Gadgets & Gear

Crafting a new career and creating your own job has never been easier. In fact, solo entrepreneurs earning six figure incomes is a tangible reality with a book explaining how to do it! This growing free-agent field is expertly explored by independent journalist, Elaine Pofeldt in her new book: The Million-Dollar, One-person Business.

Clearly the avenues, opportunities and definitions around how we earn a living are expanding—mostly due to technology. New technology is firmly ensconced in modern culture and one of the most ubiquitous innovations transforming a diverse arena of human roles in the workforce are drones!

Guest author and tech enthusiast, Oliver McClintock, will unpack 40 of the best drone business ideas for 2018 in this special three part series for BE Journal. Drones have utility to an enormous range of applications and entry-levels, from large-scale enterprises to independent entrepreneurs…the accessibility and adaptability of drones means that, the sky’s the limit when it comes to their potential and our economic future!

Part One: Photography Drone Business Ideas

It is no secret that the demand for drones is skyrocketing across the globe. The global drone market is forecasted to be $127 billion by 2020! Every day, businesses and drone pilots are coming up with new drone business ideas that are fueling an entrepreneurship boom. A combination of new technology, falling prices, and new regulations have combined to unleash aerial advances like never before. Each of these drone uses has potential for a new model or plan, which means there is an opportunity for you to get creative!

If you are looking for how to make money with drones, this is the right place! The opportunities are almost endless, and we are here to help you figure out the best drone business ideas for your situation. It is not as easy as just buying a drone and having people pay you for pictures, however. The FAA has lined out the US rules (Part 107) for commercial drone operations, and drone pilots need to pass a test to become licensed before using drones for business, or face hefty fines.

Once you are an experienced drone pilot, have a drone of your own, and are Part 107 licensed, you are ready to make money with drones! (If you are not licensed, a training class can help you get there). There is way more to having a quadcopter business than just taking pictures of people’s houses and property.

In this series I aim to give you a sense of some of the hottest markets and opportunities to make money with drones right now!

1. Residential Real Estate Drone Photography + Videography

Residential real estate photography is among the best methods to figure out how to use drones for business. Many realtors and homeowners are looking for a way to make their property stand out in a crowded market. With so many buyers searching for homes online, having quality aerial photography and video can help a home sell faster and for more money. We recommend the very popular DJI Phantom 4 Pro or DJI Mavic Pro for real estate photography first timers.

2. Commercial Real Estate Drone Photography + Videography

The commercial real estate is another, arguably more lucrative opportunity for aerial video. Commercial real estate sites are typically larger than residential sites and therefore can effectively use drones to showcase the larger area. Large commercial clients also usually will have a larger budget than residential realtors due to the value of the properties being higher. Aerial video can specifically highlight property features such as specialized assets.

3. Drone Sports Videography

Drones can capture perspectives that have never before been seen in extreme sports. An experienced drone operator can cost much less than a helicopter and get much more closeup footage, which makes for some excellent surfing videos. Filming practice to analyze plays, taking a video of matches to review performance, and getting new perspectives are always that new drone pilots could take advantage here. Many pilots are using the Phantom 4 Pro to get aerial shots of extreme sports by using the ActiveTrack technology which allows the drone to lock on to a moving target. By locking in an extreme sports client, entrepreneurs could excel with this as a gateway to other drone business ideas!

4. Drone Wedding Photography + Videography

Everyone wants their wedding to stand out, especially in the age of social media. Combine that with the ridiculous prices that wedding photographers charge, and aerial wedding videos could be a very lucrative drone business idea for someone who is just starting out. Just try not to crash your drone into the bride.

5. Power Line Inspections

Inspecting power lines in person is very time consuming and expensive. It is also very unsafe for people to physically be on power lines. Powerful new drones equipped with zoom cameras and spectrometers can work with local governments to contract out drone power line inspections at a much lower cost than traditional methods. There is a massive opportunity for drone pilots willing to learn about how the utility industry works to make money with drones!

6. TV and Cell Tower Inspections

Much like power lines, traditionally manned inspections are risky and fraught with danger for the inspector. Drones can make these inspections cheaper and safer for everyone involved. The latest drones can provide high-resolution images that allow owners to see if there is damage from weather, old age, or even wildlife! Getting into the cell tower inspection game has a higher barrier to entry than some others, but could be one of the best margin drone business ideas on this list.

