Skip to main content

Aerial Insights: facilitating access to aerial drone imagery services through novel and cost-effective data analytics solutions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Aerial Insights (Aerial Insights: facilitating access to aerial drone imagery services through novel and cost-effective data analytics solutions)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-05-31

Aerial Insights is a software company based in Spain whose main focus is on the development and operation of imaging services with drones. Created in 2015 by a team of experienced and successful entrepreneurs, the company launched its new platform in 2016 to provide drone operators an affordable and innovative solution to extract drone imagery information from aerial data.

Drones are becoming more and more popular and rapidly growing throughout the world. Today, they are used in multiple professional environments ranging from agriculture, insurance and the mining industry to aerial photography and monitoring. According to a recent PWC study, the expected business and services associated with drones will represent 127B USD globally.

Aerial Insights leverages two key facts of these service providers: 1) most of them provide services in which the main purpose is generating 3D maps and 3d reconstructions; 2) according to our research, 90% of them require some sort of data processing, which involves important upfront investments and assembling a multidisciplinary team of highly skilled workers. In most cases, these two aspects are both economic and limiting factors in terms of competences inside the teams of the service providers.

While Aerial Insights' focus during 2017 has been providing affordable data processing to SME and freelance service providers, we wanted to leverage the opportunity brought by Instrument SME to research other professional market opportunities. Therefore, we sought to undertake a thorough market and economic feasibility study to expand the use of our technology into new markets. This report contains the main conclusions of this research, a set of suggested directions to follow and a plan to realize the next revenue streams of the company.

The report also contains the outcomes of the research performed with users and customers in different scopes. Our conclusions vary between the five verticals studied but, in general terms, Aerial Insights improves existing solutions by providing results that are more affordable, complete and accurate while delivering them with shorter turnaround times compared to the most recent existing methods on the market. These reports have also generated some guidelines on the type of features that will be integrated into our next wave of tools.

The final sections of this report focus on the activities and directions associated with a future proposal for an SME Instrument Phase 2 project.
During the six-month period, we have completed multiple activities to determine certain aspects of the market that are critical for the success and expansion of the business. This study has included 4 different topics:
(A) User's acceptance; We have studied the current design and functionality of the platform against the current trend and user needs. This process has been a combination of informal reviews and product instrumentation, so user sessions could be remotely monitored. In parallel, we have established a clear channel of communication with our most important users, which are also helping us prioritize the features in our roadmap and ultimately, our business plan.
(B) Market Study: Aerial Insights has conducted strategic product positioning and market analysis across five reference verticals. These verticals are mining, farming, solar inspection, insurance and wind energy. They have been shortlisted based on multiple dimensions such as our expected time to market, the investment required, market size and willingness of customers to accept a solution that leverages drone data. The outcome is an analysis of the market conditions (offer, demand and existing supply of products) and further refinement of the total available market size, competitors, growth and market penetration perspectives (growth rate).
(C) Technological assessment: We have determined, according to the priorities set in the previous topics, what is the minimal set of features that are required to make the product available to the end user. Incrementally, we have researched the ability to operate the resulting business and the possibilities to protect intellectual property.
(D) New plan for the dissemination and exploitation of the results.
The previous exercises, plus the technical deployments (new software releases targeted at testing our findings) have demonstrated that:
- There is a real appetite for solutions in the mining and solar sectors, which have materialized in several agreements for commercialization
- There are other markets that are not adequate, immature or are not growing at the right pace. Some of them were the focus of our business prior to the SME Instrument program
- Product fit is key for monetization, so it is direct access to customers in the context of a real case scenario. For these conversations to be successful it is key for them to have immediate access to a software package, even if not fully featured, can be used straight away.
- From a broad perspective, our technology is competitive with respect to that of other competitors but improves when considered as part of a specific vertical where theirs lack specialization.
The research conducted during the last 6 months has resulted in numerous improvements to the strategy originally described in the submission to the call. In no particular order, these are the most significant decisions and enhancements:
- Change our focus, to a generic value proposition, to one that tackles a reduced number of verticals. We do not discard new opportunities, but a narrower focus will probably result in improved outcomes.
- Setup a customer facing organization that engages with them and drives our marketing and sales strategy: From online-only to a mix of online presence, trade shows, collaborations with traditional press and blogs as well as setting up a dedicated sales team.
- Clear IPR strategy
- Financial projections have been partially confirmed
Aerial Insights platform