2016 Drone Industry in Review: Colin Snow, Drone Analyst

What did we learn about the drone industry in 2016?


colin_snowFor that question, we turn to Colin Snow, CEO and founder of Skylogic Research a research, content and advisory services firm in Redwood City, California.  Skylogic helps companies make critical investments by providing research-based insights on commercial drone markets. In this episode, Colin shares some of the findings of the firm’s analyses from 2016, talks about current trends and he shares some things we should look for in 2017.



In This Episode

  • [01:14] Introduction.  Colin Snow is the CEO of Skylogic Research, LLC.  He’s been covering the drone industry, providing quality research, for four years.
  • [01:23] 2016 in Review. Colin shares his insights and perspectives on the drone industry in 2016. The biggest news of 2016 was the implementation of the Part 107 Certification Process. The new procedures provided a measure of certainty for operators.
  • [02:50] Research Products. In 2016, Skylogic Research, LLC, produced one major and four minor research products. The minor research products looked at four verticals – agriculture, construction and infrastructure inspections, public safety and first responder operations and mapping.  Each report provides a review of the issues and opportunities for each sector and an outlook for the future. The major research study, called “Drones in the Channel”, looked at buying patterns in the commercial drone industry and produced several findings related to why consumers buy a drone, how much they’re willing to pay, where they buy, the primary uses for the drone and many other factors.
  • [08:57] Key Insights. Two major insights into the drone industry in 2016, from the Skylogic Research, are that (1) the drones that cost more than $2,000 are used for professional use and (2) DJI’s market share is closer to 50% rather than the previously reported 70%.
  • [12:33] Market Drivers. Videography continues to be the largest market driver for commercial drone use. Agriculture continues to be touted as a driver, but it still lags behind expectations.
  • [20:16] Market Hype. Colin follows 50+ analyst projections of the drone industry and many positively overestimate the magnitude of the opportunities. Business operators need to dig deeper into the forecasts before making major business decisions or investments.
  • [22:40] New Technologies. Autonomous systems, deep learning, greater mobility and drone racing are some of the advances from 2016 that are leading the market. Colin talks about these developments and the market impact.
  • [33:17] Eye On 2017. Colin mentions Aerotenna and Intel as two companies to watch in 2017 for their innovative products. He also sees investor sentiment becoming more focused on results, recognizing the competitive nature of the market. Companies will be scaling operations and creating their own drone services based on economic realities. In 2017, we could see the FAA allowing flights over people, progress on software defined airspace systems and more drone connectivity on the 4/5G networks. We can also look forward to more drone journalism, increase demand for drone as a service companies and more public safety and first responder users. At the same time, the commercial drone industry will have to deal with more state and local laws that restrict drone operation.
  • [40:10] Final Comment and Message to Drone Operators.

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