Drone technology getting the attention of enteprirse-based use cases. Source: Shutterstock

Drone technology getting the attention of enteprirse-based use cases. Source: Shutterstock

Gartner believes IoT-powered enterprise drones will grow 50pc in 2020

ENTERPRISE-grade internet of things (IoT)-powered drones can transform businesses.

Use cases span industries such as construction, utility, and even retail — but projects have been slow to scale up. Gartner’s most recently forecast, fortunately, indicates that businesses will deploy drones more frequently going forward in 2020.

The analyst firm believes that worldwide shipments of IoT enterprise drones will total 526,000 units, an increase of 50 percent from 2019. Global shipments are forecast to reach 1.3 million units by 2023.

Numbers released by Gartner show that ‘construction monitoring’ will be the leading use case between 2019 and 2023 — with shipments going from 141,100 in 2019 to 209,800 in 2020 to 509.5 in 2023.

“The construction sector is an early adopter of drones, which causes construction monitoring to be the largest use case by shipments worldwide across the forecast,” said Gartner Principal Analyst Kay Sharpington.

“Drones are taking over tasks such as site surveying and earthworks management as they are faster and safer to carry out with a drone than on foot.”

To save costs when surveying sites, the number of global construction employees per drone will decrease from 2,400 to 640 between 2018 and 2020. Of course, plans are already afoot to help these employees

In Southeast Asia, with regulations catching up quickly, the commercial use of drones in construction sites is definitely set to rise.

Earlier this year, a Singaporean firm made headlines for operating a drone at the site of a rail (MRT) development project without the proper permits. Penalties aside, the news indicates that there’s a (strong) demand for the technology among businesses and a proper set of laws for its deployment and use to ensure public safety.

According to Gartner, in the short term, most enterprise-grade IoT-powered drone use cases will be based around surveillance and monitoring due to the technical complexity of other applications.

In 2020, the second and third use cases by drone shipments will be fire services monitoring and insurance investigation, drawing 48,500 and 46,400 shipments respectively. Police evidence gathering and retail fulfillment are final two use cases among the top five of the 25+ use cases assessed by Gartner.

Looking at the forecasts, an interesting thing to note is that insurance investigation and retail fulfillment grow significantly faster than other use cases (although still lagging behind construction monitoring) in 2023.

Retail fulfillment via drones is already being trialed by several companies including DHL, Fedex, Amazon, and even Dominos.

Truth be told, the prospects are unlimited, and businesses have a significant opportunity in front of them with drones — how they understand it, pilot it, and scale it will ultimately determine how they gain from it.