Interview with Kaushik Gala, CBO at FlytBase World’s First IoD (Internet of Drones) Platform
Chief Business Officer at FlytBase, Inc.
Hi, my dear readers welcome to yet another post on our Expert Interview Series. This time around our interviewee is Kaushik Gala who is Chief Business Officer at FlytBase, Inc.
FlytBase is the world’s first IoD (Internet of Drones) platform which allows easy implementation of smart drone fleets, linked to cloud-based business programs. Also, they provide drone agnostic software applications to scale and automate drone operations.
During the interview, Mr. Kaushik will talk about his company, their collaboration with AirMap for powering UTM Support to drone automation, NTT Data award experience, advice on integrating drone automation into existing infrastructure, etc. We would wish to extend our gratitude to FlytBase team for making this interview possible despite their busy schedule.
They are a promising startup that believes the future of drones needs close collaborations for safe, controlled airspace. So, if you are keen on learning more about them, this is the interview you got to check out.
Tell us regarding FlytBase. Which services are you offering?
FlytBase offers drone agnostic software systems to scale and automate commercial drone operations. With an IP-rich platform featuring an Internet of Things (IoT) architecture, FlytBase powers drone adoption for customers across industries, sectors, and use-cases. The company’s offerings include custom drone automation solutions for enterprises as well sector-focused Business-to-Business (B2B) Software as a Service (SaaS) products focused on Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BLVOS), warehouse, oil & gas, security and monitoring applications.
Who are you covering? What types of industries/people have you seen are most keen on drone automation?
Our stakeholders range from CTOs, Innovation Heads, and R&D managers to VPs and GMs who head operations, continuous improvement initiatives, corporate safety initiatives, industrial security, asset maintenance, and enterprise drone operations.
AirMap and FlytBase have agreed to join hands on accelerating unmanned traffic management support to drone automation. What is the reason behind this collaboration?
The commercial drone market is expected to mature rapidly from the proof-of-concept pilot programs and projects to large scale, autonomous drone fleets production deployments. To enable that, FlytBase looks to incorporate AirMap’s capabilities to its enterprise systems, so that sense and avoid abilities are augmented with air space, weather information to optimum path planning, whereas avoiding manned aircraft and no-fly zones. Therefore, software-driven automation could enable repeatable, reliable drone missions which create value to all stakeholders.
The FlytBase has won the NTT Data Global Innovation Contest 2019. What did you learn from that experience?
NTT Data awarded FlytBase it’s Global Champion award after evaluating 400 startups from across the world. It validated our technology, relevance to customer pain points, and competitive position in the commercial drone ecosystem. NTT Data, with its status as a top-tier system integrator, is aware of the enormous potential to create business value for their customers via the adoption of autonomous, intelligent drone fleets.
What areas of UAV automation are progressing at a rate faster than the pace of laws and regulations of it?
UAV automation is progressing rapidly in use-cases where regulation is less relevant (eg. indoor applications) as well as where public good is being created via usage of autonomous drones in search & rescue, situational awareness and emergency response.
What are the hottest emerging applications for the commercial drone industry nowadays?
The hottest emerging drone applications are in industry sectors where manual operations of drones have proven the business value in a limited context, but scaling such operations is proving to be challenging without autonomy. Now that commercial drone software is enabling autonomy, automation, and seamless integration, enterprises are rapidly moving from manual flights in PoC/pilot projects to autonomous flights in full-scale, production deployments.
What qualities do you look for in a drone when you are integrating it into customer's operations? How do you scale the performance?
We look at 3 key parameters when recommending a drone to our enterprise customers:
- Reliability of the drone hardware, based on data from millions of flights conducted by previous users of such drones
- Balance between capability and affordability of drones to help optimize capital expenditures for enterprise drone adoption
- SDK and API support by the drone vendor, to enable drone fleet automation via intelligent software
Research says the drone industry could create 70,000 new jobs and $13.6 billion in revenue, annually. What are a few ways that drones may help foster fresh job growth?
We are already observing drone-related job creation – both direct (i.e., in the commercial drone industry for the provision of hardware, software, services) as well as indirect (i.e., as drone consultants, operations managers, compliance experts, data analysts & scientists, etc.). We anticipate this trend to accelerate as a broader set of sectors adopt drone fleets, driven by technological and regulatory tailwinds.
What are a few industries that may start to integrate drones in the years to come, that has not already?
We expect industries such as energy & utilities, transportation & warehousing, public & industrial safety, etc. to incorporate autonomous drone programs at the core of their operations – driven by revenue, cost, and safety benefits.
For a company that is just beginning to integrate drones to their infrastructure, how may they get started? How may they find out the best product for their requirements? Do they require any software to get the best application of UAVs?
We find that businesses should ideally start by adoption manual drone flights for a well-defined use-case, and quickly mature into a proof-of-concept project powered by automation and software, to establish the business case for enterprise-wide adoption. Using off-the-shelf drones, API-based software, and drone-focused system integrators can result in affordable drone programs that are easy and quick to scale.
What is the connection between big data and drones? How may a business make the most of the big data collected by a drone to create their business efficient or more successful?
As AI/ML technologies become widespread in use, the ‘big data‘ collected by drones becomes quicker to analyze and to derive insights. However, it turns out that collecting drone data in a systematic, repeatable, automated manner is equally – if not more – critical to the success of enterprise drone programs.
Check out FlytBase and AirMap on the web!
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