Industry Thought Leadership

PCCW Global Enables IoT Drones to Deliver Life-saving Medicine in Remote Communities

February, 2021
Craig Price
Senior Vice President, Mobility Products and Marketing

PCCW Global

PCCW Global, the leading telecommunications service provider, has optimised its international IoT infrastructure and network solutions to enable fully-connected unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones” to rapidly and safely deliver medical and emergency supplies to remote communities that are usually difficult, expensive and time-consuming to reach by traditional road or air supply.

Internet of Things (IoT) technology company, Hangjian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HJUAV) has already developed a range of fully-connected IoT Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) drones that are compatible with PCCW Global’s IoT network solutions. Making use of PCCW Global’s extensive network and partner infrastructure, HJUAV’s drones are available for service almost anywhere in the world, including African countries where a lack of infrastructure plagues the provision of effective healthcare services.

For many people living and working in isolated areas, getting access to medicine and other essential supplies is difficult. Often these locations do not have their own resident doctor or pharmacist and it may take many hours to reach such a town or village by road, preventing residents from receiving the medical care they need.

HJUAV solves these challenges with a new range of fully connected commercial UAV drones that are able to automatically fly directly to remote locations, potentially reducing delivery times from many hours by road, to a matter of minutes.

This results in the rapid delivery of medicine and essential supplies while PCCW Global’s connectivity enables IoT automation that frees up human resources, enabling additional aid and community projects that improve both the quality of medical care and the number of people who can benefit from medical attention in remote communities.

Once a UAV has connected to one of PCCW Global’s international IoT ecosystem mobile networks, it is immediately able to transmit its altitude and position data, as well as provide a live video feed to a flight control platform. It is also possible to use a topology platform to create and mark waypoints that can be transmitted to the UAV, enabling it to follow a route and fly autonomously to the desired location.

Crucially, HJUAV’s industrial-grade UAV’s are able to carry heavier than usual payloads, including refrigerated containers for the transportation of temperature-sensitive medicine.

PCCW Global’s innovative Console Connect network automation platform and pre-installed SIM connectivity devices can connect UAVs and other compatible devices to a worldwide network of 2G, 3G and 4G partners, supported by an extensive private and secure global MPLS infrastructure.

Console Connect itself is the world’s first platform for Software-Defined Interconnection® and is a game-changer for business - making the process of connecting to cloud-based, business-critical applications and geographically distributed offices, partners and clients simple, predictable and secure.

Now functioning as the core of PCCW Global’s international digital platform, Console Connect is 100% integrated into the provision of global network services, including the ongoing development of additional on-demand products and services, innovative apps and IoT functionality.

While end-to-end IoT connectivity can be very complex and often involves a combination of local and international connections, leased lines, public internet, mobile and Wi-Fi networks, Console Connect IoT simplifies the ordering, deployment and change management of global device connectivity such as IoT drones.

PCCW Global’s mobile partner networks expand the company’s IoT ecosystem around the world, delivering low latency, high-speed connectivity and crucial communications to areas that have previously not been connected - providing a tremendous opportunity for valuable commercial IoT applications and connected devices.

In the case of drones that are capable of delivering life-saving medicines to remote locations, it’s this IoT infrastructure that provides the connectivity to make such innovative healthcare solutions possible.

While there is an application for fully connected IoT medical drone delivery in many regions around the world, such services are likely to prove life-changing for many African communities. With more than 20-year’s experience on the continent, PCCW Global is heavily invested in providing the next generation of connectivity to satisfy Africa’s growing demand for digital services - including connectivity in remote locations.

PCCW Global’s teams on the ground have extensive experience in providing sophisticated hybrid solutions that include fibre, satellite, microwave, DIA, SD-WAN, MPLS and wireless connectivity services that are specifically designed to suit African conditions.

Overall, PCCW Global provides services to as many as 54 African countries, either by providing direct services or through an extensive partnership network that includes 89 mobile network operators.

This extensive reach includes cellular backhaul networks that are delivered using satellite and wireless technologies where terrestrial connectivity is not available. The result is that PCCW Global provides more direct connections to Africa’s mobile operators than any other carrier. In addition, PCCW Global provides Africa with an integrated network and related connectivity over a fully diversified backbone with both East and West submarine connections to a global high-speed network.

Where terrestrial connections to these submarine cables are not possible, PCCW Global provides connectivity through 50 satellite transponders. In so doing, PCCW Global operates one of Africa’s most advanced regional and international networks as well as providing the widest satellite coverage on the continent.

Craig Price, Senior Vice President, Mobility Products and Marketing, PCCW Global, says: “It’s exciting to be a part of the innovative opportunities that IoT is providing in so many industries around the world. With an expansive, growing global network and our own cutting-edge technologies, we are ideally positioned to enable innovative and fully connected IoT solutions almost anywhere in the world.”