The year 2015 will be remembered as the year of the underdogs because of the feat that 3D Robotics, a California based startup, was likely to pull off: they were threatening to become the market leaders in consumer drone industry. They had managed to garner tremendous support among the drone enthusiasts and their flagship device known as the Solo had been a super duper hit. To all our disappointment, 3D Robotics was not able to live up to the hype and their performance as well as sales plummeted last year; leaving them with no option but to forsake the consumer drone market.
The company has now concentrated all its energies towards the development of an enterprise software. SiteScan is one of the most high profile projects in this regard; an application that has been designed specifically for the construction and engineering enterprises so that they are better able to manage the building locations and operations. Now, their mobile app will also be compatible with DJI drones. Chris Anderson, CEO 3D Robotics, believes that DJI are the entrenched market leaders in developing state of the art hardware for both commercial as well as consumer market. He adds that their venture with DJI is nothing but division of labor; an economics term that emphasizes specialization. He is of the view that the technological landscape has expanded so much that it is not possible for a single entity to be able to meet the demands of the ever-broadening commercial customers especially when it comes to integration with specific tool kits. The usage of drones in the construction and architecture industry has been predicted to be exponential over the next couple of years or so.
The American consumers are still waiting for an American made drone that will rule the roost. GoPro is still adamant that their Karma drones are going to make it big in the days to come in spite of the fact that their devices succumbed to a recall last year owing to a certain hardware glitch. The Solo drone is also back in contention as an open source platform that can be used by any hacker or drone junkie to try out new things. Simultaneously, enterprises such as the drone racing league have developed top of the line hardware that has set new world records.
Currently, DJI, with their closed operating system and vertical integration, are the entrenched market leaders. But that is likely to change in the coming days as more and more competitors enter the market and consumers look for diversity in their flying cameras. Anderson opines that the history of this industry reverberates the fact that competition has been an inherent truth to it, and both the open and closed approaches always had their own benefits. We might expect the Android of UAVs to comie from a relatively unknown background.