FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME
FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME

Valour Partners with CH.Aviation On Tail-Level IFEC Data

As part of a continued effort to enhance the quality and value of our research services, we’re proud to announce a partnership with airline intelligence provider ch-aviation, merging its extensive fleet database with our In-Flight Connectivity and Entertainment (IFEC) data.

This collaboration enables our IFC and IFE quarterly tracker subscribers to bolt-on tail-level fleet and ownership data spanning some 65,000 aircraft, allowing for more granular and up-to-date analysis of IFEC adoption trends and market sizing.

The additional tail-level information we can now provide as part of our quarterly updates include:

  • Construction and/or manufacturer serial number
  • Former and delivery operator
  • Aircraft status – stored, written-off or scrapped aircraft or aircraft that aren’t yet delivered
  • The aircraft age, first flight and delivery dates
  • Order, delivery, retirement data
  • Wet lease and cargo customers
  • Engine details and manufacturers
  • Seat maximum abreast and pitch configuration
  • Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)
  • Utilisation data (flight hours and cycles, average stage length, daily/annual utilisation)

An extensive list of the data points ch-aviation regularly tracks can be made available on request.

Valour Consultancy’s quarterly IFC and IFE trackers are a fundamental part of our aviation intelligence portfolio. The data has become a trusted source of information for the clients we serve worldwide and is subject to a comprehensive due diligence process, ensuring a high level of accuracy. Furthermore, Valour Consultancy is committed to gradually expanding the service by introducing more data points based on subscriber feedback.

About Valour Consultancy

Valour Consultancy is a UK-based provider of market intelligence services. Founded in 2012, the company has grown rapidly and is renowned within the aviation sector for its comprehensive and high-quality research and consultancy services.

About CH.Aviation

Founded in 1998 in Chur in Switzerland, ch-aviation has become an influential airline intelligence provider and one of the very few Swiss aviation success stories. Today ch-aviation welcomes more than 1.8 million users each year and is proud to count hundreds of companies in the airline industry as its customers.

If you’d like to receive a copy of sample data or to schedule a real-time demonstration of our tail-level tracker data, please get in touch with the Valour team either directly or via info@valourconsultancy.com.

-
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="5832|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]https://valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CH.aviation.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] As part of a continued effort to enhance the quality and value of our research services, we're proud to announce a partnership with airline intelligence provider ch-aviation, merging its extensive fleet database with our In-Flight Connectivity and Entertainment (IFEC) data. This collaboration enables our IFC and IFE quarterly tracker subscribers to bolt-on tail-level fleet and ownership data spanning some 65,000 aircraft, allowing for more granular and up-to-date analysis of IFEC adoption trends and market sizing. The additional tail-level information we can now provide as part of our quarterly updates include:
  • Construction and/or manufacturer serial number
  • Former and delivery operator
  • Aircraft status - stored, written-off or scrapped aircraft or aircraft that aren't yet delivered
  • The aircraft age, first flight and delivery dates
  • Order, delivery, retirement data
  • Wet lease and cargo customers
  • Engine details and manufacturers
  • Seat maximum abreast and pitch configuration
  • Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)
  • Utilisation data (flight hours and cycles, average stage length, daily/annual utilisation)
An extensive list of the data points ch-aviation regularly tracks can be made available on request. Valour Consultancy's quarterly IFC and IFE trackers are a fundamental part of our aviation intelligence portfolio. The data has become a trusted source of information for the clients we serve worldwide and is subject to a comprehensive due diligence process, ensuring a high level of accuracy. Furthermore, Valour Consultancy is committed to gradually expanding the service by introducing more data points based on subscriber feedback. About Valour Consultancy Valour Consultancy is a UK-based provider of market intelligence services. Founded in 2012, the company has grown rapidly and is renowned within the aviation sector for its comprehensive and high-quality research and consultancy services. About CH.Aviation Founded in 1998 in Chur in Switzerland, ch-aviation has become an influential airline intelligence provider and one of the very few Swiss aviation success stories. Today ch-aviation welcomes more than 1.8 million users each year and is proud to count hundreds of companies in the airline industry as its customers. If you'd like to receive a copy of sample data or to schedule a real-time demonstration of our tail-level tracker data, please get in touch with the Valour team either directly or via info@valourconsultancy.com. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

The Critical Consideration Behind the Hardware of Body-Worn Camera and Images

When we think about body-worn cameras (BWCs), we generally think about the little box that sits on the policeman’s jacket or the motor-cyclist’s helmet but there are several more things that need to be specified beside the lens and the pixels.

We need to know how the information is going to be used as this will dictate the features of the device.

For example, we may ask if we want to use facial recognition software, for people directly in front of the camera or at some distance. We may ask if we want to see what is directly in front of the camera with good clarity or do we want a panoramic view, say closer to 180°. It is a mistake to compare human vision with machine vision as human vision has developed for specific functions unconnected with the needs of a body-worn device. A BWC can accurately log anywhere between 50° and 120° field of vision (FOV) depending on the choice of model in a perfect cone (as opposed to a human’s binocular FOV of 114° side to side and 35° top to bottom). Also, considering “tunnel vision”, commonly when under intense pressure or stress, people’s FOV narrows further.

As the requirements grow so do the number of pixels required. As the pixel requirement increases so do the problems of file size. Should we store the data or stream it to the cloud? If the latter, we need to consider signal availability and strength.

Moreover, if we stream the data, we need to consider ‘chain of custody’ otherwise our record is dubious when confronted with the rigour of the law. Storing data may not be the problem that we once thought it might be with the introduction of Sandisk’s 1TB memory card. That’s still a lot of memory cards if we calculate for 500 officers over a two-year period (which is the length of time such records should be kept), then there needs to a searchable archive of 120,000 memory cards.

We also need to consider who controls the recording. It is perfectly feasible for the officer wearing the camera to have complete control, and this is generally the norm, but it is also not unreasonable for staff based back in the office or station to decide when to start recording, based on feedback from the officer on-site or from an audio input received. It is equally feasible for every camera to start recording when shift starts and stop when shift ends although that might result in deterioration of working relations between officer and supervisors.

We need to consider battery life, file format, date stamping, recording speed, editing prohibition, weight of camera (let’s remember the poor police officer is already lugging around nearly 10kg of other equipment), water-resistance, low-light capability and numerous other factors such that the technical specification for such systems, because we are talking about complicated systems now not just the front-end camera, become detailed and quite voluminous.

Strangely enough we need also to consider concomitant audio recording and the quality of the microphone which is a bit more complicated than might initially be thought. Audio recordings are pretty much taken for granted since the invention of the phonograph in the late 1870s. The Frenchman, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, in 1860 recorded a lady singing but it was ghastly. Edison’s in 1878 was a tad better (and still a lot better than anything Justin Bieber has produced) but it took until the 1920s for recordings to be accepted as faithful reproductions. Unfortunately, modern technology has superseded those early efforts and now anybody’s voice can be reproduced saying things that they never said. Generally, background sounds can be used to verify the correctness of a recording but even these are not sacrosanct so the ‘chain of custody’ becomes of paramount importance.

What is actually required is a combination of all of the above. From this we can derive that the more pixels can be better for the viewer however can sometimes undermine police officer’s perspective as today’s camera sensors are superior to most police officer’s vision. The same can be said for a greater angle width.

But the data itself becomes of almost secondary importance when we consider all the other constraints imposed on the collection, retrieval and submission for action of such data. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s latest report on the enterprise body-worn camera systems report, click here.

-
When we think about body-worn cameras (BWCs), we generally think about the little box that sits on the policeman’s jacket or the motor-cyclist’s helmet but there are several more things that need to be specified beside the lens and the pixels. We need to know how the information is going to be used as this will dictate the features of the device. For example, we may ask if we want to use facial recognition software, for people directly in front of the camera or at some distance. We may ask if we want to see what is directly in front of the camera with good clarity or do we want a panoramic view, say closer to 180°. It is a mistake to compare human vision with machine vision as human vision has developed for specific functions unconnected with the needs of a body-worn device. A BWC can accurately log anywhere between 50° and 120° field of vision (FOV) depending on the choice of model in a perfect cone (as opposed to a human’s binocular FOV of 114° side to side and 35° top to bottom). Also, considering “tunnel vision”, commonly when under intense pressure or stress, people’s FOV narrows further. As the requirements grow so do the number of pixels required. As the pixel requirement increases so do the problems of file size. Should we store the data or stream it to the cloud? If the latter, we need to consider signal availability and strength. Moreover, if we stream the data, we need to consider ‘chain of custody’ otherwise our record is dubious when confronted with the rigour of the law. Storing data may not be the problem that we once thought it might be with the introduction of Sandisk’s 1TB memory card. That’s still a lot of memory cards if we calculate for 500 officers over a two-year period (which is the length of time such records should be kept), then there needs to a searchable archive of 120,000 memory cards. We also need to consider who controls the recording. It is perfectly feasible for the officer wearing the camera to have complete control, and this is generally the norm, but it is also not unreasonable for staff based back in the office or station to decide when to start recording, based on feedback from the officer on-site or from an audio input received. It is equally feasible for every camera to start recording when shift starts and stop when shift ends although that might result in deterioration of working relations between officer and supervisors. We need to consider battery life, file format, date stamping, recording speed, editing prohibition, weight of camera (let’s remember the poor police officer is already lugging around nearly 10kg of other equipment), water-resistance, low-light capability and numerous other factors such that the technical specification for such systems, because we are talking about complicated systems now not just the front-end camera, become detailed and quite voluminous. Strangely enough we need also to consider concomitant audio recording and the quality of the microphone which is a bit more complicated than might initially be thought. Audio recordings are pretty much taken for granted since the invention of the phonograph in the late 1870s. The Frenchman, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, in 1860 recorded a lady singing but it was ghastly. Edison’s in 1878 was a tad better (and still a lot better than anything Justin Bieber has produced) but it took until the 1920s for recordings to be accepted as faithful reproductions. Unfortunately, modern technology has superseded those early efforts and now anybody’s voice can be reproduced saying things that they never said. Generally, background sounds can be used to verify the correctness of a recording but even these are not sacrosanct so the ‘chain of custody’ becomes of paramount importance. What is actually required is a combination of all of the above. From this we can derive that the more pixels can be better for the viewer however can sometimes undermine police officer’s perspective as today’s camera sensors are superior to most police officer’s vision. The same can be said for a greater angle width. But the data itself becomes of almost secondary importance when we consider all the other constraints imposed on the collection, retrieval and submission for action of such data. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s latest report on the enterprise body-worn camera systems report, click here.

