Wednesday, 21 November 2018 12:33

National Drones completes capital raising Featured

By
David Tozer, Chairman, Jolaine Boyd, COO and Ben Harris, CEO, National Drones David Tozer, Chairman, Jolaine Boyd, COO and Ben Harris, CEO, National Drones

Australian drone service provider National Drones has completed a capital raise to drive investment into its aerial data collection and visualisation services.

Under the capital raise, major new investors in the National Drones include Tozer and Co, Bob Every (former Wesfarmers chairman), Merrick Howes (managing director Anchorage Capital Group Australia), Simon Henderson (partner, Bain & Company) and Matthew Dellavedova (championship winning NBA basketball star currently playing for the Milwaukee Bucks).

Ben Harris, chief executive, National Drones, said, “Large global businesses across resources, utilities and infrastructure that rely upon physical assets to succeed have traditionally been at a disadvantage when it comes to digital transformation”.

“This is a significant untapped market, primarily due to the difficulty involved. It’s just not that easy to build accurate virtual models of physical assets, that can then become truly effective tools for making business decisions.

“The capital raise announced today is designed to help us overcome this final hurdle, utilising the unique qualities of drones for data capture alongside other advancements in software such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

National Drones says the investment will build upon its existing 3D and 2D visualisation technology, enabling businesses and public services to take advantage of drone-captured data for predictive analytics, detecting issues ahead of time and helping improve worker safety.

“This is a huge step forward for businesses which have large physical assets. The ability to link National Drones’ visualisation software with asset management databases enables the creation of a ‘digital twin’ of the physical business,” National Drones says.

“With this ‘twin’ in place, many different industries that have physical assets can for the first time have teams collaborate, review projects and inspect the health of assets without needing to be on-site. This capability dramatically reduces costs, improves worker safety and the speed of response.”

“We have telecommunications clients for whom we have developed specific software to enable visualisation of their telecommunications towers and allow them to markup and annotate areas of corrosion,” Harris said.

“The new capital enables us to work with these clients to develop our next phase of development, which utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify problem areas before they become issues in the future. The value such predictive analytics can provide to these clients is massive.
 
“We will utilise aerial data to create a digital twin, enabling key decision makers and end-users the ability to embed information, interact with the data, integrate with other data sources and automate processes and procedures through deep learning techniques.

“We’re already far down this path, with current clients making better decisions, reacting faster to issues and providing enhanced safety to workers thanks to the intelligence we provide. The investment in our business announced today means we will continue to innovate and improve upon these advanced services.”

Harris said the majority of National Drones’ client base was centred in mainland Australia but had recently expanded into New Zealand and the company intends to launch its technology to other markets as part of its strategy.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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