Role of Drones in Digitizing Business Operations and Reinforcing the Culture of Automation
Updated: Jan 13
Digitization has become the harbinger of economic development and revolution. Bringing automation into the business processes can help streamline routine tasks, eliminating manual efforts at low operational costs. You must be thinking about how businesses can effectively integrate automation for digitizing their processes.
Today, drones are among the most sought-after ways with the prowess to simplify and automate the versatile operations carried out by various industries. The honorable Finance Minister of India, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, stated that government would embolden the startups by enabling drone-as-a-service under the Union Budget. The drone service industry in India is projected to rise to Rs. 30,000 crores in the upcoming three years, generating over 500,000 employment opportunities, as per the government.
What Is the Need for Digitization & Automation in Business Operations?
Business operations require a sizable amount of funds to stay functional and efficient. Digitization and automation are two sides of the same coin that can lead to budget optimization for minimizing costs and human efforts. As a result, you can save more time and focus on the work necessitating manual involvement. Besides, leveraging tech-enabled automation would take the load off employees' shoulders, making them more productive at other significant tasks. Likewise, digitizing the processes enhances the accuracy of business operations, saving you the expenses spent on repairing the glitches.
"The point of digital transformation is not to become digital. It is actually to generate value for the business."
- Rodney Zemmel, McKinsey Digital.
Digitization can revolutionize a business's operating model by harnessing automation, which can simplify the customer experience and Selling General and Administrative (SG&A) functions. Spending on automation-equipped technologies and services to empower business operations and products' digital revamping has hiked from $2 to $3 trillion worldwide as per McKinsey.
Drones-as-a-service: The Culture of Pioneering Digitization at the Workplace
Indian government emphasizes making the country a global hub for drone applications by 2030. Stimulating the drone-as-a-service model is an effective way to accomplish this objective. Drone-led technology can be implemented across various industrial and defense-allied sectors for various use cases.
“Drones are bringing the next big tech revolution around the globe with reduced costs, resources, and time taken for operations. It is upon us to rise on the new wave and facilitate its uptake, especially among our startups.”
- Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, The Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Steel, India.
After glancing at the perquisites mentioned above of digitization, you must be concerned about the adaptability of automation in the workplace. That is when drone-as-a-service comes into the scenario. It enables business organizations to receive tailored services from state-of-the-art drone companies. Eventually, it eradicates the requirement for them to purchase their own software and hardware for drones alongside pilots and conduct training programs.
The drone-service companies already have the necessary technology and personnel for drone applications across various industries. For instance, Volar Alta utilizes its own in-house resources and drone pilots for conducting inspections, mapping, and surveillance operations as a part of rendering services. Thus, your workforce and business operations will be able to adapt to drone technology without much hassle.
How to Automate Business Operations through Drones?
Today, drones are prevalent in the modern world with a robust presence across industries relying on inspections, rescue operations, mapping, and surveillance. From oil and gas to cement industries and chemicals to power utilities, the use of drones is quite widespread. The commercial applications of drones are rising rapidly due to ease in regulations. If you want to bring automation into your business operations but do not know where to start, here are a few applications of drones for your reference:
1. Strengthening Quality for Architectural and Construction Space:
The hi-tech drones are equipped with a thermal camera and ultraviolet and geolocation sensors to capture the objects in real-time from various angles. It enables the computer to develop a high-precision 3D model, which helps identify construction inconsistencies and aids in effective resource distribution. The drones can fly above the construction sites to facilitate 3D surveys to track the project progress and manage it seamlessly.
Drones can inspect multifaceted structures, rooftops, and building surfaces to produce HD visuals of drains, building enclosures, roofs, and vents to diagnose the damages. International firms like Kier, Ullevig, Balfour Betty, Vinci Construction, and Felsburg Holt are deploying drones for inspecting construction projects in Colorado. These companies use fixed-wing drone mechanisms for prolonged flight time and topographic mapping for orthorectified imagery.
2. Delivery of Groceries and Parcels:
Drone-led deliveries cover a more comprehensive range of commodities- from groceries to medical supplies and electronics to blood transfusions. Around 1.5 million drone deliveries are projected throughout 2022 as per a report in McKinsey. Some companies leveraging drones for delivery are FedEx, Wingcopter, Prime Time Air, DHL Parcelcopter, Matternet, and Flytrex.
3. Enriching the Marketing for Real Estate Sector:
Drones have an excellent aerial photography system, which is crucial for the real estate sector. Modern-day drones can provide crystal-clear visuals of saleable properties at a fraction of the cost. Since ground-level photos are not enough to entice buyers, real estate firms have begun using drone-led photography to sell residential projects.
Aerial photography provides a more insightful impression of the property, location, and nearby areas. The drone-generated imagery plays a defining role in the marketing strategies of real estate firms, resulting in better listings online.
4. Strengthening the Farming and Agricultural Practices:
In an agricultural field, a multitude of crops is to be inspected daily, which can be a daunting task. The drones can fly over sizable hectares and capture clear visuals of yields. In addition, they also gather the raw data of soil, crop maturity, and condition and computerize it to highlight inspection outcomes to farmers. With the help of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, the UAVs can generate mapping to envisage the plants' condition. Thus farmers can recognize the crops requiring special attention or treatment.
Besides, it allows farmers to rectify the issues and prevent severe crop damage. Drones can also be utilized for spraying water, fertilizers, and pesticides on the field. Big agrochemical firms like Syngenta, BASF, Dhanuka Agritech, UPL, Bayer, and Insecticides India Ltd are planning to deploy drones to reinforce farming practices.
5. Estimating the Suitable Insurance Claim Value:
Insurance companies are deploying commercial drones for effective risk management through insightful data collection and condensed operational costs through better claim accuracy. The drone conducts the aerial assessment of the damaged property or natural disaster sites to estimate the extent of damage and appropriate claim value for the same.
6. Delivering Accurate Geographical Mapping Data:
Drones are well-equipped with aerial data-capturing capabilities. They have downward-placed sensors that capture the geography from versatile angles. These images are tagged with precise coordinates alongside photogrammetry for amalgamating the imageries into 2D and 3D maps.
In 2012, Apple's launch of maps could not be executed properly due to inaccuracies and a dearth of transportation directions. Consequently, people were unable to reach their destinations. To resolve the issue, Apple began to use drone technology to keep the geographical data updated. Drones helped Apple to gather visual data quickly in real-time to improve the reliability and exactness of the Maps.
7. Supporting the Marine Inspections:
Underwater drones are decked with unswerving lighting to capture underwater imagery or videos in high resolution without any involvement of a diver. Such drones are helpful for various applications such as exploration, recovery, aquaculture, environmental assessments, marine research, and underwater inspection of piping, vessels, propellers, and ship hulls. The Royal Navy in the United Kingdom has started deploying drones to complete its ship inspections and carry out routine submarine checks for maintenance.
The Concluding Statement
Drones have the potential to generate lucrative profits for your business without compromising the quality and trustworthiness of services. The need to reduce the load on the workforce, hasten the energy-efficient operations and time-saving efforts will accelerate the utilization of drones in India. With an extensive scope for industrialization in the country, drones are unarguably emerging as the future of automation and digitization.