Sky-Futures Partners Ltd has recently won a contract enabling them to perform inspections of telecommunication sites with the use of drone technology. The four-year global framework deal was awarded by a Scandinavian multinational network and telecommunications company.
Sky-Futures already has a strong track record of working with tower owners and operators to conduct cell site surveys and integrity inspections. An ICR Integrity company since May 2019, Sky-Futures is part of an ongoing effort that provides integrated production, maintenance, and repair services to global industrial industries — including the chemical, power, offshore oil and gas, nuclear, and defence industries, as well as utilities, renewables, and telecoms companies.
Drones: improving workplace quality and efficiency
“Traditionally, conducting cell site surveys requires a team with several different skill sets and the need to climb the towers,” explains Sky-Futures CEO, Chris Blackford. “With the introduction of drones, site surveys can now be completed with a much smaller team, collecting high quality data more quickly and more safely.” Before being able to operate the drones, engineers need to first properly qualify to be able to do so responsibly and safely. These requirements can vary depending on the country. For example, in the US, drone users need to pass the Part 107 Aeronautical test before flying drones for commercial use, as Drone Guru comprehensively explains.
Better health and safety standards
After the inspection has been conducted via drone technology, Sky-Futures then collects the cell site data and transfers it to the wider global network via cloud software. As a result, engineers can look at 3D-models of the towers remotely without having to attend sites in person. In addition to making cell site surveys far more efficient, this process also significantly improves employee health and safety. Moreover, the use of drone technology also decreases overall costs by improving the operational efficiency of the global network build programme.
The opportunity for rapid global growth
Sky-Futures already has a long-standing and strong reputation in the drone-based inspection and survey industry. Keeping the cell towers in excellent condition is essential for keeping business operating smoothly and limiting overall downtime. This new deal now allows them to fulfil their work effectively on a larger global scale. In addition to using its existing operational bases in the USA, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, Sky-Futures will now also be conducting drone-based inspections in 31 other countries. This contract is a big win, and is expected to further fuel the fast growth Sky-Futures has experienced ever since its acquisition by ICR Integrity in May 2019.
Sky-Futures’ new contract is a promising step forward for the global network build plan designed to expand and grow the telecommunications network. As the global network continues to expand, so too will the numbers of cell towers, which in turn increases the need for cell site surveys. The use of drone technology is certainly a positive step for the industry.