At present, the aerospace industry is evaluating new technologies to solve some of the recurring issues that have long affected its maintenance and operations. Recent innovations such as blockchain, big data, and machine learning are promising technologies that are rising to meet the challenges of a burgeoning industry, which must cope with an ever-increasing flow of data and growing fleets.
In both the commercial and defense sectors, leaders have been searching for solutions to supply chain problems, including instant retrieval of reliable part provenance information and lifecycle asset tracking. An example of this quest is AFWERX, an initiative by the U.S. Air Force, whose priority is to source innovative technologies from non-traditional sources (aka startups) who are subject matter experts. The goal is to bring innovation more rapidly into the Air Force to help solve challenges in key areas, including supply chain logistics.
14bis Supply Tracking offers a solution that enables secure tracking of physical and digital assets while ensuring systems interoperability. The company, winner in the Supplier category of the world’s first Aviation Blockchain Challenge organized by the Lufthansa Group’s Lufthansa Innovation Hub and SAP.iO, is currently under contract with the U.S. Air Force and BAE Systems. One of the company’s goals is to facilitate unapproved and counterfeit part detection in Aerospace and Defense with advanced tracking capabilities leveraging blockchain technology. The solution adds value by transforming the way assets are controlled and profitability is managed. The result of their efforts is real-time supply chain transparency and immutable lifecycle provenance tracking of physical and digital assets.
For physical assets, 14bis provides supply chain industries with instantaneous physical asset situational awareness, enabling minimization of carried inventory costs. The company’s proprietary middleware system provides on-demand auditable chain-of-custody, which helps to flag unapproved parts, reducing lost revenue and minimizing safety risks.
For digital assets, 14bis ensures that clients can be Industry 4.0 ready, specifically integrating with 3D printing or IoT systems. Also, 14bis’s system ensures that data flows among your software systems so you can view easily real-time full asset provenance from cradle to grave. The result is real-time supply chain transparency and immutable lifecycle provenance tracking. Safer supply chains and wiser use of all resources.
Quality Standard Developments and 14bis’s Viewpoint
Currently, there are many disparate quality standards for physical parts. For example, for physical aerospace parts there is the ASA-100 (Aviation Suppliers Association), ISO 9000 series (American National Standards Institute), GAPSA 100 (General Aviation Parts Suppliers Association), NADCAP AS 7103 and AS 7104 (Society of Automotive Engineers), and TAC 2000 (Transonic Aviation Consultants, Inc.) series. In addition, SAE AS5553 was adopted by the Department of Defense and it is applied to all NASA operations. Furthermore, there’s a separate database called GIDEP (Government Industry Data Exchange Program) in which only US and Canadian entities can participate. Then, there’s the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority)’s Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP) program and SAE Aerospace Standard AS5553 series. 14bis follows the standards developments assiduously.
On a separate note, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is working to establish standards for blockchain technology. Recently, 14bis participated in the IEEE Global Blockchain Summit at the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the company looks forward to participating actively in the development of these standards.
The 14bis team believes that it is extremely important for regulators and organizations to work together to develop standards. As highlighted by the company’s advisor, Dr. Thomas Hardjono, Director of the MIT Trust: Data Consortium, one key to long-term survivability is interoperability, a key benefit that the 14bis system provides.
About the Team
Alexis Dames is a Co-founder and the Chief Marketing Officer. He’s also a pilot and aviation safety expert. He brings in-depth understanding of the aerospace industry and a multidisciplinary approach to provide value for 14bis’ customers.
Dharmesh Patel is a Co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer. He has over 25 years of expertise as a global IT leader working in Aerospace and Defense. He’s seen the challenges the Aerospace and Defense industries face and brings comprehensive IT expertise to the service of these industries.
Eleanor Mitch is a Co-founder and the CEO. She has had over 20 years of experience working in strategy on four continents with governments, the private sector and international organizations. One of her interests is knowledge sharing and connecting ideas. Her background is in digital law. She is an expert in governance, especially data governance.
“Most of all, our team is dedicated to providing greater insight on information flows and control of assets in aerospace and defense. Our goal is to provide greater safety for people and cargo,” asserts Eleanor.
Strategies for Success of 14bis
As a company, 14bis team is committed to lifelong learning and ensuring that they are exchanging with different people in diverse areas of innovation. Creativity is highly encouraged and they continuously seek the advice of experts and innovators. Additionally, 14bis benefits from having wonderful advisors such as Dr. Thomas Hardjono and Mr. Warren Katz. Dr. Thomas Hardjono is the Director of the MIT Trust-Data Consortium and an expert in blockchain systems and cybersecurity, among other areas of expertise. Mr. Warren Katz is an experienced entrepreneur and noted industry advocate of open interoperability standards and commercial business models in Department of Defense procurement.
In addition to a commitment to continuous learning, the 14bis team believes in active participation in sector events to share knowledge and learn from exchanges on new ideas. One great suggestion that team got came from Dave Harden, Chief Operating Officer and Architect of AFWERX Innovation. At an AFWERX conference, he introduced the concept of the “idea jar”: that of putting all ideas that we have, but that we might not pursue immediately into a “jar”. This helps promote creativity and ensure that great ideas aren’t left behind. Perhaps a few years from now, an “idea jar” idea might provide a crucial advancement.