Nokia drones-as-a-service business gains altitude in North America

Tech provider and partners make drone network backed by 4G/LTE and 5G connectivity available for purchase, lease or one-off flight hire, bundled with services so more enterprises can take advantage of industrial drones

Nokia has extended its programme with private wireless partners to provide drone network benefits to industries in North America.

The Nokia Drone Networks service uses public and private 4G/LTE and 5G network connectivity for the reliability and safety of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. Operated remotely for one-off or scheduled flights, the solution is said to benefit from a highly ruggedised docking station that doubles as a recharging station. This, said Nokia, makes it possible for enterprises to rely on the service to realise new efficiencies and capabilities such as surveillance at remote facilities, environmental or stockpile monitoring at a mine, managing inspections in hazardous locations, or for public safety search and rescue operations.

Enterprises can opt to purchase the Nokia Drone Networks drone-in-a-box offering or minimise upfront capital expense by leasing, sharing or simply hiring drones for one-off or regularly scheduled flights.

Nokia and the members of its partner programme will offer bundled service packages tailored to the needs of enterprises, including managing data analytics or drone maintenance. The companies will also manage flight scheduling, working with relevant spectrum and airspace regulators to gain approvals where required.

Nokia and its partners in the private wireless space, such as DXC Technology, will collaborate with regulators and the industry ecosystem for flight approvals to achieve drone innovation and safety. Companies that choose to deploy or lease Nokia Drone Networks are also said to be able to benefit from an end-to-end offering, which has recently received certification from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for operation in North America.

Deployed in conjunction with Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) and MX Industrial Edge at their campus network, Nokia assured that enterprises will be able to take advantage of robust, reliable connectivity, service predictability and the ability to process data obtained from the drones in real time, on-premise, to open the door to an array of innovative use cases and accelerate their return on investment.

“We are pleased to leverage our existing private wireless partnerships, such as the one with DXC Technology, to offer drones-as-a-service to the North American market,” said Stephan Litjens, vice-president of enterprise campus edge solutions at Nokia. “This allows us to offer our innovative solution in a way that meets the complex needs of any enterprise or industry. Through our work with partners across all regions, we’ll maintain a strong collaboration with spectrum and airspace regulators and the ecosystem to ensure we balance innovation with safety for customer flights.”

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In a corporate statement, DXC added: “We want our customers to book a drone flight with the simplicity of hailing a ride-share. Enterprises will benefit from simplicity, leveraging a complete FCC certified drone-in-a-box solution provided by a single vendor without headaches as we manage the flight approval for them working with the relevant authorities.

“They can adopt drones however it makes sense for their business. And those that choose to deploy the drone-in-a-box solution alongside Nokia DAC private wireless will leverage the greatest capabilities, unlocking new use cases for the fastest return on investment.”

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