Since 2015 Drones sales have sky-rocketed, according to research firm Gartner the total drone unit sales climbed to 2.2 million worldwide in 2016, and revenue surged 36% to $4.5 billion. BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service expects sales of drones to surpass $12 billion in 2021. Why is the sudden rush in the drone interest? Discounting the drone flying as a hobby, the renewed interest is due to the commercial applications for drones with several use cases in multiple sectors such as insurance, construction, and agriculture powered by IoT.
Drone has opened new avenues for IoT developers, let’s see how.
Typical IoT applications necessitate a “sitting” sensor that gathers data, an Internet highway to transmit the accumulated data and a back end platform like Bluemix to sort and make sense of the data.
What Drone has done to the sedentary IoT practice? Drones have added mobility to the sensors and can now be deployed to different locations, thus bringing in new dynamism to the IoT developers to reinvent new practices and new solutions.
Developers could harness the data sourced via various sensors perched on top of the drones and connect to Watson IoT Platform and IBM Bluemix services. This real time data which utilizes visual inspection capabilities can be integrated with more traditional solutions – such as IBM TRIRIGA .
Let’s take a use case scenario which a developer can tap on increasingly congested cities and challenges it poses. Drones can be used to identify traffic congestions, bottle necks and can take pictures and collect related data real time, at the backend the inputs can help identify effective traffic movement solutions and also custom-tailor made solutions for individuals who are on the move. The opportunities are plenty. Combining IoT with cognitive services and integrating them into facilities management solutions like TRIRIGA can also help in real-time solutions to handle the parking problems in cities.
This is something what Persistent systems has done with their Quadcopter Smart Parking using IBM Watson IoT.
For a developer with big ideas and a limited resources Watson IoT platform gives the flexibility to scale up and tools to implement the ideas. It offers secure, globally distributed data, analytics and cloud facilities and a rich ecosystem of developer community to bank on for any course correction.
For simple developer recipe on how IBM Watson can help control the Drone – Check the tutorial HERE
Companies like Aerialtronics, Sensurion Aerospace, H3 dynamics to name a few have already been working on these space leveraged by IBM Watson IoT program. IBM has been on forefront and to quote inventor Cliff Pickover in one of the IBM article “And with cognitive capabilities, our drone system could learn what surfaces and surface varieties are more prone to build up of particular microbes, so as to suggest and carry out sterilization procedures and to make predictions.”
IBM also has secured 8,088 patents in 2016 on “Drone-based microbial analysis system” alone covering a diverse range of inventions in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, cyber security and other strategic growth areas.
In short, the unmanned aerial vehicles are here to stay and with cloud computing and platforms like Bluemix there is lot to be unwrapped in days to come and I would be covering the developments here. Stay tuned.
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