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Embracing the Future of Digital Transformation: The Next Wave of Working is Here

A Note from our CEO & Co-Founder, Mike Winn

Fri Oct 22 2021 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Like many companies, DroneDeploy was born out of a simple but powerful use case: stopping rhino poachers in our home country of South Africa. And over the company’s last 11 years, we saw use cases expand across dozens of industries, spanning over 200 countries. As the software matured, our customers developed more efficient processes, sped up their operations, improved yields, all while keeping workers safe.

Companies could achieve these successes because they found a common theme across their use cases: drone data allowed them to act on the opportunities, perhaps, previously unseen.

This theme rings true across almost any industry. 

  • In agriculture: acting on opportunities for crops
  • In construction: acting on job site opportunities
  • In energy: opportunities for power & distribution centers, plants, and wind farms

The list goes on…

DroneDeploy Walkthrough

For industries across the globe, it was imperative DroneDeploy provided exacting data empowering you to act; to provide a full, comprehensive picture of everything that’s going on. This meant you could act quickly, making your operations unquestionably better, unapologetically more efficient. Compromising on this point could mean the difference between being in business one day and a market afterthought the other. 

History has long proven businesses are constantly in search of new ways to get a leg up on the competition. This year, we’re excited to announce we’re taking it a step further when it comes to acting on your opportunity.

First, we’re investing to make the best product even better; the best product that can scale to fit your needs; and the best product for a better future.

We’re launching a whole host of new products and updates, including Flight, 3D processing, and an amazing new feature called Corridors. There’s also 3D Annotations, in which you’ll be able to measure and markup vertical facades and export 3D lineworks to CAD. We’ve invested heavily in updates to 360 Walkthrough, Stand Assessment, and Asset Inspection.

When DroneDeploy was founded, the company had many shared goals; today, one of them stands out: to redefine how people view the world. Another way of putting it: to redefine the reality around them.

As we set out to accomplish this goal, we understood hardware helped solve one piece of this puzzle. After all, it got the device up in the air. But once the drone was up in the air, how could you fully capture the world below? How could you get unlimited insights into the things that were important to you, important to your team, and important to your business? It didn't take long for us to realize it would be the software that would make these hardware devices truly powerful tools.

Over the last several decades, many of the largest companies in construction, agriculture, and energy have been performing a digital transformation of their businesses. By transforming their physical worlds into digital, companies found they could finally manage the things they could finally measure.

As this wave of digital transformation swept from industry to industry, our customers began to innovate with new technologies, devices, and use cases – including, of course, drones. Today, some customers have over 1,000 drones in their organization – with a roadmap to over 10,000. Some of our most innovative customers even have fleets of drones that outnumber the fleets of the largest airlines. This level of scalability became possible because they used DroneDeploy on a daily basis, collecting massive data troves, processed with machine learning, to enable them to make better decisions and transform their own customer experiences.

And these innovators aren't sitting still. Their drone programs are maturing, scaling, and embarking on a new frontier that could be even more transformative: ground robotic software.

Let’s be honest. Drones have one simple superpower: they can fly. Thus, providing a bird’s eye perspective out of reach of humans. But out of this strength, there is a weakness: Drones focus on aerial. But this isn't where humans operate. 

There’s a considerable need to capture insight at the ground level – at eye-level. Yesterday, millions of you were carrying around measuring tapes, blueprints, and clipboards. Tomorrow, there will no longer be a requirement for in-person field data; the data will simply show up on your mobile device – accurate, objective, actionable data for any industry, anywhere in the world. 

Imagine scheduling a team of robots to capture every aspect of your job site, as often as you’d like. Robots equipped with cameras and LiDAR, leveraging machine learning to detect, classify, and report on the state of critical equipment and the progress on industrial sites. Oil wells, highway construction projects, agricultural research plots, no industry will ever be the same. Today’s workflows will become a thing of the past.

Think of this: A new children’s hospital is under construction. The project is mammoth, with five sophisticated wings spanning eight different floors. The team responsible for the project has just wrapped for the evening, and the site is now seemingly quiet. But even though every worker has gone home, it doesn’t mean work has stopped. This particular construction team happens to be utilizing a robot that visits every wing of the hospital, every floor, even every room, capturing data on every single aspect of the project. This robot will check if everything is in the right place, that building has gone to plan, progress made from the day prior, and even check for safety issues. By the time that team wakes up in the morning, all of that information has been uploaded to their devices. Even before getting to the site, every worker has a complete picture of what’s going on inside that children’s hospital. 

 This reality is now a step closer following our acquisition of Rocos, a revolutionary technology out of Auckland, New Zealand. DroneDeploy’s existing data capture, processing, and analytical tools will now be usable with ground robots. Soon, our customers will be able to instruct ground robots to traverse job sites, capture imagery, process that data into structured, measurable information, and instantly share it across their teams for analysis. 

 In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to take unprecedented action, capitalizing on this fleet of robots, all operationalized, orchestrated, and organized by DroneDeploy. 

 This brings us back to the matter of how we’re enabling you to act on opportunity. Opportunities for your crops. Your solar farms. Your job sites.

In construction, over the past several years we’ve seen Increasing material costs and labor shortages. Projects have grown in complexity and often result in budget overruns. Managing these large portfolios of building and job sites can be daunting. But this new way of working with robotics will only mitigate these challenges. This level of automation at scale enables inspections and site scans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Build 3D digital twins of your environments to track progress against BIM in real time. Report on progress without ever setting foot on-site, improving worker safety and compliance; avoiding costly overruns; and increasing consistency and accuracy across every job.

Consider those in the solar industry. Solar arrays tend to be in remote, dry, and hot locations, spanning dozens upon dozens of acres. This makes manual inspections difficult, hazardous, and time-consuming. Robotics, though, can withstand high temperatures and increased dust and sand levels. Equipped with the right payloads, these robots can scan solar panels, cables, and mounting brackets while sending alerts about which repairs are needed – and when. 

 This new technological wave will open doors for those in the agriculture industry. Growers will be able to monitor remote and expansive terrains, automate harvesting and planting processes, remove weeds accurately without the use of pesticides, and, perhaps most importantly considering drought and water shortages, this new way of working will optimize irrigation and water efficiency.

 Robots will perform industry tasks completely autonomously, saving time, costs, and enabling timely maintenance.

Many of our Fortune 500 customers in construction, energy, and agriculture are already starting their journey to leverage these tools – tools that will transform their businesses. It’s an exciting time for all industries poised to take advantage of this technology. 

 Back in 2015, at the start of DroneDeploy’s journey, our first customers had just one drone in their operations. Eventually, that one drone evolved into a massive program, with numerous pilots, across multiple locations, all operating on one platform. Customers utilizing DroneDeploy’s single source of truth now have a new journey: and it begins with ground robotics. And just like in 2015, many of you will start with one ground robot in 2021, but we’re confident that those programs will grow into a fleet of robotics, all working for your business in ways industries never could have dreamed of. 

We can't wait to see what comes next.


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