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Verizon Gets Deeper into Robotics and Drones

Aug. 3, 2021
The communications giant starts a new division focused on expanding enterprise solutions for aerial and ground robotics.

As more automation makes its way into our daily lives, companies across the spectrum are throwing their hats into the ring and exploring the role that robotics, drones and other automated equipment can play in the future of work and life. From Amazon’s fulfillment co-bots to UPS’ drone delivery service to IBM’s artificial intelligence-enabled Watson robot, the examples are proliferating across the business landscape.

Verizon became the latest company to get into the robotics and drone game with the formation of its new Robotics Business Technology division. According to DRONELIFE, the communications company has been taking an increasing role in the drone industry since it acquired drone management company Skyward in 2017. 

“Since then, the company has used drones for maintaining their own network and for emergency response,” the publication reports. “They’ve also worked to leverage the power of 5G, forming partnerships with companies like UPS to work on last mile logistics and drone delivery projects.”

DRONELIFE says Verizon’s Robotics Business Technology division clarifies the company’s commitment to enabling autonomous solutions, both in the air and on the ground. Along with Skyward, it reports that the new division includes 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.

Some of incubed IT’s current projects include digital space orchestration, a location technology that uses data to provide visibility into business operations while helping companies operate more efficiently and better respond to dynamic environments. The 5G Disruption team is exploring business opportunities in a 5G world, and Skyward’s drone operations management platform provides enterprises with drone fleet management, command and control, and access to airspace and ground intelligence. 

Creating Integrated Solutions

According to Verizon, Robotics Business Technology was formed to help expand enterprise solutions for aerial and ground robotics. Its focus will be on creating integrated solutions that incorporate Verizon’s 5G and mobile edge compute capabilities to help enterprise customers efficiently deploy, manage and scale mixed fleets of aerial and ground robotics. 

Verizon says Robotics Business Technology will also provide connected robotics solutions to existing and future customers for indoor and outdoor use cases in manufacturing and logistics, commercial construction, oil and gas, energy and utilities, public sector and media.

“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, in a press release.

“By integrating these fleets with one operational platform, and leveraging Verizon’s advanced connectivity solutions,” she continued, “businesses can speed up time to insight, increase automation of their operations, and deliver greater value.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Calling robotics a “critical aspect” of 5G’s future, Elise Neel, Verizon’s VP of new business incubation, said the new business unit will help accelerate the “symbiotic relationship between humans and machines,” thus paving the way for the communications company to transform how businesses approach innovation and the future of work.

“Our talented team of roboticists will leverage the power of Verizon’s network, paired with the sophistication of next-generation software, to orchestrate and unify robotic experiences,” said Neel, in the press release. “This work will help deliver on the promise of making the fourth industrial revolution a reality."

This article appeared in Source Today.

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