Alphabet Begins Tests of Unmanned Delivery Drone Traffic System

Today’s topics include Alphabet testing a drone traffic management system, a Cisco Systems report on growing internet traffic, Microsoft’s overhaul of its Skype mobile app and Salesforce’s new Einstein Account-Based Marketing system.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is getting closer to putting a fleet of unmanned aircraft systems in the sky. The drones would be used for tasks such as package delivery and pickup.

Alphabet’s Project Wing last week announced it had successfully tested an air traffic management system it has been developing for automated management of UAS flight paths.

Wing was one of several organizations that took part in tests set up by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Wing’s tests featured two Intel drones, one drone operated by Virginia Tech's Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, and three Project Wing unmanned aerial systems operated by one individual.

The goal was to show how a single drone operator or organization could safely operate multiple drones in the same airspace without the need for manual steering.

Over the next five years, Cisco Systems expects global internet traffic to nearly triple. Officials from Cisco believe global IP traffic will reach 3.3 zettabytes by 2021, with the internet of things and video the main drivers behind the growth.

Other reasons for the rise in global IP traffic, according to Cisco’s latest version of its annual Internet Visual Networking Index, include increasing personal device ownership, growing machine-to-machine connections and trends such as virtual reality, augmented reality and software-defined WAN.

Service providers will bear the burden of both networking and security as internet traffic grows, according to company officials.

Microsoft’s latest Skype redesign is taking aim at other popular social messaging apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp. The company is first releasing a made-over version of its mobile Skype app for both iOS and Android.

In the following months, Microsoft will then overhaul the desktop version of Skype. Skype’s new interface will reflect the look and feel of Snapchat and WhatsApp, emphasizing users' personal connections.

The new group chat feature will allow users to more seamlessly drop images, GIFs, reaction icons and other personal flourishes into their conversations. And the app’s new Find feature will allow users to incorporate bots and add-ins into the Skype experience.

Salesforce has introduced new applications that could serve the needs of both the sales and marketing departments—a tricky proposition.

The applications will give companies a more comprehensive and integrated account-based marketing, or ABM, system than traditional offerings.

While ABM systems help organizations better align sales and marketing efforts, Michael Kostow, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Pardot, told eWEEK that most ABM systems don’t integrate well with companies’ existing systems.

Salesforce’s Einstein Account-Based Marketing aims to change that with an end-to-end solution designed to align sales and marketing efforts. The Einstein ABM includes a suite of features that help users identify accounts likely to convert, identify lookalike prospects and send personalized emails based on online activity.