UAV Development in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Markets

In Valour Consultancy’s leading report on commercial and industrial UAVs and systems, an in-depth qualitative assessment of all the key applications are provided. An extract for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries markets is provided below.

The agricultural sector in Australia, America and Japan was quick to adopt UAV systems for high-value cash crops. Where labour costs are high and margins are relatively low, UAS will always be desirable. Several companies around the world have been offering UAS surveying of high value crops for over 30 years. Computer analytics coupled with sophisticated sensor arrays are creating an industry called precision agriculture allowing plants to be individually assessed and treated for yield limiters without the farmer or his employees having to patrol the hundreds or thousands of acres under seed or grazing. Individually delivered water packages, nutrient management and pest inhibitor packages are already within the capabilities of UAS. In this respect an UAS system may include both fixed wing and multi-rotor for each part of the survey and dosing.

For larger palm oil plantations, coffee, tea, sugar cane, cotton and rubber plantations and cattle stations, legal limitations requiring line-of-sight monitoring and prohibitions on first person view (FPV) while controlling UASs only slightly hamper farm management. Waivers for areas where overflight by manned aircraft at heights below 150m is so rare as to be negligible, would enable tethered dirigibles with signal repeaters to be flown at horizon from a central location increasing the survey area to approximately 7500 square kilometres (five times the area of greater London or four times the area of the biggest ranch in the US but, admittedly, only a third of the area of the biggest cattle station in Australia). UAVs are already being used to muster sheep in New Zealand and Ireland and cattle in Australia. There was even an experiment in 1995 to use a UAV to herd ducks but documentation assessing the success of this trial has not been found.

The line-of-sight limitation particularly inhibits ‘precision forestry’. With deforestation a major issue in both resource depletion and climate change, surveying both primary and secondary forests to allow selective logging of particular trees rather than wholesale clearing is not only wise but becoming imperative. A recent report based on Landsat image data shows that deforestation has increased by 62% in the last decade contrary to old UN reports which suggested a 25% decrease. BioCarbon Engineering, a company based in the UK, has developed a system using UAS to map deforested areas and replant them using UAVs to fire gel-protected seedlings into the ground. This system, industrial reforestation, is vastly faster and more efficient than previous methods requiring intense manual labour and also much more accurate for the seedlings deployment.

UAS are useful in deterring wild fowl and migrating birds from settling in cultivated fields. Blueberries in Australia are one such success story as are goose deterrents in Canada. Swarming UAVs offer greater potential for discouraging large flocks. At the moment, up to 50 UAVs have been controlled as a semi-autonomous swarm. Unfortunately, no UAS has yet been able to deter insect swarms. It may be that scaring insects is not an option and pheromone trails leading insect swarms into the wilderness may be an alternative option.

The least developed use of (and therefore greatest potential for development for) UAS is in aquaculture including fish-farming, seaweed farming and fish stock tracking. Fish farms, prawn farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms are susceptible to many hazards such as water pollution, predators, rustlers, algae, shipping, and inclement weather. UAS patrols spot many of these potential hazards early allowing proactive management. Indeed, UAS surveys allow optimal harvesting especially in multi-trophic aquaculture (integrated fin fish farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms). Whether UAS will have sufficient payload to drop buoyed sonic disruptors large enough to discourage predatory fish and birds has yet to be determined.

Tracking of shoaling fish (anchovies and tuna for example) and monitoring illegal fishing are two options for UAS development in the future. Since this work takes place offshore, there is less concern for interference with commercial flights with the exception of helicopter transits to offshore locations.

The major use of UAS to date has been monitoring fishing boats for breaching quotas or pollution. Various national coastguard agencies routinely use UAS inshore and launched from patrolling cutters. Strangely the USA has been remarkably slow in implementing this technology for inshore and offshore surveillance while countries such as India, China, Argentina and Brazil have advanced quickly in adopting UAS for offshore surveillance (not always for peaceful pursuits).

Future use needs to take into account the unregulated (for UAS) international waters.

For more information on “The Future of Commercial and Industrial UAVs”, click on the report title.

-
In Valour Consultancy’s leading report on commercial and industrial UAVs and systems, an in-depth qualitative assessment of all the key applications are provided. An extract for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries markets is provided below. The agricultural sector in Australia, America and Japan was quick to adopt UAV systems for high-value cash crops. Where labour costs are high and margins are relatively low, UAS will always be desirable. Several companies around the world have been offering UAS surveying of high value crops for over 30 years. Computer analytics coupled with sophisticated sensor arrays are creating an industry called precision agriculture allowing plants to be individually assessed and treated for yield limiters without the farmer or his employees having to patrol the hundreds or thousands of acres under seed or grazing. Individually delivered water packages, nutrient management and pest inhibitor packages are already within the capabilities of UAS. In this respect an UAS system may include both fixed wing and multi-rotor for each part of the survey and dosing. For larger palm oil plantations, coffee, tea, sugar cane, cotton and rubber plantations and cattle stations, legal limitations requiring line-of-sight monitoring and prohibitions on first person view (FPV) while controlling UASs only slightly hamper farm management. Waivers for areas where overflight by manned aircraft at heights below 150m is so rare as to be negligible, would enable tethered dirigibles with signal repeaters to be flown at horizon from a central location increasing the survey area to approximately 7500 square kilometres (five times the area of greater London or four times the area of the biggest ranch in the US but, admittedly, only a third of the area of the biggest cattle station in Australia). UAVs are already being used to muster sheep in New Zealand and Ireland and cattle in Australia. There was even an experiment in 1995 to use a UAV to herd ducks but documentation assessing the success of this trial has not been found. The line-of-sight limitation particularly inhibits ‘precision forestry’. With deforestation a major issue in both resource depletion and climate change, surveying both primary and secondary forests to allow selective logging of particular trees rather than wholesale clearing is not only wise but becoming imperative. A recent report based on Landsat image data shows that deforestation has increased by 62% in the last decade contrary to old UN reports which suggested a 25% decrease. BioCarbon Engineering, a company based in the UK, has developed a system using UAS to map deforested areas and replant them using UAVs to fire gel-protected seedlings into the ground. This system, industrial reforestation, is vastly faster and more efficient than previous methods requiring intense manual labour and also much more accurate for the seedlings deployment. UAS are useful in deterring wild fowl and migrating birds from settling in cultivated fields. Blueberries in Australia are one such success story as are goose deterrents in Canada. Swarming UAVs offer greater potential for discouraging large flocks. At the moment, up to 50 UAVs have been controlled as a semi-autonomous swarm. Unfortunately, no UAS has yet been able to deter insect swarms. It may be that scaring insects is not an option and pheromone trails leading insect swarms into the wilderness may be an alternative option. The least developed use of (and therefore greatest potential for development for) UAS is in aquaculture including fish-farming, seaweed farming and fish stock tracking. Fish farms, prawn farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms are susceptible to many hazards such as water pollution, predators, rustlers, algae, shipping, and inclement weather. UAS patrols spot many of these potential hazards early allowing proactive management. Indeed, UAS surveys allow optimal harvesting especially in multi-trophic aquaculture (integrated fin fish farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms). Whether UAS will have sufficient payload to drop buoyed sonic disruptors large enough to discourage predatory fish and birds has yet to be determined. Tracking of shoaling fish (anchovies and tuna for example) and monitoring illegal fishing are two options for UAS development in the future. Since this work takes place offshore, there is less concern for interference with commercial flights with the exception of helicopter transits to offshore locations. The major use of UAS to date has been monitoring fishing boats for breaching quotas or pollution. Various national coastguard agencies routinely use UAS inshore and launched from patrolling cutters. Strangely the USA has been remarkably slow in implementing this technology for inshore and offshore surveillance while countries such as India, China, Argentina and Brazil have advanced quickly in adopting UAS for offshore surveillance (not always for peaceful pursuits). Future use needs to take into account the unregulated (for UAS) international waters. For more information on “The Future of Commercial and Industrial UAVs”, click on the report title.

Video Footage is King

Video footage is King in today’s digital society.

Readers no longer want to read articles but watch video segments of news. WhatsApp wants to offer video chat, which will compete against Apple FaceTime and Skype, as sometimes text messages are not enough.

