Drone Payloads for Business Transformation | Part 1

What is a drone payload? In drone-talk, the payloads are the package, unit or equipment attached to the drone. These payloads conduct the observations and reporting enabling live analysis. Tech advancements in the line of drone’s and their payloads have changed how we look at operations management. For the better, of course.

Let’s break business concepts into three simple avenues: past, present and future. Entrepreneurs and business-people evaluate and analyse the past data activities to find patterns and opportunities. They build on the knowledge and create strategies which would perform at the same level or better (for forthcoming activities).

The Past: Core, critical and Detailed Business Analytics

They chart out the required labour, capital and resources required to undertake the operations. They conduct risk-assessment for each stage, including a cost-benefit projection to flag-off the project. Each detail here has far-reaching implications in the present and the future (of the activities or business). A miscalculation here would result in significant future losses through bottlenecks, profit margin erosion, delays or loss of yield/efficiency ratios.

The Present and The Future: Juggling 1000 Hats While Looking Ahead

In the present they need to keep the ship sailing exactly as planned with close observations and inspections. They need to keep track of each resource moving in and out of the project.

For the future, they need to assess current scenarios and build towards economies of scale. This, again, entails detailed risk and opportunity analysis.

Sounds quite complicated and time consuming, doesn’t it? Businesses invest millions in individuals and equipment to streamline these upstream (exploration and evaluation), midstream (active operations and interconnectivity) and downstream (distribution network) activities.

As the title rightly states, drones have totally transformed these complicated and cost-heavy indulgences. Technology breakthroughs and quantum leaps in real-world Internet of Things applications have seen drones and their payloads make heavy inroads into reshaping operations management.

How Drones Changed the Face of Operations Management

An oft-quoted study by PwC states that drone technology stands to impact more than $127 billion across industries, as of now. This doesn’t even include the rapid drone tech-advancements that have thrilled and awed us in the past year, with more to come.

Drones have evolved with leaps and bounds in terms of their stability and endurance. Companies like ideaForge have led this headway for over a decade. The structural and flight integrity has been beyond doubt for some time, bringing consistency and belief in the commercial use of drones.

We have talked about drone applications a lot in the past. This one’s for the advanced drone-technology, the payloads that enable the deep analytics and insights. These insights are the primary takeaway while considering mass-applications of drones.

High-Definition Drone Cameras | Photogrammetry and Orthomosaic imaging

High-definition cameras! We have seen these drone-led landscape shooting in multiple corporate or personal videos. It’s a coveted thing in high-end photography. However, the actual applications of high-definition drone cameras are far deeper and with much larger impact.

Drone Payload - High Resolution Output

High resolution image captured by ideaForge Q Series UAV for a Smart City Project

Drones have a complete 360-degree panning gimbal for the HD camera. The drones, with their endurance and stability, offer shake-free imaging in each scenario. They give live surveillance and reconnaissance for multiple industries and security forces. The drone’s flight can be automated and all the operator must do is control the camera. They can dynamically change the drone’s path for closer observation of anomalies or targeted points.

HD drone cameras lay the foundation for a critical analytical development – Photogrammetry and orthomosaic imaging.

Photogrammetry technology enables operators to take realistic and accurate readings with photographs. Essentially, operators can detect the exact height, breadth or depth (all dimensions and volume detection).

Orthomosaic imaging is when multiple HD aerial photos are merged together (using photogrammetry) to create a perfect geo-corrected layout of an area. This is essential for overview decisions while conducting site or field evaluation.

Drone Payload - DEM

Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for Smart City Project

These developments have essentially saved millions across industries. Companies used to send-in multiple resources and equipment over long distances to evaluate mining claim blocks, factory sites, right of way for pipelines and power lines, etc. These cost-heavy and time-consuming upstream processes were cut down to a fraction with the use of drone-led photogrammetry and orthomosaic imaging.

High Impact Business Decisions Backed by Drones

Operations managers could deploy a single or a set of drones to thoroughly evaluate the literal ‘lay of the land’. The evaluations with actual HD documented recordings of each section helped the managers to set resources and plans up to precision. These evaluations and post-processing are fault-less as everything is processed without human intervention. This means that results and projections thus obtained were highly credible.

The resultant decisions based on these results had a much higher success ratio. The cost and profit projections (across a future timeline) enabled with drone-led surveying and mapping led to more accurate pitches and quotes (for oil and gas/mining claim blocks).

High definition and multi-zoom cameras is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to the story of drone payloads and how they transformed operations management. Watch out for the information conclusion to this piece.



October 2022

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