Meraque sets sail on Southeast Asia expansion course

MERAQUE Services Sdn Bhd (Meraque) announced it had commenced efforts to expand its foothold across the Southeast Asian market within the next five years on Dec 28.

The automation solutions company says it kickstarted a pilot inspections project that has been ongoing for the past few months for a telecommunications infrastructure company in the Philippines.

As part of the strategic partnership, Meraque has assembled a team to perform telecommunication site audits through unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance. Automated flight missions are being conducted around several key sites across various provinces in South Luzon, Philippines including Mindanao, Visayas, Metro Manila and Palawan.

Automated reports using artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics will be generated and presented to the telecommunications company. The data generated through this report will then be used to make informed business decisions. The pilot project will see Meraque surveilling over 3,100 telecommunication towers.

The Meraque AI software is able to perform a completely autonomous data capture of towers at telecommunication sites aside from providing a high-resolution inspection of the equipment and helping with future upgrade planning.

Meraque’s innovative technology enables telecommunication companies to monitor their towers, providing them with the ability to interact, inspect, simulate, forecast and improve performance remotely, without having personnel physically present at each tower site.

More and more telecommunication companies are looking towards drone-powered solutions to monitor their telecommunication infrastructure and sites. With most telecommunications sites located in either rural areas or areas with rough terrain such as on top of hills surrounded by trees or on buildings, drones make for expeditious solutions.

Meraque’s drones are able to fly over large and rough terrain to perform autonomous tasks, capture large amounts of data through their cameras and detect malfunctions. It is also an ideal solution as Meraque’s inspection solution no longer disrupts tower performance, causes service downtime or risks the lives of maintenance workers having to climb high platforms.

Meraque chief executive officer Md Razalee Ismail shared: “As we end 2022 and reflect back on the year, we have definitely accomplished tremendous results. In 2022, Meraque particularly hunkered down to intensify our global expansion push and strengthen our technological capabilities. Our rapid growth plans — penetrating the Middle East and African markets to now Southeast Asia — only solidifies our dedication to our mission.”

Meraque’s expansion plans to Indonesia and Cambodia in 2023 are already underway with strategic partnerships soon to be announced. Within the next five years, the company hopes to run inspections on over 20,000 telecommunication towers across Southeast Asia as well as in India and Nepal. Meraque is also in talks with Philippine-based companies to potentially acquire them or form joint ventures for collaboration.

“Meraque is at the cusp of a high-potential growth industry and we are immensely excited to be powering through at breakneck speed. Drone technology has a multitude of compelling potential that has the propensity to game-change the entire telecommunications industry. We look forward to forging more catalytic partnerships with companies across the Southeast Asian region as well as across the globe to truly transform the telecommunications infrastructure industry and shape the future of connectivity,” Razalee added.

Meraque has increased its drone technology application line along with software-as-a-service offerings. Its technologies are focused on hybrid drones for agriculture, enterprise software and hardware solutions for palm plantation management and commercial drone delivery. Meraque added telecommunication infrastructure inspection in its solutions suite this year.

As part of its expansion plans, Meraque is also forging collaborative ties with agricultural companies in Malaysia and beyond. Meraque will use its UAVs, along with its very own Precision Agriculture Software Solution (Pass) and Malaysia’s first-ever autonomous ground vehicle (AGV) built by Meraque called the Robotic Agro in Complex Environment (Race), to reduce manpower reliance and improve fertiliser spraying consistency in oil palm plantation fields.

Meraque is currently ranked 18th best drone technology service provider in the world in 2022 by Drone Industry Insights, a market research consultant based in Germany. The drone industry has captured a steadily rising audience with the global drone market forecasted to achieve US$41.3bil (RM172.7bil) in 2026 according to the Drone Market Report 2021-2026.