Describe your business in no more than 100 words
Based in the North East of England, ARC Aerial Imaging provides a comprehensive UAV/drone aerial imaging and spatial consulting service that complies with all UK CAA legislation in regard to the commercial and safe use of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS).
With the ability to both collect, analyse and consult from drone aerial imaging and data, ARC Aerial Imaging can provide an efficient path to aerial imaging and spatial information for diverse B2B clients and end-user applications.
Which particular products and/or services make your business innovative?
ARC Aerial Imaging is unique in the sense that it couples the ability to not only provide raw aerial imaging (stills and video) data for a plethora of client commercial applications but we can also provide imagery and spatial analysis/consulting for technical commercial uses which stems from having over two decades of accredited knowledge and experience in this field.
What proportion of your service offer comprises new (under 3 years old) products, materials, technologies etc?
SUAS/drone technology is getting smaller and is rapidly improving both in terms of reliability, duration and, more importantly, safety.
However we're strong advocates of "it's not about the SUAS/drone that's important, it's what's done with the collected imaging that matters and if it has solved the problems that the client has." Imaging sensors are now getting smaller yet are becoming more capable of what they could produce and provide 3 years ago - this is now becoming evident with multispectral imagers which were traditionally larger in size and were more costly.
We have a diverse modern inventory of imaging sensors however, what we also still have in terms of drone and imaging technology that was "cutting-edge" say 3 years ago and which has become obsolete by some quarters ('Moore's Law') but if this so-called 'redundant' technology may still provide an important solution to a unique client problem.
To what extent have the innovations enhanced the sales of your other products/services or led to future opportunities?
Very recently ARC Aerial Imaging was invited, along with other SUAS specialists, to collaborate with a major and long established marine company to assist on a significant EU-commissioned undertaking from 2017 for the next two years to monitor commercial shipping various exhaust emissions using appropriate monitoring equipment fitted onboard large SUAS.
It's through the learned specialist knowledge and skills acquired over the past two decades and that ARC Aerial Imaging has steadily built up a reputation that has led us to be invited and be involved with this significant and "industry-changing" project.
What new skills have been acquired by (and retained within) your company as a result of the innovations?
We're always looking to continually evolve and develop our services and products. Recently it has become a BASIS-registered provider of standard and multispectral aerial imaging data through SUAS having attended and passed an agricultural awareness course at Harper Adams University.
This indicates to the arable farming sector that we can confidently provide valuable drone-collected aerial imaging and spatial information obtained through our various sensors for the smart and precision agricultural sector, in particular in assisting with and liaising with agricultural companies and specialists such as Agronomists.
How do you innovate in the way you run your business?
On the rare occasion we have brought in external assistance from other CAA-certified SUAS/drone operators who may have the unique skills that we do not currently possess to ensure that we do not pass over business and/or become insular and polarised within what is still an emerging but rapidly advancing industry. There is a mutual appreciation between certain quarters of professional SUAS/drone operators who have also approached ARC Aerial Imaging to assist them on their commissions should our unique and specialist strands of aerial imaging services are needed.
What are your biggest professional achievements to date?
In the two years since being established , ARC Aerial Imaging has become recognised and acknowledged by other professional and CAA-certified SUAS/drone operators with what it can provide and deliver as a specialist aerial imaging service.
This recognition has duly led us to being invited and be a part of the stated EU framework SUAS agreement not only as an experienced commercial SUAS/drone operator but also as a consultant - being part of this is our biggest achievement to date.
Where do you see your company in five years time?
We'd like to expand our services with more technical drone equipment and specialist imaging sensors that are more appropriate for enhanced technical commercial uses and applications.
We also expect that, instead of companies who have sought to establish their own "drone operating divisions" but have not got the necessary commercial knowledge or experience with SUAS/drones, it makes practical business sense to formally include the services of established commercial SUAS/drone operating entities like ARC Aerial Imaging into their applicable company services.
What advice would you give to aspiring innovators?
Network, network and network! Go and meet (not email) similar entities through B2B events and find out how they've achieved what they have accomplished through innovative ways.
Always look for a unique approach to your services and have an accredited subject matter expertise to set yourself apart for the rest - this is the advice that ARC Aerial Imaging has given to visitors when exhibiting at regional B2B events who have sought knowledge and advice to become involved in the commercial SUAS/drone industry in some way.
If you have any knowledge/experience shortfalls, learn or, in the meantime, seek to learn from other through collaboration - you might discover that you have something unique that could be important to them that they might not possess.
ARC Aerial Imaging will be showcasing its innovations at the Innovate Tees Valley festival in Middlesbrough on December 8. Tickets for the event are available free of charge - book your place now at http://innovatefestival.tv/