Education remains one of the challenges to contend with while trying to grow a business within the commercial UAV market.
For Chris Blackford, co-founder of Sky-Futures, a UK-based drone company which specialises in complex vertical inspections and data analysis software, one of the goals has been to work with enterprise organisations to ensure they are appraised of the full spectrum of opportunities that drones and software can bring to their industry.
Blackford told Commercial Drone Professional: “An important task for us has always been, and remains, the education of clients on the many benefits of the technology. Demonstrating the value that the right drone and software package brings a client and how drones can add value across a breath of different areas within that business.
By working closely with clients, Blackford notes that once the full range of benefits afforded by drone technology is understood, the response is positive and often leads to an increase in potential use cases within that company.
“We often find that you’ll start working with a company on a specific part of their business and then suddenly other divisions or sectors within the business hear about what they’re doing and inquire because they think ‘you can add value to our business line as well’.”
Blackford has also identified a shift in the commercial drone market due to end-users wanting to be more proactive to their in-house inspection needs and demanding greater control over how asset inspection data is collected and how it is used to make their operations more efficient and cost-effective.
Blackford added: “Companies with major infrastructure projects or large volumes of assets are finding that other companies they’re competing with might already have this capability and they know that actually the future is about using robotics and data analysis software, like our Expanse platform, to be more efficient and be safer in their work.
“If you look at the way the market has grown, seven and a half years ago we had a war of attrition to get our first job. A lot of our energy went in to education and demonstrating the value of data captured by drones. The greatest competition to us isn’t competition itself, it’s actually adoption and education.”