By Dennis Clemente
NEW YORK–Software architect Andrew Trice spoke about “Drones & The Mobile Enterprise” at the New York City Bluemix meetup last May 25 with DJI Phantom 3 and DJI Phantom 4 units on display, the drones he used to demonstrate his recent mobile enterprise experience.
Trice says drones will become a big part of big business, as it moves beyond videography and photography to enterprise the way it helps process workflows and drive efficiency.
“Drones are now used to track disease outbreaks, search and rescue operations, improve agriculture management, aid in wildlife preservation, real estate mapping, law enforcement, automated deliveries, inspect power line infrastructure, firefighting and many more,” he said.
Quoting from the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, he said drones are predicted to become an $82-billion industry by 2025.
Trice talked about how drones, the cloud, and cognitive computing all come together now. Even better, you can use a low-cost accessible and portable consumer drone — and still get the job done.
In his proof of application concept called Skylink, he showed how captured aerial images delivers results to an enterprise system–and this can reportedly be done even when the drone is still in the air. The application connects a DJI drone aircraft to Bluemix using an Apple iPad to bridge the connection from aircraft to the external network and cloud services. The aircraft remote control connects directly to the controller via a USB connection.
This allows the drone to send a live video stream, captured media, and telemetry data directly to an app running on the iPad. This also allows the iPad to send control instructions to the aircraft, enabling the app to control what the aircraft is doing. All communication back and forth between the aircraft and app on the iPad is handled using DJI’s developer toolkit.
In the sample application, he leverages the following services on Bluemix:
- OpenWhisk -IBM’s new serverless/event driven computing platform now in beta
- SDK for Node.js – Host your Node.js applications in the Cloud
- Cloudant NoSQL Database – Highly scalable NoSQL Database as a service
- Alchemy Vision – deep learning & analytics to understand a picture’s content and context
- Watson Visual Recognition – Understand the contents of images. Trainable for custom content
If you’re wondering how to fly a drone, the DJI Phantom is easy to fly; you’d be flying in 10 minutes.
“Watson, push notifications, advanced analytics, BPM/workflow, you name it,” he said. Drones for insurance? Why not? Insurance companies evaluate drones.