Drone camera footage to secure a legal win!

Drone camera footage to secure a legal win!

Suppose you are experiencing difficulties with fly tipping on your work site or property. In that case, gaining evidence and subsequent legal representation could lead to a win in the law courts and a swift resolution. The effective use of drones and the camera footage they can capture can be examined in this case study.

The situation

A large vacant industrial unit was awaiting new business tenants. Although security staff patrolled the premises, an organised travelling group overwhelmed and evaded them and proceeded to set up camp on the grounds. Many caravans and the accompanying support vehicles built a large encampment. They started to use the empty building as a fly-tipping site. This was a well-organised operation, with many vehicles turning up throughout the day and night to dispose of waste.

Risks

The risks to health and the environment were impossible to calculate, as no official paperwork nor adherence to health and safety regulations was in place. There was no control over the nature of the illegally dumped items within the building. The client suspected that possible hazardous waste materials might also be left onsite. If this situation continues, the resulting removal and clean-up operation could run to costs beyond 100k. It would require costly Insurance claims and pay-outs. So, this untenable situation needed action.

The traditional route for resolution

In the past, the routes to resolution for similar situations have been passive. For example, waiting for the group to fill the site with debris and move on. This has the obvious positive that little conflict would arise. Though the resulting environmental risks, rising financial loss of rental and the clean-up, not to mention the impact on the local community are undesirable outcomes.

The second option would be to see if evidence of criminal activity could be obtained and submit this to the police to act. Although the police may not get involved quickly and so the more rapid route would be to gain evidence to support applications for injunctions and or evictions. This is the more proactive approach and initially the security company may be considered. However, in this scenario, it was felt that it may antagonise the situation and lead to a violent response.

How drone camera footage was utilised

 The security company commissioned Iprosurv  to deploy drone cameras to assist them in the collection of strong evidence. Iprosurv and its dedicated drone pilot operators use the latest technology drones. The cameras have zoom capabilities meaning that we could conduct covert surveillance from a safe distance in the initial stages. Vehicles were observed to have number plates exchanged, as drones were able to follow them to the various locations. Once there was sufficient evidence for an eviction process, the drones were further utilised during the eviction process itself.

Surveillance during eviction

Having an eye in the sky during the eviction of the offending group was invaluable. The aerial reconnaissance allowed for risk assessment and determination of resource requirements prior. Exits and entries were identified and considered in the eviction plan. The drones were able to gather evidence whilst eviction took place, ensuring that any violence from occupiers would be captured to support criminal prosecutions. Whilst also providing evidence of the security teams acting within their powers and policies to negate any future complains from the illegal occupiers.

Results

The eviction went fairly smoothly and completion of the operation was 2-3 days in comparison to the usual 7-10 days. Owing to the shorter time frame, the waste deposited at the site was a reduction on similar fly-tipping operations.  Meaning less impact on the environment. This also resulted in a reduction in subsequent clean-up costs and loss of rental revenue. The risks to personnel was lowered and the presence of the cameras provided health and safety and a duty of care to all. There was a diminished impact on local businesses and the residential community. Evidence of criminal activity and the identification of offenders led to both civil and criminal prosecutions, plus added intelligence for various agencies. Overall the client was satisfied with the effective use of the drone camera footage and the resulting benefits.

Author – Martin Twigg – Iprosurv

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Organisations need to approach drones in the same way they do their IT – strategically.

Drones have arrived and while there was some early hesitance, their many significant benefits to business have been well-established for some time now.

But still, years later, we are not seeing drones penetrate the economy in the way they should have, or their buyers hoped. This often happens with great new technology developments, but why? 

There are many reasons. Some of it will be cultural – there are still some out there who view drones as a threat or a menace, are reticent about learning new ways of working, or simply see them as just the latest fad that will fade away. But those views are very much in retreat now as the ‘head in the sand’ brigade head towards retirement so culture alone can’t account for the lack of penetration.

