Dear Colleagues

You can surely summarise the recent massive technology changes that have happened in four sentences:

  • Launch the microprocessor and personal computer
  • Connect processors (PCs) together in networks
  • Connect networks  to each other globally (the internet)
  • Add sensors and mobile devices (such as drones/driverless cars)

EIT Stock Image


The last change is the interesting one and the connectivity often referred to Internet of Things (IoT)


Drones are the interesting one and enjoying massive growth which you have to take advantage of.


Capture Your Physical World

The great opportunity for drones is digitizing your surroundings in massive detail. Google Maps give some lower resolution equivalent but the use of drones is at a ferociously high resolution. Instead of bring the object to the stage or to the scanner – you can take the ‘scanner’ to the object – whatever it is – a building or city.


Immediate Benefits

As you would know – drones are very useful for building sites, crop mapping, security surellienace, safety – monitoring for sharks, wind turbine monitoring, inspection, real estate marketing. Effectively the IoT in the sky (and indeed underground and underwater). Delivery is being touted by firms assuch pizza delivery and Amazon.


Break the Tethering Cord

At present regulators are twitchy about operating a drone out of line of sight. But the future lies I operating multiple drones out of sight and operating autonomously.


How can you apply drones to your business?

An example given by Chris Anderson in HBR (quoting from McKinsey) is applying them to a construction site (an $8trillon business). He quotes horrible stats that a typical commercial construction project is exposed to:

(80% are over budget and 20 months behind schedule. By digitizing the construction site on a daily basis the software can immediately reconcile the variance between the project plan and reality. And flag warnings.


It’s all about the Software Stupid

While the drone hardware is extraordinarily advanced, it is really about the application software today.

Cloud Robotics perhaps. And this is where you come into the picture. Applying extraordinarily low cost hardware to your application using software. Only you have a handle on the specifics of your work and you can advance this using drones. How can you apply this amazing technology today?


Bill Gates made the remark: Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society.

Thanks to a very easy to read article by Chris Anderson entitled Drones go to work in the Harvard Business Review. Worth reading.


Yours in engineering learning




Mackay’s Musings – 18th April’17  #648
125, 273 readers – www.idc-online.com/blogs/stevemackay

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