Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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14 unmanned systems inside April/May 2017 SPECIAL REPORT INDUSTRY TRENDS Mergers, acquisitions and partnerships are shaping the commercial UAS industry, forcing some players out while others are beginning to flourish. And as the industry evolves and customer requests become more complex, companies are figuring out the best way to offer their services to meet customer needs. by Renee Knight Photos courtesy of Measure (left), PrecisionHawk (right) L ike most things do when they are relatively young, the commercial drone industry is changing rapidly. "We're seeing increased pressure on some of the smaller, less financed companies simply because there is so much competition," said Philip Finnegan, Teal Group director of cor- porate analysis. "You have some larger, well financed players coming into the market, like Intel, making acquisi- tions. That's shifting the dynamics of the market. What we're seeing is the beginning of consolidation." Competition is being driven by user communities coming to grips both with the potential value of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—their potential to reduce costs, boost safety, save time, or all of the above—and how they really want to tap into this new set of tools. What drone firms are finding is their customers aren't so much interested in the hardware these days; they're look- ing for solutions that quickly provide the data they need to make better deci- sions. Those customers may be manag- ing mining operations, overseeing f lare stack inspections, or maintaining ex- pensive wind turbines—and for most of these and other emerging commercial UAS applications, the still images and videos early solutions provided typically aren't enough. INDUSTRY ON THE MOVE Measure, a drone-based service provider, deploys UAS for clients for a variety of applications. The company recently announced it plans to roll out a franchising initiative later this year. This push for more sophisticated in- formation is prompting manufacturers to not only change their offerings, but to join forces with other companies in an ef- fort to make their products more robust. While there are companies f lourishing in this competitive environment, oth- ers are struggling to stay afloat, which is why some industry leaders and analysts say we can expect to see even more con- solidation of the industry in the months and years to come. That trend is being ref lected by big changes in where investment money is going, said Kay Wackwitz, CEO and founder of Drone Industry Insights, a market research and analytics company based in Hamburg, Germany. In the last „