7 Risks of Dismissing Drones as an Industry-Changing Technology

Today we welcome Paul New, Executive Director of The Institute for Drone Technology™, to outline the risks of dismissing drones as an industry-changing technology.

We’ve seen it time and time again. We all know the stories of the Kodaks and Xeroxs and Blockbusters that dismissed a new technology as ‘irrelevant to what we do’, only to rue the day they missed out on what turned out to be a great opportunity … for their competitors.

The problem we have is that a shiny new ‘next big thing’ comes across our desk nearly every day. Which ones should we take seriously?

We’re here to tell you that there’s one new technology you shouldn’t be dismissing – even though you’re probably tempted to. That technology is drones. Yes, you’ve seen the kids at the local park waving at a baby drone to control its movements.

PWC estimates the drone economy will be worth $US127 billion by 2020.

Yes, you’ve seen the Aldi catalogue advertising an all-singing, all-dancing drone for $29. And yes, swooping aerial shots of concert crowds and beaches are already becoming a cliché. It’s understandable that you might see drones as just another fad.

Think again. In the professional context, drone use is anything but a flash-in-the-pan. The reality is that behind all the hype, the use of drones, aka ‘remotely piloted aircraft’ or RPAs, is very quickly becoming serious business. It’s literally adding another dimension to the way that smart organisations are operating. In virtually every industry, drones are providing previously unimagined opportunities to cut costs, provide competitive advantage and open up new revenue streams. PWC estimates the drone economy will be worth $US127 billion by 2020.

Here are seven risks to your business or organisation of dismissing drones out of hand:

1. Drones can eliminate dangerous and dirty jobs, reducing the costs and risks to personnel of performing those tasks. With the ever-increasing focus on safety, and on the ultimate responsibility of senior management and directors for safety, drones can be an essential part of a safety strategy.

2. In an era when data is everything, drones can provide layers of data – and therefore insight – you’ve never considered. There’s a business advantage to be taken – or missed out on – here.

3. Drones are fast creating opportunities for innovation in logistics, both internally and externally. Those early videos everyone laughed at of Amazon delivering by drone? That reality is closer than you think.. Again, those who get on this wagon first (so to speak) will be taking the competitive advantage.

Drones are creating whole new areas of potential revenue.

4. The use of ‘rogue’ drones is creating new threats to property and IP. Getting ahead of the curve with your own drone strategy can not only counter this external threat, but it can also provide more effective surveillance of your assets at a fraction of the cost of what you’re paying now.

5. Drones are creating whole new areas of potential revenue. You may not own the airspace above your assets, but by implementing the right management system, you can properly account for the users of the airspace in and around your assets. This is not only important for security (see point 4) but it can also create opportunities to monetise that airspace.

6. Even if you do ignore the trend towards drones, they’re going to be used anyway – and that will create new threats. Remember how no one took email and web usage seriously until, almost overnight, online bullying and inappropriate use of the internet became major issues right up to board level? The same thing is almost certain to happen with drones. Some smart kid, thinking he’s showing initiative, will fly a drone over a company event. It will also seem like good fun until some piece of embarrassing footage goes viral or, worse, the drone falls out of the sky. Besides all the other damage, would your insurance cover you the fallout? You can avoid this situation by taking drones seriously and implementing a company-wide drone management plan.

7. You could just try to wash your hands of all this and outsource it. ‘Drones as a Service’ (DaaS) accounts for the majority of commercial drone usage today. However, it has its limitations, most notably around control of the data that drones collect. The reality is that the availability and ease of flying of professional quality drones is now such that in most cases it makes sense to build your drone operations in house, thus keeping complete control over their use and output. This is why the percentage of outsourced drone operations as a proportion of all drone operations is reducing.

Drones aren’t just a fad. They’re providing access to an area of your organisation that has more than likely been completely ignored until now: the sky above it and the airspace around it. That access provides both risks and opportunities for almost every business. And, as with any ground-breaking new technology, the organisations that get ahead of the curve, take the technology seriously and develop strategies for dealing with it will be the organisations that win.

About Paul New

Paul is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Institute for Drone Technology™ and iLearnDrones®, which helps individuals and organisations understand the revolutionary benefits of drone technology and gain the skills and connections to implement drone technology in their workplaces. An early adopter and believer in the drone economy, Paul began his journey with drones six years ago, after establishing a successful executive career.

For more information call 1800 376 638 or visit dronetechinstitute.com.

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