“Innovation Lab Update” features the latest advances in Syniverse’s demonstration, development and testing center that brings together our customers, partners and other technology players in experimental collaborations.
With Richard Hodges, Director, Innovation Lab
What’s going on in the lab this month?
We’re helping develop an internet connectivity solution for drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones are opening a new era in our ability to remotely collect and transmit data and to retrieve and deliver objects. Not only do they offer quicker, more cost-efficient, and more convenient ways to monitor and manage things, but they can take over jobs considered to be dull, dirty, or dangerous. For example, drones can be used for such things as monitoring and relaying data on crops for large agricultural operations, as well as for inspecting the performance of sensitive industrial plant operations. As a result of this expanding use of these machines, it’s become increasingly crucial that drone communications are kept secure, reliable and compatible with different network coverage areas. This is where Syniverse and our partners come in.
What is a private LTE network exactly?
Private Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are localized systems designed to serve specific business, government or educational purposes with optimized features. This technology is enabling communication service providers and businesses to transform the way that they get local mobile connectivity as well as the quality and security of this connectivity. This includes providers, like mobile and cable operators; large campuses and venues, such as schools, airports, and stadiums; and other businesses and multi-dwelling units. These organizations can now set up their very own dedicated mobile networks to take advantage of the considerable benefits enabled through private LTE:
- Higher security and separation from other networks.
- Higher transmission speed.
- Higher data capacity.
- Lower latency (lag time).
- Greater coverage.
- Lower cost of ownership.
- Easier deployment.
- Easier maintenance.
What are some practical uses for this new solution?
There are several applications for the remote operation of drones from what is termed beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and these use cases are expanding all the time. Many of these involve sensitive commercial data and even national-security information, and it’s crucial that these communications be kept secure, their ability to communicate at all times be kept reliable, and the speed, latency, and data capacity of their communications be kept consistent. Private LTE offers precisely the superior reach, performance and security needed to do this.
Here some common drone applications today:
- Express shipping and delivery.
- Disaster management surveillance and rescue operations.
- Search and rescue operations.
- Geographic mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations.
- Building safety inspections.
- Precision crop monitoring.
- Unmanned cargo transport.
- Storm tracking and forecasting of hurricanes and tornadoes.
- Law enforcement and border control surveillance.
- Military operations.
What are the next steps in developing the solution?
Our next steps are to finish our testing, make final modifications, and determine a date and plan to go to market.
This project builds on some big achievements we made in private LTE in the Lab last year. These achievements included teaming with Ruckus Networks and Federated Wireless to develop a private, high-speed, highly secure wireless network at Syniverse’s headquarters in Tampa. Through that project and others at the Lab, we’ve been able to gain firsthand experience in planning, building, and deploying private LTE networks, and we look forward to applying this knowledge to our work with partners and customers in helping them set up this type of network.
To learn more about the Lab, visit our Innovation Lab site.
Richard serves as the Director of the Innovation Lab at Syniverse. He began his telecommunications career in 1998 as one of the first to implement VoIP for Level 3 Communications, after which he worked for Ascend Communications/Lucent Technologies on the first softswitch deployed by tier 1 operators. Following Lucent, Richard worked for Verizon Data Services and Verisign Global Registry Services on various VoIP and SIP services.
During his career at Syniverse, Richard initially designed and developed networking tools for operations and support teams to implement and troubleshoot customer facing facilities.
Moving into research and development at Syniverse, Richard was a lead innovator and innovation manager, developing 3G and LTE innovations, several of which lead to patents issued for Syniverse. Richard also built a policy-based LTE lab that saw development and technical feasibility of breakthrough technologies.
After his time in R&D, Richard moved into more customer-facing activities and was a Solutions Engineer for the nascent Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) product suite of services. Helping to design, build and troubleshoot Mobile Network Operator (MNO) core network functions for data, billing and interconnection, Richard was also instrumental at being the voice to the customer and creating collateral for high value customers in Brazil, Europe and the U.S.
Most recently, Richard was the sole architect and inspiration of the Syniverse Innovation Lab and continues to oversee developments in the Lab. The Innovation Lab is a real world, real time facility that has implemented Syniverse innovative products such as Global SIM and private LTE. The lab offers customers and partners the ability to experience Syniverse services in action, at a global scale.