Last year one of the biggest professional service firms in the world published an international report on the momentum of drone technology application. PwC said that after reviewing labor costs for the many and varied commercial uses of drones in the industrial world, they have concluded that there are significant savings in man hours and in ROI from the use of drones.
This report makes exceedingly clear that the technology of drones, or dronology, is poised to add tremendous value to companies that succeed in utilizing this new science. Total revenue from drone-related services during the next decade is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.
Here is a look at how this will play out in just three industries:
Drones Impact on Transportation & Infrastructure. This is an area where dronology will not only boost efficiency but also shrink traditional risk areas. Transportation and utilities are just two examples of where dronology will be increasingly used to gather data for precise cost effectiveness.
For investment monitoring drones are already providing real time statistical data that is improving both the quality and the speed of designing methods. The drones employ high resolution images and video, along with surveying and even 3D modeling, which are used extensively in progress reports. It can all be done while the drone is still up in the air, and then shared with managers and investors, while simultaneously being archived for later use.
Doing maintenance is a very important piece of infrastructure management strategy. When done by drones this costly process becomes much more cost efficient. Spotting leaks, mapping line breaks, documenting faulting wiring; these are just a few of the things dronology can take over and manage smoothly. And always remember, everything a drone picks up as a video or an image can be automatically archived for future reference. Bridges, pipelines, canals, viaducts, culverts — the list is endless where a drone can go in and detect the faster and safer than a human being, and for less cost.
Using Drones in Movies & Video. Entertainment and media are going wild over the use of drones. Almost all the aerial news footage you see nowadays is done via drone. Movie and TV studios employ drones to inexpensively shoot footage that used to cost a fortune. Per SEO expert Guy Sheetrit CEO of Over The Top SEO, “Exclusive aerial features on YouTube and other social media are going viral fast. Drones have already been used in movies like Skyfall, The Wolf of Wall Street and Harry Potter. As they have become less expensive, entrepreneurs and especially YouTubers are starting to generate revenue from them as well.”
One of the biggest winners with media drones is real estate sales. Now an agent can show a prospective buyer a birds eye view of any property, no matter how far away or inaccessible it might be now. Instead of an in-person walk-through, drones can show a buildings possibility (and liabilities) from the outside as well as the inside.
Drones in Telecommunications. The telecommunications industry has embraced drones wholeheartedly as an efficient and cost effective way to perform maintenance and optimize performance.
After a weather event or other natural disaster, or a man-made event such as a terrorist attack, drones are invaluable in picking up information that human beings on the ground cannot access. Plus, drones can be out checking immediately on equipment damages in places where a crew might not be able to access for hours. When telecommunications equipment goes offline, a drone can pinpoint the problem much faster than any work crew.
Drones are excellent at mapping out future construction sites for towers, etc. they can survey, map, and extrapolate and interact with existing maps to give contractors a precise idea of what materials and techniques would work best.
Field Services USA, one of the top field services events in the US, will be having several panels on this exact topic from executives at GE, Cisco, and other large telecom companies.
“Drones and artificial intelligence have been one of the top topics that attendees have wanted to learn about at this year’s event, which indicates a growing surge in this area,” stated Jonathan Massoud, Program Director, Field Services USA.
The only question now, according to Newsweek, is: Who will be the first to make this work for the mass market? Amazon? Google? Or maybe it will be a company in China or India, where there are fewer official restrictions on drones? Japan is ahead in developing empathetic AI robots that can bond with and help care for its aging population. Add some propellers, and you’ll have a companion drone.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.