DroneDeploy turns 10 – what does the next decade hold for reality capture?

October 17, 2023
Mike Winn

In October, I was in Denver, Colorado for our annual user conference DDC 2023, where we announced the most significant product launch in our company's history. I’m immensely proud of what our team and customers have achieved, and the community we’ve built. 

Watch all the main keynote and all 17 breakout sessions from DDC 2023 here.

To mark this occasion, and our 10th anniversary as a company, I’d like to share my vision for the future of both DroneDeploy and the reality capture industry at large.

How is the world preparing for tomorrow?

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that by 2050, our world will need to produce at least 60% more food to feed its growing population. We’re also going to see the largest wave of building and infrastructure growth in human history. By 2060, the world is expected to add about 2.6 trillion ft2 of floor area to the global building stock – that’s the equivalent of New York City – every single month. 

These are staggering statistics. How is the world going to cope with this huge surge of population growth and meet its food, energy and infrastructure targets in a sustainable way?

The answer is twofold. It lies in both technology, and people. 

The power to change the future sits not just with world leaders, but with innovators like our team and our customers, who are constantly pushing the boundaries and thinking in creative ways to meet tomorrow’s challenges. 

Our customers have superpowers

I’m in awe of what our customers do with our product. DroneDeploy and StructionSite have enabled some of the biggest projects in the world – including the TSMC Plant in Arizona, the Vegas Formula One track and the HS2 rail network in the UK. 

And it’s not just the large, high-visibility infrastructure projects that are having an impact. DroneDeploy customers have deployed over 300,000 residential solar installations. They’ve used our platform to count billions of corn and soybean plants, helping to feed the world.

These achievements are possible because of the ‘superpowers’ we give our customers. With DroneDeploy, they can fly over job sites for a bird’s eye view. They have x-ray vision to see through walls and concrete pours. They can even turn back time and see what their job site looked like days or even months ago.

But it’s not enough. We want to put this data in the hands of more people, and give these superpowers to everyone involved on every jobsite or project. 

How we’re shaping the future of reality capture

We’ve had conversations with hundreds of customers over the last few years. We’ve listened to your challenges and aspirations for the future. In response, our vision for reality capture is to make it unified, automated and intelligent. 

Here’s how we’re delivering on these promises. 

1. Unified reality capture

Right now, you might have dozens of tabs open in your browser, or apps on your phone. In fact, our recent survey found that 77% of medium to large businesses are using multiple point solutions for reality capture – leading to wasted time, miscommunication and siloed data.

You asked for an all-in-one solution, and we acted. 

In 2022, we acquired StructionSite. And today, we’re excited to announce the merging of these two products. We’re bringing the best of each company together in one platform. 

It’s the new DroneDeploy. 

One hub and one login for all your aerial and ground data. It looks beautiful. It’s easy to use. It’s going to help even more people collaborate on your reality capture projects. And we’re not finished yet – we’ll keep listening to your feedback and improving as we go. 

Read our product release blog for full details.

2. Automated reality capture

Data capture takes time. Your team has to walk the field, jobsite or facility, press buttons, change SD cards and upload data manually. We want to eliminate as much of that as possible. Our next goal is to make reality capture as ‘hands off’ as possible, 0-steps, freeing up your team to focus on making the decisions, and time on tools. 

One of the biggest drivers of change is the accessibility of docked drones. Back in 2020, some of these solutions cost $250,000, but you can now buy a DJI Dock for around $30,000. 

There’s a growing number of drone in a box solutions out there, and they’re only going to get more sophisticated and affordable as time goes on. 

We’ve heard your excitement. In 2021, we acquired Rocos, a New Zealand robotics software company. Today, we’re incorporating a range of automation capabilities – including flight and mission planning for docked drones and ground robots – into the simple, secure DroneDeploy interfaces you already use. 

We estimate that by 2027, over 50% of data collected in DroneDeploy will be done by autonomous robots, and we think many of you will get started in the next 12 months. 

3. Intelligent reality capture

As drones, robots and 360 cameras collect more data on your behalf, it becomes impossible for your teams to review it all. What’s the point of all this information if you can’t make sense of it? 

That’s where artificial intelligence comes in. We’ve recently built some highly industry specific tools – including AI pre-pour concrete reports and AI solar construction reports – to help you extract valuable insights from this sea of data. 

These products are impactful and solve specific jobs to be done. But they’re just the beginning. 

Over the next decade, we want to use the latest advancements in AI to build broader tools that work in every situation. Where you can type or dictate requests directly into our platform and get back the exact insights you need to understand any aspect of your project. Like magic.

This is our vision for the future. Making reality capture easy, accessible and valuable to everyone. I hope it excites you as much as it does me. As always, I’d love to hear from you about our future roadmap and any additions you’d like to see.

Don’t forget to check out our latest product release blog for the new DroneDeploy features available right now – including the Unified Ground+Air interface and Ground Mobile App, improved accuracy tools including PPK, new analytics dashboard, and much more.

About the Author

Mike Winn
Mike Winn
CEO and Co-Founder

Mike Winn is the co-founder and CEO of DroneDeploy, where he is responsible for overall strategic direction, management and growth. Winn completed his undergraduate degree in Economics and Maths at Rhodes University. Before starting DroneDeploy, he held sales and technical positions at Google and co-founded Zoomatelo, a web-service that facilitated carpooling in large organizations and communities through closed social networks. In his spare time, you can find him reading or flying RC helicopters and drones.

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