Drone industry leaders AirMap and Kespry will announce later today that they have partnered to integrate AirMap’s airspace intelligence with Kespry’s automated enterprise solution. Kespry will be the first partner to integrate AirMap’s “contextual airspace” offering, which “tailors rules and conditions to the exact specifications of each mission, including operator certification, flight location, and speed, height, and weight requirements.” (An API will be released to the entire community in 2018, says AirMap.) The partnership brings new value to the enterprise and cements both companies’ position in the industry.
A press release describes the new functionality:
The new AirMap-Kespry integration brings AirMap’s airspace intelligence to the Kespry flight app. During the flight planning process, the app automatically surfaces AirMap airspace advisories, wind, and weather tailored to the unique parameters of each flight, including the drone operator’s pilot certification. Preflight checks are easier than ever before, autofilling this information in each mission plan to help operators move more quickly from field, to flight, to finish. Airspace rules, temporary flight restrictions, and the locations of schools, prisons, hospitals, power plants, and more can be viewed with just a tap.
The result is a richer, more streamlined experience that makes situational awareness and flight planning effortless for Kespry customers.
While “industry leader” seems to be a generic term in the dynamic and rapidly evolving drone industry, AirMap’s airspace intelligence technology is now found in more than 80% of all drones in the air. It’s a figure that’s hard to argue with – even if you quibble on percentage, the majority is clear.
AirMap CEO Ben Marcus tells DRONELIFE that providing value for all of the stakeholders in the drone industry has been key to their growth. “AirMap takes a platform approach, offering airspace services for the entire drone ecosystem,” says Marcus. “It delivers UTM capabilities to airspace managers, the industry’s most comprehensive airspace intelligence to operators and others sharing the skies, and a robust platform of APIs for developers, manufacturers, and other industry innovators that wish to build these capabilities into their own products and services.”
The majority of AirMap’s marketshare is currently in the consumer and prosumer space. While that’s a huge and profitable market, enterprise-focused Kespry has taken a large slice of a smaller – but significant – pie. Kespry provides an end-to-end solution to large enterprise customers, a vertically integrated and secure system including flight planning, a fully-automated (really – no joysticks involved) drone and an industry-specific data analytics platform.
Kespry’s customers in aggregates, mining, insurance and construction are looking for a business advantage and a scalable solution – they’re big customers more focused on the business insights and the bottom line than on flying any individual mission. CEO George Mathew lists ease of use – along with accuracy and efficiency – as one of three differentiators that have given the Kespry platform an advantage in the highly competitive enterprise market.
New Functionality, New Value
Both Marcus and Mathew say that the integration offers new value for large customers.
“Equipping every Kespry pilot with AirMap airspace intelligence helps ensure that flights are safe, efficient, and compliant,” says Marcus. “Situational awareness is at their fingertips, which means they can fly with confidence and focus on the work at hand.”
“Combining the capabilities of the AirMap platform with the Kespry App greatly improves the user experience (streamlining the process, reducing the time to plan flights) and enables drone operators to fly safer, more efficient missions that are in compliance with regulations,” says Mathew. “This partnership further demonstrates Kespry’s commitment to an open ecosystem, bringing value to customers through both industry and technology partnerships that streamline workflows and drive efficiency in operations,” he adds.
“This integration represents a significant transformation of the workflow, as it allows users to manage all flight planning in a single app,” says Mathew. “Users will no longer have to enter the specifications of each flight each time they plan a mission – the app will auto-fill this information to save significant time and ensure accuracy.”
“The contextual airspace information now available seamlessly within the Kespry flight planning app includes airspace objects and boundaries (airports, stadiums, schools, wildfires, etc.), temporary Airspace Restrictions (TFRs) and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), global airspace rules and restrictions, and wind and weather conditions,” Mathew explains.
The Enterprise Market
The partnership gives both companies an edge in the enterprise space – a market hotly pursued by many facets of the drone industry, including major military solutions providers rapidly moving their products downstream and consumer-focused manufacturers rushing to release “pro” models. It’s a market both AirMap and Kespry see evolving.
“We’re seeing a positive trend toward opening more airspace for drone business. Advancements like LAANC and the recently announced UAS Integration Pilot Program will give operators the chance to more freely build their businesses and take on complex operations they can’t fly today,” says AirMap’s Marcus. “I hope that we’ll see this trend continue, giving enterprises the opportunity to build their fleets and deploy more drones, for more missions, in more airspace.”
“The use of drones in industrial use cases is delivering tremendous value already and that is at the early stage of the adoption curve,” says Kespry’s Mathew. “We expect any new regulations to add new use cases. For enterprises this is about how they get the data they need to address specific business questions – and regulations that allow longer flight distances, faster waiver responses, and easier deployment of drone data capture will help that.”
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.
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