Written by IEEE | November 9, 2016 | Updated: April 3, 2017
It’s hard to believe that in the year 2016 most businesses still operate analogously. To confront enterprise digitalization, Jonathan Downey (Airware) and and John Chambers (Cisco Systems) teamed up to discuss drone technology and its practical commercial application.
Chambers kicked off the discussion by giving the audience a clearer definition of digitization, explaining how he sees it as taking the technologies of Silicon Valley and transitioning them into otherwise traditional businesses to improve productivity, customer satisfaction and ultimately return on investment (ROI).
Expanding on Chambers’ definition, Downey interjected by saying that drone technology as a means of digitization has really taken off, citing examples in industries like mining and insurance — both of which are on a productivity decline — as real success stories.
Downey suggested that drones are one very real, affordable solution for strengthening the bottom line through a refined process on-site. He walked the audience through the challenges insurance agencies — including the claims process and increased competition — positioning drones as a solution that can be implemented to increase productivity by eliminating the need for on-site human validation for claims assessments and other physical tasks.
Chambers validated Downey’s claim by adding that this type of digitization is just as much a benefit for the enterprise as it is for an end-user.
The conversation quickly returned to ROI, with both panelists adamantly advising that businesses in digital transition need to align their intended technological investments with their overarching business objectives. Things to consider — especially with respect to bottom line — are whether or not employees will be replaced by drones, supported by drones, or if they’ll be working collaboratively with drones. There are some analogous enterprises that lust for light digitalization, using drones and other technology for data and insights only, leaving management to third parties.
In August 2016, the FAA released new commercial drone regulations that will help enable companies and technologists to continue collaborating on digitization opportunities. There’s no doubt that the future of digitization, even for the most analog industries, is promising.