In addition, drones are heavily regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the regulations are constantly evolving. This regulation is vital to ensure that drones are applied in a safe way but keeping pace with the changes, training pilots to be continually compliant and applying the governance to all of that takes time and creates cost. That alone can kill an organisation’s appetite for drones. 

The purchase and maintenance of hardware, image analysis software licenses, insurance, training, regulatory costs on many fronts, lost staff time in ineffective drone operations (£5k one off £13k p.a.) are just some of the costs that can lead to the benefit cases projected from drones not being realised. 

Another reason, and linked to culture, is that while some companies are embracing drones, they are scratching the surface of their potential and only using them for a limited range of jobs. For example, maybe they were brought in to inspect a building for damage and that, for some businesses, is all they’ll ever do, perhaps because they don’t know the full application of drone technology. 

Which leads us into what I believe is one of the key unrecognised reasons the drone revolution has slowed somewhat. After trying them out, many companies thought they could do this themselves and went out and invested in their own drones to realise the cost and service benefits. 

But the reality is, those benefits haven’t been realised because the drones simply aren’t being used. Not because of cultural reasons, but technical and regulatory reasons make it harder than imagined. 

In one case study £80k was invested in the new in-house drone set up, only eight flights were ever made as the effort required to continually train staff and run compliant processes became too much, the drones had fallen into dis-use and drone flights were purchased externally as needed. A great solution with many potential benefits became a costly problem child. 

So many people rushed out at the start of drones and bought drones – surveyors, estate agents, power companies, emergency services, police, construction, engineering, agriculture and more. The tech is changing rapidly so what they bought quickly goes out of date – sometimes the key champion of drones has moved on or other more pressing projects arise, so they are just sitting there. 

Which is not only a waste of the original investment in the technology, but those important cost saving opportunities within the original cost benefit cases are going begging. 

But there is another approach that can get everything back on track and deliver even more value, and it’s one that most organisations will be familiar with – managed services.

Managed services take many forms but the one most relevant to drones is cloud computing. In the old days, companies had to buy in not just the computer hardware and software but the servers too, at huge cost

 And that cost wasn’t a one off – the pace of change in IT is so rapid that what was cutting edge technology at one point, nears obsolescence in a couple of years.

 Which is why cloud computing has taken off in the way it has – it has made cost more manageable but crucially, organisations benefit from real time software and capability updates, usually at no extra cost. And back office and user support is often available from the cloud provider.

 To get the most out of drones and to realise those thousands of pounds of organisational savings and open up new revenue streams, organisations need to approach drones in exactly the same way they do their IT – strategically.

That example above has done just that and have engaged Iprosurv to manage their drone fleet on their behalf. In that engagement, they have, at a stroke, removed all these problems and leapt ahead to the cutting edge of what is available to maximise benefit opportunities.

It’s not any real surprise that businesses are struggling to realise the undoubted economic and service benefits of using drones – they are still relatively very new technology and everyone, who is entering the game, is finding their feet.

 But some of us have been working with drones from the earliest days, have all the experience and training required, have the inroads and the influence with the regulator and have the expertise to know where the technology is going next.

 Iprosurv, founded in 2014, is one of those firms and we stand ready to help you get your own personal drone revolution off the ground and contribute to the wider drone revolution.

Credit: Rebecca Jones CEO – Iprosurv Limited

Cover image credit: PwC – Skies without limits

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Are you a security company that does NOT currently offer airborne CCTV patrols as part of the services you offer to your clients?

Are you a security company that does NOT currently offer airborne CCTV patrols as part of the services you offer to your clients?

Are you a security company that does NOT currently offer airborne CCTV patrols as part of the services you offer to your clients?

Former police officer, and Iprosurv franchisee and drone operator Martin explains where Vastly experienced flying drones at music festivals, public protests, football matches and providing live-time feeds into controls.

