“…What has this evolution of the commercial drone industry meant to the people that are working to define the value of the technology in the present and future? That very topic is a focus of numerous conference sessions at the upcoming Commercial UAV Expo, where professionals from across the space will come together for what is now recognized as the world’s largest show for professionals integrating commercial drone technology. In preparation of the event, we connected with numerous experts across the space to capture their insights around how expectations associated with the technology will impact the market in the short and long term.
The ROI of drone technology has mostly been defined in terms of being able to perform a given task in faster, cheaper or safer ways. Creating these types of efficiencies is still top of mind, but the pandemic has repositioned how various organizations define this value when it comes to their “new normal.” This concept can be understood both in terms of how an organization might approach the adoption of new tools like drones but also in terms of how they’re addressing the new realities of the labor market.
“Being locked down opened up quite a few eyes relative to what the future could be using unmanned systems,” said Greg Lary, Senior Director of Business Development at AeroVironment. “The COVID-19 pandemic delayed deployment of new technologies perhaps 2-3 years as commercial markets retracted due to significant uncertainty and company costs escalated. In my view, as markets started recovering more rapidly than expected, the subsequent labor shortages and scar tissue from mounting losses has caused companies to rethink their deployment strategies of UAVs. It’s going to depend on company-specific use cases, but greater efficiency and cost effectiveness are present in some of the conversations I’ve had recently…”