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BT gears up to take on rogue drones

BT’s Enterprise unit is offering customers an anti-drone security solution to protect their physical sites from intrusion

BT is to introduce a counter-drone solution – developed alongside partner DroneShield, which has previously worked alongside the British Army and the US Department of Defence – to help organisations better protect themselves from rogue drone activity threatening privacy, security, and safety at their sites.

While the majority of drone use is safe and legal, and the technology is widely held to provide great benefits to multiple industries, a growing number of drone-related incidents, many relating to the civil aviation sector, have given new cause for concern.

December 2018, for example, saw disruption to hundreds of flights and thousands of passengers at Gatwick Airport due to criminal drone activity.

Sold through BT’s Enterprise business unit, the counter-drone managed service will be powered by multi-sensor IoT technology, backed by an enterprise-grade network and a real-time alert system. It will have an operating range of approximately 5km, and 360⁰ detection coverage to monitor local surroundings and provide warnings to security teams.

“Unwanted drone activity can have a dramatic effect on an organisation’s ability to function effectively and poses a real risk to safety,” said BT director of strategy and incubation, Simon Wingrove.

“We believe that this partnership between BT and DroneShield will provide our customers with a best-in-class, integrated and secure drone detection solution.”

DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik added: “The recent disruptions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports have underscored the importance of counter-drone capabilities for the UK’s critical infrastructure, as well as the fact that a range of corporate and public sector operators including security and law enforcement agencies, prisons, venues and events, datacentres, VIPs, and many others, are at risk from rogue drone use.”

By enabling organisations to detect, track and identify drones breaching their site limits, the service will let users gather evidence to report and build up knowledge of any drone activity on and around their sites, with a view to putting preventative measures in place.

Where it is legal to do so, the service can also be extended to offer such countermeasures, including fixed signal blockers to jam radio operating equipment at up to 1.5km, and portable drone disruptors.

The service will sit alongside BT’s dedicated cyber security function, which protects both BT’s own worldwide network and offers cyber security services to its customers.

Read more about drones

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  • Unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones, are becoming crucial elements in IoT environments, especially in industrial, agriculture and mining scenarios. Deloitte Digital's Robert Schmid discusses.
  • Enterprise drone applications are showcasing numerous benefits, but challenges stand in the way of widespread adoption, namely public safety and scalability.

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