Martin also has extensive experience in drone surveillance, thermal and visual searches of rural and urban environments for vulnerable and missing persons, aerial photography & videography. This vast experience makes Martin ideally placed to understand your drone security requirements. Get in touch to see how Martin and the Iprosurv team can help you develop your business and give you an edge over your competitors.

Are Drones Part of Your Toolbox for Airborne Security

Are you a security company that does NOT currently offer airborne CCTV patrols as part of the services you offer to your clients?

If not, then maybe you need to be asking yourself, WHY NOT, because your competitors are certainly starting to offer it. Do you really want to get left behind and see your clients go elsewhere?

HOW DO DRONES IMPROVE YOUR SECURITY BUSINESS?

Drones are a valuable tool in your planning and preparation, through the use of aerial site surveys and inspections. Benefits of drones over other traditional methods include but are not limited to:

  • Ease of surveying locations that are difficult or expensive to access reduce health and safety risks when surveying sites
  • Provide accurate mapping data in comparison to Google Earth/Maps or other mapping applications
  • Efficiently identify vulnerable perimeter locations
  • Effectively identify evacuation routes and RV points as well as entry/regress points (particularly relevant for public events such as festivals etc.

PUBLIC EVENTS/LARGE GATHERINGS

The use of drones at large gatherings and/or public events, such as music festivals, country shows etc, cannot be overstated, within the world of security. They provide:

  • Eye in the sky CCTV
  • Live link viewing into your command and control centre Effective Crowd Monitoring
  • Crime Prevention/Detection Mobile aerial security patrols
  • Perimeter patrols – prevent unwanted or non-paying persons
  • Immediate response to incidents, providing situational awareness and overview
  • Allows ground resources to be deployed effectively
  • Immediate response to incidents, providing situational awareness and immediate overview
  • Allows ground resources to be deployed effectively
  • Mobile public address systems and spotlight capability (drone model dependent)

SITES and PREMESES

Whether your clients requirements are a construction site, vacant premises, a distribution centre or educational premises, the use of drones provide an additional and valuable level of security, that will give you the edge of your competitors.

Uses include but not limited to:

  • Complimenting or replacing human static and mobile resources
  • Regular surveys to provide a continual intelligence picture of the location
  • Mobile perimeter patrols – aerial patrols can be conducted more effectively due to camera technology
  • Thermal imagining cameras can detect potential criminal activity that the human eye cannot see.
  • Several aerial patrols can be conducted in same time as a human resource foot patrol
  • Thermal imaging of buildings to detect issues such as fires or floods
  • Asset monitoring

Iprosurv and its security experts are on hand to provide businesses with sound, professional, bespoke advice for your business, weather you want to out source drone operations as part of your business plan or want to be able to offer your clients and in house solution such as Iprosurv’s managed service, we can help.

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Former Police Drone Pilot – Joins Iprosurv Franchise

When you’ve spent as long as I have in the police force (27 years!!), you can get to a point where nothing much surprises or fazes you. That was certainly me up until 2020 when I discovered the power of drones.

https://iprosurv.com/2022/05/10/former-police-drone-pilot-joins-iprosurv-franchise/

I held a range of roles in my time in the police force from firearms officer and road policing to lead investigating officer and trauma risk incident manager. But when I caught wind of drones and how they could assist the police and other emergency services in their work, I knew I wanted to get involved. I knew that drones could make a real difference to the police and the communities that rely on us.

So, in September 2020, I qualified as a drone pilot and was one of the first to obtain the Civil Aviation Authority General Visual Line of Sight qualification. I was deployed to a range of situations from crime scenes and road traffic accidents to natural disasters such as floods and storms. We also started using drones to help us police crowded spaces such as public events, protests, music festivals and football matches.

Of course, a drone can never replace a police officer but the impact they had on our operations was incredible. The oversight, insight and hard data they provided to us in near real time was invaluable and they are rapidly becoming a core tool in every police force’s box.

