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Drones - The Autonomous Mobile Edge of IoT

The hype of the drone phenomenon is nearing if not already hitting fever pitch. Drones are the new IoT enabling business use cases that can transform them into digitalised companies. They give access to places people cannot go to collect previously uncollectable data or diagnose things in inaccessible places.

These drones are able to reach up to 80 miles an hour, carry passengers and has since made at least 40 successful journeys. The era of flying taxis and unmanned data collection in remote locations may not be too far-fetched anymore.

The humble drone has been elevated from a cheap toy to potentially a trillion-dollar industry in the blink of an eye. From being used as a marketing tool, to making deliveries for small items, or being used to collect images and data from remote locations, make no mistake, the drone revolution will change the scope of the digital evolution.

It doesn’t take much research to see the drone industry is abuzz with activity. From assisting hunger-torn countries by delivering food supply to remote areas, being used by military and secret agencies that are challenging the laws for governance, to helping farmers monitor their crops and improve yields.  The reach of the drone in business is only limited by the imagination. The technology is now being integrated with AI and Big Data systems providing data that previously was uncollectable.

Traditional brick and mortar businesses are about to be disrupted yet again, this time from the skies and you better be on board or be left out.

Drones themselves are merely unpiloted vehicles. What turns them into indispensable business tools is data. Whether it is data that fuels AI to enable them to intelligently self-control their own operations (e.g. deciding their own delivery routes with no manual intervention) or whether it is collecting data from inaccessible places to send to a data lake – drones and data will transform many businesses.

Big Data companies like Cloudera can uncover and identify new use cases across various industries through machine learning and analytics from the copious amounts of data collected by these drones. For example drones can help identify anomalous events. In wind farms for instance, where motors are running hotter than they should, Drones can help monitor and tabulate the humidity and weather conditions to more quickly identify when a problem will arise. Drones can also be used to independently and automatically explore pipelines, be it gaseous or water or even electrical cables for leaks and faults. The use of security drones too can be of significant advantage in autonomously patrolling buildings, using data and AI to choose their own patrol routes and predict potentially dangerous situations.

Granted, most businesses will not need to have drones flying everywhere, but most businesses will find that drones will have a place somewhere in their futures.

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