7. Solar Installation Inspections

Thermal cameras (like those from a well-known manufacturer, FLIR) can integrate with more and more consumer drones. New pilots can find excellent drone business ideas related to the inspection of solar arrays. By helping a company manage the productivity of these assets and identify problems, they can save a ton of time and money. By flying a thermal imaging drone, it can locate any damaged solar panels and use that intelligence to act before problems get too big.

8. Forestry

Drones can help those in the forestry industry both protect and monitor the health of forests while reducing costs to test commercial value of the forested property. Instead of walking through the woods in person, operators can fly drones over areas they wish to inspect and assess tree health from above. It could save both time and money while apprising the pilot of any issues like storm damage or illegal logging activity.

9. Wind Turbine Inspections

At the beginning of 2015, there were over 270,000 wind turbines in operation, with 800,000 blades in service. Drones can be used to inspect these turbine blades for damage caused by wear and tear, mechanical failure, weather events, or bird strikes. Inspection is valuable because fixing or replacing a rotor before failure is way less expensive and dangerous than a blade failure in the field. Sometimes you will even find more than you bargain for the pilot.

10. Oil and Gas Pipeline Monitoring

You know that a drone business idea is taking off when a big company like GE gets a hold. GE developed their drone to monitor gas leaks all over their service network. The drone allows them to respond faster, and to bring the right equipment for the level of the leak. It results in happier customers who are not losing as much money to the leak in the long run. Drone pilots and entrepreneurs would do well to link up with a larger company and find this type of inspection contract work.

11. Critical Infrastructure Inspection

Many state departments across the country grapple with limited budgets and aging infrastructure. Aerial inspection drones offer a solution for low-cost, accurate, high-resolution inspections. They can also typically be completed in less time than a traditional manned inspection while producing better results. By using quadcopters for bridge and infrastructure inspection, local municipalities can have a higher level of understanding about the actual health of assets and assess them at a reduced cost.

12. Roof Inspections

Roof inspections are one of the quickest entry points for people looking for drone business ideas. Almost everyone knows a friend or family member that has had their roof damaged in a storm or is looking at getting it replaced. Drone-based roof inspections are an excellent way to keep contractors honest and reduce quoted prices. They can also help validate insurance claims and make sure that both the insurer and homeowner are getting a fair assessment of any damage.

13. Drone Aerial Mapping and Surveying

Drone startups all over the country are developing great software to perform elevation, 3D, and orthomosaic maps. These maps can help clients scope out work to be done on a construction site, validate earthwork done by contractors, and ensure that properties are valued accurately and appropriately. Startups like DroneDeploy and Airware are making huge steps in the drone software industry and are gaining VC funding as well.

14. Insurance Claim Validation

Many insurance companies and homeowners want to make sure they are getting a fair assessment of any property damage. From validating fire damage to seeing if a roof needs to be replaced after a storm, aerial inspection can help substantiate claims. A new drone pilot could approach an insurance company to be a contracted third party who could perform on-site inspections on-call.

Author Bio

Oliver McClintock is a tech enthusiast, and his main interests are drones and everything related to aviation gadgets. He shares his experience, product reviews, buyer’s guides, and how-to content on his site called MyDearDrone. It is awarded as one of the top 10 drone blogs of 2018 and a proud supporter of various high-profile events related to tech, aviation, drones, government, security & defense, military, etc.

A passionate droner, Oliver works around the clock to contribute something great to the drone community. If you are a UAV fan, MyDearDrone will become your favourite, one-stop destination for all things drones.

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Lume Cube, creator of The World’s Most Versatile Light, brought some of the world’s greatest athletes to Interlaken, Switzerland to step out of their comfort zones and into the night. Watch Jamie O’Brien, Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Austin Keen, Nick Jacobsen, Kalani Chapman, Kaikea Elias and more do some of the most insane adventure sports up in the Swiss Alps, all in the middle of the night with 250 LUME CUBES!

Create by Night @LumeCube, lumecube.com

Without question the most treasured possessions a photographer owns, are the images which reflect their journeys in art and exploration. Long hours in a hide, serendipitous moments, archives of time, fortuitous encounters, creative breakthroughs—photos bring stories to life and are the livelihood of artists and journalists. As such photographers take care to prioritise backups and protect their hard drives…unfortunately, sometimes this is not enough.