Iprosurv Security and emergency services

But like all good things, my career with the police came to an end in April this year but I knew I had only just begun my exploration of drones and what they are capable of. But knowing you want something and figuring out how to do it are two entirely different matters. I knew I had to find the right partner for this next phase in my career.

That was when I found Iprosurv. A well-established, nationwide, technically advanced company that had a real focus on professionalism and raising the profile of commercial drones was looking for new franchisees to help expand the reach of drones even further.

That sounded good to me and when I saw the enthusiasm for drones that Rebecca has and her conviction that our use of drones is still in its infancy, convinced me that I had found the perfect organisation to allow me to enter the world of commercial drone operations.

Iprosurv Academy

While it’s all very new, it’s all very similar at the same time. I have lots of practical experience in the kinds of applications that Iprosurv want to see drones being used in and the recent establishment of the Iprosurv training academy means that I can bring my experience to more and more pilots across the country.

It’s an exciting time for drone technology, for Iprosurv and of course for me. Like Rebecca I believe we have only just scratched the surface of what drones are capable of and I can’t wait to get started in spreading the word and the enthusiasm for drones far and wide under the Iprosurv banner.

Rebecca Jones CEO Iprosurv

“Martin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Iprosurv and we are looking forward to supporting him on his journey with us, Martin due to his past experience will be a great asset and a great addition to the team especially in our security sector”

CEO Iprosurv Rebecca Jones

You can visit my webpage to find out more about me and the services I can offer HERE

You can also visit the Iprosurv opportunities’ page to find out more about being an Iprosurv Partner HERE

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Are we nearing the drone tipping point?

In the beginning

Rebecca Jones CEO Iprosurv

Rebecca Jones is the CEO and Co-founder of Iprosurv: When we started Iprosurv, we knew we didn’t just have to build a business. In many ways we, along with all the other commercial drone providers, had to build a whole new sector from scratch and that is no easy task.

And when you are targeting the insurance sector, not necessarily known for its ability to embrace change, that task becomes much harder. But in the last seven or so years, we have made good progress in insurance and our pilots are regularly instructed on a range of insurance projects from building inspections to flood damage assessment and everything in between.

Slow progress

If I’m honest though, the progress has been slower than we imagined. We have spent an inordinate amount of time with individual businesses across the insurance spectrum, showing them what drones can do and how they can make a range of insurance processes much more efficient, safe and cost effective.

Slow Progress

That hands-on approach works but it takes time, time that I’m not sure the insurance industry has if it is to digitise its processes in the way it says it wants to. But according to some recent research conducted by Research in Insurance in conjunction with Iprosurv, we could be about to reach a tipping point in the adoption of drones in insurance.

Open door?

When asked if they would use drones if they reduced the claims life cycle (which we have proven they do), not one insurer said that they wouldn’t use them with only 6% of brokers ruling the idea out. That sounds like an open door for Iprosurv but if this is the case, why isn’t every insurer and broker using them?

When asked why they hadn’t yet adopted drones, 54% of respondents said it was because they didn’t have the influence to introduce them to the business and around a third said there was a lack of appetite higher up in the organisation.

This research shows that appetite for using drones was highest among employees at support levels which suggests that we have some work to do to convince the decision makers (who aren’t necessarily at the front line) of the benefits of drones. Their people appear to want to use them so why aren’t management responding?

Education and understanding is key

It seems clear that this challenge is on us, the drone providers. Nearly a third of insurers (32%) and 28% of brokers admitted that they just don’t understand the tech with 11% of insurers and 30% of brokers saying they don’t see a need.

It’s clear there is an education job here for all commercial drone providers. While those on the front line may see the potential benefit, they are not the ones whose necks are on the line when it comes to making the decision to use them.

So it’s on us as providers to ensure that the decision makers ‘get it’ and can see for themselves that drones offer a completely new way of managing not just claims but also conducting surveys for risk management.

Cost benefits?

We need to show them not just the tech, but the practical cost benefits that they can bring to almost any organisation. And we need to show them that drones are set to play a key role in the industry-wide drive towards digitisation.

