Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Drones Set to Take a Giant Leap Upwards, GSMA Says - SMART INDUSTRY


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones are among the most recognizable technologies to have emerged in recent years, and one of the fastest-growing areas of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As Head of APAC at the GSM Association (GSMA), Julian Gorman, notes, it’s not hard to see why this burgeoning market is set for such tremendous growth:

The opportunity to positively impact people’s lives and industries already seems limitless. Drones have already been successfully used for search and rescue, remote monitoring, industry inspection, safety and logistics.

Yet it is precisely because this market spans so many sectors and industries that it is among the most complex and challenging areas of the IoT to develop. Last year, the drones industry made major progress with the launch of DRZ Iskandar, which established Iskandar Puteri in Malaysia as the first drone and robotics zone in Southeast Asia. The initiative, launched by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), aims to develop an ecosystem where talent is trained and certified, start-ups can network with established incubators to test and commercialise their innovations, and the wider drones industry can meet to share ideas and deepen cooperation. Similarly, the GSMA, an association representing the interest of mobile network operators and the broader mobile ecosystem worldwide, has been actively working for few years now with the telecoms and aviation industries to maximise the use of beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) capabilities for drones, develop new use cases and help create an open and trusted regulatory environment through its Drone Interest Group and Aerial Connectivity Joint Activity.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

In August 2021, GSMA, and DRZ Iskandar co-hosted the first major event with the mobile industry called APAC Connected Drone Workshop: Integration of Mobile, Aviation and Drone Industries’. At the event’s openning, Gorman observed that “drone technology, community concerns, legacy government policy, regulations and mobile networks, and the widespread availability of drones are on a collision course” – and that, as such, “the mobile industry has a huge role to play”. For the drone ecosystem, there are two key challenges at this stage: 1) the establishment of a regulatory framework at local, national and eventually, international levels that can support drones and assist to mitigate regulators’ safety concerns; and 2) collaboration between the drone ecosystem and mobile networks to meet the technological requirements needed to support mass deployment of mobile-enabled drones, especially BVLOS operations. As one would expect, given the vast number of organisations and regulators involved in this ecosystem, deep and ongoing cooperation across the wider industry is essential. As Managing Director of IIB Ventures for the DRZ Iskandar initiative, Zulfiqar Zainuddin put it, “the mobile and telecommunications, aviation and drone industries are three industry pillars that need to converge”.

Author: Tim Cole Image Credit: Pixabay