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Business drones will cause data management headaches for CIOs

Paul Rubens | Dec. 3, 2015
Many enterprises will use drones for commercial data gathering - but indexing and examining this data will take specialist data management skills.

He adds that the generation of large amounts of video and still imagery may cause problems for CIOs who don't have the necessary skills to handle it. "As a CIO, you have to think about how you will index all this data, and how you will examine it," he says.  "You need data management skills that you may not have needed before."

CIOs will also need to think about how this data is stored and secured, how access to it can be restricted to authorized staff, and what sort of lifecycle management policies need to be applied to it to ensure that it is deleted if no longer required, or archived for long term retention.

There are likely to be legal considerations too. "CIOs will be dragged in to a number of issues, because if you are flying over a city you may have to show how the data will be used, where it is going to be stored and so on," says Vining. "And there are privacy issues too – you don't want to (inadvertently) take pictures of naked ladies."

Obstacles still exist…for now

One reason that drones won't be used to make home deliveries in the short term is that there are plenty of obstacles still to be overcome: aside from needing the green light from regulators in every country in which they are to operate, there are question marks over whether vehicles powered by rapidly rotating propellers can safely be landed in a public area, whether such vehicles would be safe from theft when they land, whether people would allow them to fly over their property, and how much noise they would generate. There are many more questions to answer as well.

Yet slowly but surely these objections are being addressed, Mark Raskino, a vice president at Gartner points out. He says that drones don't need to land to deliver items – they can lower them down to the ground from a safe height, as demonstrated by the Russian pizza copter. This also prevents expensive drone hardware being stolen.

And while people may be unwilling to allow drones to fly over homes, they could fly over roads. Property owners in strategically important areas could even be persuaded to allow drones to overfly their property - for a fee.

Delivering to individual customers in apartment buildings in densely populated areas is always going to be difficult, and that's why Vining believes that in the medium term drone usage is more likely to be restricted to moving goods from central warehouses to local distribution points or delivery trucks, and moving small but valuable items around a business – perhaps transporting diamonds from remote mines to a central location.

"Rather than see home deliveries, it’s more likely that we will see bulk deliveries: for example a drone the size of a blimp could shuttle cargo between London and New York, " Vining concludes.


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