When asked what kind of technology they would like to see used more in the industry, drones proved to be the fifth most popular behind automated claims processing, claims portals, greater us of videos and cameras and the introduction of claims apps, out of a total of 20 choices.

Everything appears to be in place. Frontline employees get it. Organisations see drones playing a key role in digitisation. And not one insurer said that they wouldn’t use drones if they reduced the claims life cycle.

Keeping the faith

These are really solid foundations to build upon and if we can educate and convince decision makers that drones are safe, the data they produce is handled compliantly and that they can streamline processes that have remained largely unchanged for decades, we may finally get to that tipping point.

Everything everyone in the commercial drone sector has done to date is having an impact. The research shows that. Now we just need to keep the faith.

The appetite is there but it is being dampened by lingering suspicions about drone technology. That is the bit we need to crack, I think. That is the bit that is preventing us from reaching tipping point. And it is that bit that we all now need to focus on.

From this point on, it has to be all about education, education, education. Once we deliver that, there’s no telling how integral drones may become in insurance.

Contact

For further information, contact martin.friel@iprosurv.com

About

Established in 2014, Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology in the insurance industry and beyond. Its current network of pilots, covering the entirety of the UK, use a proprietary system to record, store and deliver drone data to clients in a fast and secure manner. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

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Iprosurv: Leading the way to a more professional sector

Andrew Hamilton, Iprosurv’s new Director of Training and Development, talks about how he believes training and practical experience are the only way the commercial drone sector will secure the public trust that it needs to thrive.

It’s always exciting to start out on a new part of your career but joining Iprosurv as Director of Training and Development is particularly exciting as it feels we are on the cusp of something big.

Rebecca, the CEO of Iprosurv, will tell you that getting industry switched on to the potential of drones wasn’t an overnight thing and she and co-founder Shane have spent the last seven years convincing the world of business, one sector and one organisation at a time, that drones can revolutionise their operations.

And of course, they’ve not been alone in that – there are a growing number of commercial drone operators up and down the country doing the same and it is great to see them turning more and more organisations on to drones.

But that growth comes with a risk. There is still a general wariness of drones and while some organisations have plunged in, the majority are still dipping their toe to see what happens.

What every company experiences when they try drones for the first time, will have an impact on their perception of the drone sector and that one experience with one pilot can have serious consequences for all of us. Our collective reputation is at risk with every flight undertaken which is why it is so important that every flight is performed to the highest standards.

While it is a concern, it is also a huge opportunity for everyone in the sector which is why I’m so excited to have joined Iprosurv and to get started on the training.

My introduction to drones

I got into training by accident really. In 2013, I bought my first Phantom 1 with GoPro Hero 3 camera attached and after completing my drone training I was awarded my first PfCO in October 2014.

At the time, I was a serving Police Officer on the Roads Policing Unit where I was involved in investigating fatal road traffic collisions. At the time, we relied on the police helicopter to provide the aerial footage for our investigations but during one investigation the police helicopter was redeployed to a life-threatening incident and I was unable to get the aerial footage I needed.

So I decided to bring my drone out on patrol with me. Looking at the data the drone had collected was a big moment as we could all see in that one deployment how much more efficient and effective they could be.

I retired from the Police in 2016 but returned in 2017 to set up the first dedicated Police drone unit in the UK with up to 40 pilots and 15 drones. After their initial PfCO courses the drone unit would then teach the officers to fly drones in policing situations which is when my passion for teaching and training revealed itself.

That passion took to me to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as their UAS Sector lead, where I led a team dealing with OSC applications, auditing, oversight and enforcement of drone operators.

From there I became the Lead Instructor for an RAE delivering drone training on behalf of the CAA. The role of an RAE is to assist the CAA in assuring the competence of remote pilots that require an Operational Authorisation through the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC).

