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Is Optus an obstacle in drone delivery? 

Is Optus an obstacle in drone delivery? 
Is Optus an obstacle in drone delivery? 

Australian entrepreneurs experienced the longest 13 hours in November when Optus went offline. The outage halted card payments and disrupted cellphone calls to service providers. It slowed down operations and tarnished reputations. 

As a result, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO at the time, left Optus after three years as the executive officer. 

Ironically, just two weeks prior, the company won an award for the fastest average 5G download speed in Australia.

Despite the apologies and the removal of Bayer Rosmarin, Optus still faces strong criticism about how it will shape future deliveries in Australia. 

Unreliable network 

Channel News reports that the outage has highlighted Optus’ weakness within the telecom business. Drone developers and delivery experts are pondering whether Optus can deliver a reliable enough network to ensure drone deliveries can be rolled out successfully. 

Drone Life criticized Optus, saying a recent trial of Sphere Drones’ HubX drone platform at a remote mine in New South Wales shows the drone’s connectivity remained uninterrupted during the November 8 Optus outage.

“Showcasing the effectiveness of Elsight’s Halo technology, the Curo HubX drone platform, equipped with Elsight’s Halo system, seamlessly switched carriers when the Optus service failed, ensuring continuous connectivity,” it announced on YouTube.

Elsight chief executive Yoav Amitai says: “The Optus outage proves the critical need for Halo’s robust connectivity, making Halo the optimal solution to both common and occasional challenges when using unmanned aerial vehicles, particularly Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) in any environment.”

Why drones are the future

Amazon plans to deliver 500 million parcels with drones per year by 2030. The question now begs whether the legislation and infrastructure are in place to fulfill this goal.

Last year, Optus released a statement confirming that this is the route where deliveries and telecommunications are heading. 

“Together with representatives from Optus and the other partners, Paul Fletcher, minister for communications, was onsite to watch first-hand as drones flew over the network at St Marys. Footage [was] streamed via Optus 5G to Endeavour Energy’s training ground in Hoxton Park.”

But Optus warned that the ultra-low latency offered by 5G is central to the solution. Zorawar Singh, head of the core product of Optus enterprise at the time, said: “The successful test of Project Endeavour shows the value that 5G brings to enterprise businesses and critical infrastructure. 5G’s ultra-low latency allows customers like Endeavour Energy to leverage a range of technologies like never before.”

ALSO READ: Chick-fil-A is taking delivery to a new height with drones 

Project Endeavour aims to enable the swift identification of any damage to powerlines so essential power supply can be more quickly and safely restored.

Almost four years ago, Optus dreamed of using drones with its reliable network: “In the future, 5G technology has the potential to use drones to provide video surveillance, real-time streaming, and real-time intelligence. [This will be] to a remotely located operator from locations where line of sight is not possible, such as in dangerous, remote, or inaccessible areas.”

It’s hard to tell if this dream will, in fact, become a reality while Optus faces criticism over the reliability of its network. 

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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