Law enforcement agencies around the world have begun adopting body-worn camera and video technologies for their officers.

From the start of December, West Midlands fire service, in the UK, will test a new system that will enable 999 callers with smartphones to securely send live video footage of incidents to control rooms, without having to download any special applications or technology. Callers will be sent a text message containing a weblink. Once a caller clicks through, a live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to call-handlers. GPS co-ordinates are also sent across, helping responders to pinpoint the location.

This new feature could be used from road traffic accidents to house fires, informing the control room of the present situation and could even be passed on to the crews on the ground. Collecting video evidence will become crucial in updating emergency services. Body-worn video and cameras are becoming the “must have” tool for law enforcement. Nevertheless, most body-worn camera deployments do not include live video streaming, it is likely in the future, this will also become a critical tool in a connected police officer’s armoury.  Ask the Thales Group, and they will also inform you of such.

In Valour Consultancy’s report, “The Future of Enterprise Body-Worn Cameras and Video – 2016”, in 2015, 620,000 enterprise body-worn cameras were shipped globally. The study examines the body-worn cameras & systems market, evaluating different camera types, key applications and connectivity technologies. For more information on what is surely one of the most comprehensive studies on the enterprise body-worn camera and digital systems market available today, contact us here.

-
Video footage is King in today’s digital society. Readers no longer want to read articles but watch video segments of news. WhatsApp wants to offer video chat, which will compete against Apple FaceTime and Skype, as sometimes text messages are not enough. Law enforcement agencies around the world have begun adopting body-worn camera and video technologies for their officers. From the start of December, West Midlands fire service, in the UK, will test a new system that will enable 999 callers with smartphones to securely send live video footage of incidents to control rooms, without having to download any special applications or technology. Callers will be sent a text message containing a weblink. Once a caller clicks through, a live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to call-handlers. GPS co-ordinates are also sent across, helping responders to pinpoint the location. This new feature could be used from road traffic accidents to house fires, informing the control room of the present situation and could even be passed on to the crews on the ground. Collecting video evidence will become crucial in updating emergency services. Body-worn video and cameras are becoming the “must have” tool for law enforcement. Nevertheless, most body-worn camera deployments do not include live video streaming, it is likely in the future, this will also become a critical tool in a connected police officer’s armoury.  Ask the Thales Group, and they will also inform you of such. In Valour Consultancy’s report, “The Future of Enterprise Body-Worn Cameras and Video – 2016”, in 2015, 620,000 enterprise body-worn cameras were shipped globally. The study examines the body-worn cameras & systems market, evaluating different camera types, key applications and connectivity technologies. For more information on what is surely one of the most comprehensive studies on the enterprise body-worn camera and digital systems market available today, contact us here.

Zipline Raises $25 million in Series B Funding

Californian-based drone delivery company, Zipline, has raised $25 million in series funding which will be used for increasing its operations in Africa. The company estimates that it will be undertaking 100 emergency flights a day, delivering blood to transfusion clinics across the region, expanding its services in Rwanda and other areas of Africa.

Zip, the company’s fixed-wing UAV, is designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners according to the company’s website. It can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood, parachuting the items over a designated drop zone. A fleet of Zips can provide for a potential population of millions of people, without roads or traversing adverse terrain conditions.

In total, Zipline has raised over $40m in capital this far, primarily lead by Visionnaire Ventures. Co-founder of Visionnaire Ventures, Susan Cho said, “Zipline is the best possible combination of social impact and business impact. It’s a smart investment that will help save lives.”

The instant delivery system allows medicines and other products to be delivered on an on-demand basis at a relatively low-cost basis in almost any region. Healthcare workers simply need to text message Zipline with an order and the company can deliver life-saving medicines to them, saving patients who cannot afford to travel far to receive the crucial treatments.

Valour Consultancy believes these types of niche drones uses will pave the way for more expansive uses of delivery systems in the future. In 2015, more than 8,000 fixed wing and multi-rotor UAVs have been deployed for delivery and transportations. By 2020, the number of UAVs used in this sector will expand to more than 150,000 as aviation regulators around the world loosen restrictions on the technology. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s comprehensive market on the commercial UAV market, click here.

-
Californian-based drone delivery company, Zipline, has raised $25 million in series funding which will be used for increasing its operations in Africa. The company estimates that it will be undertaking 100 emergency flights a day, delivering blood to transfusion clinics across the region, expanding its services in Rwanda and other areas of Africa. Zip, the company’s fixed-wing UAV, is designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners according to the company’s website. It can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood, parachuting the items over a designated drop zone. A fleet of Zips can provide for a potential population of millions of people, without roads or traversing adverse terrain conditions. In total, Zipline has raised over $40m in capital this far, primarily lead by Visionnaire Ventures. Co-founder of Visionnaire Ventures, Susan Cho said, “Zipline is the best possible combination of social impact and business impact. It’s a smart investment that will help save lives.” The instant delivery system allows medicines and other products to be delivered on an on-demand basis at a relatively low-cost basis in almost any region. Healthcare workers simply need to text message Zipline with an order and the company can deliver life-saving medicines to them, saving patients who cannot afford to travel far to receive the crucial treatments. Valour Consultancy believes these types of niche drones uses will pave the way for more expansive uses of delivery systems in the future. In 2015, more than 8,000 fixed wing and multi-rotor UAVs have been deployed for delivery and transportations. By 2020, the number of UAVs used in this sector will expand to more than 150,000 as aviation regulators around the world loosen restrictions on the technology. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s comprehensive market on the commercial UAV market, click here.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Woes and the Impact on IFEC

On an Air France flight from Marseille to Paris recently, I couldn’t help but notice a striking addition to the standard safety briefing.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the recent safety issues with Galaxy Note 7 devices, we ask passengers to ensure your device is completely switched off and stored away for the duration of this flight”.

This is perhaps not one of those statements that will cause much alarm for seasoned passengers. Such personal alarm will always be reserved for “brace, brace”. However, behind the polite tone of each air flight attendant that delivers the above statement, is a very nervous airline. And rightly so! The World Wide Web is full of visual evidence backing up the need for the aviation industry to throw everything into ensuring issues do not arise in the air. Indeed, one flight has already had a lucky escape and we’re now seeing requests not just to switch off the plagued smartphone, but to ensure that people don’t travel with it all. Samsung has even opened “swap and drop” booths at major Australian airports where Note 7’s can be traded for the Galaxy S7 Edge.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States and Japan’s transport ministry quickly followed suit. As a result, many airlines across the globe are prohibiting passengers from flying with the device for fear that it may catch fire mid-flight. Such fear has caused Delta Air Lines to accelerate pre-existing plans to fit planes with fire-containment bags. The likes of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have already adopted the bags, which are capable of sealing up an overheating smartphone or laptop battery.

Emirates urges its passengers to carry switched-off Note 7's in cabin baggage only.
Emirates urges its passengers to carry switched-off Note 7’s in cabin baggage only

Following relaxation on the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) in flight, this issue has brought a very significant con to the table. Any device or object that poses the potential risk of starting a fire onboard an aircraft in flight is something authorities will simply not tolerate. Questions that airlines and others are sure to be asking at this point in time include:

  • “Is this a one-off, isolated to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?”
  • “What is the potential for other PEDs to have a similar defect?”
  • “Are other battery-powered devices at risk?”

At this point in time, it looks like this particular issue is isolated to one device alone. That’s not to say that other phones haven’t caught fire. They have. Several iPhone owners, for example, have allegedly suffered nasty burns from exploding devices. The exact cause of the Note 7 issue is not known but is said to relate to a sub-optimal assembly process. Fortunately, a combination of the corrective actions by Samsung (i.e. recalling every single Note 7) and the response of the aviation industry seems to have done enough to ensure no device has gone up in flames mid-air.

At Valour Consultancy, we’ve been asked to provide our perspective on where this leaves the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) industry. While there is unlikely to be any pushback on the deployment of these solutions because of the issues surrounding the Note 7, it is likely that we will see heightened focus on a particular subset of the market – portable wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE).

For a while now, some voices have expressed concern that these battery-powered boxes may also represent a fire hazard, cautioning that companies offering these products are operating in a market that could quickly close up if an incident occurs. Clearly, any energy storage device carries some sort of risk and this applies equally to battery-powered portable W-IFE as it does to laptops and other PEDs. Vendors of these devices have been quick point out that they rigorously test hardware to comply with the Transportable Pressure Equipment Directive (TPED) and other standards as they become adopted.

AirFi, the leading supplier in the portable W-IFE space, has repeatedly stated that the Dutch Aerospace/Defense Laboratory has tested its products and concluded that: “It is not a source of unacceptable interference for the aircraft electronics and therefore can be used onboard aircraft safely”. Additionally, AirFi’s units contain specialised batteries that can cope with air pressure. If a battery is not functioning as it should, the system shuts itself down and stores the information. Others reportedly offer self-extinguishing mechanisms. Even so, there are protocols in place for addressing burning PEDs that all flight attendants are aware of.

Portable W-IFE vendors should not worry too much. None would be in the industry if they brought to market sub-standard devices and we’ll doubtless hear of many new developments in this space at next week’s APEX Expo in Singapore. One thing’s for sure – passengers will find a way to move on and adapt. The word “nomophobia” has entered common parlance and refers to the fear of being out of mobile phone contact (I even saw a t-shirt for sale with the word and its meaning emblazoned across the front yesterday) . Such is the attachment to obtaining the latest and greatest technology, some will already be investigating their next replacement phone as opposed to worrying about the impact their current device could have on a flight.

