Innovation brings the conveniences we enjoy on the ground into the aircraft, from shopping to gaming to on-demand video—but implementation is not always seamless.

Airlines work tirelessly to iron out the seams between today’s needs and tomorrow’s tech. Above all, ensuring that the quality, timing, and relevance of new offerings match passenger preferences impact the success of a new offering. If these new services aren’t immediately understood by passengers and crew, a successful implementation could be on the line.

We don’t have to look too far to see examples of predictive analytics in our lives. Just look at your phone! App developers are creating algorithms that work across platforms and devices to understand what consumers need before they do. Personalized push notifications or location-specific alerts—are excellent ways to put new inflight innovations at passengers’ fingertips.

The question is, how can we emulate that functionality in an aircraft environment?

Cloud and edge computing make it possible to analyze events in real-time by leveraging route info, passenger profiles, weather forecasts, social media posts, and many other data sources and translate the data into preferable outcomes. If the industry continues to implement these tools, it has the chance to deliver even more valuable services to everyone on board.

Cloud-Based Analytics Early Wins

The earliest benefits seen from airlines deploying predictive analytics are the impacts on personalization. By getting a 360-degree view of passengers’ behaviors both historically and in-the-moment, airlines can serve them relevant content at any point in the journey. During the flight, an airline can recommend services and products based on each passenger’s preferences. It can even bolster the post-flight experience by offering suggestions on destination-based merchandising, local activities and tour guides.

Additionally, predictive analytics integrated with Internet of Things (IoT) systems are a way to improve operational efficiency. Sensors can detect when certain inflight dining supplies are running low and trigger alerts for the crew, which allows them to restock without impacting productivity. This same functionality can be used for proactive maintenance: when potential equipment issues are detected, repairs can be made before a breakdown occurs, greatly minimizing downtime. The same goes for passenger issues. Analytics can predict when an individual passenger might have trouble with connectivity or their seatback monitor, and the flight crew can assist that person accordingly.

“Airlines, irrespective of their digital transformation maturity, should consider insights unleashed by analytics as the core of their organization's strategy. They should make advanced analytics work for them and affect outcomes in the moment for passengers, crew, and operations.

Venkat Eswara
Director, Software Product Management and Product Marketing at Panasonic Avionics

Just Getting Started

There is also great potential to unlock new business opportunities using cloud analytics. New predictive models can estimate campaign conversions, adjust the placement of ads, and optimize pricing automatically. These same data points can also trigger entire campaigns when certain parameters are met—like a special holiday promotion. Even factoring in capabilities such as these, we’ve only scratched the surface of how predictive analytics can monetize emerging trends and drive ancillary revenue.

“Airlines, irrespective of their digital transformation maturity, should consider insights unleashed by analytics as the core of their organization’s strategy,” says Venkat Eswara, Director, Software Product Management, and Product Marketing at Panasonic Avionics. “They should make advanced analytics work for them and affect outcomes in the moment for passengers, crew, and operations.”

Seize the Moment

As revealed in Accenture’s 2016 study, Digital Readiness for Customer Experience in the Airline Industry, 100% of airline executives polled agreed that real-time insights are vital to enhancing the customer experience, yet only one-third of the airlines involved in the study were actively implementing the technology that makes it possible. The reason for that, Accenture explains, is, “most airlines have a clear vision for using digital technology to optimize customer experience, but lack the implementation know-how and talent to ‘make it happen.'”

When that happens, an experienced partner can help airlines actually get their hands on the opportunities predictive analytics create. Using the right tools the right way is the quickest, most cost and time-efficient path to the future.

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