By now the industry is already aware that Snowflake Software has become part of Cirium, but what does this actually mean to end customers? It’s important to consider a little background on this new structure.
Starting with Cirium holistically. They are a business intelligence organisation with a focus on data analytics. Five categories of data sets make up the structure of their offers: Fleet, Flight, Schedule, Trip and Fare (this is actually air traffic). Digital transformation is coming to all industries eventually, some are further down this path than others. But this is a company who is looking to use their data to help the aviation market move there more quickly.
With loads of historical data and a real-time data lake (think really big data base with different types of data structures, for those who are not familiar with this terminology) combined with artificial intelligence (AI) they are able to help organisations determine what comes next with their data analytics. Starting with the historical data and adding real-time analytics powered by AI, they can link together data points to try and identify trends with customers and how one might offer them the best fit products in the future.
Now let’s consider what Snowflake brought to the table in this relationship. Founded in 2001, they were not involved in aviation until 2013 when they were invited by EUROCONTROL and the FAA to participate in a SWIM testbed looking at technology outside of the industry to bring mainstream IT in to use with ANSPs. It took them only about 10 – 15 days to transition into support of aviation topics. Basically, where SWIM comes into play is about sharing siloed information across constituents who need access to it at the same time.
Currently their Laminar Data Platform is used in the FAA Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). This is a UAS Data Exchange that allows the sharing of airspace data between the FAA and companies approved by the FAA to provide LAANC services. These are UAS Service Suppliers (USS). This is an automated application and approval process for airspace authorisations. Requests are checked against multiple airspace data sources and if approved, the drone pilots receive their authorisation in near real-time.
In summary, the LAANC provides:
- Drone pilots with access to controlled airspace at or below 400 feet
- Awareness of where pilots can and cannot fly
- Air Traffic Professionals with visibility into where and when drones are operating.
The combination of these two organisations will bring powerful tools to ANSPs in the future as they begin to embrace private cloud technologies to share information and develop analytics to help support future ways of information sharing and service offerings.