The competency of UA pilots involved in the operation of an unmanned aircraft is one of the main factors in ensuring UA operations remain tolerably safe and give confidence for this industry.

And that was me – hooked on training new drone pilots and providing real flight time experience to them.

It’s all about professionalism

One of the key things that attracted me to Iprosurv was Rebecca and Shane’s commitment to high standards of training for all their pilots and their insistence that the sector had to become more professional if it was ever to fully realise its potential.

The training and development of all pilots in the Iprosurv network, supporting them as they take the step in flight ability and safety, is my number one priority and the more training we provide in new technology, techniques and regulatory requirements, the more professional our pilots will become.

As that professionalism starts to act as a differentiator for Iprosurv, others will hopefully be galvanised to similarly invest in best practice and training. Everyone operating in the commercial drone sector needs to continually challenge themselves and their peers to achieve ever higher standards.

If we do that for ourselves and for each other, I am convinced that we will all secure the trust from the public and from business that we need to ensure that commercial drones secure their rightful place as an intrinsic part of the economy.

Contact

For further information, contact martin.friel@iprosurv.com

About Iprosurv

Established in 2014, Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology in the insurance industry and beyond. Its current network of pilots, covering the entirety of the UK, use a proprietary system to record, store and deliver drone data to clients in a fast and secure manner. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

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Training and professionalism come to the fore as Iprosurv hires former CAA drone sector lead

Andrew Hamilton, former Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) sector lead for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has joined one of the UK’s leading drone services providers, Iprosurv as Training and Development Director.

Ongoing Training and Mentoring

In his new role, Hamilton will be responsible for providing practical and theoretical training in the use of commercial drones to members of Pilot Partnerships, Iprosurv’s growing drone pilot network.

With nearly a decade’s experience in commercial drone flight, Hamilton brings a huge amount of training experience to Iprosurv having set up the UK’s first dedicated police drone unit with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and having acted as lead instructor for a Recognised Assessment Entity on behalf of the CAA.

As all Iprosurv pilots are fully trained and licensed, Hamilton’s role will focus on providing ongoing training and mentoring in new technology and deployment techniques, education on developing regulation and providing practical training for new pilots.

Pilot Partners Highest Industry Standards

Commenting on the appointment, Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, said: “Andy brings a huge amount of personal flight experience and, most importantly, in training other pilots so we are delighted to have him on board.

“Iprosurv has always had a clear mission to hold ourselves and our pilots to the highest professional and technical standards and with Andy joining us, we can take that to the next level.”

While Hamilton will start work with members of Pilot Partnerships with immediate effect, he has begun the approval process of securing CAA approved training entity status for Iprosurv.

“After gaining your CAA Operational Authorisation, technically, a pilot is eligible to operate a drone in a very congested area like central London,” said Hamilton.

“The standards set by the CAA are high but the opportunity to gain the skills and experience after qualification is missing at the moment and that is the gap I hope to help Iprosurv fill. In much the same way that the Pass Plus is often used by new drivers, we want to introduce the Pass Plus for drone flight.

Training Consistency

“There are many thousands of commercial drone pilots operating in the UK but there is still a huge variation in quality and flight experience. We have to tackle that lack of consistency if we are going to earn the necessary trust of the public and the private sectors.”

Pilot Partnerships was set up earlier this year to provide a professional home for the thousands of independent pilots across the country, delivering consistent training and flight management processes and embedding strong professional standards.

“We are just one of many commercial drone providers in the UK, but what makes Iprosurv pilots stand out is the level of experience they have and the rigorous and continuous training they undertake,” said Jones.

“With Andy joining us, our pilots now have access to one of the most experienced individuals in the market in training and development and we look forward to introducing his expertise to more and more pilots across the country.”

Contact

For further information, contact martin.friel@iprosurv.com

About Iprosurv

Established in 2014, Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology in the insurance industry and beyond. Its current network of pilots, covering the entirety of the UK, use a proprietary system to record, store and deliver drone data to clients in a fast and secure manner. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

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How drones are revolutionizing the telecom industry

From agriculture to engineering, insurance, and infrastructure, the enterprise use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, is on the rise.

