SAE to Create Standards for IoT, Big Data and the Digital Twin in the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace standards for digital data at the system, subsystem and component level coming from SAE.

The Internet of Things (IoT), big data, the digital twin—these technologies can no longer be ignored by engineering organizations.

That is why SAE International has now formed a Digital and Data Steering Group (DDSG) that is tasked with identifying these new technologies for the purpose of coordinating their standardization across SAE committees. The current push will be for the DDSG to work on standards for the aerospace industry.

“The digital and data-related technologies are mature enough to disrupt the traditional aerospace engineering and operational practices and have been penetrating into every aspect of a product lifecycle, which in turn disrupts the related business models for original equipment manufacturers, operators and suppliers,” said Dr. Ginger Shao, Honeywell Engineer Fellow and the first elected chair of the SAE DDSG.“Valuable information about products and operations is embedded in data, which are digitally transferred (connectivity), consumed (analytics) and utilized (business models and mobility). This imposes a lot of new challenges to the industry.”

The status of IoT standardization is effectively an alphabet soup. Everyone has their own system for communicating, getting online and storing data. This might be fine and dandy if you want your IoT device to be exclusive to your partner devices. It may also be fine if you are making a consumer product. But when you start to look at the aerospace, automotive and manufacturing markets, then you need to follow standards that work to ensure third-party communication, product and human safety and data security and integrity.

Many other organizations have attempted to start to standardize the IoT in the past; unfortunately this has lead to the aforementioned alphabet soup. However, few organizations have the reach in the engineering community that SAE has. Perhaps if it comes out with standards for IoT that work, they will take off and maybe spread to other sectors.

Some of the challenges that Shao hopes SAE will answer include:

  1. Data ownership: defining who owns IoT data and how to fairly price this data
  2. Data governance: setting up a system of trust in sharing data
  3. Data interoperability: ensuring data compatibility and sharing with minimal costs
  4. Data management: integrating data-related operations with traditional tools and procedures
  5. Digital products and certification: using off-the-shelf products to support operations accurately
  6. Data security: ensuring data is kept secure, secret and accurate

“These and other industry-wide challenges together with the underline supporting technologies are the subjects that the industry standard community should take on to drive the consensus and synergies out of the industry, so the industry can best benefit from the productivity that the disruptive technologies enable us,” Shao added.

What do you think? Will SAE add to the alphabet soup of IoT standards? Will it bring order to the IoT community? Comment below.

For more on IoT standards read “What Engineers Need to Know about Communication Protocols When Choosing IoT Management Software.”

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.