Lets face it, drones are the new hot item in the tech world. No longer exclusively for military use, drones have come down market to the retail user, and simply buying a drone as part of a hobby. Investing in drones as a means to build wealth is becoming more popular day by day.
Drones have been popular for some time now. They have been initially used in the military as a way to strike targets, take photos of enemy landscape. Also, they were efficient as a way to monitor forward deployed troops. Most of the bigger industrial companies made investing in drones a priority. So capturing a contract from the military is essentially a guaranteed way to make money. The math equation was fairly simple. Big company writes a research and development check, investing in drones and the various software systems the drone requires. The product is tested, a government is bid on, the contract is one, and big company gets a recurring check from the government- good as gold. But that’s not all.
What Is Investing in Drones?
This story has two sides, as drones are both used privately, by hobbyists and by small businesses. They have quickly become accessible and attractive. Drone producing companies enjoy the image boom caused by its numerous usages.
As the technology development cycle strengthens, and as Moore’s Law continues to re-prove itself, technology comes downhill quick. What does that mean? The individual, or the weekend hobbyist now has access to drone technology. The weekend user can now pickup a drone online, for a few hundred dollars and fly it around, not unlike a remote control airplane. Flying drones around is not an activity you do for fun now. There are actually drone races and drone builds that the weekend hobbyist can attend and enter. Don’t believe me? Go on down to the local park this weekend. Instead of people flying kites in the wind, more likely you are apt to see several drones racing around.
But as drones become more popular, the small business person is now investing in drones as a means to further and deepen their business. Think about a farmer who owns a mass amount of acreage. Instead of walking to the other side of the farm to check on a broken fence or signpost, it is now common to send out the drone. Then, you snap a few pictures, and download the result to an iPad or laptop computer for a further look.
5 Tips on Investing in Drones Wisely and Creatively
1. To Support and Promote Your Business
Let’s take an example. Real estate agents are now sending up drones to take aerial views of property listings. To capture the full view of a property, no better way to take a birds eye view picture. This way, you will have the property front and center image on your listing page. Drones can be helpful to a business, if they are used properly.
2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Work
Oonline businesses and local brick and mortar businesses have been experimenting with investing in drones also. Drone technology as a means for simplifying logistics and the supply chain equation can be extremely meaningful to the bottom line. So it is all about finding their right usage.
Taking this a step further, Amazon.com has been experimenting with drone technology as a replacement for their one-day delivery service. Think about that for a second. If you could have an autonomous, fully mapped drone pick up a product at a warehouse. You would probably fly it, and drive it on over to the client – that is a huge win. Personal costs would be virtually eliminated, the friction of the day to day delivery truck in terms of wrong turns, stopping and starting and gas would be gone. Also, traffic jams, car accidents, and regular fighting thru traffic concerns would disappear. The human element of decision would be replaced by a computer.
3. Get Creative
Take a look at the community your business is in, the target audience. Discover if there is an element which can include drones. Or just find a local public which suits you. Then, you can develop a business which covers rental of drones. In order to promote your activity, you can specialize in renting drones for videos shootings or for photo sessions.
4. Be Aware of the Risks
Beware, investing in drones is not all roses. There are some risks involved, and it is important to take a realistic view of the investment landscape. The most meaningful risk that comes to mind is the rise and risk of Artificial Intelligence. Computer based learning and intelligence decision making is a relatively new concept. According to software developers and computer science professionals, the risk of something going rogue is a very real risk. Think about the downside as far as if you have drones flying in the air, on a regular route. All of a sudden, they get offtrack. Flying in the pathway of airplanes, hot air balloons, and the like. Not a foregone conclusion, but not an unreasonable concern either.
5. Keep in Mind the Delicate Regulatory Environment
Before an writing a check and investing in drones is decided upon, consider regulatory risk and the rather opaque treatment of drone law and aviation law at this point. The FAA, municipal, and federal law is still being decided upon and sorted out. States have different views on the upside and downside of drone aviation. Federal mandates are hamstrung by budget, political aisle crossing, or lack thereof, and priority. To some, drone technology is at the top of the list with regard to lobbying and getting new bills past. To others, it is towards the bottom of the list what with infrastructure budget, defense, and state and local spending. Regulatory risk should not be the sole reason for investing in drones, but it definitely should factor into your analysis.
Flying Things Up
In sum, drone technology is seemingly still on the ground floor. There is tremendous upside, as the market is not yet mature. So however and whenever you decide to enter this market, if you do so in the near term, you will may face risks. However, technology continues to get cheaper, and research development continues to increase and grow. So drone technology will continue to become cheaper, and more available to the mass market. Best to pick up a hobby drone, test the market and get your arms around it. Then consider diving deeper with a more meaningful investment. Take this action after you have an idea of the capability, the costs, and certainly after you have taken under consideration the pros and cons.
Additionally, the reader is invited to enter the conversation and jump into the fray. Engage yourself in the drone community. Do you own a drone? What type of user are you? What thoughts do you have on the technology at this point?
Images from pixabay.com.