For more than a century, drones have existed in one form or another, though the level of their sophistication has greatly improved in the last two decades. One of the earliest drones was a Nikola Tesla design in 1917, and while that prototype never took flight, it was the first of many milestones for what would become an extremely profitable market.
In 2019, The global non-military drone market is valued at nearly $5 billion and is set to exceed $14 billion over the next decade1. As drone technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, reliable and affordable, its industrial and commercial applications have become more extensive.
Complex Applications of Drones and AI
Drone technology became Wi-Fi enabled in 2010, creating new possibilities for countless industries – especially asset-intensive and mission critical operations in harsh and dangerous conditions. Drones have application in geological surveys, agriculture, disaster relief, security, wildfire management, oil and gas exploration, safety inspections, and asset, infrastructure and field management.
Smart drones, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) possess some of the characteristics of human intelligence, such as reasoning and problem solving abilities. When paired with computer vision, machine learning and other advanced features, such drones have the ability to simplify tasks while collecting, storing and processing data to optimize workflows, performance and output.
There are countless participants in the drone market, but according to Boston Consulting Group, the main source of market growth will be in value-added services related to specific industries and use cases. Collecting the data required for specific applications and integrating that data into existing workflows will be required for companies to make the most of drones.
A single drone flight can generate as much as 100 gigabytes of data. But data is only worth collecting if there are tools to analyze and make sense of it in large volumes.
From Pie-In-The-Sky to Business Value
The major players in the oil and gas industry are utilizing drone technology to inspect oil platforms, drawing on a combination of video, thermal imaging and advanced image recognition technology to improve performance and safety on-site, and reduce inspection times. The results are impressive. Inspection times have gone from weeks to days without the need for work stoppages. The same results have been experienced by onshore wind turbine inspections, where timelines have been reduced and costs have been cut in half, per turbine.
But safe and cost effective data collection is only part of the solution that drone technology represents. Integrating that data into asset management and field service systems for actionable outcomes drive real business value. KloudGin is at the forefront of integrating drone technology into real-world business solutions specifically for field service and asset management. KloudGin’s cloud platform integrates data from drones, sensors, field crews, and multiple other sources and combines it with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to route the technician with the right skills, tools and inventory to the highest priority job in the shortest amount of time. KloudGin immediately enables you to reduce costs, decrease down-time and improve safety, while dramatically improving operational efficiency.
Sophisticated drone technology can be a simple and cost-effective business solution that improves timelines and workflow while reducing operating and maintenance, as well as labor and insurance costs. The technology is and will be an important aspect of Industry 4.0 and early adopters will be the first to scale the learning curve reap the most value and reward in doing so.
1Teal Group, 2019