U.K.-based multinational telecommunications company Vodafone is developing an Internet of Things-based tracking system geared toward protecting critical infrastructure. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Vodafone was developing a drone-tracking system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) too small for conventional radar to detect. For those unfamiliar, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new term describing a network of electronic devices that share and collect online data.
The IoT devices in question that Vodafone is developing derive from the company’s entire network of smartphones and other devices capable of accessing the internet like tablets using the company’s SIM cards for data movement and categorization. Vodafone hopes to achieve the utilization of its wide-ranging network for detecting and monitoring rogue drones, and stop these UAVs from tampering, sabotaging, or infiltrating the integrity of critical infrastructure like power plants, prisons, airports, and factories (just to mention a few). The system is expected to be in place by the fall, mainly for timing-related purposes so the network can be marketed to prospective customers (mainly in the commercial sectors previously mentioned) that may be in desperate need of protecting various property locations.
As evidenced by the recent spike in news reports on rogue drones infiltrating the locations mentioned earlier, there is a heightened demand for an intricate universal solution to thwart such unwelcome aerial threats.
“Drones can pose security risks,” says Vodafone’s U.K. Head of Enterprise Anne Sheehan. “In the U.K., we’re developing Internet of Things drone tracking and safety technology in a number of locations where we have important infrastructure. We are now looking to use this technology to help our business customers in a bid to thwart drone incursions as sensitive locations. These could be energy installations, airports, prisons, military bases, and public events.”
The IoT-based drone tracking system is specifically rooted in software comprised of the U.K.’s CCTV cameras and sensors that utilize Vodafone’s data services. If a UAV is detected anywhere near the system, its presence triggers an alarm. Afterward, both Vodafone and the client will receive an alert of the intrusion. In addition to the person piloting the drone being located, the company in charge of the building’s security also receives a timely alert on what’s happening.
The logic of focusing on both the IoT and drone industry is fairly sound for Vodafone. The company’s executives and researchers have reportedly even met with multiple aviation authorities and agencies, trying to establish their network as a premier management outlet to help control and distinguish professional and amateur drone activity around the aforementioned institutions in the near future.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)