In a story as tragic as it is mysterious, a massive Boeing 777 operated by Malaysia Airlines took off from Kuala Lumpur headed toward Beijing – and vanished into thin air. A massive, worldwide search for the plane commenced after the revelation that the aircraft and its 227 passengers had disappeared.
“This is an enormous search area. And it is something that Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own,” the country’s transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein told The Guardian.
The disappearance of the plane and the as-yet fruitless search have prompted a litany of questions. Did it simply crash in the ocean, or was there a malicious plan to divert its course? Did anyone among the passengers or crew exhibit suspicious behavior? But trumping all these questions is indisputably the most important query: Where is the plane now? A search spearheaded by 26 different countries, and traversing an area bigger than Australia, is attempting to find that answer, a separate Guardian article reported.
Amid the difficulties inherent in the search, several media outlets are wondering if the enterprise cloud could have made the situation significantly easier.
Could the enterprise cloud have tracked MH370?
Some experts are suggesting that had the plane been equipped with certain cloud technology, it would have been possible to track. According to Yijun Yu, a senior lecturer in computing at The Open University, had flight MH370 been linked up to a data center in the cloud, updates about its whereabouts such as aviation signals would have been stored in the cloud in real time. Whereas GPS and aircraft communications systems can be faulty, the cloud is constant.
Unfortunately, as Yu points out, everyone who rode on the plane is now under scrutiny – including the pilots. And in a scenario where a pilot or pilots were somehow connected to a malicious plan, it is plausible that they could have merely shut down the transmission responder system, thereby rendering all communication with the plane impossible. But one cannot simply turn off the cloud, which is why it might have helped track the plane where other systems – which relied on an interaction with human hands – failed.
The disappearance of MH370 leaves more questions than answers, but as Yu suggests, a broader move among aviation enterprises toward the cloud may pave the road for better flight communication in the future.