One of the first things I always get asked when I tell someone I work with drones is “why does someone need a drone?” And the answer is, you probably don’t need a drone in your personal life unless you are the type of person that loves photography and/or thinks selfie sticks just don’t generate enough judgemental stares.
But professionally, drones are becoming the obvious tool to complete jobs that are traditionally time consuming, resource intensive, dangerous, expensive, or all the above.
For example, take Rich Fraser owner of Elements Management a firm that surveys properties and proposes fixes so that buildings stay up to code and retain their value.
Rich was invited to bid on an surveying project to inspect some buildings in Cambridge, MA. “I was thinking about ways to structure our RFP response while driving and listening to the CEO of Skycatch on NPR,” Fraser told DRONELIFE. “I decided to do a feasibility study.”
Traditionally, Rich hires someone to repel off the roof or a cherrypicker to elevate the photographer, two options which are traditionally recognized as risky and disruptive, respectively. These options also easily take the better part of a day to get the job done.
For this project Rich connected with Christian von Stackelberg of Drone by the Hour.
“I interviewed Christian to develop the scope of work and cost of using a his drone, pilot and photography skills,” Fraser said. “The numbers looked competitive, so we decided to pitch it to the client and they jumped on it.”
Of course, some special planning had to take place upfront just as if someone was repelling off the side of the buildings; residents were warned prior to the flight and there was a small crew to help redirect foot traffic under the drone’s flight path.
Once von Stackelberg got his DJI Phantom 2 Vision + in the air, he got the job done in three hours.
The results came out extremely clear and I’m not just say that:
After looking at the pictures, Fraser was able to see chipped bricks and whole cracks in the top facade six floors up that couldn’t be seen from the ground. The drones view helped keep everything organized and, by uploading the pictures on box, allowed everyone involved in the project to quickly appraise the situation, write comments and collaborate on the proposal for improvements.
And Fraser believes photography drones are just the tip of the iceberg. “I would definitely use them again,” he concluded, “I’m excited to see drones take on new technologies such as 3d scanning into autocad/desktop 3d software and infrared sensing for close up heat loss analysis. There is definitely room to grow this segment and for drones to help keep workers and companies safe.”
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com