High Snaps Critical Accumulations on Technological Expansion in the Drone Data Services Market


High Snaps is a dedicated inspection company, aiming towards a higher level of businesses using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and other technologies to capture powerful data. The team operates under Ryan, the chief pilot, and also the founder-director of the company. He is assisted by data collection experts and 100% compliant drone pilots, holding CASA certifications, remote pilot licenses, and public liability insurances. The company employs powerful tools to help inspect and monitor assets, analyze defects delivering detailed 3D maps, digital twins, and survey data of any site or asset instantly.

Inkwood: What improvements are observed in the drone data services, majorly due to the growing technological awareness?

Ryan Swain: The use of aerial intelligence has enabled our clients to significantly cut costs, time, risk, and labor, while improving workflow, accuracy, communication, and efficiency. They can achieve project milestones quicker, safer, and more cost-effectively. By integrating data capture and drone technology into the construction process, we provide the most comprehensive information about a site’s situation at every stage in its development and ongoing moderation once built.

What drivers will act as boosters for the drone data services market over the next five years?

Ryan Swain: I believe AI (artificial intelligence) is going to be the next big thing in this space. The ability to capture and translate information is already quite sophisticated in the industry, but there is so much more potential in how data is interpreted, namely by automating the reporting process. While AI technology is already out there, there is no one solution efficiently enough to use exclusively. We have our finger on the pulse when it comes to this emerging technology and will certainly be early adopters as soon as we are assured its accuracy to artificially detect and locate specific elements and automate the interpretation of data and machine learning. True value will lye in that as it will provide an extra level of service and relieve so much time and resource where human intervention is currently required.

What are the major challenges faced by the market & how is your company trying to tackle those?

Ryan Swain: One of our biggest challenges in the drone industry is educating our customers that drones are more than just a toy or high-tech hobby. Getting businesses to see their true value and change their perceptions of drones is difficult. This is because these specific industry sectors have been conducting their operations the same way for decades. While there have been technological advancements in the area, traditional methods of data capture are widely understood and, in many cases, still preferred because there is a comfort in doing what you know. Like any emerging technology or industry, adoption and growth take time, and lots of education and understanding is required. For us, the barrier is getting in front of key the decision-makers; once we are able to secure a meeting and can demonstrate its value, the rest usually sells itself. But breaking down those initial barriers takes time and persistence.  We have found offering a sample dataset complimentary has been an effective way to demonstrate the benefits and show them its true value. The conversation will usually happen once they see the data outputs and delivery.

Which services in the drone data service market are showing promising growth?

Ryan Swain: Aerial surveying and asset monitoring are showing enormous growth. Our offering in this area is so attractive incompatible with traditional methods. The UAV technology, and the aerial data capture more accurate data, offering centimeter-level measurements. Furthermore, drones can access sites that have historically been too difficult or too risky to access, giving facility managers visibility and new ways to monitor and inspect their assets safely. We also provide a 3D model otherwise known as a ‘Digital Twin’ of any asset, allowing teams to access and view a site online and inspect it at millimeter detail.

Which sectors are the major adopters of drone data services as per your company?

Ryan Swain: Construction both in commercial and residential real estate are the fastest adopters of the technology. Not only for its aerial surveying capabilities but for its ability to capture a site holistically from a Birdseye view, providing real perspective and context on a site’s condition. Unless you have a camera on a forklift, or a helicopter, no other technology can capture a site in this way. It just makes perfect sense that this technology is being rapidly adopted before, during, and after the build.

Inkwood: Which sector will show growth over the next five years as per your company?

Ryan Swain: Certainly, the construction and facility management sectors as it will always be our key focus. But we have also encountered enormous interest in drone technology in the utilities sector, that being powerlines, trees, roads, and infrastructure. Utilities are often hard to get to, high-risk sites and require extremely expensive planning and equipment to access, monitor, and repair. The use of drones in this space is almost a no brainer. Based on our current engagements and conversations with some leading utility companies, we forecast exponential growth within the sector for our company in the coming years.

