Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quickly shaping up as the built industry’s can’t-live without, next generation of tools. But not every contractor needs a full in-house team of pilots. And not every sub wants to own their own drone. With so many UAV solutions out there — what questions should firms be asking themselves when evaluating the software, hardware, and professional services out there?
BuiltWorld’s talked to 8 of the leading companies in the drone services industry to find out. Here are a few of their tips.
Remember: All pieces must fit together.
When evaluating drone solutions, you’ll quickly find that each company offers something different. Some provide training. Others, consulting and the drones themselves. And others still, software and machine learning.
But don’t forget: “The drone, flight planning software, data processing software, data management and analytics tools, and pilot operations have to all fit together,” says Dick Zhang, Identified Technologies CEO. “If any link in that chain is broken, your data is wrong.”
The Kespry team also pointed out the same issue: “If you decide to piece together your own system of drone, be aware that there can be significant technical challenges in getting parts of the system to talk to each other. If you have multiple providers, understand who you call to solve the different technical issues you may run into.”
Determine the Value
Making a business case will ensure you’ve made the right investment. Dan Cipriari, CEO at Pointivo, asks clients to consider the ways they can monetize the data they capture with the drone: “Can they use photos to conduct inspections? Generate a 3D model to pull into software? Extract measurements for claims or estimations? Once they understand how they want to use the drone, they can make the decision on who to partner with and how to integrate drones into their business processes.”
BetterView CEO David Lyman suggests trying services before making any capital decisions: “Explore thevarious options for capturing, analyzing, and utilizing data that is compatible with your business and budget. Consider working with a service provider to test the options, even if you think the best long-term solution is an internally owned and operated model.”