PrecisionHawk‘s CEO Michael Chasen isn’t afraid to make big statements – or to take big actions. In his keynote address to last week’s InterDrone conference, Chasen said that drones were a transformative technology, and PrecisionHawk was ready for the transformation.
Chasen framed his discussion in terms of iPhones and Roombas (the robotic vacuum cleaner.)
“What I mean by that is are drones a technology that will infiltrate and innovate in every industry they touch – causing us to fundamentally change the way that industry is doing business – as the iPhone did?” asked Chasen. “Or are drones primarily an appliance, good for one or two things but…always a single use technology.”
It’s clear what Chasen thinks the answer is, and he sees the signs of it as more verticals adopt the technology. “…the real value for smartphones came when people started envisioning different applications for different industries,” says Chasen. “…And I believe that is what we are starting to see here with drones. We can already see how drones are starting to touch various industries.”
Chasen says that PrecisionHawk is making three moves to ensure that they’re ready for that evolution. They’re working on fully integrating their solution, from the best tools for data capture to the right applications and algorithms for analysis. They’re building out a world-class service organization to help new industries with adoption. And, says Chasen, PrecisionHawk is maintaining its leadership position as a company: “We are making sure we are giving back to the community, and we are making sure that we have an open system that is easy for people to work in and extend.”
“I do think that drones are the next iPhone and at PrecisionHawk we are doing everything we can to move forward with that vision,” Chasen said.
After the keynote, DRONELIFE caught up with Chasen to talk more about how PrecisionHawk is gearing up for the next step in the industry’s evolution. The company continues to participate in top level discussions on regulations; providing experience, use cases and data for decisions. They work with NASA and the FAA to test technologies, and they are continually building and developing their own solutions. Their iconic fixed wing has gone through many generations – but now they offer choices of multi-rotor drones also with their enterprise packages.
Those enterprise packages are expanding fast. As new verticals start to adopt drone technology, PrecisionHawk is moving to meet them with solutions that range from the familiar precision agriculture to energy, construction, insurance, and government. Mining, powerlines, subsea mapping, forestry, solar fault detection, volume measurement, security: the applications are numerous and growing.
Chasen says that the drone industry is enjoying its popularity right now, but that exposure has led to a lot of industry hype. “Everyone is talking about new verticals,” he says. “And there is a lot of hype about future technology, new tools.” But Chasen says that PrecisionHawk’s platform is already providing value for customers. “We don’t want to perpetuate the hype,” says Chasen. “We’re doing real work in these industries.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.