Partnerships / Acquisitions

Verizon Buys Drone Operator

Aiming to diversify beyond smartphones and data plans, Verizon Communications announced Thursday (Feb. 16) it has inked a deal to acquire private drone management software firm Skyward for an undisclosed amount.

In a press release, Verizon said Skyward, which is based in Portland, adds drone management to the Verizon IoT portfolio, making drone operations easier to manage for any size company. According to Verizon, outside of the U.S., companies rely on Skyward to manage drone operations, improve safety and lower operating costs. With the deal, businesses small and large can turn to Verizon for integrating, managing and wirelessly connecting their drone operations.

“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 of enterprise products and IoT at Verizon. “This acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT.”

According to Verizon, Skyward’s technology will streamline the management of drone operations with one platform designed to handle all the activities of the drone, including mission planning, workflow, FAA compliance support, supplying information about restricted airspace, drone registering and provisioning rate plans for drones on Verizon’s network.

“Drones are becoming an essential tool for improving business processes at large companies, but scalability has been a challenge. Skyward’s drone operations management platform combined with Verizon’s network, reliability, scale and expertise in delivering enterprise solutions will allow organizations to efficiently and safely scale drones across multiple divisions and hundreds of use cases,” said Skyward Chief Executive Jonathan Evans in the same press release.

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