Digitalization in aviation: controlling your data before it controls you

David Perez

2019-06-20 16:34:09
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Internet 2.0 technologies have consolidated in very large platforms that exploit personal data. This “centralization” paradigm has already produced much controversy. With the surge of AI applications, the world is now aware of the value of data assets and the challenge managing them. Even the famous “don’t be evil” Google motto was seriously challenged when Google’s CEO had to face questions from the US Congress.

What happens to data from corporations? Are corporations giving their data away in promise of greater efficiencies or miraculous applications? Building cross-industry platforms that exchange data has proven to be (in most industries) a bit more challenging than building consumer-focused data platforms. Corporations are aware of the need to control their data. These miraculous applications that improve efficiency do not seem to be here yet.

In aviation, like in other industries, there are few players trying to design platforms with the goal of accumulating massive amount of data from customers as a step towards promising better efficiencies and increasing safety. With AI-based applications, a lack of data leads to the obvious conclusion that related AI innovations are not yet achievable, and that the allure of greater and immediate efficiency through AI is simply bait to access massive data assets.  But data owners maybe be strict with their data and these platforms will face the challenge of persuading said owners to release their data.

How are these data platforms marketing themselves? Platforms are marketed as either “open” or “independent” or “transparent”. Though they may not end up designing political campaigns a la Cambridge Analytica, they may end up designing services that take advantage of user data in the platform in a perhaps unfair or unplanned way.

That said, the state of the technology is far more advanced than it was at the beginning of Google or even Facebook and alternatives for stricter data management are available. For this reason, we ask the question: what should you be looking for in a data platform?

First, data ownership and data protection needs to be embraced as core identities of the platform. A strong data protection agreement that guarantees the use of your data is a must. Second, a clear and public infrastructure strategy roadmap, maybe as part of an open source project, will allow you to avoid vendor lock-in and allow also the participation of third-party providers analytic services.

Fortunately, digitalisation in aviation comes in a moment when web2.0 is mature and its concepts and threats are well understood. However, the concept of big data “ethics” is far from being solved.

If you want to join this new way of envisioning a disruptive future for AI in aviation that will integrate current digital concepts without risking your valuable data assets, contact us. Join

Author: David Perez