost the airline industry $5 billion annually. Does your mobile solution improve dispatch rates? TechSight/X mobile solutions for Android, iPad, and Windows tablets improve labor productivity, helping you return aircraft to active revenue- generating service dependably. Contact Flatirons Solutions to discover more.