Zain Drone takes off

Implications for a number of industries.
Zain, Drone, Zain Drone, Kuwait, Tech, Society, Aviation, Technology, Business, Innovation, DroneShield, Cell, Tower, Infrastructure, Automation, Services, Middle East


Zain has become one of the first operators in the Middle East and Africa to deploy drone technology to inspect and maintain its cell tower infrastructure.

The pioneering Zain Drone as-a-Service (DaaS) offering was announced at a ceremony at GITEX in Dubai in October, with the business set to unlock opportunities in various industries to fast-track growth and exploit the Internet of Things (IoT) in an efficient, safer and faster way. The offering delivers state-of-the art bespoke drone solutions and provides advanced analytics for governments and businesses.

In a growing trend globally for the telecom sector, mobile operators have identified the need to constantly monitor their towers to ensure smooth and hassle-free relay of signals between devices and infrastructure to ensure a better mobile experience for customers. Drone cell tower inspection reduces costs and the time taken to detect any flaws considerably, as well as providing companies with complete details of defects through visual imagery, making it easier to develop lasting solutions for the problems that are identified.

Zain Kuwait chief technology officer Nawaf Al Gharabally says: “It is important for us to lead the way with regards to developments related to efficiency and infrastructure maintenance. Zain Group has always benefited from its broad portfolio of operations, be it from a geographic perspective or a technological one, and tying up with Zain Drone is another example of how strong synergies are being driven within the Group to significant positive effect.”

AbdulAziz Jawad, CEO of Zain Drone, says: “We are pleased to announce our first commercial agreement with Zain Kuwait, one of the most innovative and forward-looking telecom operators in the region. Our business case is based on providing tools to our partners that help them optimise their operations and maximise gains from the efficient running of infrastructure. Kuwait will be a great showcase market for the capabilities of Zain Drone-as-a-Service, and we look forward to winning further business in Kuwait and other markets across the region from Zain operations as well as from non-Zain affiliated organisations.”

Jawad continues: “Automation will play a key role in the cell tower inspection industry where automated workflows have proven their potential by helping cut inspection costs by as much as 50%, given that drone hardware and software technologies have developed to the level that the entire inspection process can be streamlined and automated. The valuable benefits of drone technology in this instance includes, higher-resolution visual inspections than ground-based inspections; a significant reduction of man hours and costs; safely assess the condition and alignment of all components of cell towers with inspections done from a safe distance; an increase in efficiency due to data accuracy, live streaming and zoom or thermal capabilities; and importantly, no network downtime time as the cell towers remain functional during inspection.”

Zain Drone is investing heavily to build the required capabilities in drone operations and is positioning itself to become the leading strategic partner in the fast-developing markets for unmanned data acquisition. The Zain Group enjoys solid in-house expertise in drone technology, drawing from international experts, and enjoys unparalleled knowledge of the enterprise market in Kuwait and across the region.

Zain DaaS offers multiple solutions across core industries such as oil and gas (flare inspections), utilities (power line inspections), construction (BIM), infrastructure (asset inspections), security, real estate, telecom infrastructure, agriculture, and other industries.

Earlier this month, Zain Drone announced it had entered into a teaming agreement with DroneShield, a worldwide leader in counter-drone solutions. The deal will see the companies working together on meeting Zain customers’ requirements for counter-drone security solutions in the region.  

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