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The Challenge of Pioneering A Digital Product From the Ground Up

The best way to safely acquire a bird’s eye view of a property or other asset is with a drone. DroneBase has built the go-to platform for companies to acquire aerial imagery, data, and videos across industries. Every industry needs aerial assets, whether it’s high-definition video, high-resolution photographs, or accurate maps and models.

You may be thinking this isn’t yet very ubiquitous, but trust me, there are endless use cases for drones that impact businesses every day that you may not realize. Whether it’s a property manager conducting a maintenance check, a utilities company inspecting power lines, a contractor scanning an HVAC unit, or an insurer inspecting roof damage after a hail storm, each of these industries leverage drones to make better decisions safely.

This wasn’t possible five years ago, or even a few years ago, because our technology team hadn’t built the software necessary to make this happen. At DroneBase, we are pioneering down a path where literally no one has gone before. So how do we do that? How do we build a software platform from scratch without existing data?

In established industries, with long standing operational expertise and methodology, technology teams have comfort and security in working with a known quantity, a proven model, and an established paradigm for success. They are able to rely heavily on pre-qualified analysis and user behavior statistics to build software and validate ideas. In lieu of the existing data, we relied on our hypotheses to build and optimize the user experiences in our customer- and pilot-facing solutions.

As we build technology to enhance our pilots’ and customers’ lives, we have to think about every detail of what they do and what they need in order to deliver them value. By exploring our hypotheses of the pilots’ user experience, for example, we’re able to formulate probable situations and build solutions to enhance their experience. We frequently survey our users en masse (we recently sent out a comprehensive survey to the tens of thousands of pilots in our network), talk to them one by one on the phone and through email, and even meet in person to get the full picture.

We try to take everything into account, such as: What if pilots need to acquire night waivers? How can we provide additional incentives for pilots to travel farther in times of urgent need? How do we dynamically schedule missions based on the ever-changing weather? The list is never-ending.

Of course, there isn’t a “correct” answer to these questions. We use our hypotheses to build and test features while collecting and analyzing user experience data in order to iterate and improve as needed. That’s how we get the answers, gain a deep understanding of our customer needs, and identify new use cases for drones.

So far, our hypotheses have lead us to create a user experience to reliably solve problems and make both our clients’ and pilots’ jobs easier and more efficient. The way we have carefully crafted the tools for pilots to fly and deliver the correct assets, and for customers to place orders and receive those assets delivers a valuable service and has led us to become the trusted source of our partners. We are pretty proud to have achieved the ability to get a qualified & trained drone pilot to any location (with clear airspace or a waiver) in the United States within 48 hrs with assets back to customers within 72hrs, with technology supporting every step.

Tags: Company Updates Drone Technology Product announcement
Suman Nichani
Suman Nichani

Suman Nichani is the Vice President of Product Innovation of DroneBase. She has over 15 years of experience developing innovative technology products at large organizations, such as Accenture and Yahoo!, to early-stage startups with a focus on innovative commerce business models. Suman has strong experience building and leading product and UX teams through rapid growth phases while setting and executing on a company roadmap and vision. Her core competency is solving problems and building features with a passion for leveraging A/B testing and metrics to guide product development.


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