PwC estimates that the total market value of drone-powered enterprise solutions will exceed $127bn, with the value of drones to communication service providers accounting for nearly $20bn.

For telecom operators, drones open the door to a range of opportunities. Due to the costs and expertise required to provide these solutions, it is not viable for individual organizations to establish their capabilities; and there lies the opportunity for telecom operators.

The benefit of drone technology is not a new concept in the telecom industry. In 2016, Etisalat won a prestigious Glomo Award at Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, in recognition of the “Drones 4 Good” initiative. Etisalat’s “Drones 4 Good” came first in the ‘Best Mobile Innovation for Health’ category, as it demonstrated the use of specialized drones to transport polio vaccine to remote locations.

The benefit of drone technology is not a new concept in the telecom industry. In 2016, Etisalat won a prestigious Glomo Award at Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, in recognition of the “Drones 4 Good” initiative. Etisalat’s “Drones 4 Good” came first in the ‘Best Mobile Innovation for Health’ category, as it demonstrated the use of specialized drones to transport polio vaccine to remote locations.

Telecoms operators are well-positioned to develop these capabilities by building on their existing strengths in connectivity, cloud, big data, and analytics, as well as capitalizing on the partnerships they already have in place to augment these capabilities.

As connectivity improves and automation increases, we can expect to see drones at the edge, completing autonomous missions, and uploading data directly to the cloud, bringing substantial business benefit to telcos and other enterprises.

Drones make it possible to perform remote engineering and network planning tasks, automate tower inspections, and enhance the measurement of wireless coverage and performance. They will help accelerate the rollout of 5G networks and enable new use cases leveraging 5G connectivity.

It appears as though the future of drones is now. And the coronavirus pandemic has certainly helped to speed up adoption and use cases for aerial fleets.

Automating inspections

The key application areas for drones in telecoms are maintenance monitoring and keeping infrastructure and installations in good condition.

In the past, technicians had to climb to the top of towers and complete a manual count on the different installed equipment. Manual inspections are usually conducted on a limited portion of the tower, meaning that many telcos don’t have a complete record of the equipment mounted on their towers or comprehensive data on whether towers have available space to host new equipment.

As a result, these companies often find themselves without a central digital repository for processing insights – and no easy way to gain meaningful, portfolio-wide intelligence.

Automated drone inspections offer a powerful alternative. Using high-precision flight planning, automated capture, and intelligent data processing, telcos can automate the tower inspection process and use drones to autonomously survey their assets.

Drones can inspect installed equipment at the top of towers or over large areas with greater speed – lowering costs and reducing the risks to staff. The drones can take pictures, videos, measurements, and readings, and store the data for later use.

AT&T launched a programme in October 2016 that uses drones to inspect cell towers. Verizon also uses drones to inspect tower sites affected by severe storm flooding. AT&T uses drones to test signal strength across different regions in the US. Nokia has performed similar experiments in the UAE.

According to the GSMA’s latest Mobile Economy report, operators will spend $1.1 trillion globally in CAPEX between now and 2025, 80% of which will be on 5G networks. These 5G networks will require telcos to build, inspect, and maintain more sites, which will ultimately serve as locations for drone technology.

Drone-powered solutions

With the telecoms market evolving and operators seeking new commercial opportunities, the potential market for drone-powered solutions (DPS) is significant.

In addition to the benefits DPS can provide to telecom operators, there is also an opportunity for telecom operators to provide these solutions as services to other organizations.

Telcos have deep expertise in connectivity, cloud computing, and big data, and already have network infrastructure in place. This means they are uniquely positioned to monetize enterprise drone operations and become expert providers of automated drone solutions to private enterprises and the public sector.

Telcos could offer DPS by building partnerships in areas related to drone procurement, data processing, and data delivery, and by leveraging their internal capabilities across the value chain.

