Series Introduction: ‘Your Guide to the Future’
Here at B2B International, we’re always thinking of the latest innovations and emerging ‘megatrends’ shaping our clients’ industries and markets.
So, for every month in 2019 we decided to delve a little deeper into each of these trends and produce a mini-guide looking at what it is, how big it will be and the opportunity it presents for b2b companies.
Our complete ‘Guide to the Future’ is also available as a handy desk calendar (see above) – click here for details on how to get your hands on one.
This month’s topic is drones. Enjoy!
What is it?
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Usually they are remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in conjunction with on-board sensors and GPS.
How big will it be?
According to PwC, the commercial drone market is predicted to reach a value of $US127 billion by 2020 and is expected to create 100,000 new jobs by the year 2025.
Widely considered to be one of the most multipurpose innovations of the century, drones are proving to be extremely beneficial in a number of different industries by outperforming humans and accessing hard-to-reach places.
What’s the opportunity?
Some of the future applications for b2b businesses include:
Logistics: Use in delivery of goods (parcels, food, medical supplies, spare parts for transportation companies and many more) and warehouse inventory management. For example, Wal-Mart has tested the use of drones in inventory management and found that drones can carry out a full inventory check in just one day, compared to the four weeks it takes for people to do manually.
Agriculture: Use in farmland mapping to supervise crops and identify failing plants, soil and field assessment such as studying irrigation systems, and crop spraying by equipping drones to spray pesticides, fertilisers and water.
Mining, Construction and Architecture: Use in site surveying, exploration and infrastructure maintenance and monitoring. For example, drones can be used to create 3D renderings of planned structures. PwC research also found that life-threatening accidents decreased by up to 91% on construction sites monitored by drones.
Technology, Media and Telecommunications: Use in network maintenance and repairs, in radio-planning and line-of-sight testing, and testing telecommunications signals.
While the use of drones is now widespread when it comes to video and photography, the applications for b2b businesses are still being explored. The potential is massive though, with drones promising to transform many different industries by making certain jobs and processes quicker, safer and more efficient.
The industries expected to benefit most from the use of drones and the ability to quickly and cheaply gather large amounts of visual data and access hard-to-reach places are agriculture, construction, infrastructure maintenance, and transport and logistics.
For example, farmers can use drones to quickly and easily track large amounts of farmland. Construction and engineering firms can use drones to survey sites from the air and create better architectural plans. Tech and telecoms firms can use drones to maintain and repair hard-to-reach network infrastructure, and logistics firms can use drones to optimise the delivery of goods and carry out warehouse inventory management.