Growing drone use is prompting commercial customers to examine future applications, study finds


A report published by CompTIA has found that as commercial drone services take on an expanding role in the business world, companies are examining how best to use unmanned vehicle systems to deliver even more value and productivity.

Findings suggest that there is significant untapped market potential for drone manufacturers, drone solution providers (DSPs), managed service providers (MSPs), distributors, operators, and others in the drone ecosystem.

At the same time, customers are taking a fresh look at their use of drones, including how they access drone services and the capabilities; and the expertise they expect from their partners and providers.

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The report details how about one-third of current business customers report managing drone technology internally, while 27 percent rely on external DSPs or related firms.

The remaining 39 percent utilise a hybrid approach of internal and external management.

Annette Taber, senior vice president for industry outreach at CompTIA, commented: “Drone providers must pay close attention to the shifting wants and needs of their customers.”

Adding: “As the market matures, more businesses will view drones as devices on the network that must adhere to security, data and operational protocols.”

Just under one-half of the companies surveyed said they expect to continue working with their current DSP or technology partner over the next two to three years. But one-third expect to transition to a more capable firm; one with greater competencies and expertise in areas such as data and analytics, broad-based information technology, cybersecurity, software development, and managed services.

Among current users, nearly half characterised their current drone engagements as “new,” meaning they leveraged the technology to accomplish something that was not previously possible while around 40% say they have on-going projects that utilise drone technologies.

Another 23 percent categorised themselves as one-time users.

Discussing the next wave of customers, the report described how potential customers cite budget constraints as their top hurdle, followed by a lack of internal expertise and challenges in making a business case for drone investments.

Taber went on: “The study confirms that existing customers express high rates of satisfaction with drone technology, the outputs produced and the return on investment. These positives will certainly help in making the case to new customers. But DSPs must keep in mind that different customer segments require different approaches.”

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Alex Douglas

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