According to a Vodafone white paper, because telcos already possess the cloud infrastructure and network capacity needed to manage, store, and archive high volumes of data, it won’t take much for them to meet the need for data live-streaming, analyse drone-collected data, and provide their customers with unique insights.

A PwC report also states that the market for DPS, excluding drone procurement, in the Gulf Cooperation Council is expected to reach US$1.5 billion by 2022. This market can be served through multiple business models, such as end-to-end commercial drone services, on-demand live video data acquisition, or a fully autonomous system operated at a client’s premises.

Drone traffic control centers

Telecom operators could help to establish a drone traffic control center (DTCC) that would enable control of drone operations, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Telecom operators can provide the connectivity required for data transfer so that drones can be tracked by airspace regulators and receive real-time air traffic information.

Telcos could facilitate the technology components of the DTCC, from end to end, by supplying and managing data storage, connectivity, cybersecurity, professional services, and applications, including a drone traffic management system and real-time reporting and analytics.

By becoming a provider of these services, telecom operators will be able to meet their own needs, quickly gain a critical mass of skills and experience, and then offer these services to the market – achieving economies of scale and building new revenue streams.

Challenges

Before telcos can seize on the efficiency and revenue-generating opportunities that drones provide, they must first be able to conduct safe and compliant drone operations. Drones fly in low-altitude airspace, which can introduce new safety and compliance concerns.

To realize the full potential of drone technologies, it will be vital to have air traffic management systems in place that prevents collisions between drones and other aircraft.

Along with the benefits with drones to the telecom industry comes a responsibility to operate them in ways that respect personal privacy. As drone operators perform flights over various types of sites, the vast amount of data they collect could include sensitive or confidential information about private property or behaviour.

Given this risk, there is a need for clear international laws and guidelines on how companies should store data, and how individuals and companies can defend their privacy rights.

The lack of clarity on this vital issue of privacy is discouraging some companies from adopting drone-powered solutions.

Article by Telecom Review

Posted in General Interest

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Iprosurv takes another stride forward with new thermal imaging partnership

Iprosurv, one of the UK’s leading commercial drone providers, has bolstered its portfolio of drone services with the announcement that it has entered into a strategic partnership with thermal imaging specialists, iRed.

Established in 2002, iRed is the UK’s leader in thermal imaging, remote sensing and enterprise drone solutions and is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority for commercial drone pilots.

Under the partnership, iRed will provide Iprosurv with the latest, most accurate infrared imaging services on the market, expanding the drone operator’s existing broad range of services even further.

Best in Business Partners

Commenting on the deal, Rebecca Jones, co-founder and CEO of Iprosurv, said: “From the day we launched in 2014, we have always placed a huge amount of emphasis upon professionalism and setting the highest standards in training and technology use.

“We know where our specialisms lie and we will continue to build on them but where we don’t have the necessary level of expertise or experience, we will look to partner with the best in the business which led us to explore partnership possibilities with iRed.”

While thermal cameras are relatively commonplace in the commercial drone market, standard cameras lack the accuracy and sophistication required to provide businesses and individuals with the necessary insight.

“By partnering with iRed, we know that we are giving our clients the most up to date, accurate and detailed thermal capability on the market. We can’t reproduce that level of expertise, so we decided to partner with the best instead and make that expertise available to all of our client base.”

Commitment and Quality

Commenting on the deal, Jack Bloomfield, Marketing Manager for iRed, said: “All of our best clients come from long term partnerships. We always look to build sustained, long-term partnerships with the firms who have the same commitment to quality and professionalism that we do – and Iprosurv ticked all the boxes.

“The drone industry is still young but by sharing best practice, technology and expertise, we are working together to create the professional sector that we all want, and our clients deserve.”

The iRed is Iprosurv’s latest strategic partnership following the deals with agricultural specialist Sentera and UTM provider Altitude Angel

Posted in Iprosurv News

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