This blog was co-authored by Binit Tejani, Data & Analytics Alliances Lead, Deloitte UK.
Having partnered on the delivery of cloud solutions for some 14 years now, Deloitte and Informatica joined forces again at the recent Deloitte Experience Analytics conference in London to showcase how we enable our clients to use intelligent data to improve operational efficiency and empower innovation.
Looking to spark a revolution in the aviation industry this time, Deloitte staged an inaugural Hackathon of which Informatica was a proud sponsor.
Data analytics takes flight at the Deloitte Hackathon
Nervous flyers may not find this comforting, but most airspace analysis is done with less-than-accurate assumptions. It relies on scheduled information and flight plans, rather than actual routes and diversions, which often differ from the original plan when the realities of traffic congestion and weather events intercede.
At the Hackathon, Informatica invited seven teams of data engineers to be among the first in the world to analyse a brand new source of big data.
The timely arrival of a brand-new dataset
Traditional ground-based surveillance covers just 30% of the globe. Civil aviation authorities, commercial carriers and related industry stakeholders have to rely on position updates from aircraft every 14 minutes to track aircraft outside of radar coverage.
In 2019, Aireon, a specialist in air traffic surveillance (ATS), launched the first global ATS system using a space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) network to support real-time air traffic separation services. Now, air traffic controllers have live data on the position of planes everywhere in the world, including previously unsurveilled airspace. With this data, they can reduce the minimum distance between aircraft and allow airlines to fly at optimal speeds. But perhaps even more exciting is the digital “chemtrail” generated by actual aircraft movements worldwide.
According to Aireon’s Vice President and General Manager of Air Traffic Flow Management Services, Jonathan Astill, “The ADS-B data promises to significantly enhance the analytical capabilities of the aviation industry by supporting global air traffic analysis, airspace and air route design, capacity and resources planning, predictability analysis for arrivals and departures, and fleet optimisation.”
The Hackathon challenge
Aireon provided ADS-B data from 75 days’ worth of flights across the North Atlantic. Informatica combined this with data from airlines and airports and weather data on its CLAIRE-powered Intelligent Data Platform. The brief was to combine data sources in unprecedented ways to uncover patterns and insights and develop hypotheses on how to improve air traffic efficiency, reduce delays, drive cost savings, or reduce carbon emissions.
Outlining his aspirations for the day, Binit Tejani, Data & Analytics Alliances Lead, Deloitte UK, said, “I’m looking forward to seeing some healthy competition and ideas that could ultimately be used to solve real-world issues within the aviation industry. It all starts with good, clean data and the comprehensive tools provided by Informatica’s Intelligent Data Platform.”
Each team got the opportunity to test-drive the Informatica Intelligent Data Platform to find, understand, and prepare data for analysis, and determine what business questions they could attempt to answer in the few hours allotted.
The room was buzzing with activity as each team approached the challenge, exploring the relationships between flight delays and variables such as wind speed, adverse weather conditions, altitude, origin and destination airports, time of day, and individual airline and aircraft performance. The day flew by, and teams scrambled to share their methodologies, architecture design, insights and results in a series of 10-minute presentations. The unanimous conclusion was that data quality was key to unearthing revelatory insights that could potentially transform the efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of aviation.
Two teams earn their wings in the final analysis
A panel of judges representing Deloitte, Informatica and Aireon evaluated the seven teams’ solutions and presentations for effectiveness, efficiency, innovation, model performance, technical difficulty, and polish.
The data science students scooped the award for Innovation, bringing fresh perspectives to their analysis. The award for Best Solution went to the team representing one of the world’s largest banks, who summed up the day’s endeavours: “It was exciting to get our hands on such great data. Today has shown how much faster we can get insights – there’s so much more we wanted to do, given the vast potential of the data and tools.”
Reflecting on the success of the Hackathon, Binit Tejani concluded, “Today provided a glimpse of the way data can be quickly put to work to tackle real-world scenarios. I’m delighted that this event has given all involved an awareness of the value that Deloitte’s advisory services and Informatica’s market-leading technologies bring to customers, which exemplifies what our collaboration is all about.”
Learn more about the Informatica and Deloitte partnership.