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SWIM ANSP webinar

Air operations

Top tips for accelerating a SWIM Implementation

August 3, 2020

Cirium held a LIVE webinar (28.06.20) with in-house aviation technology experts Ian Painter, CEO at Snowflake software (now part of […]

Cirium held a LIVE webinar (28.06.20) with in-house aviation technology experts Ian Painter, CEO at Snowflake software (now part of Cirium) and Oli Deakin, CTO at Snowflake Software, in which they introduced the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) concept for ANSPs and other ATC stakeholders, analyzed its value, and, provided some top tips for implementing SWIM in the real world.

Didn’t manage to join the LIVE webinar? No need to worry, here are four key takeaways from the session.

1. What is SWIM?

Conscious that SWIM might be a new concept to some of the attendees, the webinar started with a quick explanation of SWIM and its core principles. Here’s a recap:

SWIM is a central component of ICAO’s Global Air Navigation Plan to create a fluid flow of aviation data across the globe. ICAO define SWIM as System-Wide Information Management (SWIM). SWIM consists of standards, infrastructure and governance enabling the management of Air Traffic Management (ATM) related information and its exchange between qualified parties via interoperable services.”

SWIM has three core principles:

  1. Getting the right information Deriving the insights that are needed from a vast pool of information
  2. To the right people Ensuring the information is reaching the appropriate stakeholders with appropriate security in place
  3. At the right time For too long getting data to these stakeholders would be an arduous process, SWIM is about accessing the information as soon as it is required.

2. What are the benefits of implementing SWIM?

After established what SWIM is, the presenters next outlined the value of implementing it.

It Empowers better information exchange…

…by digitizing and automating information exchange. Reducing the need for human interaction and thus, minimizing the risk of human error and reducing human overhead in operations. Furthermore, with information being shared freely between systems – it reduces potential vendor lock-in and opens a wider range of vendors available…meaning organizations can have more flexibility in how they build systems.

It promotes consistent use of flight data…

…with one single, shared view of flight. Improving overall situational awareness gives the key aviation stakeholders insight into neighboring countries’ data – creating a clear view of flight plans, well ahead of schedule and subsequently improved demand / capacity balancing. Empowering for more strategic decisions around future resource allocation.

Designed with the future in mind…

…set-up to support the realization of future ATM concepts. Such as, the potential increase in the number of drones into the airspace. Moving flight planning into a heavily automated world – with little, or no human involvement, increases the need for smooth, autonomous data exchange. The SWIM concept by its very nature is designed to support this.

At this point there was a poll to the LIVE audience, to see what was perceived as the primary benefit of SWIM. (answers in table below)

There was a mixed response, with the majority going with “Improving operational decision making”. Disagree with this? Let us know what your response would’ve been “The primary benefit of SWIM is

Tweet what you believe is the primary benefit of SWIM @cirium and use the hashtag #CIRIUMSWIM

3. What is needed for a successful SWIM implementation?

The webinar presenters then walked through two real-world implementations of SWIM. Firstly, with the GCAA in the UAE, and then Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN). Summarized are the key learnings from these implementations below.

  • Quality of data is crucial

Data is received from multiple sources and the quality of this data can vary significantly. A core benefit of SWIM is that you’re broadening your audience for the data, but if the quality of the data that you’re receiving is poor, it means a broader audience is going to receive equally poor data. Therefore, you need to have some part of the systems that can recognize and validate data quality.

  • SWIM is not instant

Once SWIM is implemented there will still be a transitional period as legacy systems will still exist. So, just having a SWIM system is not enough, you need a system that is designed to support both legacy systems and these new SWIM interactions.

  • Very few SWIM flight systems exist

Many approach Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) first. Flight data is more complex to manage as it come from all around the globe, as well as a variety of legacy data sources – making data exchange more difficult and meaning that establishing this integration is just inherently more complex. This necessitates a SWIM solution that is built with an understanding of the domain. In addition, it needs to be scalable and flexible enough to adapt to the specific situational needs of the individual installation.

  • SWIM is not just an Enterprise Messaging System (EMS)

One of the temptations is to implement SWIM as a message broker – moving data between systems. Using SWIM in this manner fails to consider all the nuances to make SWIM operational (like the legacy systems mentioned above). So, just having an EMS as a solution to the problem is not enough.

  • Understand operational goals first

SWIM is the enabler not the ultimate answer. The ultimate answer is the operational improvements you are trying to gain, SWIM underpins the work needed to achieve these goals. Unlocking the data is important, but having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with this data is crucial for making a value change.

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4. What effect does covid-19 have on SWIM implementations?

To wrap-up the session the presenters discussed the impact of covid-19 on SWIM.

The only thing that we can forecast in the recovery from covid-19, is un-predictability, especially when it comes to flight scheduling. This sentiment was echoed In AGIFORS Airline Operations 2020 Study Group Meeting “The six-month flight schedule is dead; airlines will change them every-day… schedules are going to be more dynamic in the new normal”

Making data and SWIM more relevant than ever…because:

  • Data sharing and insight is the only way to gain some perspective on the changing landscape
  • As flight schedules and plans change dynamically reliable and high-quality data sources are needed
  • Systems of insight can support forward operational planning, supporting service scalability and cost reduction

To find out more about the projects to Implement fully-functional SWIM gateways, speak to an expert today!

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