Drone Hobbyists Drive Majority of Commercial Drone Adoption According to New DroneAnalyst Report

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A new report from DroneAnalyst confirms the anecdotal truth that many drone programs—at both companies and public safety agencies alike—start with a drone pilot who works there and is passionate about flying.


To conduct its research, DroneAnalyst surveyed 500 business and agency drone users across a variety of industries and regions.

The goal of the study was to figure out how drone programs got started. Were they typically born of bottom-up or top-down approaches? And who usually drove adoption within an organization?

Read today's post to learn about DroneAnalyst's findings and to get our take on what might be holding drone adoption back at large companies.

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Yeah, NO..

Sure the concept that a large percentage of first responder drone programs started internally, usually with the assistance of an outside organization or donated equipment etc is valid but very few, if any, of the first responders are "hired" to run or operate the "drone" program. 

The other point I would take exception with is that 25% of drone programs start from the top-down.  That might be true but those top-down programs probably account for the largest percentage of jobs which is a reversal from when this started.  

If you remember in 2014 the two big markets that were projected to account for 80% of the $128B commercial drone market by 2020 was entertainment and agriculture.  Local TV commercials, property videos and NDVI only accounted for approximately 10% of the money spent in this market but probably did account for the majority of the people out there trying to do it.        

Sorry, but I think this "report/study" is naive.  Its almost written from a consumer perspective.  The adoption of Commercial UAVs is driven more by the acceptance and the transformation to digital engineering than being driven by bottom up or top down growth.    

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Oops, sorry.  Just when I thought I was done...

I realize that people generally don't agree with this, but HOBBYISTS ARE NOT DRIVING THE COMMERCIAL ADOPTION OF DRONES PERIOD!   

I know that people want to believe in the easy button and cheap but that's not the way markets grow.  It has nothing to do with who has the best mousetrap, and everything to do with peoples eversion to the cheese. 

If anyone's really interested you should read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore.  Its an oldie but a goody that explains the technology adoption life cycle and the hobbyists or techies role in market development.  I realize that all of those Facebook geniuses think its different now but its not.    

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19 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

The adoption of Commercial UAVs is driven more by the acceptance and the transformation to digital engineering than being driven by bottom up or top down growth.    

Totall agreed @Av8Chuck, but from what I've heard in the inspection space this acceptance often starts with someone who is into drones in their personal life (i.e., a hobbyist).

I just got off the phone with someone at a drone startup that makes drones for inspections who said DroneAnalyst's findings are spot on for how they've gotten a lot of their clients for selling expensive inspection drones (their drones run around $40k).

But there a lot of benefits for drones in commercial applications and it could be that how adoption works isn't one size fits all.

I do think that most organization and companies are conservative when it comes to adopting new technology, and even with an internal advocate they move slowly (as you said about law enforcement, even if some drone use begins it doesn't necessarily mean there will be a program created or funding for it). So yeah, we have a long way to go for the zeitgeist to generally embrace drones for commercial drones and create that acceptance you're talking about, which will make things seem safe and ok for upper management. 

Always good to connect with you on here. Hope you're doing well, and hope you have a great weekend. :)

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On 1/29/2021 at 12:28 PM, Zacc Dukowitz said:

Totall agreed @Av8Chuck, but from what I've heard in the inspection space this acceptance often starts with someone who is into drones in their personal life (i.e., a hobbyist).

It really depends on the nomenclature and how we're defining the market.  That's why when we have these discussions I almost always recommend people read Crossing the Chasm. not only does Moore do an excellent job of explaining the technology adoption life cycle and gives lots of examples how it effects high tech market development, but it also provides a great vernacular so we can share an understanding on how the market is defined.  

Even though this is an older book, when talking about true growth for the commercial drone market, this book explores the required change in management to guide businesses through the Chasm.  I doubt that anyone who's read the book would argue that the commercial drone market is dead center in the Chasm.  I would also argue that its this idea that the early adopters or hobbyists are driving growth in this industry is the number one reason it's there.   

If we (collectively) want to get this market "unstuck," then we need to agree on the definition, how to measure, manage, and work together to get to the other side to hyper growth.  Also, there used to be this saying, "You don't get fired for buying IBM."  IBM owned 70% of the PC market yet today they don't even manufacture computers.  Why not?  Once technology becomes commoditized you can't be a market of one.  At some percentage you have such a monolithic hold on the market that your no longer defined by your competition.  Microsoft and IBM had to fund and support Apple because if Apple would have failed, they would have failed.  

Does this sound remotely familiar in the commercial drone market?  Is there a gorilla in this market that's eating everyone's bananas?  DJI is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic and just like the TiTanic there aren't enough (US manufactured) life boats so most of this market is going down with them.  We can't stop this by suggesting that the future of the commercial drone market is being driven by the same hobbyists who torpedoed the Titanic in the first place.           

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Do you think that drone hobbyists start out with much lower priced drones?  I do!  It would be hard to start a hobby that costs, by some estimates … hundreds of dollars (or Euros) - before trying it out at a much lower cost point.  I just saw an advertisement for one at $800!!  Amazing … much easier to get into drones at the lower end, and build up … say by getting one around $50 and trying it out first.... I realize its not polite to just drop links in, but in interested, I have an excellent blog post about a much lower cost drone.  Let me know! #crofTech #Drocon DC-014 quadcopter



Edited by CrofTechovesdrones
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