Verizon-owned Skyward has announced the results of a commercial drone industry survey conducted in partnership with Blue Research.
The headlines: one in 10 companies with a revenue of $50 million and more use drones. 92 percent realized a positive ROI on their drone investment in one year or less.
The data is based on responses from 1,736 individuals from a random mixture of US companies with $50 million or more in revenue.
The research also suggests that the use of drones is on the up: By the end of 2018, drones are forecast to be used by 12 percent of companies in the same market.
You can read the full report, The State of Drones in Big Business, for free here.
Which companies are adopting drone technology?
The research revealed that one in 10 companies with revenue of $50 million and more use drones. The highest adoption rates are found in construction and engineering (35 percent).
That’s followed by government use cases, which have seen adoption rates of 24 percent.
“In the last two years since the FAA passed Part 107, we’ve seen drone use accelerate across small businesses and multinational firms, and watched our customers build drone programs into sophisticated operations that increase efficiency, worker safety, and access to data,” said Mariah Scott, President, Skyward.
“As we develop our platform and services, I wanted more data about how medium and large businesses view drone technology and how they plan to put it to work in the future. The Blue Research data shows us who is adopting, at what pace, as well as the ROI drones are providing today. It also both validated, and challenged, our thinking about adoption hurdles and barriers to growth.”
Challenges to drone adoption
From the survey results, it’s clear that many businesses are still impacted by the uncertainty surrounding drone regulations. 49% pinpointed staying up to date with laws as the biggest challenge to drone adoption.
Obtaining access to controlled airspace in a timely manner (34%) was also a major challenge.
The Key Research Points are as follows:
- 1,736 individuals working for U.S. companies with $50M or more in revenue were surveyed
- Drone use among survey responders is at 10%; expected to increase to 20% in the future
- About half of respondents reported their company’s bottom line would suffer if their company did not use drones
- A wide majority realized a positive ROI on their drone investment in one year or less (92%)
- Drone adoption is the highest in the construction and engineering industry (35%); government is next highest industry (24%)
- Over four in five companies expect their drone flights to increase year over year
- Three in four expect to increase spending on their drone program over the next 12 months
- Drone operations management software appears to address important drone program challenges
- ”Staying up to date with laws and regulations” and “ensuring internal policies are followed” are common challenges
Paul Abel, managing partner at Blue Research, who conducted the survey for Skyward, said “In speaking one-on-one with executives we’ve heard that many large corporations are rapidly expanding their drone programs. This agrees with existing research in which the potential size of the market within specific industries has been assessed.”
“However, this is the first study in which both adoption and the return on investment has been assessed with companies of this size, across industries. It is fascinating to see how quickly these organizations are obtaining a positive ROI. Although still a fairly nascent market, these data suggest the market is well poised to grow – and with good reason for doing so.”