Drive Genius 5: A Photographers Secret Weapon

The most overlooked and common catastrophe a photographer encounters is an undetected failure to their backup drive—they were running a backup, or thought they were, but the backup drive failed months ago and they had no idea!

This is where Drive Genius by Prosoft comes in. With Drive Genius installed and Drive Pulse running in the background the software will check your drives whenever they are idle so you will be warned before ever suffering from a data loss. With cleanroom recovery prices a hard drive recovery can be anywhere from $500-$2500 depending on who you ask, and maintaining the health of your drives should prevent you from ever needing the service.

Drive Genius is built and designed to prevent a user from running into a data loss situation, and unfortunately photographers and musicians are some of Prosoft’s most popular clients.

Drive Pulse

The best part of having Drive Genius installed on your system is the built in Drive Pulse utility. Drive Pulse will scan your drives when your computer is in idle mode, this means that only when your computer is not processing information will these scans be run. You will never need to be concerned with the software slowing down any work your are doing on your system. The scans run by Drive Pulse are going to be all the tools included in the software Protect Section: Extended Physical Check, Consistency Check, Repair, Rebuild, Fix Permissions (not included in 10.10+ OS restriction) as well as checking for fragmentation status.

The scans run by Drive Pulse are the best indication to your hard drives health. The drive pulse icon which is visible in the menu bar on the top right hand corner of your screen will be black by default, but will change to yellow with a minor issue, and change to red when there is something that requires immediate attention.

The goal with Drive Pulse is that the user never needs to worry about taking care of there drives, let the software take care of them for you and just keep an eye open for any major issues.

Defragment

When it comes to photographers there are hundreds to thousands of photos being uploaded, and edited on a daily basis. All this saving and moving of files on your system is going to lead to your drives becoming fragmented, which will cause your system to noticeably slow down. The Drive Genius defragment tool is easy to use and will get your drives back working at peak performance.

Repartition

With up to thousands of photos being added on a daily basis it becomes hard to keep track of all your files, folders and projects. The new Repartition tool included in Drive Genius is the easiest to use repartition tool on the market allowing you to add, resize and move any of your partitions.

Partitioning your drive is essentially splitting the drive to be recognized as multiple drives, this helps with organization as well as helps isolate corruption to a single partition.

Clone

The Clone tool in Drive Genius will do a full system clone, including your Operating System. This makes it ideal when setting up a new computer that you want to be exactly like your old one, or when you need to swap out your internal hard drive for a newer or faster drive. Prosoft is mainly a data recovery company, so they like to put backup tools in as many of their software’s as possible and heavily stress that their customers run regular backups. Hard drives are designed to last about 3-5 years but most people, especially in businesses, will use the same hard drive for 10 years without every backing up or checking their drives.

A Suite of Security

The health of hard drive health is crucial if you are in the photography or video editing business. You can’t re-take every photo. Your data reliability needs to be 100% secure. Drive Genius automates your hard drive protection for you. The software automatically scans your hard drive for physical and logical errors, and repairs them when found. Photographers and video editors can rest assured that their hard drive is cared for when they purchase Drive Genius 5.

Prosoft’s award winning Data Rescue software is also relevant and topical for photographers. Digital photography companies come out with new personal file types often. If you are facing a data loss scenario while using a new file type, where other data recovery softwares can’t recognize the file, Data Rescue can recover your photos. Data Rescue has a feature called File IQ which can learn new file types. Show the software 5-10 examples of the new file type, and Data Rescue can search through your hard drive for the specific file type.

Software details and demo available from: prosofteng.com

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G-Technology®, a trusted premium storage solutions provider, releases the ultimate rugged workstation. G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev adapters is a transportable, hardware RAID, 8-Bay Thunderbolt™ 2 solution offering content creators colossal capacity and high definition performance. Designed to support multi-stream 4K workflows and beyond, the G-SPEED Shuttle XL can be configured in RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, & 10, features transfer rates up to 1350 MB/s, Enterprise-class hard drives and the trusted G-Technology 3-year warranty.

It is the ultimate storage solution for demanding video workflows on location and in the studio. Find an authorized reseller at: www.g-technology.com

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We all want to enjoy a world without limits, the richness of nature is what we crave.

But, how can we protect our outdoor playground?

The North Face creates gear for exploring the wilderness and through production ensures our impacts don’t grow, only our lust for adventure and the diversity therein.

This video provides an overview of our commitment to sustainability at The North Face, of which The bluesign® Standard is a key component.