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The drone industry has reached that minor level of maturity when investors are gearing up to find excellent opportunities, market predictions are through the roof, and new and hopeful drone companies are springing up like weeds in a field. It’s more than an industry, it’s a revolution in workflow for many traditional sectors like agriculture and construction. Like any revolution, however, the start can be bloody: moving into verticals like agriculture and construction as a technology pioneer isn’t easy. As in any new industry, many of those hopefuls don’t make it past the first market test – customers.
That’s why a 5 year-old start-up with 30,000 users in 180 countries, mapping over 30 million acres and scoring partnerships with industry giants like McCarthy in construction and John Deere in agriculture is worth writing about. How did CA-based drone mapping platform DroneDeploy make its way to the top so quickly?
The Future of the Industry
The answer, says DroneDeploy spokesman Devon Tackels, is simple: Drone Deploy understood early that software – not hardware – was the future.
It’s one of those ideas that is elegantly simple, but not easy – as proven by a long list of major drone companies who have switched between offering hardware and software. Software allows for flexible innovation, easier delivery, quick changes. Hardware is challenging, even for big players: we’ve had many opportunities to quote Parrot’s Henri Seydoux when he predicted, two years ago, “a bloody year” for drone manufacturers. Pricing wars, manufacturing difficulties, and distribution channel issues have caused major names like GoPro to concede the battle: other well-known companies like 3DR and Precisionhawk have shifted their offerings away from hardware over time to focus on software.
DroneDeploy, however, has never changed their vision – or their leadership. DroneDeploy’s soft-spoken and brilliant CEO, Mike Winn, is also the company’s co-founder. Winn’s talent for integrating complex ideas into a cohesive picture – and selling them – got the company off the ground five years ago when few people really understood what a “cloud-based drone platform” was. DroneDeploy’s CEO envisions “a drone on every worksite,” and he’s been building a viable path directly towards that goal from the start.
DroneDeploy Advances – Fast
With a single vision, DroneDeploy has been able to keep pushing the boundaries of what drones can accomplish with their solutions. In five years, both technology and adoption has come a long way – DroneDeploy’s been able to lead the charge. They’ve shortened the processing time of usable maps to their current real-time offering: at last year’s DroneDeploy day in their south-of-Market offices in San Francisco, we saw a demonstration of the Live Map product which allows farmers and construction workers to improve their entire workflow to be more efficient and cost effective. Live Map makes drone mapping far more viable and useful for First Responders and Emergency Services teams. The product was delivered to customers only months after the first demonstrations. The company has focused resources heavily on good development: DroneDeploy issues improvements and enhancements to the product regularly. Each new development keeps them out in front, leaving their competitors to play catch up.
The Whole Drone Ecosystem
One of the challenges that new technology companies face is the confusion factor. Many major enterprises don’t like to piecemeal a workflow – it’s too difficult for staff who are subject matter experts in their own field to figure out what will work best.
But DroneDeploy’s laser-focus on software allowed it to build out an industry-leading ecosystem comprised of more than 70 apps spanning 10 industries. They can accommodate small specialty providers who have their own niche industry, but their partner companies also include well known and respected industry names like Autodesk, John Deere, and Box.
DroneDeploy’s app market has been a significant driver to their growth. Enterprises already using John Deere’s solutions for agriculture find it easier to integrate the additional functionality of drone mapping – without the app, they’d have to figure out how to patch the workflow together on their own. Businesses already familiar with Box for file sharing and collaboration find it easier to access map data across the enterprise.
They’ve Added Strategic Skills
Mike Winn has kept the single vision that has helped DroneDeploy reach the top – but he hasn’t slowed them down by trying to do everything. The company’s rapid growth also has included strategic additions to their executive team, drawn from California’s elite talent pool. With John Botros joining as CFO (formerly at Paxata), Matt Hunter as CPO (formerly Tubular Labs and App Annie), and Wade Tibke as VP of Marketing (formerly Tableau), the company has the depth and business expertise which should keep it on top for a long, long time.
Meet the 30,000-User Startup Leading the Drone Revolution was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/06/meet-30000-user-startup-leading-drone-revolution/ by Miriam McNabb
$1,000 is Up for Grabs Every Week – AirVuz Drone Video of the Week Contest!
$1,000 is Up for Grabs Every Week – AirVuz Drone Video of the Week Contest! was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/08/1000-grabs-every-week-airvuz-drone-video-week-contest/ by Miriam McNabb
The Alliance for Drone Innovation
The new organization will address the same issues – but the coalition has now expanded to include suppliers and software developers of both personal and professional drones “as well as the innovative Americans who fly them for recreational, artistic, and business purposes,” says the Alliance.
“ADI is focused on promoting innovation and the growth of the unmanned aircraft industry for both personal and professional use,” says ADI. “…ADI promotes awareness among policymakers, media and the general public of how drones help society, ensuring that government policies allow everyone to achieve the benefits of safe and responsible drone flight.”
“We look forward to working with Congress, the administration, and other stakeholders on policies that promote innovation and allow the drone market to flourish in a responsible and safe manner,” said ADI Executive Director Jenny Rosenberg.
In addition to legal protections for recreational operators as mentioned above, the ADI supports a micro-drone classification exempting very small and lightweight aircraft from certain laws, and the preservation of FAA preemption. FAA preemption refers to the idea that the FAA should maintain ultimate authority over the airspace, preventing state, tribal and local governments from passing their own drone laws.
The Alliance for Drone Innovation was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/07/alliance-drone-innovation/ by Miriam McNabb
Firefly Drone Shows: The Team Behind That Viral Video Expands Their Fleet
Press Release: Firefly Drone Shows, founded by Kyle Dorosz and Ryan Sigmon, is expanding their fleet to 200 custom-built drones and booking for a variety of outdoor events this summer. They are the third company in the United States to gain approval for performing across the country, and one of the few in the world to also possess a night waiver from the FAA for drone shows. Routines are pre-programmed, choreographed, and automated by a computer to create any design imaginable in the sky. This level of customization makes light shows an ideal alternative to traditional fireworks for corporate, private, and special events.
Firefly recently made headlines in regional news outlets, including MLive and ABC 12, after a video of their first test performance, recorded by Grand Blanc resident Kaylin Adams, went viral. Dorosz was operating 30 drones at dusk, from Holly Cloud Hoppers flying field, which piqued the curiosity of Adams plus 10-15 other drivers who parked on the shoulder of the I-75 highway to safely view the synchronized light show.
Traditional fireworks are loud, costly, can be used only once, and emit various harmful toxins. Drone shows don’t leave a carbon footprint and can be executed repeatedly, something co-founder Dorosz believes will appeal to to eco-conscious industries including music and entertainment. “We are able to create bright, impactful displays in the sky without the significant pollution or steep costs generally associated with fireworks.”
A light show can last up to 20 minutes. However, additional drones can be launched to replace drones with depleted batteries, creating a seamless and continuous light show. Anyone attending a music festival, county fair, or corporate event this summer will be relieved to know that if they spot groups of lights performing mesmerizing routines, it’s likely a Firefly Drone Show at work and not a visit from extraterrestrial beings.
About Firefly Drone Shows
Firefly provides synchronized drone light shows for corporate and private events, as well as custom applications. One of the only FAA-approved companies in the world, Firefly offers the latest technology operated by the most experienced pilots.
Firefly Drone Shows: The Team Behind That Viral Video Expands Their Fleet was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/07/firefly-drone-shows-team-behind-viral-video-expands-fleet/ by