Last week Royal Mail trialed the use of drones to deliver health and safety equipment, COVID-19 testing kits and general mail items, including direct mail, to the Isles of Scilly.

It was the first time an out-of-sight autonomous scheduled drone flight has been used between the UK mainland and an island to deliver mail. The drone left Cornwall at 6 am and arrived back at 8 am having dropped its 100 kg load, which is roughly the same size as a typical delivery round. The test flight dramatically reduced the amount of time delivery to The Scilly Isles usually takes and also significantly reduced the carbon foot print.

It is hoped that the initiative, which is part of a month-long test, will enable Royal Mail to deliver a more reliable service to remote communities as currently mail delivery to the islands is at the mercy of the weather. Mail flights are often delayed or cancelled due to fog and mail delivery by boat is often disrupted as a result of storms. However, because the drones are unmanned, they can fly in inclement weather. Royal Mail has already announced that if the trial is successful the technology will be implemented across the network to support postal workers delivering to less accessible areas.

What this means for marketers is that brands can become increasingly connected to consumers in more remote areas – this is particularly important for time sensitive campaigns. However, in order to capitalise on this data hygiene remains an important element of success. This is particularly important now since latest figures show that as a result of the pandemic increasing numbers of people are moving to more remote areas. In fact, there are now 500,000 more households in the moving journey than usual which means that data is degrading faster than usual. For customers that manage their databases in Microsoft Dynamics 365 it is possible to use our new solution, Clean Contacts, which is a product that brings together leading data providers including Royal Mail, REaD Group and Wilmington Millennium and enables data to be cleaned easily and cost effectively within the security of the Azure ecosystem. For those that do not host their data in Microsoft Dynamics 365 our comprehensive cloud-based data hygiene portfolio will enable you to keep your data campaign ready – delivered by road, plane, boat or drone!