05.07.2020|Inside Verizon

Help from above.

By: Dave Boerger

Skyward supports companies finding new uses for drones during the pandemic.

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Historically, humans have used every tool at their disposal to fight viruses.

Fortunately, in the current battle against COVID-19, we have a new high tech weapon: Drones. Skyward, a Verizon company, is a key part of that effort, providing drone software, training and services to commercial businesses.

“Skyward customers are using drones in so many unique ways,” said Jessica Moody, Director of Marketing and Communications for Skyward. “But now, during the pandemic, they’re finding even more ways to use them and get more value out of drones.”

One of those companies is SkySkopes, a professional drone service operator. “Probably the most important and potentially effective use of unmanned aircraft systems in response to COVID-19 is the ability to fly drones and spray disinfectant in target locations,” said Matt Dunlevy, the President and CEO of SkySkopes. “We were able to get this research going and we now feel that drones spraying disinfectant will be effective once the efficacy is approved.”

Matt’s teams are also looking at using unmanned aircraft systems to test different airframes -- the basic structure of the aircraft -- and different flight profiles for delivery. “This wouldn’t be just delivery of food and basic necessities for people who might be sheltering in place,” explained Matt. “We can also use unmanned aircraft to deliver medical supplies to health personnel from distribution points, even hospitals. We feel we’re making progress to demonstrate that this works, in no small part due to our partnerships with Skyward.”

Another company that has turned to drones to help weather the current crisis is Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, AL.

“The construction industry has been affected by COVID because many of the job site activities that were previously allowed, including job site walkthroughs with the owners or stakeholders, have been postponed,” said Ryan Hittie, Innovation Specialist for Brasfield & Gorrie. “With drones, we’ve been able to keep our job sites documented and keep the stakeholders involved with 2D maps, 3D models and even a job walkthrough with a drone tracking us, so that the client could be right there with us.”

Ryan believes his clients see the value of using drones. “A lot of them get excited about the thought of seeing a livestream drone walkthrough, said Ryan. “They've seen the potential to keep the job going regardless of who is on-site or who is not.”

It’s clients like these finding new uses for drones to help their communities that gets Jessica excited to work at Skyward. “Just the fact that we’re able to be a small part of helping them deploy drones and take advantage of this technology is really inspiring to us.”

About the author(s):

Dave Boerger is a part of the Verizon Corporate Communications team and a regular contributor to Up To Speed. He's a recovering marketer and sitcom writer.

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