As part of DRONELIFE’s participation in the FAA’s Drone Safety Awareness Week, DRONELIFE will feature stories according to the themes outlined. Today, we focus on the drone industry’s contribution to small businesses.
Drone delivery by UPS and Wing dominates the news, and big inspections for the oil and gas and energy sectors are top of page in many industry publications. It may seem like you have to be a big compnay in one of the major sectors – construction, energy, insurance, or public safety – in order to get benefit from drone technology, but that’s not the case. Here are just 5 ways that drones are not only moving mainstream, but Main Street.
Real Estate was one of the first popular uses for commercial drones, and it still offers great bang for the buck. Aerial photography of property for sale gives prospective buyers a sense of the property scale – and of the neighborhood. If the property is only a couple of blocks from the water, an aerial view can bring that point home to the buyer. Best feature is an idyllic country setting? Go for the drone.
Now, drones can go beyond an aerial view of the property and move inside. Small drones flown indoors can provide useful images for small developers checking on subcontractors, new homeowners who want to see how a build is progressing, or provide a great video tour of key features for a realtors website.
Most roofing professionals are local small businesses, but they can still take advantage of drone technology. With a Part 107 and a small drone in the truck, roofers can take advantage of aerial photography to quickly get a good idea of the scope of work, and use those images to communicate with their clients and negotiate a fair price for the work. Gathering images with a drone instead of doing an initial evaluation on the roof is faster, safer, and means a smaller upfront investment for a job you might not win.
Roofing professionals can take drone tech one step further with thermal imagery. Thermal imagery can help roofers find the leak in a large roof fast – and pinpoint exactly where they need to be.
Event photographers who make a living documenting the important moments in people’s lives should consider adding drone images to their portfolio. It’s not only the “wow” shot of the bride throwing flowers over her shoulder – it’s an opportunity to show the entire gathering at once, showcasing not only the celebrants but the celebration.
Owners of small businesses may not realize that they can use drones to secure the premises. Warehouses, parking lots, auto yards, and more – if you’ve got a large area and a small staff and budget to secure the area, drones can help. A drone can easily be flown periodically around the perimeter, providing information to the security team without requiring a walk around the property.
While big firms are dominating the news in drone delivery, it won’t be for long. Uber Eats, for example, is planning to expand with drones – and many of the trials currently taking place, including the Wing trial in Christianburg VA, involve at least one smaller local business. Smaller businesses may be able to expand their delivery region while reducing costs by being open to participating in drone delivery projects.
As the drone industry matures, drones are coming to a neighborhood near all of us. Small businesses should be able to realize as much value from the technology as larger enterprise does.
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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