Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

AT&T uses IoT to guard against drone attacks

Steve Rogerson
October 4, 2018



AT&T and Dedrone, a San Francisco-based drone detection technology start-up, are teaming up on an IoT-based drone detection method that helps protect military bases, venues, cities and businesses from malicious drones.
 
As drones become more prominent, so does the misuse of the emerging technology. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, people purchased roughly three million drones worldwide in 2017. More than a million drones have been registered in the USA. This creates a new avenue and threat vector for the community.
 
Dedrone detects drones of all kinds, including commercial, consumer and military-grade, as well as autonomous drones. The airspace security platform uses IoT sensors and LTE connectivity to detect, classify, mitigate and localise drone-based threats.
 
"Physical security and cyber security are equally important when safeguarding an entire ecosystem," said Michael Zeto, vice president at AT&T. "Malicious drones pose an aerial threat for the community, for businesses and for the people that live and work there. With Dedrone, we're helping to protect customers and citizens from this type of risk."
 
Since 2014, Dedrone has been working with correctional facilities, public utilities and other organisations to help protect their lower airspace from drone incursions. AT&T is the sole LTE connectivity provider for Dedrone's drone detection system.
 
The software-centric platform identifies approaching drones by means of radio frequency, visual, radar and other sensor data. Analysis of sensor data classifies approaching drones and finds their locations. It then triggers alarms to alert security staff.
 
The wide area and early detection capabilities allow public safety agencies to react quicker and more efficiently. It can also be integrated with other counter measures to help protect the public, such as building management and alarm systems.
 
"AT&T provides a reliable platform for Dedrone customers to connect our technology to their security ecosystem, and use Dedrone analytics to understand their lower airspace activity," said Joerg Lamprecht, CEO and co-founder of Dedrone. "Working with AT&T helps ensure that Dedrone technology is integrated into smart cities to prevent drone intrusions."
 
AT&T is also using drone technology itself. It started investigating the use of drones a few years ago and has since started using drones for tower inspections, carrying our live LTE communications at events, and providing connectivity at scale to first responders and consumers.
 
The Dedrone platform combines hardware sensors and machine-learning software, providing early warning, classification of, and mitigation against, all drone threats. Based in San Francisco, Dedrone was founded in 2014 and is backed by investors including Felicis Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and John Chambers, chairman emeritus of Cisco Systems and founder of JC2 Ventures.
 
AT&T has created a suite of blockchain products designed to work with technology from IBM and Microsoft. Enterprise customers can use these as they automate and digitalise their business processes using blockchain technologies. Users will have better resources to track and manage information across multiple parties. This applies across vertical industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare and more.