TEOCO Goes Airborne to Differentiate Its Service Enablement Portfolio, but 3D Radio Challenges Await

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • TEOCO has launched its AirborneUTM platform, aimed at operator delivery of drone-powered services to verticals such as agriculture and energy, providing a clearly differentiated UAV service enablement platform.
  • However, TEOCO must expand ecosystem support for its AirborneUTM platform, especially enlisting UAV specialist partners, to ease operator adoption of drone-based service delivery and better manage the complexities of 3D radio environments.

In February 2018, TEOCO unveiled its AirborneUTM solution targeted at enabling operators to deliver drone-based Internet of Things (IoT) services to industry verticals such as agriculture, energy, and transport. TEOCO is integrating radio-signal-space (3D radio coverage), airspace, environmental data, cost, and regulatory information into a single platform, allowing operators to operate autonomous flight plans and missions. TEOCO is emphasizing that unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) operations require 3D radio connectivity to provide the command and control, communication, authentication, and tracking capabilities essential to supporting and scaling UAVs such as drones. The platform is designed to enable operators to rapidly register drones while also complying with regulations, especially including support for ‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLOS) flights, which are not restricted by the distances pilots can see. In addition, the platform uses machine learning to enable real-time airspace control and open interfaces to ease integration into vertical ecosystems like agriculture and utilities. TEOCO is clearly differentiating its portfolio by launching a UAV-specific platform aimed at operators, contrasting with service enablement competitors like Huawei and Ericsson which are only supporting UAV services as one of many potential applications on their respective digital transformation platforms.

So, what does TEOCO need to do to strengthen and further differentiate the UAV service enablement platform? A couple of things quickly come to mind:

  • Establish UAV Alliance: TEOCO needs to forge a new alliance that particularly includes UAV suppliers and specialists like AeroVironment and Boeing. By delivering UAV service enablement, TEOCO must broaden its partnerships and portfolio to fulfill operator challenges in managing drone-based IoT vertical services. This includes meeting core drone service requirements such as ensuring regulatory compliance and assuring third-party or in-house drone quality and maintenance. With operators putting their brand on the line in delivering drone-based services, they need broader ecosystem support that immediately locks in UAV expertise in order to better handle potentially complex service support issues. In addition, a new TEOCO-driven alliance further differentiates its AirborneUTM platform by enlisting drone specialists as strategic partners before the competition.
  • Tout 3D Radio Breakthroughs: TEOCO must validate 3D radio coverage breakthroughs with demos and use cases aimed specifically at operator requirements. TEOCO advocates that operator experience with 2D radio environments over the past 25 years positions them to manage and scale the 3D radio environments needed for autonomous drone-based services. However, 3D radio coverage and communications require operators to expand their portfolio expertise as well as train and enlist personnel to support 3D radio communications, control, authentication, and BVLOS tracking demands. Again, TEOCO needs to form partnerships with UAV-specific 3D radio specialists like 3D Robotics to boost operator confidence in adopting its AirborneUTM platform. By bolstering its 3D radio channel credentials, TEOCO reduces a key barrier in accelerating operator deployment of drone-enabled services.

TEOCO’s new AirborneUTM platform clearly differentiates the company’s service enablement portfolio. By developing a platform focused on enabling operator delivery of drone-powered services, TEOCO elevates its portfolio development priorities and business expansion strategy, standing out from a sea of rivals who currently lack UAV-specific platforms. However, TEOCO also needs to strengthen its UAV channel partnerships to ease adoption of complex drone-enabled services and avoid underselling the organizational and technical challenges operators confront in adapting to 3D radio environments. TEOCO needs to drive a wider ecosystem of operator drone-powered services in 2018 before the competition catches up.

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