Verizon buys into drone technology to reduce complexity for operators

February 21, 2017 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Verizon has purchased Skyward, a private company based in Portland, Oregon that brings drone operations management to the Verizon IoT portfolio, simplifying drone operations and management for organizations of any size. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Internationally, companies rely on Skyward for managing operations, improving safety and lowering operating costs. Through this acquisition, businesses small and large will now have a single source for integrating, managing and wirelessly connecting their drone operations – linking all the people, projects and equipment involved into one clear and efficient workflow.

Mike Lanman, senior vice president - Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon, said: "Last quarter we announced our strategy to drive innovation and widespread adoption for in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative, a new service to simplify certification and connectivity of wireless drones. This acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT."

Skyward founder and CEO Jonathan Evans said: "Drones are becoming an essential tool for improving business processes at large companies, but scalability has been a challenge. Skyward's drone operations management platform combined with Verizon's network, reliability, scale and expertise in delivering enterprise solutions will allow organizations to efficiently and safely scale drones across multiple divisions and hundreds of use cases."

Thanks to advances in technology and regulations, organizations are looking at drones to help run their business. From agriculture to telecommunications and from industrial construction to film production, major corporations, small businesses, and individuals are using drones to save time, improve safety, and operate more efficiently. The value is clear, but scaling and managing a drone program can be complex.