Drones in the rental and service industry, a good or a bad idea?
UAV's are becoming cheaper, more versatile and reliable
Drones are rapidly becoming an indispensable tool in a variety of industries, and therefore many organizations are looking to take advantage of this trend. This new technology can definitely be used by rental and service organizations to create added business value and to work more efficiently, explains Dynamics Software International Pre-Sales Consultant Tim Hermans.
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have already reshaped multiple industries. By making use of UAVs organizations have cut down on costs, created better insight into assets and they can respond quicker to unforeseen circumstances. Nowadays drones have become cheaper, better and more reliable meaning they can also be used in more mainstream industries like the Rental and Service space.
The combination of IoT, Machine learning and Artificial intelligence is an interesting mix of technologies that can benefit rental and service organizations. The example of Amazon using drones to deliver packages is probably a real-life case the majority of people have heard of. Drones have also proven their value for other processes like providing support in rescue missions. This spotlight article describes how rental and service organizations could make use of drones.
Security, Surveillance and Vandalism protection
Companies struggle with the security of their equipment (rented or owned) on site. Some sites are in remote locations and the value of the equipment is often substantive. To protect equipment, drones can be used to do surveillance in remote locations and inform security staff when a trespasser is being detected. With the presence of round-the-clock security, theft can be reduced significantly which, in the end, will save a lot of money.
Inspections in hard to reach locations can be more efficient and less expensive by drones. Companies who provide service to buildings can, for example, do a roof inspection more easily than ever before. Other examples are service to or maintenance on Wind turbines, Bridges, Pipelines, Solar panels or large industrial estates, giving just a glimpse of the possibilities and industries where drones can be used. By making use of drones a high-quality close-up inspection can be performed. If the outcome is good, no follow-up is needed and when a potential issue is discovered an engineer can take over and do the needed repairs, possibly even with the help of the drone.
Safety and Health
By making use of drones, inspections in dangerous locations or with dangerous substances involved can be performed quicker and with absolute minimal risk of people getting hurt during the work. Drones can easily reach dangerous locations without having the need of special equipment (like aerial work platforms) or can minimize contact with dangerous substances.
Drone rental and/or Pilot training
Rental and Service companies can also use the popularity of drones to offer additional services to their customers. Rental companies can offer drones including an operator to their customers, enabling them to benefit from this new technology without first having to invest time, money and staff. On the other hand, Rental and Service organizations could also offer drone training to customers to help them get up to speed using them. Besides the many operational benefits, drones also have revenue potential.
Delivery of spare parts
As mentioned, the use of drones to deliver goods is probably something you have heard of. Companies like Amazon and Domino`s are experimenting with delivery via drones. The delivery of goods can also be of interest to rental and service organizations. They often struggle with the delivery of spare parts to remote locations. Sometimes a small inexpensive part can be the reason a piece of equipment is not working. By having the possibility to quickly (and cheaply) sent a spare part via a drone can save a lot of (down) time and assure customers can always use their equipment.
Drones can also be used to quickly check thousands of items within a warehouse and check for missing items. They can fly inside a warehouse and perform inventory checks to increase stock reliability. By using drones to perform this task an inventory check can be done in days instead of the weeks it takes if people need to do this manually. Rental companies can also use this method to check the yards for available Rental Equipment; drones simply check if a piece of equipment is in the yard, meaning that it can be rented out to customers.
The promise of drone usage in rental and service organizations seems limitless. That combination of new technologies like IoT, Machine Learning, Cloud computing and Artificial intelligence in combination with drones holds tremendous potential. All this technology is not only used to operate the drones more efficiently, but drones can become an integral part of the technology; they can gather tremendous amounts of data which can be used to analyze. These technologies combined with affordable and reliable drones can increase the adoption speed beyond what we anticipate today. Businesses within the rental and service space are now realizing that they can use all of this to transform the way they work.