Valour Consultancy will begin updating its report on W-IFE in 2017. In this new and improved edition, we’ll also take a look at the embedded market to provide an all-encompassing view of the market. Is there a data split or trend that you’d like us to focus on in more detail? If so, do please get in touch to find out more about our participant program, which is a way to shape our report scopes up-front.

-
On an Air France flight from Marseille to Paris recently, I couldn't help but notice a striking addition to the standard safety briefing. "Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the recent safety issues with Galaxy Note 7 devices, we ask passengers to ensure your device is completely switched off and stored away for the duration of this flight". This is perhaps not one of those statements that will cause much alarm for seasoned passengers. Such personal alarm will always be reserved for "brace, brace". However, behind the polite tone of each air flight attendant that delivers the above statement, is a very nervous airline. And rightly so! The World Wide Web is full of visual evidence backing up the need for the aviation industry to throw everything into ensuring issues do not arise in the air. Indeed, one flight has already had a lucky escape and we’re now seeing requests not just to switch off the plagued smartphone, but to ensure that people don’t travel with it all. Samsung has even opened "swap and drop" booths at major Australian airports where Note 7's can be traded for the Galaxy S7 Edge. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States and Japan’s transport ministry quickly followed suit. As a result, many airlines across the globe are prohibiting passengers from flying with the device for fear that it may catch fire mid-flight. Such fear has caused Delta Air Lines to accelerate pre-existing plans to fit planes with fire-containment bags. The likes of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have already adopted the bags, which are capable of sealing up an overheating smartphone or laptop battery. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"] [caption id="attachment_2008" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Emirates urges its passengers to carry switched-off Note 7's in cabin baggage only. Emirates urges its passengers to carry switched-off Note 7's in cabin baggage only[/caption] Following relaxation on the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) in flight, this issue has brought a very significant con to the table. Any device or object that poses the potential risk of starting a fire onboard an aircraft in flight is something authorities will simply not tolerate. Questions that airlines and others are sure to be asking at this point in time include:
  • "Is this a one-off, isolated to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?”
  • “What is the potential for other PEDs to have a similar defect?"
  • “Are other battery-powered devices at risk?”
At this point in time, it looks like this particular issue is isolated to one device alone. That’s not to say that other phones haven’t caught fire. They have. Several iPhone owners, for example, have allegedly suffered nasty burns from exploding devices. The exact cause of the Note 7 issue is not known but is said to relate to a sub-optimal assembly process. Fortunately, a combination of the corrective actions by Samsung (i.e. recalling every single Note 7) and the response of the aviation industry seems to have done enough to ensure no device has gone up in flames mid-air. At Valour Consultancy, we’ve been asked to provide our perspective on where this leaves the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) industry. While there is unlikely to be any pushback on the deployment of these solutions because of the issues surrounding the Note 7, it is likely that we will see heightened focus on a particular subset of the market – portable wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE). For a while now, some voices have expressed concern that these battery-powered boxes may also represent a fire hazard, cautioning that companies offering these products are operating in a market that could quickly close up if an incident occurs. Clearly, any energy storage device carries some sort of risk and this applies equally to battery-powered portable W-IFE as it does to laptops and other PEDs. Vendors of these devices have been quick point out that they rigorously test hardware to comply with the Transportable Pressure Equipment Directive (TPED) and other standards as they become adopted. AirFi, the leading supplier in the portable W-IFE space, has repeatedly stated that the Dutch Aerospace/Defense Laboratory has tested its products and concluded that: “It is not a source of unacceptable interference for the aircraft electronics and therefore can be used onboard aircraft safely”. Additionally, AirFi’s units contain specialised batteries that can cope with air pressure. If a battery is not functioning as it should, the system shuts itself down and stores the information. Others reportedly offer self-extinguishing mechanisms. Even so, there are protocols in place for addressing burning PEDs that all flight attendants are aware of. Portable W-IFE vendors should not worry too much. None would be in the industry if they brought to market sub-standard devices and we’ll doubtless hear of many new developments in this space at next week’s APEX Expo in Singapore. One thing’s for sure – passengers will find a way to move on and adapt. The word “nomophobia” has entered common parlance and refers to the fear of being out of mobile phone contact (I even saw a t-shirt for sale with the word and its meaning emblazoned across the front yesterday) . Such is the attachment to obtaining the latest and greatest technology, some will already be investigating their next replacement phone as opposed to worrying about the impact their current device could have on a flight. Valour Consultancy will begin updating its report on W-IFE in 2017. In this new and improved edition, we’ll also take a look at the embedded market to provide an all-encompassing view of the market. Is there a data split or trend that you’d like us to focus on in more detail? If so, do please get in touch to find out more about our participant program, which is a way to shape our report scopes up-front.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Drones – are these material to the business?

Following along from Valour Consultancy’s last blog about niche market opportunities in the drone industry, we might look at the construction of drones to meet these niche needs.

When we think of vehicle construction, then there is a tendency to assume the manufacturer has chosen the best material for the job but manufacturers have to balance numerous considerations beside performance such as availability of supply, cost, and ease of manufacture. This is why most cars on the road are made of steel and not carbon-fibre (which race cars are made of.)

If we consider drones as a subset of airborne craft, we can look at the progress of the development of airplane manufacture which started from wood and fabric, then, during the Second World War, fighter planes were made from steel. With the advent of commercial airlines came the aluminium fuselages, the carbon fibre and composites. We shall disregard titanium frames (used by such luminaries as the S71-Blackbird) as a rather specialised application.

The production of modern drones, by and large, has started off with the benefit of all this aviation research to draw upon and the large UAV manufacturers opt for carbon fibre reinforced polymer bodies because this material combines the best performance for normal use combined with ease of manufacture, availability and price. In addition, it is already referred to in the existing standards for aircraft materials.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has a series of standards covering aerospace materials including carbon-fibre, aluminium alloy and military-grade polymer alloys. Care has to be taken with the use of some of these materials as they inhibit radio signals. Endurance during robust weather events and in low-altitude urban environments where wind shear and canyon funnelling can be problematic have required UAV developers to choose very strong materials and design the frame structure to accommodate some flex.

The simplest material for UAV construction is wood. No commercial UAV that has been investigated has a wooden frame but the North Korean military use wooden framed aircraft and UAVs to foil South Korean radar.

In general, some combination of carbon fibre, aluminium and/or G10 which is an epoxy laminate of fibreglass. Carbon fibre and aluminium for commercial UAVs are used sometimes but they have the problem of being opaque to RF signals which only becomes a problem when operating at a distance from the base station. The majority of UAVs are manufactured with frame struts of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP).

For specialist industrial UAVs that would dare to go where few have gone before – methane-filled mines, oil-well fires, sand storms, and extreme weather events – high wind, torrential rain, fog and freezing temperatures (think a summer day in Glasgow), then batch or bespoke manufacture is required. This is an entirely different business from mass production as 3DR have recently acknowledged.

Bespoke construction allows the use of materials for drone components more closely aligned with the requirements asked of them such a radio-frequency transparency, greater flexibility, imperviousness to corrosive or abrasive atmospheres or greater stability over large temperature ranges.

Many such materials are now available such as graphene (for use in reinforcing carbon fibre composites), basalt fibre reinforced composites and other ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs) which promise greater high-temperature resistance, greater resistance to deformation and greater resistance to abrasion. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed very strong bone-like structures that are lighter than water. At the moment they are only able to produce these millimetres thick but as the technology develops, be sure to expect their appearance in UAVs and aircraft.

It is not only the fuselage of the drone that can expect to be changed for specialised applications but also propellers, wiring (including the windings of the motor as super-conducting materials approach use at ambient temperatures), and integrated circuit boards which are rapidly approaching nano-scale size. Valour Consultancy will provide a further update report later this year, with further analysis and evaluation covering components, new materials and additional commercial UAV service revenues. For more information on our full report, click here.

