$127 Billion in Drone-Powered Business Applications

What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology.

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Tech Savvy was a weekly column focused on new developments at the intersection of management and technology. For more weekly roundups for managers, see our Best of This Week series.
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The commercial applications of drones: Big consulting firms don’t invest in little markets. So when a major player, like PwC, establishes a new global center of excellence around an emerging technology, like drones, it’s probably worth swooping in for a look.

If you do, you’ll find a new PwC report that pegs the commercial applications of “drone powered solutions” at more than $127 billion. That’s the current value of the business and labor — in sectors including infrastructure, transport, insurance, media and entertainment, telecommunication, agriculture, security, and mining — that could be supplanted by drone technology in the coming years.

“Drone powered solutions are best suited to sectors that require both mobility and a high quality of data,” write PwC consultants Michał Mazur and Adam Wiśniewski. “Specifically, businesses that manage assets dispersed over large areas have a long history of issues that new drone powered solutions can address.” Some of the applications are obvious, such as Amazon’s ongoing bet that drones will enable it to cut delivery time and costs. Then there’s the host of less-publicized applications in various stages of development, such as combining 3D printers and drones to produce on-site replacement parts; sending drones to assess damage in insurance claims; providing temporary broadband and mobile service when a network is down; spraying crops; conducting security patrols; surveying mines; etc. And, of course, there’s the applications that you’ll think up for your company.

A digital renovation of the corporate university: A lot of technology has passed under the bridge since the 1980s, when Jack Welch revamped GE’s sleepy Crotonville leadership center in order to produce the scores of hard-driving leaders needed to mount a do-or-die effort to push the company’s business units to the top of their markets. “Now a new phase is unfolding at [corporate learning] organizations, which must grapple with tools and platforms that facilitate knowledge sharing and employee interactions on an almost limitless scale, challenging — and sometimes appearing to sweep away — the old brick-and-mortar model,” write McKinsey consultants Richard Benson-Armer, Arne Gast, and Nick van Dam.

In a new article in McKinsey Quarterly, which draws on survey responses from 120 chief learning officers at major companies, the authors find that, on the one hand, corporate learning is still in high demand.

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Topics

Tech Savvy

Tech Savvy was a weekly column focused on new developments at the intersection of management and technology. For more weekly roundups for managers, see our Best of This Week series.
See All Articles in This Series

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