AT&T Partners Softbox to Test Drones for Medicine Delivery

AT&T Inc.T recently collaborated with temperature control pharmaceutical packaging provider Softbox Systems to test the efficacy of the delivery of temperature-sensitive medicines using drones. The trial run, if proven successful, is likely to pave the way for delivery of critical medicines during period of crisis.

Powered by AT&T's Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the test run featured an LTE-connected drone carrying Softbox's thermal packaging system 'Skypod' and medicines from healthcare firm Merck & Co., Inc. MRK . The trials were conducted in various locations across Puerto Rico.

The IoT technology from AT&T facilitated the physical tracking of the drone and is designed to send alerts if it goes outside the defined geofencing parameters. The drone was also connected to the AT&T network to provide telemetry data between it and the ground control system. Moreover, it helped to track the near-real external and internal temperatures of the box along with its light exposure by sending data feed across the web and mobile app dashboard, thus preventing any possible tampering. Effective maintenance of the optimum temperature within the smartbox was further made possible through the alert system, which would send alert messages if the set temperature range deviated slightly.

The endeavor is likely to be instrumental in delivering vital medicine supply and humanitarian aid during natural disasters like flood and hurricane. This is likely to boost the corporate social responsibilities of the company and help it stay connected with customers even during times of emergency.

Notably, AT&T is gearing up to launch the first standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers in multiple U.S. markets by the end of 2018. It has been working hard since 2017 to lay the foundation for mobile 5G network and has completed network upgradation in 23 major cities. Notably, completion of 3rd Generation Partnership Project's first implementable 5G new radio (NR) specification has set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR for large-scale trials and commercial deployments in 2019.

However, the company has witnessed an average loss of 14% in the past year compared with a decline of 3.4% for the industry . In a saturated wireless market, spectrum crunch has become a major issue in the U.S. telecom industry. Most of the carriers are finding it increasingly difficult to manage mobile data traffic, which is growing by leaps and bounds. The situation has become even more acute with the growing popularity of iPhone and Android smartphones as well as rising online mobile video streaming, cloud computing and video conferencing services.

Nevertheless, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock has the wherewithal to script a remarkable turnaround with game-changing industry-first trials. Some other top-ranked stocks in the industry are Telenav, Inc. TNAV and Windstream Holdings, Inc. WIN , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Telenav has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 25%. It delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 3.7% in the trailing four quarters.

Windstream Holdings delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 23.5% in the trailing four quarters.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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