Nokia continues to expand its channel activity around the supply of private 4G/5G networks, and related edge computing, hardware, and software applications; the Finnish vendor has announced a new deal with New York-based Westcon-Comstor (Westcon) to distribute its drone-in-a-box solution to resellers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. 

Westcon, with a long-standing deal with Nokia already, will distribute the firm’s 4G/5G drone solution, badged Nokia Drone Networks, via Nokia-certified resellers, integrators, and other service providers. The CE and FCC certified solution works with its private 4G/5G systems, geared towards industrial and public sector markets, as well as with public 4G/5G networks. 

It supports beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations. It is being sold in the US, where it gained FCC approval at the end of last year, with its DAC and MPW private 4G/5G systems via the likes of Kyndryl, DXC Technology, Future Technologies Venture, Graybar, and Trilogy NextGen, plus via the enterprise solutions units of operators AT&T and Verizon.

In a statement, Nokia quoted a forecast from Statista that the global market for “connected automated” drones will grow from $26.3 billion in 2021 to $54.6 billion by 2030. It said: “Drones can serve numerous use cases from site security, machine inspection, predictive maintenance and environmental sensing, resulting in positive ROI versus conventional methods.”

It cited usage in the ports, oil and gas, mining, public safety, telecoms, and utilities markets – with private/public 4G/5G networks, depending on local coverage performance and private security requirements. The drone solution integrates via open APIs with third-party applications, allowing for customisation to add features and capabilities.

It incorporates network measurement capabilities from Germany-based test company Rohde & Schwarz. Nokia said the deal with Westcon raised opportunities for third-party resellers to win new customers and grow business with existing customers via cross-selling and upselling sundry 4G/5G-related industrial edge componentry. Nokia focused on the private networks angle.

Pri Rawal, global head of enterprise campus edge partnerships at Nokia, said: “The use of industrial drones as well as global [4G/5G] spectrum policies to use [them] is growing – [which] accelerates the introduction of Nokia’s… drone-in-a-box system for private and public 4G/5G networks… This milestone [deal with Westcon-Comstor] will help our… deployment projects [and [provide] worker safety and productivity in crucial industries such as mining and oil and gas.”

Antony Byford, vice president of IoT and collaboration at Westcon-Comstor, said: “Drones are a technology of the future, with strong and growing demand across public safety, smart cities, construction, energy and more. We are excited [to bring Nokia’s] drone-in-a-box solution to a wider audience… through our channel partners in multiple geographic territories.”

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