International business consultancy PwC has opened a division dedicated to commercial drone services.
Drone Powered Solutions (DPS) is based in Poland, and will provide advice, support and services to clients around the world as they seek to incorporate drones into everyday business practices.
DPS is PwC’s ?rst global centre of excellence focusing on the commercial use of drone technology. The team assists clients looking to harness, among other things, what is becoming a game-changing tool in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Commercial drone services are slowly revolutionising the way many businesses manage day to day tasks. From infrastructure inspection to agriculture, mining, security and media, drones can gather vital data more efficiently, and often more economically, than traditional methods.
That PwC has chosen Poland as the base of its drone operations to date is no surprise given the current regulatory landscape. As early as 2013, Poland already had detailed regulations in place regarding commercial drone flight. Unfortunately for the industry, the same cannot be said of many other countries traditionally seen as leaders in technology.
PwC move ‘an eye opener’
Speaking exclusively to Internet of Business, Justin Miller, co-founder at drone software company Airnest, said that PwC’s move was a bold statement of intent in an industry on the rise.
“It’s very telling about the industry as a whole to see large multinational corporations start to create drone specific divisions. It should be a real eye opener for those that believe that drones are just a fad or an industry that will never amount to much.”
“What PwC is signalling now is that drones are here to stay, and will have large economic impacts across multiple industries. It’s no longer just start-ups and small businesses in the industry; big corporations are now heavily invested,” said Miller.
Talking to Internet of Business, Adam Wi?niewski, director of Drone Powered Solutions at PwC, said “We believe that drone technology, which is still a new phenomenon, will soon be used in a broad range of commercial applications by business. We are the first professional services firm that is ready to fully support clients in embracing this new opportunity, using drones and data analytics in conjunction with our more traditional business consulting services to gain insights and improve operations.”
Wi?niewski continued, “I think it says something to the market when a major consultancy like PwC takes the lead on helping companies to apply a new technology like drones. It helps change the technology from novelty item to mainstream tool of business.
Regulatory issues holding the industry back
Amid widespread uncertainty, safety concerns and an atmosphere of false information, national governing bodies, Poland and South Africa aside, have generally failed to keep up with the speed of innovation.
Adam Kraso?, CEO of PwC Poland, said: “Poland is paving the way, and we encourage regulatory bodies and industries in other countries to take a closer look at the drone industry as a potential source of growth and synergies, enabling business to expand into new segments and markets.”
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Airnest’s Justin Miller cites America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an example.
“Even more telling I believe is where PwC decided to setup shop,” he said. “The economic strength of the United States, and much of the free world for that matter, is based upon the government protection and promotion of entrepreneurialism and free markets. With that said, it starts to make one wonder if the FAA’s current structure is up to the task of protecting the national air space while also helping to maintain America’s technological and economic competitiveness.”
For regulatory bodies, the balancing act between fears over public safety and the incubation of an industry growing by the day will be key to the drone industry’s continued success.
Miller agrees: “The real power of drones is that they make the power of flight, and all of the advantages of the third dimension, far less expensive. The lack of/and current regulations all but negate that advantage.”