Q&A with Rony Klein
Mobilicom’s Commercial & Industrial Drones Expert
Mobilicom’s drone expert, Rony Klein, gives us an insider’s point of view on the commercial and industrial drone industry. Known at Mobilicom as Drony (a combination of Drone and Rony), he leads the rapidly growing SkyHopper business. With years of experience in communication systems, Rony now travels the world meeting drone platform manufacturers, service providers and ecosystem partners. He is at the forefront of the commercial and industrial drone sector and is always informed about the newest information and technology.
Below Rony talks about clients’ needs, supplier offerings and anything in between related to the commercial and industrial drone industry, as well as the value proposition of SkyHopper by Mobilicom to this market.
Question: In your opinion, what are the most important factors for drone platform manufacturers or service providers prior to choosing a supplier?
Rony: Drone platform manufactures and service providers are first looking for ‘peace-of-mind’. A way to provide their clients with a reliable, stable and secured END-TO-END solution. They wish to be future proof, in the sense that their platforms, in which a lot of money and effort is being invested, are always at the edge of technology, with the next ‘must-have’ features to fulfill their clients’ needs in a rapidly changing industry.
Eventually, they need a trustable vendor, and this translates into Integrity, walk-the-talk, or simply said, delivering what you have promised to deliver.
Question: The commercial and industrial drone business is a dynamic market with constant changes, how is it even possible to predict the next required feature?
Rony: The key is being very close to the market and this involves several aspects, such as periodic meetings with customers and potential customers, following the trends in regulations and the wavers being granted for certain applications, engaging with relevant ecosystem colleagues and finally, reaching out to the end customers to understand their pains first-hand. The SkyHopper roadmap is a direct result of an actual market needs analysis, as reflected from the above-mentioned activities. We know we are successful when new products are being sold way before their official commercial launch.
Question: The number of applications and business opportunities for the industrial drone market is growing by the day, is it possible to support so many different requirements with a single platform?
Rony: The simple answer is no, there is no way to support such wide scope of features as seen in the market today with a single platform. However, just focusing on key specific markets, for which a company can bring out the most value with its assets, is a major key to success. At Mobilicom, with years of experience and proven technology in the government and enterprise markets, designing a solution for the industrial and commercial markets is built on strong pillars and therefore allows for maximal flexibility within the specific vertical markets we are targeting. As an example, having the core physical layer in-house developed enables greater flexibility compared to off-shelf chipset-based solutions, this small factor is a very significant advantage for the end customers, who may need some customization to optimize and simplify their operations.
Question: How far are we from mass deployment of drones for industrial use?
Rony: I believe we are slowly but surely getting there, as indicated before. Following the recent trends and initiatives in the industry, the long-expected jump is within 1-2 years in some markets, and maybe a bit longer in others.
This year is critical as it might be the last opportunity to lay down solid foundations for a winning positioning in this industry. SkyHopper by Mobilicom is rapidly doing this, we are launching new products by the quarter, always based on actual needs and a validated value proposition. Our portfolio is building up from basic entry level products which can be used by prosumers building their first industrial drone, through a “package” of solutions for the commercial and industrial drone manufacturers and service providers, incorporating communication, management, control systems and video processing capabilities and up to heavy duty, long range and very demanding use cases.
Question: What is not obvious for drone manufactures and service providers when dealing with suppliers?
Rony: If I must select one key point, it’s the value of vast field-proven experience. There are many disciplines involved in flying a drone safely for a specific mission. There is no room for mistakes and even a single major failure can slow down the entire industry progress pace. Eventually, when it comes to reliability, only vast hands-on experience, dealing with real life issues operating unmanned vehicles in different levels and scales and solving multi-disciplinary problems can guarantee a smooth operation. Ensuring reliable communication with the drone is the single most important parameter.
The second point, if you insist, is good support, particularly at this stage at which the industry is being shaped up. Constant changes are required, prospects expand beyond their initial application, new payloads need to be supported, RF conditions could change on the go and so on and so forth. For all these issues fast and effective support is critical.
Question: As a supplier, what is the most important success factor?
Rony: The most important success factor is growing with the customer, building long term relationships, receiving reassurance for the quality of our products and support services.
Question: What is the key message of SkyHopper by Mobilicom?
Rony: SkyHopper by Mobilicom is a great example of utilizing robust and proven technology that serves specific markets, i.e. government and enterprises, into completely new and developing markets, such as the industrial and commercial drone markets. Since its launch in 2017, the SkyHopper family of products is expanding and bringing more value to a growing number of drone platform manufacturers.
We will keep serving the market with the best technologies and best business practices. I am confident that SkyHopper will establish itself as the leading brand in this induastry.