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Flying into The Future of Solar Surveys

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Published in PXYZ

In the 60s and 70s, IBM was THE dominant force in enterprise computing.

Despite incursions from vendors both inside and outside the US, IBM developed an intimate understanding of their customers’ needs and requirements. No matter what happened, IBM always had their clients’ backs—and this is where other vendors failed on a spectacular scale.

Tradition Versus Innovation

To put it simply, other businesses thought they were selling a box. IBM knew they were selling a solution. That’s why the phrase “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” became so popular—customers knew that IBM was such a safe bet, they could stake their jobs on it.

The love for IBM was despite IBM’s higher prices, and it wasn’t until the rise of personal computers and client server computing that IBM’s star began to fade as cheaper, more accessible options with a higher ROI began to appear. Frankly, it didn’t matter if you had a problem with a Client Server solution because it was so much cheaper and so much faster to fix. The Client Server innovation changed the dynamic of the customer equation but IBM, with their huge investment in traditional mainframe computing, simply could not or would not make the shift. It was the beginning of the end of a nearly 100 year run for a technology giant.

We’re witnessing a very similar phenomenon in the aerial robotics industry that’s making ripples in other fields as well—especially solar energy.

Smarter, Cheaper, Faster Surveys

With the introduction of more reliable and more efficient drone technology, history is repeating itself. Engineers and builders have long relied on traditional survey approaches to establish topography maps for difficult construction problems—and like IBM, “nobody got fired for hiring a traditional surveyor” is a pretty accurate way to describe the state of the industry.

But like IBM, cheaper more efficient technology has paved the way for solutions that challenge those old assumptions, providing incredible ROI for users that was just impossible to fathom in the past.

Artificially Intelligent Drones Are Revolutionizing Data Collection

Don’t get me wrong, Professional Land Surveyor’s aren’t going way – and they shouldn’t. Their expertise has been built up over literally hundreds of years. That’s why we have been building a national network of forward thinking and well qualified Professional Land Surveyors. But make no mistake about it, the surveyor’s who will ultimately survive are embracing drone based data collection. Data collected by artificially intelligent drones can do so orders of magnitude faster and more efficiently than traditional approaches.

For larger sites, drones enable you to collect data up to 90% faster.

Beyond speed, the scope of the data you receive from drones exceeds what boots on the ground can achieve—in some cases recording millions of data points as opposed to just a few thousand or hundred you might get otherwise.

Improving technology means better and better accuracy as time goes on, resulting in an approach that’s simply delivers a better product. That means your project will be completed faster, with fewer errors, and less wasted money.

Modern Tech, Old-School Customer Service

IBM provided valuable lessons to the tech industry, lessons that were applied at firms like Cisco and Oracle; take care of your customers and they will take care of you. IBM stumbled when they started to believe their customers were attached to their computers rather than their solutions.

For the solar industry, drone based surveys and site assessments offer them something that traditional surveyors have been slow to embrace – fast, accurate and efficient surveys. Surveyors who’ve been slow to realize this are mistaking their technology for their solutions. For the solar industry, constantly fighting the battle of the margins while reaping great gains off a not-so-distant star, they have always known where to look – to the sky. And that’s a trend that’s not going away. Learn more about PXYZ.

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