February 13, 2020
Drones or UAVs are widely used for visual inspections today.
Drone inspections have a ton of advantages, from added safety and accuracy to big savings on time and budgets.
But, getting started or even expanding operations can be a jungle. We’re here to help you out. This article covers everything you need to know about drone inspections, whether you are getting started as a Drone Service Provider, thinking of starting your own drone program or struggling to find the right tools to support your current operations.
- Making the case for drones.
- Entryways. 2.1 Becoming a Drone Service Provider
- Data management 3.1 Why is data valuable?
- Software. 4.1 Developing yourself vs. choosing a vendor
- Drone inspections per industry 5.1 Transmission & Distribution
2.2 Starting a UAS program in-house
2.3 Outsourcing: how to choose a DSP
3.2 Handling your data correctly
4.2 Artificial intelligence.
5.5 Other industries
Not many things are easier than making a case for investing in drone inspections. The benefits are plenty – it is simply a matter of picking the ones, that have the most weight in your industry.
- Inspections are carried out faster with a drone
- Drones decrease hazardous man-hours and increase safety
- With the right software, data analysis is much faster
- There are great benefits from repeat inspections
- Data from drone inspections can support your GRC
Once the decision to start working with drone inspections has been made, it’s time to decide how. There are generally three ways of going about it.
If on the other hand, you’re looking to utilize drone inspections to improve maintenance operations for your existing assets, you can go one of two ways: start your own drone program in-house, or outsource operations to a DSP. Of course, it doesn’t have to be either-or; you can utilize internal operations for some jobs, and hire a great DSP for others.
If you want to get started with UAV operations in-house, here’s a nifty little guide on how to create a proof of concept for less than $1000.
Maybe you’re more comfortable outsourcing operations at first, or you have a specific job that requires skills your team doesn’t have.
In this case, it is a question of choosing the right partner. We work with a lot of experienced DSPs and are always happy to recommend a good fit for your business case if you ask nicely.
Or, if you’re looking for a checklist of important factors to consider, when choosing a partner, look no further.
Drone inspections produce a lot of visual data, but that in itself is not a valuable product. The value comes, from what you can do with that data.
Unfortunately, a lot of people in the drone inspection industry, make the fatal mistake of underestimating the data management task and end up literally drowning in data.
Overcoming this hurdle is as simple as finding the right software from the beginning.
So what exactly is the value of visual data, and how can you get the most from yours? We have compiled this short piece to give you all the insights.
To manage your data properly, you have to cover the four bases below. An ideal solution will incorporate them all.
Make sure your data is stored on secure servers and is easily accessible for anyone who might need to review it. This will be a big advantage now, and in a year, when you need to review it again.
Moving large amounts of images is a real pain, so do your research before choosing a storage platform.
As mentioned above, the real value comes from analysed data. There are a few ways to go about this task, but it can easily become slow and painful to do it manually, without the right tools.
You can also choose to outsource your data analysis; either to professionals or a company with Artificial Intelligence algorithms capable of finding faults in your images.
Most times, data will need to be shared both internally and externally. Here, it is important to look at the ease of sharing and different sharing-options; the format you use for a colleague should be different from the one you use for a client.
For some companies more than others, safety is a big concern. Here are five tips to help your company address those concerns.
Having covered the importance of proper data management, it is time to cover the importance of proper data management tools (or software, if you will).
If you decide to go with a vendor, do some research beforehand. You can start on a side like G2 to get an overview and see reviews and prices of different tools within the industry.
Once you have chosen one or two good options, ask for demo or trial the software for a few weeks, to see if the user interface works well for your needs.
For those with the resources, there is also the option of developing your own platform in-house.
Going for in-house development can be a good choice if you have the resources. It lowers dependency on outside vendors and ensures the exact features that your team needs. But, it can also be hard to reach the same level of quality as an experienced vendor whose sole focus is drone inspections.
An alternative to in-house development, if you want to go with a specific vendor but are missing key features, is asking for a quote on custom development.
A third option is buying a piece of software, and marketing it as your own. At Scopito, we call this a white-label.
As the industry moves forward, more and more emphasis is being put on AI and Machine Learning. Though the algorithms of today are often not as advanced as one might wish for, reaching full automation within drone inspections is within sight.
This means that Artificial Intelligence will likely be a big part of your UAV operations very soon, so keep that in mind when choosing software.
The benefits and best practices of drone inspections vary from industry to industry. We strive to provide as much useful knowledge for each industry as possible, on our segmented blog.
Learn about the value of inspection data, drone inspections in Africa and how to avoid drowning in data here.
Learn about why you should probably outsource your data analysis, the evolution of wind-turbine inspections and more here.
Learn about stitched images vs. individual images, the value of thermal imaging for solar inspections and much more here.
Learn about all the things Scopito can do to support your building inspections here.
Learn about Cell tower inspections and the history behind Scopito here.
Questions? Get in touch here.