Welcome to the drone age
The other day I was at my son’s soccer practice. As some of the parents and I were watching them practice, I heard a sound over head: a drone with a camera. One of the fathers was taking a video of his son from a bird’s eye view. That very same weekend, I was at one of the local beaches with my family and I saw a few drones fly overhead several times through out the day, possibly the lifeguards using to get better view of the number of people in the water or any other important observations that would help them with their job.
The number of drones circulating overhead is expected to triple in the next four years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s aerospace forecast for 2016 to 2036. The FAA estimates hobbyist and commercial drones in the U.S. will increase from 2.5 million to 7 million by 2020. (source: time.com)
Drones in field service
Drones, more formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are going beyond military and personal uses and are now being used to assist with tasks that are typically tedious, hard to reach or dangerous. The applications and activities that drones can be used for are far reaching and touch on many industry sectors. Below are just some of the examples where, with the right software and equipment, drones could be deployed to drive real commercial value, increasing productivity and reducing costs.
Agriculture, oil & gas and hydro
These are industries where large distances need to be covered and terrain and elevation are factors. Current drone technology can help field technicians assess, sectionalize and provide important data which ultimately helps to improve repair time and efficiency contributing to KPIs such as increased first time fixed rates.
Home and commercial services
In the real estate sector, drones could allow home inspectors to investigate high to reach places with poor accessibility such as steep and flat rooves as well as chimneys. The drone would allow the inspector to carefully examine their condition and identify any potential issues. It would also provide roofing and chimney repair service companies to conduct a more detailed assessment for their customers.
Commercial HVAC services
In this industry, drones could limit the need for setting up scaffolding, scissor lifts as well as reduce the use of multiple technicians. This would result in significantly shorter inspection times, improved repair times and increased technician productivity. Smaller drones with proper lighting and sensors could be used to inspect ducts and equipment in plants and large buildings with kilometers of duct work, resulting is significant savings.
Whatever the industry sector, drones can provide powerful data and visuals for better decision making. By integrating information captured by a drone into a Field Service Management platform, technicians have access to accurate and detailed data to help effectively trouble shoot, diagnose and resolve technical issues. Leveraging drone-based imagery can provide Field Service organizations with more detailed information and metrics to help optimize their business and provide improved customer service. Combining technologies like drones, computer imagery processing and IoT will provide a whole new level of working environment for the future.
To learn more about real business scenarios and the benefits of harnessing the power of drone technology, watch this short video from IFS labs.
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