-
Following along from Valour Consultancy’s last blog about niche market opportunities in the drone industry, we might look at the construction of drones to meet these niche needs. When we think of vehicle construction, then there is a tendency to assume the manufacturer has chosen the best material for the job but manufacturers have to balance numerous considerations beside performance such as availability of supply, cost, and ease of manufacture. This is why most cars on the road are made of steel and not carbon-fibre (which race cars are made of.) If we consider drones as a subset of airborne craft, we can look at the progress of the development of airplane manufacture which started from wood and fabric, then, during the Second World War, fighter planes were made from steel. With the advent of commercial airlines came the aluminium fuselages, the carbon fibre and composites. We shall disregard titanium frames (used by such luminaries as the S71-Blackbird) as a rather specialised application. The production of modern drones, by and large, has started off with the benefit of all this aviation research to draw upon and the large UAV manufacturers opt for carbon fibre reinforced polymer bodies because this material combines the best performance for normal use combined with ease of manufacture, availability and price. In addition, it is already referred to in the existing standards for aircraft materials. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has a series of standards covering aerospace materials including carbon-fibre, aluminium alloy and military-grade polymer alloys. Care has to be taken with the use of some of these materials as they inhibit radio signals. Endurance during robust weather events and in low-altitude urban environments where wind shear and canyon funnelling can be problematic have required UAV developers to choose very strong materials and design the frame structure to accommodate some flex. The simplest material for UAV construction is wood. No commercial UAV that has been investigated has a wooden frame but the North Korean military use wooden framed aircraft and UAVs to foil South Korean radar. In general, some combination of carbon fibre, aluminium and/or G10 which is an epoxy laminate of fibreglass. Carbon fibre and aluminium for commercial UAVs are used sometimes but they have the problem of being opaque to RF signals which only becomes a problem when operating at a distance from the base station. The majority of UAVs are manufactured with frame struts of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP). For specialist industrial UAVs that would dare to go where few have gone before – methane-filled mines, oil-well fires, sand storms, and extreme weather events – high wind, torrential rain, fog and freezing temperatures (think a summer day in Glasgow), then batch or bespoke manufacture is required. This is an entirely different business from mass production as 3DR have recently acknowledged. Bespoke construction allows the use of materials for drone components more closely aligned with the requirements asked of them such a radio-frequency transparency, greater flexibility, imperviousness to corrosive or abrasive atmospheres or greater stability over large temperature ranges. Many such materials are now available such as graphene (for use in reinforcing carbon fibre composites), basalt fibre reinforced composites and other ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs) which promise greater high-temperature resistance, greater resistance to deformation and greater resistance to abrasion. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed very strong bone-like structures that are lighter than water. At the moment they are only able to produce these millimetres thick but as the technology develops, be sure to expect their appearance in UAVs and aircraft. It is not only the fuselage of the drone that can expect to be changed for specialised applications but also propellers, wiring (including the windings of the motor as super-conducting materials approach use at ambient temperatures), and integrated circuit boards which are rapidly approaching nano-scale size. Valour Consultancy will provide a further update report later this year, with further analysis and evaluation covering components, new materials and additional commercial UAV service revenues. For more information on our full report, click here.

Time for the Niche Drone Market to explode

Within the last two years, the number of start-ups of “One Man and his Drone” has increased exponentially. These now number in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. It seems if you need a nice picture of your house from the sky or a wedding party featuring the father of the bride’s bald spot, somebody with a drone can be hired to do the job.

The next tranche of drone business development is well underway and Youtube videos of a window-washing drone, a Japanese bridge inspection drone (which looks a bit like a flying bedstead), and, of course, industrial pipeline, power line and plant inspection drones are easily found. All of these drone applications mimic and can undertake tasks previously performed with expensive man-hours at a fraction of the cost.

An interesting variant of these applications is undertaking inspections and monitoring in ways that even an expensive man cannot do or is disinclined to do. It is self-evident that power lines rarely fail, or roofs rarely leak when the sun is shining and the winds are balmy yet this is when most current inspections take place. How much better would it be if roofs could be inspected in high winds and torrential rain and power lines checked during storms?

No such drone exists yet but all the ingredients to make such a workhorse exist if some entrepreneur can assemble these pieces into a fighting unit, demonstrate its feasibility, acquire the correct permissions and experience to fly these missions and show that they can analyse the results and produce a program to deal with the problems. Those people who had hitherto been searching for a better mousetrap will about face and beat a path towards his door.

Inspection and monitoring under duress (IMUD)

If we consider the environmental conditions that contribute to infrastructure failure such as rain storms, high winds, snow storms, sand storms, flammable or toxic gas atmospheres, then we can begin to write a specification for the drone we want to operate in some or all of these conditions. To function in such situations, we need drones that can fly and hold station in high winds, that are waterproof, that are relatively unaffected by temperature, are resistant to abrasion and are unaffected by the atmospheric composition (and do not generate sparks). Of individual importance are drones that can investigate radiation leaks as this is not a real problem or drones but is quite a problem for animal life including inspectors.

For waterproof drones, there are several manufacturers who have already broached this market including Prodrone in Japan who manufacture heavy duty drones that have payloads of up to 20kg, and are water-resistant with capabilities of flying (but not necessarily station-keeping) in wind speeds of 10m/sec. A Thai company, QuadH2o, produces thoroughly waterproof drones (one model can actually function underwater) and they fly in slightly stronger winds 10.8 m/sec (which equates to a strong breeze) and state in their specifications that they have reasonable station-keeping. The payload is a respectable 2 kg which allows some reasonable jewellery such as GoPro 4 to be hung from it. Whether this is sufficient for detailed monitoring and inspection is questionable. There are several other waterproof drones such as Swellpro’s Splash Drone but this are aimed more at the hobbyist market.

Flying in high winds, much above 8 m/sec (moderate breeze) is generally ill-advised. When confronted with the need to accomplish a difficult engineering task, the first thing to do is to check if nature hasn’t solved the problem already and to copy her. As mentioned in Valour’s Drone report, certain migrating birds have been tracked flying through hurricanes avoiding the great detours required. Undertake a search for ‘the plucky whimbrel’ or ‘whimbrel called Chinquapin’ for more information. However, in general, the success rate for such journeys is low although it does not appear that the bird frame fails, merely its power source. Other seabirds such as the albatross and stormy petrel are famous for sailing across the waves in near gales (17 m/sec). Strangely enough, some very small insects are also able to navigate in relatively high winds as part of their migration strategy but they’ve had 350 million years to develop this technique.

However there are drones that, if not specifically designed for the job, can perform in such arduous conditions. For instance, Aeryon Labs, a Canadian company, produces the Skyranger which can operate in gale winds (18m/sec) with gusts of storm force (25m/sec). Interestingly, the temperature range of operation is from -30°C to +50°C. The drone is not very suitable for snow storms or driving rain as it is only rated to IP53 (not much dust can get into the enclosure and rain from above to an angle of 60° shouldn’t get in either).

Aerialtronics have a useful drone called an Altura Zenith ATX8 that has a payload of 2.9 kg and can operate in winds of 12 m/sec (strong breeze) but is described as suitable for light rain or snowfall only. PSI Tactical Robotics, a Massachusetts company, produces a small self-described all-weather surveillance drone called Instant Eye which can fly in 24.4 m/sec winds (strong gale). While useful for safety and security, its worth as an instrument of inspection is doubtful.

Snow storms are treated a bit like light rain by many drone designers. Aerial Imaging Solutions custom who build drones for environmental explorations in the arctic regions do not appear to have a production model capable of dealing with a full-on snow blizzard. Sand storms are a little more difficult to deal with. The sheer abrasion suffered by mechanical devices can be severe but a DJI Phantom 2 modified by Aerial Media Pros with an Ag Pro Scout flew in a 22m/sec (severe gale sand storm) without too much damage, although the video itself was only a few minutes long.

Flammable and toxic atmospheres and those deficient in oxygen are relatively simple inspections as there are several very light-weight electro-chemical sensors developed for military and security purposes, but these are one-off use devices that must be replaced once the electro-chemical reaction has taken place. Monitoring by drone demands slightly weightier detectors. However the Dutch company Aerialtronics and the German company AirRobot (in cahoots with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing or BAM, an acronym which stands for Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung) have both been able to undertake gas monitoring using drones or micro-drones. What is not clear from their websites is whether these drones are rated to be able to fly in areas where the atmosphere has a sufficient concentration of flammable gas or dust or whether the guidance system will allow them to enter complicated spaces where GPS signals are impossible to receive.

More importantly, it appears that sensor technologies are quickly rising to the challenge of producing sensible sensor arrays using NDIR (Non-dispersive Infra-Red) detectors particularly for exhaust gas emission monitoring which might prove somewhat problematic for the shipping industry. The Californian company, Flycam UAV have mounted a US Nuclear Corporation radiation sensor on their drone to detect radiation leaks. It is clear that the uses for commercial UAVs are only limited by one’s imagination. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s recently published UAV report, please click here.

