Big Data Analytics for Improved Maintenance and Flawless Operation of the In-flight Internet

Client background

Gogo is a global provider of in-flight broadband Internet with over 20 years of experience and more than 1,000 employees. The company’s superior technologies, best-in-class service, and global reach help planes fly smarter, airline partners perform better, and their passengers travel happier. Today, Gogo has partnerships with more than 16 commercial airlines, and it has installed in-flight connectivity technology on more than 2,900 commercial aircraft and over 6,600 business aircraft.

Business challenge: Rethinking data governance

Gogo needed to improve the quality of the in-flight Internet. Its satellite antennas often malfunctioned, which led to paying penalties to the airlines. Moreover, after the equipment was removed and checked, a lot of the reasons for antenna failures were defined as no-fault-found (NFF) ones as no anomaly was detected. And that caused unnecessary downtime and wasted costs. Although the reasons behind the ill-performance were hypothetically known, they needed to be proved and further eliminated to avoid the equipment failure. Therefore, Gogo initiated a complex data governance project in order to ensure the flawless operation of the equipment and high speed of the in-flight Internet.

What we achieved together: Big Data platform powered by Data Science and ML

Together with our client, we completely migrated Gogo data solutions to the AWS cloud and shut down its costly on-premises infrastructure. Our team built a unified AWS-based data platform that collects and aggregates data from 20 different sources and can process up to 3 TB of streaming data per day. With Data Science and Machine Learning algorithms, we developed models for predicting satellite antennas failures and antennas health monitoring. The solution provides interpretable reasoning behind each recommendation. For example, we identified that when antifreeze liquid is applied, and the plane does a couple of flights, the fluid gets inside the antenna and affects its performance. Therefore, the recommendation was to add an additional layer of protection from the fluid.

Location
United States, Chicago
Partnership period
January 2017 - present
Team size
27
Team location
Ukraine, Lviv
Expertise delivered
Cloud Solutions Business Intelligence Data Science Big Data Data Engineering, Data Analytics, Data Operational Support, DataOps
Technologies
Scala Python JavaScript AWS (EMR, DynamoBD, Lambda, EC2, SNS, SQS), Spark, Hadoop, Tableau, R, Pig, Hive, SQL, Apache Airflow,

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Client’s Goals

To ensure flawless operation of all the systems and the best speed of the in-flight Internet, the company needed to collect and analyze huge amounts of data. This includes structured data like system uptime and latency and unstructured data like the number of concurrent Wi-Fi sessions and video views during a flight. However, the data they gathered was stored on-premise in many different sources. So the client’s main goal was to increase the capabilities of their in-house engineering team to build a unified data platform in the cloud. This would enable them to process their big data more efficiently and enhance customer experience based on the analysis results.

Gogo partnered with N-iX to perform the following tasks:

  • Transition multiple data solutions to a new cloud-based data platform;
  • Build the data warehouse system for storing and processing significant amounts of data;
  • Perform Data Science and present insights as actionable BI reports;
  • Improve operations and customer experience by applying machine learning and data science to user behaviour and flight information;
  • Provide 24/7 operational team and enable uninterrupted performance of the client’s product (since the team is located in Ukraine, we are able to provide support during our working day while it’s night in the US).
Challenges
  • Changing ETL tools and MapReduce code with new more efficient Spark applications;
  • No documentation of the source code and processes so we needed to analyze the old code and rewrite it;
  • A need to understand the very specifics of the equipment, how it interoperates with other devices and whether it works well on a specific type of planes or under certain conditions;
  • Processing and analyzing vast amounts of geospatial data;
  • Developing the solution for log parsing to process various kinds of data streamed from aircraft in real time;
  • Defining the relationship among myriads of different devices (modems, antennas, WAP points) and finding a reason for a particular technical hitch.
N-iX approach: From on-premise to the cloud

First, we helped Gogo migrate their on-premise data solutions to the cloud in order to collect and process a considerable amount of data from more than 20 sources. Not only did the migration to AWS cloud expand the data processing capacity needed for further data analytics solutions, but it also saved Gogo costs spent on licenses and the on-premise infrastructure. Next, we built a cloud-based unified data platform that collects and aggregates both structured (i.e. systems uptime, latency) and unstructured data (i.e. the number of concurrent Wi-Fi sessions and video views during a flight). For this purpose, our engineers made an end-to-end delivery pipeline: from the moment when the logs come from the equipment to the moment when they are entirely analyzed, processed, and stored in the data lake on AWS.

Further, in order to predict the antenna equipment failure and reduce the no-fault-found rate (NFF), we applied the data science models, namely Gaussian Mixture Model and Regression Analysis. We set up a data retrieving process from seriously degraded antennas and correlated it with weather conditions and the antenna construction.

We also provided Gogo C-level decision-makers with comprehensive reports on financial data (data consumption, purchases, data usage, etc.) and operational health (modem performance, WAP, Service Level Agreements, etc.). We are developing a reporting tool that allows identifying the users’ pain-points during the first fifteen seconds of the Internet connection. With the help of this data, we identified the point where a lot of passengers had difficulties while connecting to Gogo Wi-Fi.

Value delivered by N-iX
  • Migration to the cloud allowed our partner to reduce costs on licenses (Cloudera/Microsoft) and on-premises servers and enabled them to control and optimize resources in the cloud based on their processing needs.
  • The solution allows Gogo to significantly save operational expenses on penalties to airlines for the ill-performance of Wi-Fi services.
  • The no-fault-found rate was reduced by 75%, thus saving costs on unnecessary removal of equipment for servicing.
  • Predictive analytics allows predicting the failure of antennas (>90 %, 20-30 days in advance) and ensures servicing of the in-flight equipment at the most suitable time, for example, when there are no flights scheduled for a plane.
  • The reasons behind the ill-performance of antennas have been identified (i.e. antennas often failed after the use of antifreeze fluid). That allowed Gogo to prevent some of the typical failure causes (i.e. add an additional protection layer to the antennas).

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