Verizon buys drone operations co Skyward for IoT business

US telecom operator Verizon announced the acquisition of drone operations company Skyward in a bid to enhance its IoT revenue.

In 2016, revenue from Verizon’s Internet of Things (IoT) business approached $1 billion. Verizon’s total revenue in 2016 was nearly $126 billion. Verizon’s wireless network has 114.2 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon faces tough competition in the US data market from T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T.

Verizon said that its rapidly growing IoT business will gain immensely from drone operations management from Skyward, a private company based in Portland, Oregon. Jonathan Evans is the founder and CEO of Skyward. Verizon did not disclose financial details of the acquisition.

Several companies rely on Skyward for managing operations, improving safety and lowering operating costs. Verizon’s IoT division will aim at tapping businesses — small and large — by offering a single source for integrating, managing and wirelessly connecting their drone operations – linking all the people, projects and equipment.

“Last quarter we announced our strategy to drive innovation and widespread adoption for in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative, a new service to simplify certification and connectivity of wireless drones,” said Mike Lanman, senior vice president – Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon.

Businesses can scale drones across multiple divisions and benefit from hundreds of use cases by tapping Skyward’s drone operations management solutions combined with Verizon’s wireless network in the US and its enterprise solutions.

From agriculture to telecommunications and from industrial construction to film production, major corporations, small businesses, and individuals are using drones to save time, improve safety, and operate more efficiently.

Verizon will use Skyward’s technology to streamline the management of drone operations through one platform designed to handle activities such as mission planning, complex workflow, FAA compliance support, supplying information about restricted airspace and pilot credentialing, drone registration and provisioning rate plans for drones on Verizon’s network.