-
Within the last two years, the number of start-ups of “One Man and his Drone” has increased exponentially. These now number in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. It seems if you need a nice picture of your house from the sky or a wedding party featuring the father of the bride’s bald spot, somebody with a drone can be hired to do the job. The next tranche of drone business development is well underway and Youtube videos of a window-washing drone, a Japanese bridge inspection drone (which looks a bit like a flying bedstead), and, of course, industrial pipeline, power line and plant inspection drones are easily found. All of these drone applications mimic and can undertake tasks previously performed with expensive man-hours at a fraction of the cost. An interesting variant of these applications is undertaking inspections and monitoring in ways that even an expensive man cannot do or is disinclined to do. It is self-evident that power lines rarely fail, or roofs rarely leak when the sun is shining and the winds are balmy yet this is when most current inspections take place. How much better would it be if roofs could be inspected in high winds and torrential rain and power lines checked during storms? No such drone exists yet but all the ingredients to make such a workhorse exist if some entrepreneur can assemble these pieces into a fighting unit, demonstrate its feasibility, acquire the correct permissions and experience to fly these missions and show that they can analyse the results and produce a program to deal with the problems. Those people who had hitherto been searching for a better mousetrap will about face and beat a path towards his door. Inspection and monitoring under duress (IMUD) If we consider the environmental conditions that contribute to infrastructure failure such as rain storms, high winds, snow storms, sand storms, flammable or toxic gas atmospheres, then we can begin to write a specification for the drone we want to operate in some or all of these conditions. To function in such situations, we need drones that can fly and hold station in high winds, that are waterproof, that are relatively unaffected by temperature, are resistant to abrasion and are unaffected by the atmospheric composition (and do not generate sparks). Of individual importance are drones that can investigate radiation leaks as this is not a real problem or drones but is quite a problem for animal life including inspectors. For waterproof drones, there are several manufacturers who have already broached this market including Prodrone in Japan who manufacture heavy duty drones that have payloads of up to 20kg, and are water-resistant with capabilities of flying (but not necessarily station-keeping) in wind speeds of 10m/sec. A Thai company, QuadH2o, produces thoroughly waterproof drones (one model can actually function underwater) and they fly in slightly stronger winds 10.8 m/sec (which equates to a strong breeze) and state in their specifications that they have reasonable station-keeping. The payload is a respectable 2 kg which allows some reasonable jewellery such as GoPro 4 to be hung from it. Whether this is sufficient for detailed monitoring and inspection is questionable. There are several other waterproof drones such as Swellpro’s Splash Drone but this are aimed more at the hobbyist market. Flying in high winds, much above 8 m/sec (moderate breeze) is generally ill-advised. When confronted with the need to accomplish a difficult engineering task, the first thing to do is to check if nature hasn’t solved the problem already and to copy her. As mentioned in Valour’s Drone report, certain migrating birds have been tracked flying through hurricanes avoiding the great detours required. Undertake a search for ‘the plucky whimbrel’ or ‘whimbrel called Chinquapin’ for more information. However, in general, the success rate for such journeys is low although it does not appear that the bird frame fails, merely its power source. Other seabirds such as the albatross and stormy petrel are famous for sailing across the waves in near gales (17 m/sec). Strangely enough, some very small insects are also able to navigate in relatively high winds as part of their migration strategy but they’ve had 350 million years to develop this technique. However there are drones that, if not specifically designed for the job, can perform in such arduous conditions. For instance, Aeryon Labs, a Canadian company, produces the Skyranger which can operate in gale winds (18m/sec) with gusts of storm force (25m/sec). Interestingly, the temperature range of operation is from -30°C to +50°C. The drone is not very suitable for snow storms or driving rain as it is only rated to IP53 (not much dust can get into the enclosure and rain from above to an angle of 60° shouldn’t get in either). Aerialtronics have a useful drone called an Altura Zenith ATX8 that has a payload of 2.9 kg and can operate in winds of 12 m/sec (strong breeze) but is described as suitable for light rain or snowfall only. PSI Tactical Robotics, a Massachusetts company, produces a small self-described all-weather surveillance drone called Instant Eye which can fly in 24.4 m/sec winds (strong gale). While useful for safety and security, its worth as an instrument of inspection is doubtful. Snow storms are treated a bit like light rain by many drone designers. Aerial Imaging Solutions custom who build drones for environmental explorations in the arctic regions do not appear to have a production model capable of dealing with a full-on snow blizzard. Sand storms are a little more difficult to deal with. The sheer abrasion suffered by mechanical devices can be severe but a DJI Phantom 2 modified by Aerial Media Pros with an Ag Pro Scout flew in a 22m/sec (severe gale sand storm) without too much damage, although the video itself was only a few minutes long. Flammable and toxic atmospheres and those deficient in oxygen are relatively simple inspections as there are several very light-weight electro-chemical sensors developed for military and security purposes, but these are one-off use devices that must be replaced once the electro-chemical reaction has taken place. Monitoring by drone demands slightly weightier detectors. However the Dutch company Aerialtronics and the German company AirRobot (in cahoots with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing or BAM, an acronym which stands for Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung) have both been able to undertake gas monitoring using drones or micro-drones. What is not clear from their websites is whether these drones are rated to be able to fly in areas where the atmosphere has a sufficient concentration of flammable gas or dust or whether the guidance system will allow them to enter complicated spaces where GPS signals are impossible to receive. More importantly, it appears that sensor technologies are quickly rising to the challenge of producing sensible sensor arrays using NDIR (Non-dispersive Infra-Red) detectors particularly for exhaust gas emission monitoring which might prove somewhat problematic for the shipping industry. The Californian company, Flycam UAV have mounted a US Nuclear Corporation radiation sensor on their drone to detect radiation leaks. It is clear that the uses for commercial UAVs are only limited by one’s imagination. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s recently published UAV report, please click here.

How does the Airware-Red Bird integration stack up?

In 2011, Airware started with the goal of developing a standard application for drone operations. Since the company’s inception, it has developed a cross-manufacturer drone fleet controller and an in-depth integrated data management system. Its solution is extensively used globally and by a plethora of different markets: insurance, construction, mining, utilities (including telecommunications), oil and gas, and environmental and relief agencies. Their data can be integrated into ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to produce reports and action-plans.

Redbird is a 2D and 3D drone mapping enterprise based in Paris, France and principally concentrating on the mining and earth-moving industries. Their expertise is in photogrammetry and topography analysis. They have used this expertise to model vegetation height adjacent to elevated power lines, to inspect infrastructures such as bridges and dams and even been able to inspect buildings internally where no GPS signal is available.

How will this combining of forces work?

  • The combination creates a full-spectrum service for the mining, earth-moving and utility industries.
  • Furthermore, it opens doors for Redbird’s experts into other industries.
  • Together these companies have a team of over 140 technical experts and project (field operations) managers which includes 3D modelling and image analysis allowing crack detection in large concrete constructions. This, in turn, with Airware’s ERP integration means that civil authorities and utility companies can plan workflow with increased accuracy and economic savings.
  • This combination also allows environmental monitoring, legislation compliance, operations optimisation and production tracking to reach new levels of efficiency and economy.

There is also a multinational aspect to this acquisition in that, rather than having agencies or branch offices, the Californian Company now has a major European drone industry player as part of its stable which will doubtless open EC doors that might otherwise have looked askance at an American interloper.

-
In 2011, Airware started with the goal of developing a standard application for drone operations. Since the company’s inception, it has developed a cross-manufacturer drone fleet controller and an in-depth integrated data management system. Its solution is extensively used globally and by a plethora of different markets: insurance, construction, mining, utilities (including telecommunications), oil and gas, and environmental and relief agencies. Their data can be integrated into ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to produce reports and action-plans. Redbird is a 2D and 3D drone mapping enterprise based in Paris, France and principally concentrating on the mining and earth-moving industries. Their expertise is in photogrammetry and topography analysis. They have used this expertise to model vegetation height adjacent to elevated power lines, to inspect infrastructures such as bridges and dams and even been able to inspect buildings internally where no GPS signal is available. How will this combining of forces work?
  • The combination creates a full-spectrum service for the mining, earth-moving and utility industries.
  • Furthermore, it opens doors for Redbird’s experts into other industries.
  • Together these companies have a team of over 140 technical experts and project (field operations) managers which includes 3D modelling and image analysis allowing crack detection in large concrete constructions. This, in turn, with Airware’s ERP integration means that civil authorities and utility companies can plan workflow with increased accuracy and economic savings.
  • This combination also allows environmental monitoring, legislation compliance, operations optimisation and production tracking to reach new levels of efficiency and economy.
There is also a multinational aspect to this acquisition in that, rather than having agencies or branch offices, the Californian Company now has a major European drone industry player as part of its stable which will doubtless open EC doors that might otherwise have looked askance at an American interloper.

The Development of the Commercial UAV Industry

Humanity has a unique combination of intelligence, ingenuity and idiocy, that makes its every action an adventure. The UAV industry is such an adventure.

At the time of publication of “The Future of Commercial and Industrial UAVs – 2016 Edition”, aviation authorities around the world are trying to impose order on the chaotic world of UAS use by issuing regulations. In most countries, these have sensible components and less sensible aspects. Frequently night flying is forbidden, unless granted special permission from required authorities, and almost always line-of-sight operation is required although the future of the industry most definitely will need to overcome this limitation. They treat UAVs almost as mini-planes which, in some ways, they are but they are so much more. They have equipment, function and operation just as any aircraft but they also obtain information, data which has the potential to create civil lawsuits fit to break any bank.

Regardless of the ability of the UAV or its application, any aircraft aloft should carry insurance. If there is a potential for damage to itself, to any third party on land, sea or in the air then there must be liability insurance. Any insurer worth its salt will require six things from a UAV operator

 

  1. A certificate of suitability (airworthiness certificate from a public corporation such as the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) or a classification certificate from an independent association such as the LAA (Light Aircraft Association) or even Bureau VERITAS or Lloyds should they wish to take up the challenge or even a compliance certificate from a Code Authority such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or BS (British Standards)
  2. A description of the work it intends to do (a sort of flight plan with the operation it plans to undertake such as spraying pesticide or planting trees and the area of operation)
  3. Some indication of the operator’s competence (a licence or qualification)
  4. Evidence of a risk assessment
  5. Individual UAV identification (possibly an individual IP address)
  6. How any data obtained will be used and stored?

These requirements will not hinder the development of the UAS industry but will temper enthusiasm with a small dose of caution. Items 1, 3 and 5 are one-off activities and items 4 and 6 might well be generic so only item 2 needs to be individually filed and that should be part of the quote or job description.

This is quite reminiscent of the birth of some other service industries such as the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry which, in the early parts of the 20th century, produced many technological leaps and fathered numerous small companies hoping to make their mark. Because the transfer of knowledge and techniques was much slower then, it took almost 40 years for the industry to mature and become what it is today – several big players who have cornered the standard requirements and several small and medium sized companies providing bespoke and specialised solutions for niche markets.

