Rolls-Royce is a pre-eminent engineering company focused on innovation and world-class power and propulsion systems. The company has long used data captured from their products to provide value-add services, and more than 20 years ago was the first to use sensors to collect live, commercial data to support real-time engine health monitoring. “Today, we aim to be Digital First in everything we do.”
The Challenge: Processing helicopter device data to generate value-add information
For legacy product lines not directly instrumented to support connectivity, Rolls-Royce must rely on additional data sources to develop digital products. One such case was data being generated from Garmin devices deployed in a fleet of Bell 407 helicopters. Garmin and their customer, Bell Helicopter, agreed to provide the data to Rolls-Royce in exchange for value-add information accessible via a Garmin interface.
The challenge therefore was to be able to ingest Garmin’s data from Bell 407 helicopters into the cloud, process the data through a Rolls-Royce model, and feed information back to Garmin. The data would also be shared internally at Rolls-Royce for their Bell 407 engineering purposes.
The Solution: Data processing design-build pilot using Google Cloud Platform
ClearObject’s solution for Rolls-Royce was an Operational Data Acquisition (ODA) design-build pilot project. The ClearObject team conducted an initial project kickoff with Rolls-Royce stakeholders to solidify the pilot’s in-scope functionality and technical details. The design scope included architectural data processing patterns, a Cloud Datastore schema, and data structure/formats to support all desired functionality. ClearObject deployed Google Cloud Platform as the pilot solution’s operating environment, which also included Compute Engine, Compute VM, Cloud Pub/Sub and Cloud Datastore.
The Rolls-Royce pilot project enabled the functionality to ingest, process, and structure Bell 407-based data acquired from Garmin for use within Rolls-Royce analytic models. The pilot solution also included configured integrations into Cloud Datastore for internal engineering use at Rolls-Royce, plus an API interface that ClearObject developed to publish data back to Garmin and share internally at Rolls-Royce.
Should Rolls-Royce officials implement the pilot solution, it would allow them to leverage the data generated by Garmin devices as planned. Data would be ingested by the GCP platform for processing, made available for product engineering research, and retained for future analytic model development. To develop future data aggregation and analytic capabilities across the Rolls-Royce portfolio (where data is not already being generated by the power or propulsion system), the initial data set and processing framework could be leveraged as a baseline.
Internally, this functionality could ultimately enable Rolls-Royce to assess monetization opportunities for this type of helicopter engine, including service, aftermarket, and other opportunities. Externally, the company could leverage their pilot solution to engage customers and analyze their feedback, test product capability, and drive new revenue models.