Proximus to roll out business drone on demand service in Belgium
the end of 2021, Belgian telecom provider Proximus will offer a new service to companies that want to use drones, but do not have the right expertise to do so themselves. It is a B2B drone on demand service that is set up in collaboration with SkeyDrone and DroneMatrix. The service called 6th network should start at the beginning of 2022.
According to the initiators of 6th network, Belgian companies that try to integrate drones into their business processes are facing numerous obstacles.
Not only does the use of drone technology require a lot of specialist expertise, the regulations are also very complex. Despite these thresholds, drones can offer many advantages to innovative companies.
That is why telecom operator Proximus, drone air traffic service provider SkeyDrone and drone hard and software developer DroneMatrix decided to join forces to eliminate these thresholds. They are working on the development of an integrated platform that allows drones to fly over Belgium in a controlled and secure environment for specific missions, in accordance with Belgian and European regulations.
The new service will be called 6th network. Proximus takes care of communication over 4G and 5G networks and the processing of the data flows. SkeyDrone will work on the safe integration of unmanned air traffic into the lower airspace, and DroneMatrix is responsible for developing drone technology.
The project will start in 2021. The first phase embraces the implementation of an extensive market study. Then it must be clear which services are going to be offered and at what rates. The second phase will include the commercialization of the various B2B drone services. This phase should start at the beginning of 2022.
As examples of possible customers of the service, security companies are mentioned, who would like to use flying drones autonomously to monitor areas. A second potential user group concerns emergency services such as police and fire brigade, which can be supported by automatic flying drones during emergencies. Proximus itself likes to use drones to inspect cell towers.
Anne-Sophie Lotgering, Chief Enterprise Market Officer of Proximus: We consider this collaboration to be very important, because it is a first and very concrete initiative in which drones will use Proximus’s high-performance network and data analysis services for various tasks such as monitoring, checking the infrastructure, safety or even within logistics.
Hendrik-Jan Van Der Gucht, Managing Director of SkeyDrone: “Our interest in drones is clear. Our main concern is always the safety of full air traffic, whether manned or unmanned. We have supported the drone sector from the start because we believe in the economic potential. We look forward to offering our services in a world where air traffic is arranged down to the last detail. That is why we are committed to this collaboration as a pioneer of unmanned air traffic.”
The consortium believes that the new European regulations for drones offer sufficient opportunities to successfully roll out the service. For example, the Specific category in the European regulation provides for flying drones out of sight (BVLOS), and there are also possibilities to automatically deploy flying drones.