Day One featured over 15 sessions, panels, and fireside chats – it also included a captivating closing keynote by DroneDeploy partner, Rebuild Paradise. Packed with content and lively discussions, recordings of DDC20 will be available for a year starting tomorrow. Here are some of our favorite takeaways from Day One:
In “Mobilizing the Workforce of Tomorrow,” we heard from leading experts on how they see their industries’ future transforming through advances in the latest drone technology. DroneDeploy’s very own Olya Royall sat down with Women Who Drone’s Elena Buenrostro; Drone Seed’s Shanna Hobbs; Cheap Consultant’s Gisela Ripoll; and Consolidated Utility District’s Bethany Hall. The panelists discussed how their roles have evolved within their organizations, how they’re building trust, expanding their drone programs, and fostering a healthy culture to mobilize a changing workforce. “Drone management systems are very important and exciting in the way that they provide transparency to all of our operations,” said Ripoll. When asked about operating in a pandemic world, Bethany Hall explained that remote work meant “we had to start thinking outside of the office. We had to deploy mobile solutions.”
“Enabling Airspace Management of Today and the Future” saw industry experts weigh in on airspace management and regulation while covering challenges, trends, and safety. Lisa Lellman made the point, “This pandemic has made the value proposition for drones abundantly clear. Drones enable social distancing and critical infrastructure inspections to continue. It’s been a tough time, but it’s been an inspiring time to see our industry step up.” Joining her on the panel was Joe Polastre from Airbus and Ryan Alfonso and David Ibarra from the FAA. When the conversation shifted to Beyond Line of Sight (“BVLOS”), the FAA said a ruling should come by the end of the year, though it will still take three years to implement. But, according to Polastre, “A lot of things should come together in 2021.”
Mike Winn returned to the “virtual stage” with an eye-opening fireside chat with Zipline Co-Founder and Head of Product, Keenan Wyrobek, in a session titled “Navigating the Social, Political, and Economic Forces Shaping Innovation.” Zipline, a medical product delivery company and DroneDeploy customer, recently announced a partnership with Walmart to conduct health and wellness deliveries in the United States. “We can enable people in rural areas,” said Wyrobek. “With COVID [...] telemedicine, plus a delivery system like Zipline, it can be a really new, magical world.” Zipline, which has seen it’s company expand and grow rapidly over the past several months, has embraced the role of drone technology in their operations, with Wyrobek adding, “We’ve found that DroneDeploy not only had a really high-quality photogrammetry system to build maps, but we felt like it also had the ability to scale with us.” Zipline has been doing tremendous work across the globe, helping impoverished communities receive medicine that would otherwise be difficult to locate; we couldn’t be more proud they’re one of our customers.
As many of you may know, DroneDeploy expanded operations to include an office in the APAC region. Our team in Sydney opened our collective eyes to all the exceptional use cases those in Australia are taking on. We are so thrilled that this year we had our very first APAC sessions, targeted directly at those in that region – timezone contingent and everything. Sessions ranged from “The Power of Drone Data at Every Stage for Construction” and “Enabling Farmers with Drone Technology.” Sydney office’s Customer Success Manager, Sam Robinson, moderated both panels. During “Enabling Farmers with Drone Technology,” Robinson was joined on stage by Marcus Bulstrode from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Bulstrode, who specifically helps sugar farmers near the Great Barrier Reef Heritage optimize their operations and implement sustainable farming practices, had this to say: “Anything that is applied on the land that is not kept on the land will move fairly rapidly across the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.” The Australian government helps farmers leverage new precision agriculture technology, including drones, to support sustainable farming. When asked about the benefits of only spraying areas that genuinely need herbicide application, Bulstrode replied, “We can use a fraction of the chemical we used previously...if we can reduce the amount of herbicide and pesticide, that’s going to improve reef water quality.”