Earlier this month, I attended the InterDrone Conference in Las Vegas.  InterDrone brings together commercial drone operators, service providers, and tech companies, and included excellent key note speeches and informative panels on an array of topics.

One of the main takeaways from the conference was that while some of the focus remains on the expansion of drone operation (i.e. beyond visual line of sight, etc.), most people share an optimism that the necessary regulations will come in the near future.  The general consensus seems to be that this “drone train” has left the station and so it is only a matter of time before expanded operation becomes a reality.  With that in mind, the focus appears to have shifted to maximizing the information that a drone can collect.

Commercial operators are mainly using drones to collect data to help their business, but this raises important considerations, namely:

  • what can be done with that data?
  • how does that data help your business?
  • what trends does that data show?

In one of the key note addresses, Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel, recognized the value that the data collected from drones could have and proclaimed that “data is the new oil.”  That is likely why so many of the businesses at InterDrone were focused on software.  Many companies, including Intel, are offering up solutions to drone operators for cultivating and analyzing the data that is collected by drones.  The more that data can be used, the more valuable it becomes.  This is yet another example of the growth of the drone industry as a whole.