In fact, this is a standard model of the growth and development of a service industry. This is the way we might expect to see the UAV industry develop. Because of the Internet and the mobility of skilled labour, the progress will be much faster. We are still in the ‘Product’ stage of the industry wherein a multitude of new products vie for customer acceptance. At the moment, each nation is producing a group of sharp, technology savvy, young(ish) entrepreneurs focussed either on the product they want to sell and trying to find a use for it or they are concentrating on the end use and selecting a UAV to satisfy this use.

This is normally followed by the ‘Processes’ stage when economies of scale are brought to bear and customers are attracted by price and companies compete on efficiency. Except for military specification UAVs, the price of the UAS is generally quite modest when compared with the cost savings. This comes at a cost of less reliability and, as yet, shorter duration of flight. The next few years will see reliability and duration increase while prices remain competitive. Larger corporations will gradually buy up the smaller companies and bring standardisation and focused service strategies to satisfy each requirement. Current and proposed international competition rules will work towards a more global market.

In our next blog, we will focus on some of the key applications for commercial UAVs.

-
Humanity has a unique combination of intelligence, ingenuity and idiocy, that makes its every action an adventure. The UAV industry is such an adventure. At the time of publication of “The Future of Commercial and Industrial UAVs – 2016 Edition”, aviation authorities around the world are trying to impose order on the chaotic world of UAS use by issuing regulations. In most countries, these have sensible components and less sensible aspects. Frequently night flying is forbidden, unless granted special permission from required authorities, and almost always line-of-sight operation is required although the future of the industry most definitely will need to overcome this limitation. They treat UAVs almost as mini-planes which, in some ways, they are but they are so much more. They have equipment, function and operation just as any aircraft but they also obtain information, data which has the potential to create civil lawsuits fit to break any bank. Regardless of the ability of the UAV or its application, any aircraft aloft should carry insurance. If there is a potential for damage to itself, to any third party on land, sea or in the air then there must be liability insurance. Any insurer worth its salt will require six things from a UAV operator  
  1. A certificate of suitability (airworthiness certificate from a public corporation such as the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) or a classification certificate from an independent association such as the LAA (Light Aircraft Association) or even Bureau VERITAS or Lloyds should they wish to take up the challenge or even a compliance certificate from a Code Authority such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or BS (British Standards)
  2. A description of the work it intends to do (a sort of flight plan with the operation it plans to undertake such as spraying pesticide or planting trees and the area of operation)
  3. Some indication of the operator’s competence (a licence or qualification)
  4. Evidence of a risk assessment
  5. Individual UAV identification (possibly an individual IP address)
  6. How any data obtained will be used and stored?
These requirements will not hinder the development of the UAS industry but will temper enthusiasm with a small dose of caution. Items 1, 3 and 5 are one-off activities and items 4 and 6 might well be generic so only item 2 needs to be individually filed and that should be part of the quote or job description. This is quite reminiscent of the birth of some other service industries such as the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry which, in the early parts of the 20th century, produced many technological leaps and fathered numerous small companies hoping to make their mark. Because the transfer of knowledge and techniques was much slower then, it took almost 40 years for the industry to mature and become what it is today – several big players who have cornered the standard requirements and several small and medium sized companies providing bespoke and specialised solutions for niche markets. In fact, this is a standard model of the growth and development of a service industry. This is the way we might expect to see the UAV industry develop. Because of the Internet and the mobility of skilled labour, the progress will be much faster. We are still in the ‘Product’ stage of the industry wherein a multitude of new products vie for customer acceptance. At the moment, each nation is producing a group of sharp, technology savvy, young(ish) entrepreneurs focussed either on the product they want to sell and trying to find a use for it or they are concentrating on the end use and selecting a UAV to satisfy this use. This is normally followed by the ‘Processes’ stage when economies of scale are brought to bear and customers are attracted by price and companies compete on efficiency. Except for military specification UAVs, the price of the UAS is generally quite modest when compared with the cost savings. This comes at a cost of less reliability and, as yet, shorter duration of flight. The next few years will see reliability and duration increase while prices remain competitive. Larger corporations will gradually buy up the smaller companies and bring standardisation and focused service strategies to satisfy each requirement. Current and proposed international competition rules will work towards a more global market. In our next blog, we will focus on some of the key applications for commercial UAVs.

Latin American Carriers Begin to Embrace In-Flight Connectivity

Having lived and worked in Peru for a couple of years, I try to take a keen interest in all things Latin America. This is especially so when it comes to researching the market for in-flight Internet and mobile phone services and breaking down our stats on connected aircraft by geography as I frequently do. As we remarked in our December 2014 blog post, adoption of in-flight connectivity in Latin America lags some way behind other regions. Back then, TAM Airlines (now known as LATAM Airlines Brasil following the merger of TAM and LAN) was the only carrier in the region to have deployed any type of IFC. The SITAONAIR-powered L-band cellular system installed on 31 Airbus A320 aircraft was, however, de-activated last year. Since that blog was written, activity in this part of the world has been hotting up with a couple of operators having now played their cards.

First up was Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (GOL). The Brazilian low-cost-carrier announced in June 2015 that it would be fitting Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity on all of its aircraft. The first – a Boeing 737-800 – was installed at the beginning of this month. The remaining 135 in the fleet (a mixture of 737-700s, and 737-800s) are due to be kitted out over the next year or so. And just this week, it has been announced that Avianca Brasil is to follow GOL’s lead and deploy Ku-band connectivity from Gogo rival, Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE).

Again, this deal is for fleet-wide equipage. The only difference being that Avianca Brasil operates fewer aircraft (Planespotters.net puts the number at 46 currently). The carrier does have a significant number of planes on order though, including 62 from the Airbus A320neo family. In its second quarter earnings call earlier this week, GEE confirmed it is in discussions to secure a contract for these new aircraft and that there also exists an opportunity to win the business of those operated by the larger Avianca entity headquartered in Colombia. Installations on Avianca Brasil’s in-service aircraft are slated to begin in the autumn.

So what of the other airlines in the region? LATAM has said that it has no plans to offer in-flight Internet in the near-term. At least not on its short-haul fleet, which has been retrofitted with the “RAVE Wireless” content streaming system from Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii). Whether that view changes in light of recent announcements remains to be seen. Aerolineas Argentinas and Boliviana De Aviacion have teamed up with Panasonic Avionics to install the eXW wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) solution on select aircraft and may opt to add Internet capabilities at a later date. Other large carriers in Latin America, and I’m thinking of Copa Airlines and Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, in particular, have yet to reveal any sort of connectivity strategy, although some of the smaller ones have. Air Caraibes, for example, is set to install both W-IFE (from Display Interactive) and GX Aviation Ka-band connectivity from Thales on six new A350s currently on order.

Adopting IFC can be the difference between attracting an additional paying passenger and not. According to a recent survey carried out by Honeywell, almost three-quarters of passengers say they are ready to switch carriers to have access to a faster, more reliable Internet connection while airborne. Now that a couple of key players have made their moves, the proverbial dominoes can be expected to fall. Indeed, the building blocks are moving into place with satellite capacity in the region being continually expanded. According to GEE, EMC’s existing satellite contracts over South America were instrumental in securing the business of Avianca Brasil. And further high-capacity coverage is being added all the time: Intelsat 29e – the first of seven Intelsat EpicNG birds – launched in January and SES-10 is due to blast-off later in the year.

By 2025, Valour Consultancy expects there to be 846 aircraft in Central and South America with IFC. This is equivalent to a penetration rate of about 38 per cent at that point in time. Our new report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity” delves deeply into the IFC market, providing forecasts for connected aircraft by type of connectivity (Wi-Fi, cellular and a combination of the two), fitment type (retrofit and line-fit), aircraft type (narrow-body, wide-body, regional jet) and geographic region (Asia-Pacific, China, Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, North America, Central & South America). Aeromexico, which is installing different technologies from Panasonic Avionics and Gogo, contributes to North America’s installed base as far as Valour Consultancy’s analysis is concerned.

