The telecommunications industry is one of the most targeted for cyberattacks and telco providers must therefore be on top of their game when it comes to security. Telefónica, one of the world’s leading telco companies headquartered in Madrid, has developed innovative solutions – reliant upon 5G technology – to better manage security maintenance tasks and ensure the company can continue operating with a robust cybersecurity culture.
Telefónica Ingeniería de Seguridad (TIS), the Telefónica Group company pioneer in integral technological security, has designed – together with its technological partner Unmanned Life – an innovative solution for managing autonomous drone fleets from a single centralised platform to carry out security, surveillance, event verification and critical infrastructure maintenance tasks.
The solution allows programming an autonomous flight zone in which several aircraft are able to identify events through analytics integrated into the platform with Artificial Intelligence, such as the detection of unauthorised persons at the site and send the images in real time thanks to 5G connectivity, for their corresponding analysis. All of this while complying with all aeronautical legal requirements for drone flight and privacy.
The solution has the capacity to integrate, on the one hand, the event verification function so that drones come to inspect the site in the event of any alarm and, on the other hand, the capacity to detect, identify and neutralise drones. In this way, the solution can detect aircraft at a distance of up to 10km and neutralise them when they are identified as a threat at a distance of approximately 1.5km.
Telefónica Ingeniería de Seguridad’s solution is designed especially for companies that lack specialised personnel in these surveillance and security functions or for those that want to assign their human teams to perform other tasks of greater added value in order to gain competitiveness and be more agile in the analysis of the information collected and in decision-making. Its implementation also generates significant time and cost efficiencies of up to 35%, as drones do not require piloting.
The Unmmaned Life platform, which is hardware agnostic, can work with any type of drone. Telefónica Ingeniería de Seguridad carries out technological consultancy for the customisation of drones that best fit the needs of customers, taking into account sensorisation, autonomy, operation, environment, payloads and any parameter that may be involved in the operation.
To demonstrate the benefits and capabilities of the solution, a pilot test has been deployed at the headquarters of Distrito Telefónica in Madrid. In this demonstration, carried out in a highly complex environment from the point of view of regulation due to its proximity to airports and heliports, drones used have a size of 1.20m as well as advanced security systems so that if any unforeseen event arises, such as loss of connectivity or inhibition of communications, they can land in a controlled manner. The drones also have an autonomy of 45 minutes and after this time the aircraft will automatically go to a nearby charging station to fully recharge in about 30 minutes.
This security solution is a pioneer at national level and with Distrito Telefónica being the first corporate headquarters at national level to deploy it, obtaining all the relevant authorisations from the AESA (Spanish Aviation Safety Agency) to carry it out.
“We are very proud to continue helping companies to face the future with greater security and provide solutions for the protection of its assets, infrastructure and employees thanks to the capabilities of technology. With this solution, we not only work with companies as a technology partner, but it also allows us to acquire a consulting role for everything related to the management of drone flights and compliance with regulatory requirements in areas as important as privacy,” said Fabián Blanco, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Ingeniería de Seguridad.
“This is a great first step and a concrete result of our partnership with Telefónica,” said Jorge Muñoz, Vice President of Business and Marketing at Unmanned Life. “This innovative product is unique in its style, will set a benchmark in the market and will allow us to demonstrate that it is a secure technology that delivers concrete benefits to users. Together we are building an autonomous future that will improve security and inspections in an optimal, safe and environmentally sustainable way.”
Telefónica Tech has also used drones to develop a predictive maintenance solution for electricity grids, with the aim of ensuring their reliability and guaranteeing their proper functioning. Its implementation will increase the safety of companies, improve the quality of the process and optimise costs compared to traditional methods.
The drone used for the inspection of medium and high voltage networks (VTOL, which combine fixed wing with propellers and whose take-offs and landings are performed vertically) has an optical camera, a thermal camera, a LiDAR (remote sensing using laser light) and a gas sensor. The aircraft weighs only 5.5kg, reaches a maximum speed of 100km/h and has a range of up to five hours.
The information captured by the sensors is transmitted via 5G for processing with pre-trained Artificial Intelligence algorithms, which combine this data with historical and other external sources to assess which elements require maintenance. If anomalies are detected, the system is able to generate early alerts that indicate the need for more detailed analysis or to establish a new flight for more specific captures.
The solution also has a flight management platform where the drone’s functions and movements are controlled, flight missions are planned, annotations are made on the map based on the data collected by the aircraft and video with telemetry information is collected.
“We are very proud to continue innovating and accompanying companies in their digital development,” said Andrés Escribano, Director of New Business and Industry 4.0 at Telefónica Tech. “The application of drones in the business world presents numerous sectorial use cases that will be expanded and perfected with the massive deployment of 5G. The incorporation of drones in maintenance tasks will allow companies to increase their occupational safety and anticipate possible failures or incidents that without this predictive analysis could end in service outages with their corresponding social and economic impact.”
Predictive maintenance of electrical networks with drones has the ability to detect corrosion of insulators and check the temperature of the network in order to identify excessive hot spots that could cause a future failure.
The mapping mapped by the drone flight allows the company to establish safety corridors to prevent fires and trees falling on the towers. In addition, the solution is designed to be able to identify SF6 leaks (a non-toxic gas used in high-voltage electrical equipment) that have a high environmental impact, as well as bird nests and weeds on the towers or cables that could cause power outages.
Telefónica Tech’s solution has a direct impact on the prevention of occupational hazards by preventing workers from working at heights or near voltage and improves the quality of work by providing high-precision images that can be processed in a safe environment. It also optimises operational costs and improves operations by avoiding the use of helicopters for these functions, avoiding the need for operators to travel to the area for routine tasks and allowing post-processing from the office.Click below to share this article