Commercial UAV Show

As a commercial operator I found I had to visit the #CommercialUAVShow a few weeks ago. Having just tuned in our Blog page, I thought I should share some of the experience with you.

Housed in the Excel Centre it was quite a big show with plenty of stands offering their take on the next big thing in the UAV world. I did find it interesting, especially chatting to people at stands such as Aberdeen University and Surrey Fire and Rescue services.

Here I wanted to particularly focus on two of the big UAV manufacturers. Of course, I am biased towards a particular manufacturer as I have their kit myself.

As a fairly new entrant to the scene I thought, in my head, that being a leading manufacturer DJI would have this massive stand with tech everywhere and people everywhere. I thought other manufacturers might have much smaller versions of this preconceived idea.

So, armed with my show map I headed into the fray. Now where is that stand? I meandered around for a while, catching up with the guys who ran the training program I was on. Inspected some high tech equipment, And then, there it was.

The #DJI stand in all it’s glory. I stood for quite some time as I waited to speak to a rep from DJI. As I stood, I inspected the stand. It really did look like a mess. One tall glass cabinet with a few Phantoms and their controllers thrown into it. A podium at the front and a tall desk at the back. There was hardly anyone there, but I waited and waited. The reps seemed to be more intent on talking to each other than anything else.

Finally, after 20 minutes, here was my chance. I caught the eye of one the chatting reps and he came over. So I was interested in the OSMO, just out of curiosity. Although he had two there, he really seemed reluctant for me to hold one. I had to ask five times. Then I asked him a few questions about it and he seemed to be lost. I kind of helped him along as I had read a few things about it, and then he wanted me to go, you could tell he just wanted to get back to chatting. How bizarre I thought as I was also interested in the Inspire. There was no sign of the new cameras, or any useful information. I really wasn’t inspired at all.

So, out with the map again. Lets visit the #Yuneec stand I thought. Would it be better?

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Yuneec had all their range set out on plinths, very easy to inspect with full data sheets and pricing structures. They had an abundance of staff, each one fully clued in on what people are looking for. In this industry, innovation is key to the success of businesses like Yuneec and DJI. Although battery technology on the Yuneec range is not ‘smart’, they have some great ideas about other aspects of their business. Like customer focus. I could ask anything about the equipment and the team had the answer. They had a TV hooked into one of their remote control stations to allow you to learn to fly without damaging anything, just using a USB dongle.

Now that is a great idea. I was inspired by Yuneec and would look forward to testing one of their UAVs.

Although I am a DJI supporter, you have to question their commitment to customers when the experience was so incredibly different. Keep an eye out for Yuneec as they will definitely be taking off.

BBC Watchdog and the UAV

So, it looks like the BBC are going to ‘investigate’ UAVs. @BBCWatchdog ended their last show with a dramatic ‘Next time we are investigating drones falling out the sky’ [Thursday 5th November].

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If you look carefully at BBC programming though, they are continuously using drone footage. From the ‘Bake Off’ to the Hairy Bikers to the News, it’s all there, and it’s great video of course.

Although we here at Air Focus do agree that the industry does need to be tightened up with regard to random flying, you get the feeling the cameras and the journalists are just poised in the wings waiting to pounce on the next unfortunate operator to have an accident. #watchdog need to be there because I agree with a lot they say, but please be careful with our fledgling industry as we strive to reach for the skies.

There are a huge number of applications for which the humble UAS is best suited, saving businesses time and money. A worthy exercise in the current financial climate.

Drone on.

Air Focus Limited

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