Innovation

2015 – Year of the Drones?

Whether they’re landing on the lawn of the White House, assisting in counterterrorism, or delivering your online orders, drones seem to be almost everywhere. These versatile machines are lauded for their optimization, proving to be an inexpensive and energy-efficient way to survey a variety of situations in multiple industries. The newest industry to be utilizing drones? Ours!

Earlier this month, our close collaborator Nokia Networks announced that they had employed high-capability Secutronic drones in Dubai Sports City, and in partnership with operator du, to help with automated testing and analysis for network optimization. The drones were armed with smartphones from Ascom that were pre-installed with TEMS Pocket software. By using drones with these specific phones, automated testing and analysis were much more efficient than traditional manual walk tests – the drones were able to cover the desired area much more quickly, and the test data (which was collected automatically) was then sent to a server to be instantly processed, resulting in immediate reporting.

Nokia also utilized drones for a variety of other tasks. Telco drones were used for tower inspections, reducing the number of times technicians needed to climb up and down towers, supervising installations remotely, and improving the safety of technician workers, specifically in weather conditions when climbing could become too dangerous. These drones delivered a high-quality site audit, allowing unique and detailed panoramic and top-down views of the towers all in one quick flyover.

Drones can also be used for radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing; these drones helped engineers monitor frequency for impactions, power for sufficiency, and latency for performance and simulation; which helped optimal site design, established a clear LoS, and a suitable antenna height and site location.

Tony Awad, Head of du Customer Team – Nokia Networks, addressed Nokia’s use of drones, stating:

“Drones are becoming a common phenomenon across the world and multiple sectors are embracing thebenefits drones bring, such as faster deliveries in logistics or delivering emergency services in health care. In the telecoms sector, certain operators have already embraced the use of drones for telecom tower audits, and we are proud to be able to demonstrate multiple use cases using drones with du in UAE. With the use of drones, we continue to bring innovation and automation into our service delivery to make our networks even more efficient and reliable.”

To read Nokia’s full press release, go here.

What are your thoughts on the use of drones in telecomm? What are some more positives that can arise from their use? Any negatives? We’d love to hear your thoughts – comment below!

Categories: Innovation

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2 replies »

  1. Interesting application of drones, If operated properly use of drones can greatly speed up testing and also in theory could make real 3D snapshot of RF signals presence in some closed or even open Venue, such as mentioned Stadium.As of monitoring and Inspecting, this is also of immense benefit especially in harsh weather conditions.

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  2. Drones are setup to revolutionize several industries and one very good example is the power and infrastructure industry. Currently inspection of power lines are done with helicopter which becomes a tremendous cost in both time and resources if one is to cover the countless of kilometers of power lines in the world.

    In our industry you’d be able to get a 360 sector test done in an instant, especially convenient in a scenario when driving either wouldn’t be feasible due to the terrain or time consuming due to traffic. I’m sure there are more scenarios we can think of as we start playing with the idea.

    Biggest hurdle right now for the drone industry is probably legislation and ensuring drones are safe to fly in a crowded environment. Right now you need LOS to the drone, due to legislation, which prevents flying around a venue even if you loose sight only for a few seconds.

    I’m sure there will be a lot of interesting developments here going forward. Just keep an eye on Amazon and their drone delivery plans!

    A few years ago we did some drone testing with TEMS Pocket, mainly for fun but also to see where the technology were going. Guess we were ahead of our time! =D From Nov 2012: https://youtu.be/G4FRpCqptNM

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