Drones, robots and the power of 5G.

By: Diana Alvear

Introducing Robotics Business Technology.

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On today’s Up To Speed, host Diana Alvear, Verizon Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi and VP of New Business Incubation Elise Neel introduced us to Verizon’s new Robotics Business Technology unit, which expands solutions for businesses using drones and ground robotics.

The new unit, run by Mariah Scott, includes: Skyward, Verizon’s drone management company, incubed IT, a leading developer of software for autonomous mobile robots recently acquired by Verizon, and a team focused on automating command and control of robots on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.

“Enterprises in many industries are adopting drones and ground robots to gather data, survey and monitor infrastructure, and automate logistics operations,” said Mariah Scott, Head of Robotics Business Technology. “By integrating these fleets with one operational platform, and leveraging Verizon’s advanced connectivity solutions, businesses can speed up time to insight, increase automation of their operations and deliver greater value.”

Diana shared clips from the recent 2021 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where Rima outlined business challenges that the new unit is already working to solve, like improving how robots ‘see’ their immediate environment and how they communicate with one another.

Elise believes bringing drones, autonomous robots and the software that runs them into one unit helps us “bridge this world of new exciting frontier technology in hardware, software and networking.”

Helping first responders

Rima shared an example from the recent Big Hollow fire in Washington state, which threatened our critical communications infrastructure. The air quality was unsafe for humans and normally the federal government would only give permission for a drone to fly beyond visual line of sight if there's an on-site pilot or observer. “But our team had shown that our drones could fly without on-site personnel using our 4G LTE network,” said Rima. “The government granted us a waiver and we carried out the mission. “The drone was able to send near real-time imagery to the operations leader in Alaska 1,600 miles away.”

Thin Client

Elise rounded out these new developments by explaining our new Thin Client solution, “taking the brain from the robot and moving it into the network. We're removing the requirement for these expensive and heavy sensors, and we're powering all of that decisioning intelligence by the network and by our software.”

The benefits to the customer include a lighter robot, which delivers longer battery life for every mission. In addition, the blazing-fast speeds of our 5G network with Mobile Edge Compute will allow the machines to make decisions in near real-time, important when dealing with issues like a falling box or a human walking in front of a robot.

New Business Incubation

The new Robotics Business Technology unit will be part of New Business Incubation at Verizon, forming at a critical moment in time with an opportunity to shape the ways that customers and consumers will live, work and play in the future.

“We are advancing this field in the name of expanding human possibilities, not limiting them. We understand that it's not just about drones or robots, or maps or software,” Rima concluded, “It's about the customers we serve and their vision for a better world.”

Learn more about our new Robotics Business Technology.

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About the author(s):

Diana Alvear is new to the V Team family. In her previous life, she was a network correspondent and local anchor. These days, she juggles crafting communications with chasing kids and pets.

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