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Buyer beware!

Jose Vega-Lozano, Director at Aerial Vision Ltd, gives PES a thought provoking look in to the world of UAV providers. He suggests caution and questioning before deciding who to use: make sure your chosen company can deliver what you need and what you expect. There are many drone services out there, but which one is for you?

Buyer beware

One of the main benefits that the internet has brought to procurement, buying services and/or products, is that information is now freely available to the buyer, whereas before it was not. Previously, the vendor and his sales team often held the balance of power; in that the weight of knowledge between the buyer and the vendor was stacked massively in the salesman’s favour. Caveat emptor ‘Buyer Beware!’ was then sage advice. Nowadays buyers are often as knowledgeable as salesmen in a given situation; detailed research and meticulous analysis being usually only a few key strokes away thanks to the internet.

But is this rebalancing of knowledge (and therefore buying power) true of the most modern, cutting edge and innovative products/services? Can a layperson really debunk charlatans and cowboys in the developing industry of UAS service provision? Or do you feel that you will have to take a chance and hope that you’re not dealing with an entirely ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ outfit, or perhaps even have to settle on awarding work to a well-known and seasoned underperformer?

Some people believe that over 60% of what you see and hear in terms of UAS industry claims are at best fanciful. They may be right; it’s not as simple to research UAS service provision capabilities and applications as it is buying a car or procuring a new cleaning contract; the facts are just not as accessible or, often, not truly genuine.

Here are things you do know:

• You know the outcome and application of the data that you are asking the contractor to capture and therefore the quality of the data he must provide.

• You know where the data must be captured and therefore what environmental conditions the UAS is to be flown in.

• You know what your company’s appetite for risk is, your regulatory constraints and safety policies and therefore what the service provider must demonstrate and ultimately comply with.

• You know how much you have to spend (and on what) and therefore the scope and extent of the deliverables you are asking to be provided

So, I would say, ask yourself some basic questions based on those areas fundamental to what you want from a UAS service provider. Maybe: proven & reliable, good value, high quality, responsible and safe.

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