Why Drone Projects Fail & How to Save Them: Connecting the dots with XSpada

Killing two birds with 1 drone: Why Drone Projects Fail

Over the past decade, drone technology has boomed in accessibility and affordability. Worldwide, countless new companies now offer drone services. These Drone Service Providers (DSPs) specialize in data collection within dynamic industries where technology, regulations and traditional methods of labor converge. While the drone industry continues to innovate in technology, it still lags in refining its methods in planning, coordinating, and delivering drone data and often grapples with organizational challenges, many times leading to a somewhat chaotic landscape.

When organizations seek DSPs to handle a drone data collection, they frequently struggle to articulate deliverable requirements and expectations. “I want drone footage of this area, how much will it cost?” is a common conversation starter, whereas the deliverable for that request can often be defined in at least a dozen different ways. It takes a few conversations for a DSP to explain what can be done and what is the best solution for each unique use case. Even with DSPs playing a crucial role in helping clients refine their project scope, a significant communication gap remains between the vision and final deliverable of the data collection. This gap leaves room for potential disappointment on both sides, which in turn slows down the momentum of utilizing drone technology.  

Proven Perspectives: From a Drone Industry Expert

Meet Isabelle Nyroth, a Swedish drone expert with a decade of hands-on experience in global drone operations. Her career spans from operating drones in more than 20 countries, educating individuals on drone piloting, and facilitating the coordination of drone data collection initiatives. Working closely with drone service providers, manufacturers, and diverse organizations, Isabelle has cultivated a wealth of knowledge to streamline and optimize the acquisition of aerial data. At present, Isabelle runs solo-consultancy Yvarbrims to guide, educate, and empower organizations to create and adopt efficient solutions that will continue to boost the drone industry. 

This wealth of experience positions Isabelle as a knowledgeable authority in the field of drones. Her involvement in various facets of drone operations, coupled with her research and collaborative efforts, brings a depth of understanding that underpins the insights shared in this article.


Wild West of Drone Deliverables

What is a drone deliverable? It is what you define it to be. The deliverable can be anything from a couple edited photos, thousands of raw unedited images, timelapse videos, fully edited promotional videos, 3D models, or orthomosaic maps with various informational layers. With an almost infinite range of potential deliverables, it’s really no wonder that organizations looking to adopt drone technology find it challenging and overwhelming to know where to go. As many ways in which drone data deliverables can be defined, there are equally many areas where drone technology can be applied, which in turn makes it hard for DSPs to standardize the way they collect and deliver data at scale. The lack of an industry standard for data delivery leaves each DSP to provide their own level of quality and delivery and hopefully meet client expectations. 

With a wide scope of drone deliverables and use cases, drone operations encompass a wide range of possibilities, each influencing the price tag for even a single image. DSP’s must consider several factors when determining their rates. These factors include individual skill sets, experience, equipment costs, location, logistics, timing, and method of execution. For instance, capturing an image in restricted airspace down the road might demand extensive planning, permits, and a visual observer, significantly affecting costs. Conversely, snapping a photo in a remote, airspace-free or rural area could increase expenses due to travel time and logistics. Clients aren't merely paying for the time the drone is in the air; they're investing in the comprehensive process of skillful preparation, quality data collection, and efficient delivery of captured content. The industry is continually striving to align drone service pricing with client expectations and budgets, but the road to standardizing pricing is still being paved and will continue evolving as the industry advances. 

Drone technology is strongly established in solving challenges to save costs, reduce time, improve efficiency, and increase safety. This has been proven and made possible by a diversity of industries, people, and organizations with ideas to shape the future. There are still many aspects in need of refinement, but the only way to get there is by continuing to encourage and develop new technologies, ideas, and solutions in order to integrate and collaborate with existing technologies. This is where XSpada opens a window to bridge some of the existing gaps and barriers in drone operations.

Technology that does more with less

XSpada is a collaborative media platform that provides DSPs with the ability to produce 3D spatial data as well as maintain clear and effective communication between their clients. XSpada lets DSP’s clear the air of ambiguity by allowing clients to join their team account and define their data requirements through scan requests & in platform messaging. This optimized process enables clients to articulate their project needs by location, data type, and delivery timeline all in one platform.

XSpada elevates a DSPs data experience by providing a form of 3D spatial data called Radiance Fields (NeRF & Gaussian Splatting “GS”). NeRF & GS are two new breakthrough forms of computer vision technology that allow standard videos and photo sets to be turned into complete & interactive 3D environments. 

Through XSpada’s 3D portal, the entry barrier to 3D content has been dramatically reduced as now any drone with a camera can receive the benefits of 3D media. Gone are the days of relying on costly laser scanners that not only require diligent planning, but also additional 3D software kits to visualize such data. When paired with XSpada’s project coordination and messaging functionality, DSPs and their clients can now visualize their project data in real time all through their browser. With XSpada, a DSP’s entire workflow can be streamlined, delivering efficiency and convenience while maintaining the integrity of the project's data.

A big step forward with one click

Many have held off on tapping into 3D assets due to their technical requirements, however with XSpada there is no learning curve! XSpada simplifies the process of generating 3D data by letting DSPs transform their content through a simple upload portal. 

Of course, seeing is believing! Check out the embedded Focused Scan provided by XSpada captured by drone pilot, Isabelle Nyroth.

As previously discussed, challenges faced by DSPs and their clients are often unrelated to drones themselves. Rather, they predominantly arise from poor communication about a DSP's offerings and a client's needs. While NeRF and GS are impressive 3D software tools that can enhance a DSP's capabilities & offering, it is important to understand that clear communication about project guidelines and expectations are required to make such technologies work for a DSP. 

What DSPs truly require is not just another 3D software, but a platform that empowers clients to clearly define their needs. XSpada was designed to enable DSPs to customize and deliver data seamlessly, in a user-friendly and timely manner. If you've encountered these challenges and want to see if XSpada is the solution for you, you can request early access to the beta platform here!

As the drone industry evolves, staying aware of advancements in hardware and spatial data & project management software becomes imperative for Drone Service Providers (DSPs) and clients. Utilizing platforms like XSpada not only revolutionizes the delivery of 3D data through enhanced project management tools and immersive capture processes but also fosters efficiency and inclusivity by offering alternative, cost-effective deliverables. This amalgamation of cutting-edge technology, including tools like NeRF and GS, with a profound understanding of client needs and excellent project management, allows DSPs to navigate and lead in this dynamic ecosystem, ensuring that data collection, analysis, and sharing are optimized, comprehensive, and beneficial for all stakeholders involved. 

Want to learn more about XSpada? To connect with our socials and even request beta access to the platform, click here.

Find out more about Yvarbrims by clicking here to visit the website.

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