Verizon subsidiary Skyward and UPS Flight Forward have partnered on a project to deliver retail products using drones connected to Verizon’s 4G/LTE network, as well as 5G testing and integration for delivery.
The partnership involves using connected drones to deliver products at The Villages in the U.S. state of Florida. In 2020, Verizon and UPS started testing 4G/LTE delivery drones, and this program will now be extended in 2021 to test 5G Ultra Wideband integrations.
Separately, Verizon and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have launched a new immersive virtual art and gaming experience called The Met Unframed, powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband. The experience includes more than 12 digitally rendered galleries and around 50 works of art from the museum’s collection. It can be accessed from any 4G or 5G smart device and is available free of charge for a limited five-week period.
These projects are apparently of a rather “blue-sky” nature and it is doubtful that they will achieve great volume or breadth of usage. However, they and others like them have an important role to play—providing high-profile, publicity-generating advertising and promotion of the strengths of the operator’s network and the extent of its creative engineering prowess. Working with technology partners to bring such innovations to fruition is a good strategy for MNOs that are looking to increase their relevance and future potential.
Drone delivery of goods is potentially useful to many different types of consumers, although at the present time even a deep-pocketed major MNO like Verizon is only able to deploy it on a small scale. Still, experimental though it may be, drone delivery, whether powered by 4G/LTE or the new 5G, is bound to attract attention and generate excitement.
As for the immersive virtual art experience in partnership with a world-famous museum, it is likewise a good attention-getting device that is bound to make the operator look good in terms of both technology and culture.
It might be pointed out that both these initiatives are appropriate to the pandemic period: Users will particularly relish a virtualized museum experience given that most museums are not physically open to visitors at the moment. Since drones offer the ability to deliver goods in lieu of in-person shopping and reduce human contact during the delivery itself, they too would be very useful during a shut-down.