2021 user growth DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy reports massive 2021 user growth

2021 was a pretty bizarre year for everyone, but for DroneDeploy it was a good one. The San Francisco-based drone software company reported massive 2021 user growth — and that follows an already strong year of user growth in 2020.

DroneDeploy says its 2021 user growth rose by 76% year-over-year versus 2020 in terms of active users, according to DroneDeploy’s State of the Drone Industry Report 2022 released in January 2022. DroneDeploy builds cloud-based software for drone mapping that works on most major drones, including DJI drones.

76% year-over-year growth is impressive, though it’s less than the 259% enterprise user growth that DroneDeploy reported between 2019 and 2020, but 2020 was certainly unprecedented. In fact, in the single year of 2020, the number of enterprise users at DroneDeploy was 1.6x more than in the years 2013 through 2019 combined. And to still have enormous growth after that is pretty eye-popping.

Why was DroneDeploy’s 2021 user growth so high?

A chunk of DroneDeploy’s growth can certainly be attributed to the pandemic, both in terms of how drones naturally lend themselves well to social distancing, but also because of the massive labor market shortages. In year’s past, drones and other robots have been criticized for taking potential jobs away from people, but that’s hardly the narrative now.

“With the pandemic in full swing, companies turned to drones to help ensure worker safety and to keep thorough documentation on all aspects of operations for budgetary and compliance purposes,” according to the DroneDeploy State of the Drone Industry Report 2022.

But beyond that, DroneDeploy made some major strides more under its own control in 2021. During the summer of 2021, the company announced it had acquired Rocos, a New Zealand-based robotics software company for job site automation.

And though formally announced in 2020, the company largely ramped up its 360 Walkthrough product in 2021. 360 Walkthrough was designed to help streamline customers’ documentation of exterior and interior, 360-degree maps into a single-platform way to collaborate and share data gathered from both aerial and ground robots. As part of DroneDeploy’s annual report, the company surveyed 766 customers across more than 20 industries and from more than 40 countries. 70% of respondents said the ability to take measurements was most important to their operations, while 47% of respondents said they valued software being “one solution to see all site media,” as the latest DroneDeploy tech allows.

What to expect from drones in 2022

But amidst the good news, DroneDeploy also laid out some challenges ahead. Those include:

  • Staying up-to-date on laws: 42% of respondents said they are having trouble keeping track of the changing laws and regulations in the drone industry
  • Lack of pilots: 24% of respondents say they’re having trouble training enough pilots to keep up with demand. 20% are having difficulties finding drone service providers or eligible pilots, period.
  • Needing to build-in-house drone programs: Partially in response to the aforementioned lack of pilots, 63% of respondents say they’ve decided to build out their own in-house drone program versus using other flight services or drone service providers. That’s a notable stat, as it indicates companies are seeking to avoid outsourcing from other service providers.

But those challenges likely have a long way to go in superseding the benefits of drones. Those survey respondents outlined the top benefits of using drones in their work, and here’s what they said:

Graphic courtesy of DroneDeploy.
  • 46% of respondents said the power of drones in increasing safety was important to them, up from 39% in 2020.
  • 64% of respondents valued how drones can increase productivity, up from 54% in 2020.

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