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Drones Take Off at the Edge


By: Mary Jander

Drones, aka unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are emerging as edge devices in enterprise applications, prompting a wave of cloud-based solutions.

Recent news highlights these trends. On May 2, 2023, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) announced that its Nokia Drone Solutions “drone-in-a-box” has been certified CE for safe European use. The product is a turnkey drone equipped with a camera and docking station, along with cellular links to 4G LTE and 5G networks. The solution, which works beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), also features edge cloud processing via Nokia’s MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) software, which orchestrates operational technology (OT) systems in industrial settings. MXIE links to Azure Arc.

“The unique feature set enabling the integration of Nokia drones with third-party applications will aid the transformation of the drones, allowing them to be used as a flying data collection platform leveraging reliable 4G and 5G edge cloud connectivity,” stated Thomas Eder, Head of Embedded Wireless Solutions at Nokia, in the press release.

Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) also offers a drone platform called Ericsson Drone Mobility (EDM), which supports BVLOS along with encrypted end-to-end communications. Ericsson claims its 5G service APIs enable links between telco providers supporting drone delivery and hyperscaler cloud services.

The Flying Edge

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