Recapping DDC20 Opening Keynote: Day One

October 14, 2020

Our CCO and Co-Founder, Jono Millin, kicked things off by highlighting what we’ve accomplished since DDC19, including our international expansion into Australia, mapping over 70 million acres, and our customers performing over 1.2 million flights in DroneDeploy. “All of this has enabled us to increase the size and coverage of our Support Team,” said Millin. “We now have team members in every time zone, enabling 24-hour support.”

Jono then passed the baton to our CEO and Co-Founder, Mike Winn, who teased at a few product announcements coming our way. “Today in 2020, we’re taking another step, perhaps a leap. We’re broadening our solution further. There’s a need for a new tier of end-to-end solution - a complete reality capture solution, from the air all the way to the ground,” Winn said. “They can view the roof, the facade, the ground, and the whole site without ever stepping foot on it.”


Winn also touched on the new world of remote work and how drone technology has proved to be one of the most significant “socially distant workers.” Imagining a job site in the next year or two might be easy, but Winn imagined a job site in 2030: how drones will operate, how companies will share information, and how all of that data needs to be consolidated in one place so workers across the globe – remote or essential – can all access the same information in one platform. “With all your critical information in one place, in a single piece of software, your whole team [...] can access the site no matter where they are in the world,” said Winn.


Customer is King

DroneDeploy’s Head of Customer Experience, Anjanette Hill Mendoza, followed up with an update on our customers and the leaps they’ve made, as well.

  • Sunrun, the nation’s largest residential solar installation company, has grown its drone program exponentially. In the first eight months of their program, they have performed nearly 20,000 flights and completed over 200 roof surveys per week.
  • Core Construction, ranked the 85th largest General Contractor by ENR, has doubled its number of pilots this past year.
  • Corteva Agriscience, the most prominent pure-play agricultural organization in the world, has seen perhaps the most significant expansion. “Corteva’s partnership with DroneDeploy began with just two individuals who needed a way to understand the variability of their customers’ crops without having to walk hundreds of acres in fields,” said Mendoza. “Today, they have over 1,200 users. Those 1,200 users have flown 13,000 times with DroneDeploy – 6,000 of that in this year alone. And they are creating almost 200,000 LiveMaps a month!”

Product Updates Galore

We get it; a lot of you are just here for the Product Updates. And, boy, did we have a surplus of them. Katie O’Leary, Senior Product Marketing Manager; James Pipe, Head of Product; and Nicholas Pilkington, Co-Founder and CTO, handled the announcements.

O’Leary discussed our recent partnership with Airbus UTM and how pilots can now plan, request, and manage their LAANC authorizations seamlessly within DroneDeploy. “This direct integration of flight management, safety, and regulatory compliance services helps ensure safe and efficient drone operation in the US airspace,” said O’Leary.

Three other exciting announcements included the launch of Vertical Flight, Compass Calibration, and Linear Flight. Before, a company spent tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on scaffolding, swing stages, or bucket lifts to conduct an inspection for a bid or maintenance. With Vertical Flight, you can now create an automated flight template that will capture high-resolution imagery, whether it is a 20-story apartment building, a hospital, a cooling tank, or a tower.


With Compass Calibration arriving inside the app, you’ll be able to calibrate your drone’s compass as part of the DroneDeploy pre-flight checks.

Inspecting and surveying pipelines, electrical utilities, roadways, and railways is time-consuming - requiring multiple flight applications, with varied results. “Because Linear Flight is in DroneDeploy, we’ll follow the terrain, automatically capture flight logs, and enable precision resume after each battery swap,” O’Leary said. “This allows you to capture miles and miles of terrain all in one automated mission.”

O’Leary passed it to Pilkington, who handled the much-anticipated 360 Walkthrough. DroneDeploy’s 360 Walkthrough ingests and processes 360 photos and videos and allows companies to visualize their drone data in one workflow – connecting every inch of the exterior and interior data from your job site. By providing this 360 tour of a project, executives, stakeholders, and employees can easily view progress, conduct a remote inspection, and assist in planning.


“With 360 video support and processing in DroneDeploy, we can now provide full context for on-site decisions,” said Pilkington. “Safety inspections for the entire job site. QA/QC of any point on-site and continuous complete processing monitoring. Now, DroneDeploy can be used for complete reality capture on your site. Interior and exteriors. Groundbreak to handover. All in one platform.” 360 Walkthrough is streamlining how companies execute their operations, saving thousands of dollars in budget spend, all while keeping workers safe and accounted for.”

It was over to Pipe, who covered advancements in 2D inspection, issue tagging, and 3D inspection. “Already we’re seeing DroneDeploy helping to enable this change: Pilots in the energy industry are flying three times more this year than last,” said Pipe. “DroneDeploy Customers like AES, the California Resources Corporation, and Bruin E&P save thousands of hours each year by referring to detailed 3D models of their assets, rather than driving for hours into harsh terrain.” He also discussed improvements in panos, saying, “Coming in our October release, all panos uploaded to DroneDeploy will be processed at four times the previous resolution.”


James also handled a slew of other updates, advancements, and improvements to our product, including, but not limited to, our ESRI integration, Earthworks, Progress Reports, and stand counts. Said about the stand count, “We’re integrating Corteva’s machine learning algorithms directly into the DroneDeploy mobile app, providing our customers in agriculture instant, accurate stand count reports - right at the fields’ edge. The technology runs directly on your phone or tablet, and will enable you to scout and sample hundreds of acres of crop, accurately, in a single flight.”


Winn rounded out the keynote by expressing his gratitude to the customers and the DroneDeploy team. He also expressed excitement about how DroneDeploy had transformed from simple mapping software to a comprehensive digital reconstruction platform. “We’re not waiting for the future, and we know you aren’t either,” said Winn. “You are innovating on the front lines [...] and we are proud to innovate alongside you as you create a competitive edge for your business.”

The keynote was filled with customer success stories, sizzling videos, mind-bending ROI, and an abundance of product updates eager to get into customers’ hands. The sessions that proved the keynote was merely the appetizer to the smorgasbord that was DDC20.

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