The pursuit to bring the Internet of Things to the sky continues with a new drone-based acquisition from a major network.
Verizon just acquired Oregon-based drone management software company Skyward.
Verizon plans to integrate drone tracking and managing capabilities into its IoT ecosystem, which generated almost $1 billion last year, according to Verizon.
The goal is to create an end-to-end solution for businesses of any size to integrate, manage and wirelessly connect their drone operations, according to Verizon.
"Drones are becoming an essential tool for improving business processes at large companies, but scalability has been a challenge,” Jonathan Evans, founder and CEO of Skyward, said in a statement.
“Skyward's drone operations management platform combined with Verizon's network, reliability, scale and expertise in delivering enterprise solutions will allow organizations to efficiently and safely scale drones across multiple divisions and hundreds of use cases," Evans said.
The acquisition comes after Verizon’s successfully completed 4G LTE drone trial last year, as the IoT Daily reported at the time (Verizon, AT&T Driving IoT Into The Sky).
Upon completing the trial, which was designed to test the connectivity between aerial platforms and the 4G LTE network, Verizon determined that part of its network is safe to use for in-flight wireless connectivity.
However, other networks are also involved in similar pursuits.
For example, Nokia recently developed a deployable LTE network and drone system for rescue efforts. The system includes a base station that establishes a local LTE network, which can connect to cameras on drones to stream video and sensor data in real-time, as well as analyze that data and video content, according to Nokia.
Nokia also collaborated with the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority to design an ecosystem for managing network-connected drones in Dubai, as the IoT Daily reported (Nokia, UAE Team To Integrate Drones Into Smart Cities).
AT&T and NASA also signed an agreement to research and establish a traffic management solution for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (AT&T, NASA Team To Create Traffic Management For Drones).
That traffic management solution includes flight path monitoring, flight planning, navigation, surveillance and safe tracking, according to AT&T.
Capabilities of Verizon’s platform include drone mission planning, FAA compliance support, as well as providing information about restricted airspace, pilot credentialing, drone registration and drone connectivity rates for Verizon’s network, according to Verizon.