September 8, 2020 By Jeffrey Palmer 2 min read

The global drone market will grow from $14 billion in 2018 to over $43 billion in 2024.*

That may not come as a huge surprise since drones are already well known for professional photography and videography purposes.

But, have you ever thought about drones as first responders? What about understanding the implications of powering these drones and optimizing their ability to analyze data so intelligent decisions can be made?

Enter 5G autonomous networks, which can significantly boost the power to analyze what drones are seeing and hearing in real-time and make decisions on how to respond. This is critical in emergency situations, as drones are able to provide further reaching eyes and ears and in a faster timeframe than humans in manned vehicles.

5G-powered surveillance systems vs. traditional

5G-enabled drones challenge a lot of the traditional fixed surveillance systems, like pole-mounted cameras. They have their own power source and they can fly to where they need to be at any point in time, making them completely mobile. However, drones will produce huge volumes of high definition data that needs to be analyzed in real-time. Processing this data at the edge of the 5G network, close to the drone, avoids swamping the mobile network and provides immediate analysis.

Drones as first responders

Imagine an unfortunate accident has occurred on a congested road. E911 dispatch has been alerted but is unsure of how extensive it is or how many first responders to dispatch. Drones can be deployed rapidly to assess the situation with emergency video and audio, and analyze the traffic scene in real-time.

Drones can send huge amounts of high-quality data in real-time. They can stream what they are seeing to medical or police officials or stream to AI systems at the 5G network edge for further analysis.

In addition, 5G autonomous networks allow you to dynamically allocate resources to the drone, such as dialing up bandwidth in its set of cell locations to support HD cameras in emergency situations, deploying analytics systems to the right network edge locations, and connecting to the drone’s personal 5G network.

The highly dynamic nature of 5G autonomous networks optimizes the network platform in real-time to support rich drone use cases:

  • 5G network slicing: Allows for the configuration and prioritization of core virtualized resources. For example, a dedicated 5G slice could be configured for first responder applications to provide higher priority and dedicated resources.
  • Dynamic context orchestration: Events captured from the 5G mobile network can automatically trigger the reconfiguration of the 5G network itself. For example, if a drone is turned on in a particular location, that event triggers the 5G autonomous network to deploy the correct connectivity and edge applications to support it.
  • 5G radio network controllers: Even radio network controller algorithms that manage the positioning antennas to ensure optimal connectivity is provided to each device in its cell location can be configured with drone strategies that can provide much higher data rates.

Evolve your telco cloud journey

Helping first responders remain efficient and safe is job number one. Explore how IBM is helping enterprises accelerate network transformation and evolve to 5G with a complete orchestration and service assurance platform.

Next: Read why 5G slicing with telco cloud is critical to public health and safety.

*Drone Market Report 2019-2024

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