Once the stuff of science fiction, passenger-carrying electric urban air taxis could soon be a reality in major cities across the world. This revolutionary form of transport is one step nearer to reality after Skyports Infrastructure, the leading provider of vertiports for the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry, commissioned Node4 to deliver the underlying IT network components and data analysis capabilities needed for vertiport operations.
Under the terms of the agreement, Node4, the cloud-led digital transformation Managed Services Provider (MSP), will support Skyports Infrastructure by building a global SD-WAN capability. Due to go live at its first UK location later this year, SD-WAN will eventually cover further UK sites and extend to other Skyports Infrastructure facilities in the USA, Dubai and France. Ultimately, SD-WAN will also provide the enabling technology and connectivity for Skyports Infrastructure’s global vertiport operations — supporting safe and efficient integration of electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and ground infrastructure.
Adopting SD-WAN will reduce time to deployment at each of Skyports Infrastructure’s vertiport facilities while centralising and streamlining remote operations — allowing the company to monitor and manage a network of vertiports in near real-time while maintaining a cost-effective, lean and agile IT team. Once operational, SD-WAN will deliver consistent availability and performance, as well as centralized management and strong network security.
“Everyone at Node4 is so easy to work with,” explained Dan Lambeth, site reliability engineer at Skyports Infrastructure. “The team are approachable and flexible — always offering to go above and beyond for us. Node4 also provides invaluable guidance to build Skyports Infrastructure’s in-house expertise.”
Lambeth continues: “We have a long technology journey ahead of us, but with the support of key technology partners such as Node4 and the insight they provide, the journey will be smooth. Looking to the next 12 to 24 months of technology development, we’re in an excellent position to continue at pace with our vertiport technology product.”
Skyports Infrastructure’s IT team is also drawing on Node4’s extensive cloud-based knowledge – and Node4 has already helped Skyports Infrastructure build and configure several Azure landing zones to support the development of bespoke vertiport IT systems and software. They will also enable the development of the APIs needed to allow vertiport partners and operators to connect, collaborate and share data easily. Node4 is also supporting Skyports Infrastructure with a large-scale, cloud-based data warehousing project that’s designed to store, capture and facilitate analysis of aircraft telemetry and journey data, including weather and optimal route information.
“We’re delighted to be playing a pivotal role in helping Skyports Infrastructure realise its mission of making electric air taxi travel a reality – and supporting the development and operation of its vertiports,” comments Iain Shearman, COO, Node4. “Network infrastructure solutions, in combination with our Azure and Database experience, have the potential to bring about such a reimagining of urban travel. I can’t wait to see how this project develops and, who knows, to take one of the first eVTOL flights from a Skyports Infrastructure vertiport in the not-too-distant future.”