UK start-up launches the first drone operations network
The world’s first drone operations network is designed to service businesses who may need access to a fleet of drones, no matter where they are in the world. The service from Future Aerial is being pegged as the ‘Uber of drones’ and will allow large companies who need drones to survey infrastructure, buildings and more to work with a nationwide fleet, rather than individual operators.
Andrew Blogg, co-founder at Future Aerial, says: “We’ve been obsessed by drone tech from the beginning. We are operators ourselves and can see first-hand how large corporates will benefit from a network of drones to check assets such as bridges, pylons or roof-tops of buildings.”
Future Aerial currently has over 20 fleets of drones signed up in the UK. One operator, Chris Fenton, technical director at Octovision Media Limited said: “Drone operators are usually one man bands. Future Aerial has helped me turn my love for drones into a viable commercial micro-business. It was difficult to get interesting work from large companies before because it is hard for them to work with individuals. FA removes that barrier and allows me to make a living from flying drones.”
Marek Rozycki, non-exec Chairman at Future Aerial, and a former VP with Amazon.com, comments: “People often talk about drones in a military or a novelty context. These guys are one of the first teams in the world to bring a viable and scalable commercial model for large organisations, operating nationwide”.
“The team is impressive, has great credentials in this space and the market they are tapping into is of a significant size and ripe for disruption. I’m excited about the potential of Future Aerial.”
All of the drone operators signed up to Future Aerial comply with the ‘dronecode’ set by The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), or relevant regulator which looks after airspace safety.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”