Microsoft is the leader in cloud computing, and Boeing is the cream of the cream in aircraft manufacture. Recently, the two companies announced a partnership. But how does cloud computing and flights relate? It appears Azure is the bond of the association.
A reporter at ZDNet could not rest until he knew more about the partnership. Andrew Brust claims he spoke to both Microsoft and Boeing and found out the following about the partnership.
Apparently, Boeing and Microsoft partnered before on the Microsoft’s application development platform, which is popular for devising state of the art mobile applications. One of the results of the partnership is the Electronic Flight Bag, a tablet-based application that eradicates the need for paper flight bags that contain books and other documents. The paper flight bags can weigh as much as 40 pounds.
In the new partnership, Azure is the bond. The two companies hope to achieve things like maintenance optimization, cabin crew management and fuel optimization through cloud computing. An airline could use fuel optimization to collect records of fuel usage on all of its flights. Over a given period, the data will be used to predict fuel usage.
Such an application could prove very useful to airlines as it would solve many problems related to fuel wastage and idiosyncrasies of certain routes. Boeing hopes to include such efficiency applications on Azure. The move does not benefit Airlines only but also the passengers.
Most of the efficiency applications Microsoft and Boeing hope to create have a predictive motive. Predicting aspects of a flight will help in operational maintenance and reduce ugly incidents related to operational glitches. Aircraft maintenance is not all; these applications will help have the right crew on board through the crew management applications.
All together the whole discipline and everything in it is referred to as “disruption management”. It addresses many flight issues such as equipment utilization, crew performance and schedule optimization. For instance, if there is the deficiency of flight resources or failure in aircraft components, “disruption management” can determine the most logical set of actions.
Please note that all these services are not under the jurisdiction of Boeing but the airlines. But Boeing does not just make aircraft; it is heavily involved in the management of flights and provides operational services to the airlines.
Microsoft is currently in a very good status in providing cloud services. It has advanced projects such as Azure Machine Learning, Power BI, Azure IoT Suite and HDInsight. Such advancements in cloud computing are exactly what Boeing needs as it makes efforts to advance its services.