Alaska Airlines adopts edge analytics solution for real-time, passenger data


Alaska Airlines has become the first U.S. airline to invest in a frontline crew analytics app that works without network connectivity. What can it do?

An Alaska Airlines plane flying in the sky.
Image: Y S/Unsplash

Ditto has announced that Alaska Airlines is now the first major U.S. airline to adopt its real-time data analytics solution for an internal app that supports collaborative communication, data synchronization and customer service.

The Alaska Air app offers flight crews up-to-date and comprehensive data about customers — regardless of a crew’s network connectivity — to help them provide tailored service no matter their working environment.

Alaska Air’s app is powered by Ditto’s Intelligent Edge Platform, which leverages edge device connectivity to facilitate this type of serverless data analytics. In this report, we’ll cover more about this new partnership, what the Intelligent Edge Platform can do and what this kind of technology might mean for the airline industry.

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Quick facts about the new Alaska Airlines app

Alaska Airlines has now embedded Ditto’s real-time edge data analytics solution in an internal app for its flight crews. Here’s what we know about it so far:

  • Alaska Air’s new app is a task management and peer-to-peer connectivity app that focuses specifically on the roles and responsibilities of flight attendant crews.
  • Other than making real-time data available without network connection, the partnership also promises to make new kinds of data and analytics accessible to internal users.
  • The app creates new efficiencies for tasks related to guest services and inflight product delivery.
  • Beyond guest services tasks, the app intends to give crews more relevant and real-time flight safety data.
  • Although Alaska Air is the first major U.S. adopter of this solution, Ditto’s app is already used by other airlines such as Lufthansa, Japan Airlines and Etihad Airways.
  • The U.S. Air Force is also among Ditto’s customers.

Upon the announcement of this latest partnership, Ditto explained why the Intelligent Edge Platform is so crucial to Alaska Air’s internal app.

“Our Intelligent Edge Platform enables Alaska Airlines’ enterprise app to truly work at the edge, which is where crew do their jobs,” said Adam Fish, co-founder and CEO of Ditto. “It’s essential for them to access real-time safety data and passenger preferences, regardless of internet status, in order to perform their jobs well. Without the digitization of key processes, airlines miss out on crucial data and analytics as well as communications capabilities that are important for greater operational efficiencies and more highly optimized customer experiences.”

What is the Intelligent Edge Platform?

The Intelligent Edge Platform is the main engine behind Ditto’s real-time database for IoT, web, mobile and server-based applications. With the Intelligent Edge Platform, users can sync up with accurate real-time data, even when they do not have access to central server connectivity. The focus on edge-device-powered data syncing makes this platform a great foundation for enterprise applications that need consistent peer-to-peer data sharing.

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Other important facts to know about the Intelligent Edge Platform include:

  • The Intelligent Edge Platform includes an SDK with a P2P mesh network and embedded database.
  • An included cloud database helps the platform automatically scale for changing workloads.
  • The platform relies on API integrations to make real-time data sharing possible.
  • The platform works with macOS, Windows, Linux and Raspberry Pi solutions.
  • This tool flexibly integrates with authentication solutions like JWT, OAuth 2.0 and SAML.

New customer service channels in the airline industry

The airline industry and its customer service shortcomings are on the minds of many right now, especially after a December 2022 series of Southwest Airlines flight cancellations and passenger and flight crew strandings.

What happened with Southwest was mostly the result of antiquated systems failing; in response, Southwest and many other airlines are taking a hard look at their technologies and what they need to improve moving forward.

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Alaska Airlines appears to be taking a foresighted step with this latest partnership with Ditto, investing in a better communication and collaboration system for its flight crews. This edge-powered application gives flight crews the data they need, both in-flight and in-between, to make better customer service and safety decisions while also sharing key data assets with other team members.

Alaska Air’s new app is effectively a trickle-down approach to customer service that gives flight teams the resources they need to provide customers with a smoother air travel experience. Alaska Airlines explained themselves how this solution will enhance the work flight attendants are already doing.

“Our approach to developing frontline tools prioritizes close partnership with our flight attendants during each step of development,” said Vikram Baskaran, VP of IT for Alaska Airlines. “Ditto has been a great partner in ensuring our tools are seamless for our flight attendants. With their help, we have been able to support our workgroup by providing visibility of one another’s inflight mobile device … in real-time”.

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