They say timing is everything and that credo was certainly in evidence when Mr. Bezos recently unveiled his “Amazon Prime Air” drones on national television. The obvious kneejerk reaction is to question why he’d talk about this initiative so early, when the company has set such a distinct precedent for shrouding itself in secrecy. Think about it: The technology is likely no more than half-baked and there are still so many fundamental barriers to sort out surrounding its launch that who’s to say the system will ever see the light of day. To wit:
- Public safety (Look out! Quick, duck!)
- Weather uptime (Sorry, we won’t be able to get you your package today due to a pending Nor’easter)
- Regulatory (Is the FAA really going to allow box carrying drones to move unimpeded through airspace)
- Security (Can you think of a better method to deliver WMDs to soft targets. Because I cannot.)
That being said, fact is the announcement was made on the eve of Cyber Monday and even if Amazon never delivers a single package via drone aircraft, the mindshare created by Amazon as we enter the holiday shopping fray is sure to boost sales more than incrementally. Heck, even I’m writing on the topic today!
But I digress. At its base, this technology is a shining example of the types of commercial apps that suddenly become available when the price of cellular airtime drops. Sure, the development team was able to take advantage of advances in many technologies such as sensor miniaturization, GPS accuracy, high-performance image processing and low-power mechanicals, but most importantly it is unimpeded connectivity that got ‘em off the ground.
In short, Amazon Prime Air affords an enlightened view of M2M communication as a ubiquitous air traffic control in the sky. M2M, after all, is all about monitoring the location and activity of dispersed devices that may be doing any number of things: checking soil moisture, keeping tabs on the pressures within and ambient air around pipelines, tracking acceleration rates of a hired driver, measuring and transmitting a person’s white blood cell count, heck even tracking my wayward dog who escaped my fenced in yard.
We are constantly mystified by the fact that so many of the world’s latest and greatest technological developments – both disruptive and mundane – do not get the M2M label but nonetheless are categorically so. To my eye, for example, wearable technology is a standout, spotlight item these days among the techno-savvy crowd, and it’s all made possible by M2M connections. Every last bit of it from Google Glass to Nike FuelBand doesn’t work if reliable connectivity isn’t available (stay tuned for a future post on this topic). M2M is everywhere – acting as the ‘glue’ that make these applications work – yet gets almost zero credit because it IS so ubiquitous and reliable.
But for now I’ll return to the topic at hand and give a shout out to AeroVironment, a KORE customer, which uses the KORE network and manufactures small unmanned (drone) aircraft for the US Military that are in service today. They may not be delivering Kindles and DVDs, but they supply valuable intelligence to help keep military personnel and resources informed from above.
By Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing
Stein leads a team whose responsibility is to own the branding, advertising, customer engagement, loyalty, partnership and public relations initiatives designed to propel KORE into the 21st century. With over 15 years of technology marketing experience in the business to business software, Internet services and telecommunications industries, Stein brings a proven track record of launching successful MVNOs and building those brands into leaders.