Another Drone Bites The Dust – Airware Shuts Down After 7 Years
On Friday, September 14th the world woke up to the news of Airware, the commercial drone software provider for data analysis and management, shutting down its operations, despite being backed by firms such as Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, Google Ventures and Intel Capital. The reason for its collapse being its decision to manufacture its own drone hardware, which couldn’t compete with the likes of the market leader DJI. While there is still a lot of hype surrounding the adoption of drones for commercial and industrial applications, recent Verdantix research finds that market growth hasn’t kept pace with the hype. According to Verdantix, the US drone market is worth $631 million in 2018 and will reach $2 billion in 2023 (see Verdantix Drones Market Size & Forecast 2017-2037 (United States)), while the European market will grow from €284 million ($335 million) in 2018 to €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2023 (see Verdantix Drones Market Size & Forecast 2017-2037 (Europe)). Moreover, the forecast finds that although hardware garners the majority share of revenues currently, drones software to analyse, process and deliver insights to clients along with services will see the fastest growth (see infographic below). Keeping in line with this trend, we have already witnessed casualties in the drone hardware space with vendors such as GoPro exiting the drones market earlier this year and 3D Robotics transitioning its business strategy from being a drone equipment provider to a software provider. On the other hand, firms such as Aerialtronics, Delair-Tech and PrecisionHawk offer an end-to-end solution consisting of drones, sensors, software for flight planning as well as data analytics and other services. To succeed in the commercial and industrial drones market requires the right cocktail of scale, innovation and collaboration.