This Meetup was put together quickly as it presented an opportunity to align with other events happening in the Oracle offices. Despite the relatively short notice we a turn out that really made great use of our speaker – Sid Joshi who walked through the Enterprise Level patterns supported by Oracle’s Integration Cloud (OIC) including a demo showing how PaaS4SaaS worked using Service Cloud and OIC making use of VBCS and integration (formerly ICS) parts of the API Platform.
As with all the meet-ups we allow the discussions to flow freely. So, the conversation probed different aspects of OIC. So with the follow up on Several Capgemini use cases of OIC that have won the team awards.
As the conversation has focused on OIC and the use cases rather than our ongoing Drones with APIs stories, I have had an interesting follow on discussion about the application of drones. The drone story has many threads. The initial driver for the work on the drone has been about bringing something interesting and distinctive to the meetup. The drone is very tangible, and the source of amusement which makes the meetups a lot more fun.
The initial development has helped to illustrate development techniques such as API first etc on which the drone has provided a framework to bring the process to life. Then we’ve had the creation of a JET visualization tool to help with testing without actually flying the drone. With these stories in-flight we can hang discussions on all sorts of other tech, as we can just hook it to the APIs e.g. microservices that can manage the drone, a blockchain audit of events being received by the drone? Kafka to deliver commands that could be replayed? The ideas as somewhat outrageous and impractical, but the means to bring a tech story to life rather than look at the use of technologies through the use of a simple sales story or the latest evolution of the classic ‘hello world’.
Whilst some of these ideas are pretty bonkers, the underlying engagement still holds, and in many ways is just a 21st century take on why schools at one point used the Logo programming language with a Turtle, that real sense of outcome as a result of some actions. This has obviously lead us to the idea that the drone and its APIs could be used with school and college engagements around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). Giving school children a bit of time to cobble some code together against a set of simple HTTP calls and the result is a drone being flown is going to get engagement – the first step in a STEM journey.
But our thinking about the art of the possible with drones, particularly lower cost ones has gone in a number of other ways as well. We’ve all heard about Amazon’s parcel delivery (Prime Air) along with others like DHL. There are more worthy applications (in terms of bringing a difference to society) like Zipline in Africa for delivering medical supplies to remote locations quickly. But how about these as possibilities …
- Large fire operations particularly tower blocks, with the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London. One of the 1st tasks for the emergency services is to locate where people are. in a smoke-filled environment, this can be slow manual – labor. But what if we could easily fly a coordinated fleet of drones up the side of a building equipped with imaging equipment? Combine the drones with some AI image processing, and you potentially could focus rescue efforts quickly. The loss of a drone or two to fire or smoke damage, particularly with lower-end devices is a small cost to the gain of more effective operations.
- Road traffic accidents (RTA), perhaps not an obvious application. But when an RTA that involves fatalities occurs, the Police in the UK have to become far more attentive to details, measuring out impact points, skid marks, and specific road characteristics at the time of an accident as they all contribute to possible criminal prosecution. This often can’t get started until people are rescued from vehicles etc, and then involve theodolites, and tape measures – lengthy activity. During which roads remain closed – and there are some eye-opening statistics on the cost impact this has (see here for example). With Wimbledon Tennis happening at the moment we will all be very aware of the pinpoint accuracy of Hawk-Eye. Imagine the rapid measurement and accuracy of Hawk-Eye coupled with a small drone that could be carried in the back of a motorway Police patrol vehicle. If you have an accurate position of a drone flying, from the images you cou could calculate the positions and distances of every aspect of the accident scene. All of which could be started whilst other emergency services are still working. The net result is reducing the time during which the RTA keeps a road closed. Not only that if the Police have a handy drone that could be deployed quickly, no need to wait for helicopter support when looking for someone who has fled the scene of a crime.
Just a couple of the ideas, we’ll one day get around to investigating the cost/viability.
What Next …