American multinational conglomerate holding company AT&T Inc, Merck & Co, and Softbox have collaborated to test Internet of Things (IoT) powered device to help in delivering medical aid at the time of crises. The companies will put drones primarily on trial as an option to deliver medicines that are temperature sensitive.
As part of the trial, conducted in Puerto Rico an LTE-connected drone took a flight carrying “Skypod”, a Softbox’s thermal-insulated packaging system that includes a smartbox powered by AT&T’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
Brenda Colatrella, the executive director of Corporate Responsibility at Merck stated that the company feels proud to be a part of a project like this where efforts are being laid towards helping natural disasters affected people. Brenda further mentioned that the company is interested in supplying medicines to people in the disaster-ridden places. Merck is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
During the trial, AT&T’s smart IoT technology tracked the Skypod with data viewed on the mobile app dashboard and on the web. The IoT technology was able to record the near-real-time external and internal temperatures of the box as well as its exact location. For variation in the temperature of the box ranging 2°C to 8°C the technology sends alert to the app. The technology can also detect any damages to the packaging and track its location. In case the drone flies beyond the geofencing parameters it would send alert again.
Skypod was developed in the AT&T Foundry, a network of innovations centers that accepts collaboration from startups, enterprises, and startups. The AT&T Foundry was launched with the aim to move ideas to the market through speedy prototyping.
It is not just the Skypod which makes the drone carrying temperature-sensitive drugs easy but also the AT&T network that allows communication between drone and plane as well as drone and the ground. This is not for the first time when AT&T has tried and tested something like in Puerto Rico. It has previously initiated helicopter Flying COW in Puerto Rico to serve Hurricane Maria affected communities. It was for the first time when the drone was deployed to connect with the residents in crises with their smartphone services following the disaster.
Every year, Puerto Rico, experience disasters caused by the hurricanes. The hurricane season for 2018 is almost near in the Latin American country. The recent trial ensures drone’s capability to deliver temperature-sensitive medicines to disaster-affected areas. The latest trial shows that IoT can be used for a good cause. It shows the readiness of drone in providing important medicines to difficult to reach patients, according to John Vladimir Slamecka AT&T Region President.
The Skypod once deployed on the drone, the AT&T Global SIM, and AT&T Control Center would try and establish a connection with the device to know the exact temperature of the medicine. It is hoped that the latest finding will help serve disaster ridden people alike. The drone will then be sent to hurricane-affected cities to provide all the necessary aid.