In-Flight Connectivity in Latin America

-
Having lived and worked in Peru for a couple of years, I try to take a keen interest in all things Latin America. This is especially so when it comes to researching the market for in-flight Internet and mobile phone services and breaking down our stats on connected aircraft by geography as I frequently do. As we remarked in our December 2014 blog post, adoption of in-flight connectivity in Latin America lags some way behind other regions. Back then, TAM Airlines (now known as LATAM Airlines Brasil following the merger of TAM and LAN) was the only carrier in the region to have deployed any type of IFC. The SITAONAIR-powered L-band cellular system installed on 31 Airbus A320 aircraft was, however, de-activated last year. Since that blog was written, activity in this part of the world has been hotting up with a couple of operators having now played their cards. First up was Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (GOL). The Brazilian low-cost-carrier announced in June 2015 that it would be fitting Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity on all of its aircraft. The first – a Boeing 737-800 – was installed at the beginning of this month. The remaining 135 in the fleet (a mixture of 737-700s, and 737-800s) are due to be kitted out over the next year or so. And just this week, it has been announced that Avianca Brasil is to follow GOL’s lead and deploy Ku-band connectivity from Gogo rival, Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE). Again, this deal is for fleet-wide equipage. The only difference being that Avianca Brasil operates fewer aircraft (Planespotters.net puts the number at 46 currently). The carrier does have a significant number of planes on order though, including 62 from the Airbus A320neo family. In its second quarter earnings call earlier this week, GEE confirmed it is in discussions to secure a contract for these new aircraft and that there also exists an opportunity to win the business of those operated by the larger Avianca entity headquartered in Colombia. Installations on Avianca Brasil’s in-service aircraft are slated to begin in the autumn. So what of the other airlines in the region? LATAM has said that it has no plans to offer in-flight Internet in the near-term. At least not on its short-haul fleet, which has been retrofitted with the “RAVE Wireless” content streaming system from Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii). Whether that view changes in light of recent announcements remains to be seen. Aerolineas Argentinas and Boliviana De Aviacion have teamed up with Panasonic Avionics to install the eXW wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) solution on select aircraft and may opt to add Internet capabilities at a later date. Other large carriers in Latin America, and I’m thinking of Copa Airlines and Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, in particular, have yet to reveal any sort of connectivity strategy, although some of the smaller ones have. Air Caraibes, for example, is set to install both W-IFE (from Display Interactive) and GX Aviation Ka-band connectivity from Thales on six new A350s currently on order. Adopting IFC can be the difference between attracting an additional paying passenger and not. According to a recent survey carried out by Honeywell, almost three-quarters of passengers say they are ready to switch carriers to have access to a faster, more reliable Internet connection while airborne. Now that a couple of key players have made their moves, the proverbial dominoes can be expected to fall. Indeed, the building blocks are moving into place with satellite capacity in the region being continually expanded. According to GEE, EMC’s existing satellite contracts over South America were instrumental in securing the business of Avianca Brasil. And further high-capacity coverage is being added all the time: Intelsat 29e – the first of seven Intelsat EpicNG birds – launched in January and SES-10 is due to blast-off later in the year. By 2025, Valour Consultancy expects there to be 846 aircraft in Central and South America with IFC. This is equivalent to a penetration rate of about 38 per cent at that point in time. Our new report, “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity” delves deeply into the IFC market, providing forecasts for connected aircraft by type of connectivity (Wi-Fi, cellular and a combination of the two), fitment type (retrofit and line-fit), aircraft type (narrow-body, wide-body, regional jet) and geographic region (Asia-Pacific, China, Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, North America, Central & South America). Aeromexico, which is installing different technologies from Panasonic Avionics and Gogo, contributes to North America’s installed base as far as Valour Consultancy’s analysis is concerned. In-Flight Connectivity in Latin America

Technology Companies Lead Business Sectors in 2016

I recently came across an article informing me that the technology industry market value had overtaken the finance and energy industries. It stated the technology sector is worth $3.0 billion, business to consumer finance sector $2.7 billion, and consumer goods sector $2.6 billion.

In the piece, an infographic showed the three most valuable companies in the world. Exxon Mobile, Walmart and PetroChina in 2009, in respective order and today’s top most valuable companies, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft. Microsoft has been in the top ten since 1996 and Apple has been in there since2010. Note that these are still not the largest companies by revenue. Those companies are still in Retail and Big Oil.

We can take snapshots from history and look at what have inspired investors to part with their money. In 1955, the three most valuable companies in the US were General Motors, Exxon Mobil and US Steel. Big oil and cars remain the biggest companies for the next three decades but steel slowly fades away to be replaced by shopping giant Walmart while all the top tech companies are gradually creeping up the list. What is notable about the tech companies is the market fluctuation depending on the success or failure of their latest product offering – not really a problem suffered by Big Oil or even by the financial giants such as the Banks of China

All this is small fry when compared with the private wealth held by the Rothchilds or the Rockefellers but their holdings are diverse and they influence are lives in a different way.

Drifting back to the purpose of this piece, it is quite easy, in my opinion, to see how technology has become omnipresent in our lives today.

Enterprise and consumer technologies and work practices have changed incredibly in the last eight years. Mobile computing has enable companies to adopt a remote working culture for a large chunk of their employees.

Making savings on expensive large office rentals, amenities and other unnoticeable yet costly building management services.

Even better for employees, workers no longer need to confine themselves to crammed working conditions in cities or towns around the country.

We no longer need to travel extensively for informal meetings and simply can have a telephone conference using such platforms as Skype. This obviously reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and also saves time and traveling costs.

Smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, play a role of paramount importance in our lives. From tracking the minutes of walking, exercise activity, to the number of steps we have taken upon this planet. Maybe Tim Peake, the British Astronaut, could argue against that former point.

Mobile operating systems like Apple’s iOS or Android’s Play enable us to access a plethora of services that only the bulky heavy Yellow Pages could hope to almost rival. Additionally, the device apps allow us to access to the daily news, information on hobbies, search references and even express ourselves and listen to others on social media. And this does not include the initial purpose of a phone, to simply call and message people.

Technology has empowered our generation. However, this is not all.

These companies are also heavily involved in other new initiatives that will revolutionise our lives further.

In less than five years, we will witness the legal licensing of driverless cars. Last year, I spent over £2,300 on Uber taxis. Four years of my taxi outlay would easily cover the cost of me purchasing a car with driverless capabilities.

We will see a far greater deployment of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles. Delivering our goods, undertaking engineering and service checks, and augmenting the offerings of many other businesses.

Also, the era of self-automated robotics has started; we will foresee the elimination of menial and laborious tasks taken over by robots. This will enable people to be much more flexible and freer to undertake other activities and progress further. We will see technology companies account for the majority of large corporate giants around the world.

The world is becoming much more transparent, and free flowing in ideas. Technology will provide the backbone for tracking the small details, allowing us to focus on bigger matters. A good example would be the adoption of body-worn cameras could eventually lead to police officers not having to write down a demanding report at the end of their shifts. The video footage and some commentary, from the officers, would suffice.

Of course, this is all surface decoration and could disappear overnight if the economic fundamentals are not there. A huge economic crash and the resulting social unrest, even war, could destroy our dreams and the tools we have to realise them. We live comfortable wired lives at the moment. We must make every effort to keep them.

-
I recently came across an article informing me that the technology industry market value had overtaken the finance and energy industries. It stated the technology sector is worth $3.0 billion, business to consumer finance sector $2.7 billion, and consumer goods sector $2.6 billion. In the piece, an infographic showed the three most valuable companies in the world. Exxon Mobile, Walmart and PetroChina in 2009, in respective order and today’s top most valuable companies, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft. Microsoft has been in the top ten since 1996 and Apple has been in there since2010. Note that these are still not the largest companies by revenue. Those companies are still in Retail and Big Oil. We can take snapshots from history and look at what have inspired investors to part with their money. In 1955, the three most valuable companies in the US were General Motors, Exxon Mobil and US Steel. Big oil and cars remain the biggest companies for the next three decades but steel slowly fades away to be replaced by shopping giant Walmart while all the top tech companies are gradually creeping up the list. What is notable about the tech companies is the market fluctuation depending on the success or failure of their latest product offering – not really a problem suffered by Big Oil or even by the financial giants such as the Banks of China All this is small fry when compared with the private wealth held by the Rothchilds or the Rockefellers but their holdings are diverse and they influence are lives in a different way. Drifting back to the purpose of this piece, it is quite easy, in my opinion, to see how technology has become omnipresent in our lives today. Enterprise and consumer technologies and work practices have changed incredibly in the last eight years. Mobile computing has enable companies to adopt a remote working culture for a large chunk of their employees. Making savings on expensive large office rentals, amenities and other unnoticeable yet costly building management services. Even better for employees, workers no longer need to confine themselves to crammed working conditions in cities or towns around the country. We no longer need to travel extensively for informal meetings and simply can have a telephone conference using such platforms as Skype. This obviously reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and also saves time and traveling costs. Smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, play a role of paramount importance in our lives. From tracking the minutes of walking, exercise activity, to the number of steps we have taken upon this planet. Maybe Tim Peake, the British Astronaut, could argue against that former point. Mobile operating systems like Apple’s iOS or Android’s Play enable us to access a plethora of services that only the bulky heavy Yellow Pages could hope to almost rival. Additionally, the device apps allow us to access to the daily news, information on hobbies, search references and even express ourselves and listen to others on social media. And this does not include the initial purpose of a phone, to simply call and message people. Technology has empowered our generation. However, this is not all. These companies are also heavily involved in other new initiatives that will revolutionise our lives further. In less than five years, we will witness the legal licensing of driverless cars. Last year, I spent over £2,300 on Uber taxis. Four years of my taxi outlay would easily cover the cost of me purchasing a car with driverless capabilities. We will see a far greater deployment of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles. Delivering our goods, undertaking engineering and service checks, and augmenting the offerings of many other businesses. Also, the era of self-automated robotics has started; we will foresee the elimination of menial and laborious tasks taken over by robots. This will enable people to be much more flexible and freer to undertake other activities and progress further. We will see technology companies account for the majority of large corporate giants around the world. The world is becoming much more transparent, and free flowing in ideas. Technology will provide the backbone for tracking the small details, allowing us to focus on bigger matters. A good example would be the adoption of body-worn cameras could eventually lead to police officers not having to write down a demanding report at the end of their shifts. The video footage and some commentary, from the officers, would suffice. Of course, this is all surface decoration and could disappear overnight if the economic fundamentals are not there. A huge economic crash and the resulting social unrest, even war, could destroy our dreams and the tools we have to realise them. We live comfortable wired lives at the moment. We must make every effort to keep them.
Sign up to Our FREE Newsletter
You'll receive updates on our research and regular insights on the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic
SIGN UP
No Thanks!
close-link