Some drones may be consumer toys, but they’re about to bring big data to big industries


Drones may be touted for the future of delivering Amazon packages or a pizza and it’s obvious they have found a niche with consumers who want to produce cool videos of hard-to-reach places. However, one of their yet-untapped applications is as an internet of things sensor in the sky.

In a panel at Gigaom’s Structure Connect conference on Tuesday, 3DRobotics CEO and co-founder Chris Anderson and Autodesk’s SVP Amar Hanspal made the point that drones are as much a connected device as a wearable or a lightbulb, and their applications will provide more than cool aerial footage.

For one thing, a drone has access to the sky, an sensor-less area where it’s normally expensive and dangerous to send humans to gather the same level, Anderson said. Once the drones start flying, they’re generating mountains of data in many forms.

“One of these can gather about a half terabyte per hour…

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