Inkwood: How has cloud computing helped the drone data services in terms of advancement in its offerings?

Ryan Swain: Cloud computing allows teams to get a complete insight into their assets and site conditions at any point in time. High Snaps aligns a company and stakeholder direction by virtually placing everyone “onsite” through a centralized portal, giving them the ability to effectively discuss, share information, and view the full picture in real time online.

We can also preserve a perfect record of a project, at every stage of its lifecycle, providing a variety of features that allows our clients to continually monitor their portfolios remotely. Cloud computing gives our clients full access to inspection data —anytime, anywhere – where they can benefit from the following features:

  • Ability to pin notes and make full mark-ups directly onto 3D models
  • Accurately measure distance, area, heights, and slopes of an asset
  • Compare data sets and track changes zooming in at defects and monitoring trends

Which region/country has the potential to adopt this technology over the next 5-10 years? How is your company planning expansion in those regions/countries?

Ryan Swain: Well, the obvious answer is here! In Australia! Hence we have our head office in Sydney and service the Nation. Basically, any market that is investing in city expansion and development has the potential to adopt this technology. Australia is still such a young country and has years of development and growth ahead. With expanding cities and developing infrastructure to cater to the rising population growth, it is important that developers are efficiently tracking project progress, sticking to timelines, and importantly, mitigating risk and building structures that are safe. All things that can be easily managed using UAV technology. Our key focus is Australia in the next 5 years, though expanding to new regions, will naturally take us into the APAC region and, ultimately, the UK, where we see huge potential.

Inkwood: What are the positive and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the drone data services market?

Ryan Swain: We have been fortunate to experience more positives than negatives. Here are some of the positive impacts we have experienced as a company and also observed in the industry:

  • We are a naturally COVID safe company due to the way we conduct our services and capture data. Using UAV technology means we often need to be onsite before a site is open to workers or the public, meaning complete isolation when in flight mode. Also, with a drone being able to capture information aerially, you can monitor and capture spots without stepping one foot near it.
  • Our reporting structure allows for remote collaboration, enabling teams to observe, analyze and review captured data through an online platform and get the level of information required to make important decisions without ever having to leave the safety of their homes or office. This has allowed projects to continue forward without delay and provided a new way to collaborate online without ever needing to commute to a busy job site or visit an existing asset.
  • Saving time and money! Our overarching mantra! UAV technology offers so many benefits, but above all, it provides companies new ways of capturing information efficiently and effectively with only one or two resources required on the ground instead of many to get the job done.
  • Continuing on the topic of cost-saving, not only are our services more affordable than traditional methods of capture, the information we are able to provide with our services has saved companies thousands of dollars by being able to identify issues, mistakes, and risks that would potentially go unnoticed until its too late or becomes a legal case after completion. Pandemic or not, this is one of the most important factors that create ultimate value for our clients.

Some of the negative impacts, on the other hand, are as follows:

  • Budgets and activity were frozen almost instantly as soon as the pandemic hit, and the lockdown was in effect. Naturally, people became more reluctant to make decisions and were unable to move forward while waiting to see what happened next with COVID-19 and the economy. Unfortunately, many of our direct liaisons within companies lost their jobs, and therefore we lost our direct contacts and had to re-engage with newly allocated decision-makers or people unfamiliar with projects, our business, and the tasks were working on.
  • Business development became even tricker than usual, unable to get hold of key personnel with people working remotely. Furthermore, companies have become more conservative about allocating their budgets and are careful not to take risks and stick to what they know works. During this time, we have found many businesses have become reluctant to experiment with new technologies or engage in new services. Our industry is still growing and not quite at maturity yet, and with that, there is an extra level of education that is needed to demonstrate its true value and return on investment, which ultimately will make people more comfortable to experiment.