As a top Cisco Select Partner, Stratus Information Systems works with businesses of all sizes worldwide to deploy cloud-managed networking solutions as simply and efficiently as possible. Our clients with lean IT teams experiencing rapid growth often see the greatest benefit working with Stratus, leveraging our in-house Cisco engineers to tailor optimal networking solutions while freeing up time to focus on strategic initiatives within their business.
What we really enjoy about working with smaller companies is that we not only have a unique opportunity to help local businesses, but also to be involved with fascinating projects and innovative technology.
One of the more captivating clients we’ve had the privilege of working with is the first FAA-sanctioned commercial drone delivery company, Matternet. Working closely with their team, we’ve successfully supported their futuristic technology with Cisco Meraki’s full-stack to help them better serve their customers, the medical community and patients around the globe.
Matternet’s drones deliver medical devices, supplies, and specimens throughout the world via point-to-point landing pads and in the near-future their patented Matternet Stations. Many of these worldwide station networks are in remote locations that don’t have great connectivity to the internet, cellular networks, etc., presenting a unique challenge. In the United States, the drones are primarily flying in urban or suburban areas, which presents another set of challenges—the ability to effectively navigate in crowded airspace. The biggest challenge of all, though, is ensuring that the drones are delivering packages safely, on time and intact.
When we first met with the Matternet team, their target go-live date for the new network was a matter of days. Stratus engineering was able to design a proof of concept with Cisco Meraki in less than a day, and the new cloud-managed network infrastructure was installed into Matternet’s first station several days later.
Because of the remote locations of the Matternet Stations and landing pads and the nature of what the drones are delivering, Matternet had several key technical requirements the solution we designed had to meet, such as:
- Ease of remote management, configuration, scalability
- Single pane of glass platform for visibility of worldwide networks
- Ability to work in any weather conditions
- Cellular backup
- 99% uptime SLA
Through a deep discovery with the Matternet team, Stratus was able to gain a clear understanding of their mission and successfully set up drone delivery stations and landing pads throughout the world to reach healthcare centers in record-breaking time. These standalone stations set Matternet apart from other drone companies, and act as an airport for the drone.
Matternet’s drone in a hub-and-spoke model boosts supply chain efficiency, enables rapid delivery of specialty medications to patients in need, and delivers necessary PPE to staff more quickly- cutting costs and empowering doctors and nurses to treat their patients more efficiently.
Currently, Matternet has remote station networks setup throughout the U.S. and Switzerland. The first U.S. landing pad was built at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., where the drones are used to transport medical samples for testing between the medical building and a local laboratory, cutting down transit time from hours to minutes and providing record-setting turnaround time on test results. The next one was built at the University of California San Diego Health System in January of 2020, where Matternet drones will deliver medical products between labs and centers. And in July of 2020, Matternet expanded their delivery service even further to include North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Health Campus, where the drones will work on two routes. The first route will deliver infusions, which are patient-specific, expensive, and have a very short shelf-life. The second route will deliver on-demand PPE for staff treating COVID-19 patients.
There are currently four point-to-point launch pads in Switzerland, which have helped trim transport times of urgently required supplies and lab specimens considerably. At EOC Hospital Group in Lugano, for example, transport time via Matternet drone is 45 minutes faster than that of a road courier.
Moving forward, Matternet will be able to quickly and easily scale this deployment at upcoming stations, cloning their existing Meraki configurations and bringing new sites online in minutes. The ease of management, unparalleled visibility and 24/7/365 support is critical for a rapidly growing startup focused on life-saving technology. While we love helping out all of our small business customers, there’s something incredibly rewarding about partnering with a company that is leveraging Meraki’s technology in such an innovative way to help save lives.
From delivering medical devices to partnering with UPS and CVS and delivering prescriptions to the largest retirement community in the U.S. aiding at-risk residents from COVID-19, Matternet is doing fascinating work and will continue to revolutionize the drone delivery industry. We at Stratus Information Systems are honored to have played a role helping Matternet bring their vision to life, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.
Guest Blogger: Jason Lacey – Sales Director, Stratus Information Systems
Jason Lacey is the Sales Director at Stratus Information Systems based in San Francisco, CA. Jason is passionate about learning how businesses are using technology to positively impact our society and create new opportunities worldwide. Prior to Stratus, Jason held roles in channel sales management and global business development. He brings over a decade of experience to his current role where he’s dedicated to educating and inspiring IT professionals to simplify their networks with Cisco’s intuitive cloud-managed network portfolio. When he’s not working, Jason enjoys mountaineering, cooking, biking and traveling to new places with loved ones.