Last week, five of my colleagues presented a webinar, Drone Program Management: Inside the Skyward Platform. They started with the fundamentals of a successful drone program and why management software is so important. Then they took a closer look at Skyward’s Aviation Management Platform and some of our brand new features.
I’m always excited to talk with companies about Skyward’s software platform. Skyward brings so many key pieces of a drone program together in one place, which really boosts efficiency. And Skyward’s tools are cloud-based and purpose-built for use in the office and the field, which makes managing a complex aviation program a lot easier than trying to use spreadsheets!
I want to highlight a few of the topics that were discussed in the webinar, including the new features. I’ll also share answers to a couple of the top questions we received during the live Q&A.
(If you want a detailed look at Skyward, you can download an overview of nearly every feature in the Skyward platform from our Enterprise Software page.)
Skyward Aviation Management Platform Features
Skyward’s airspace intelligence map is a powerful tool for getting your crews the intel they need to plan, fly, and gather data more safely than before. We recently redesigned our map from the ground up, simplifying complex airspace to be understandable at a glance. And with LAANC for controlled airspace access built into the platform, the airspace intelligence map also helps you get access to the places you need to fly.
Skyward InFlight Mobile GCS for iOS (with Android coming!)
Skyward InFlight brings the power of Skyward’s airspace intelligence and flight planning into the field. InFlight also has a full-featured ground control station for flying, capturing media, and automatically logging flights from compatible DJI drones to the Skyward platform. InFlight is available to Skyward users with paid subscriptions, helping you take your enterprise drone program to the next level.
Flight insights, management tools, and more
On the webinar, we looked at even more of Skyward’s core features, including Flight Insights, our logbook that helps you intelligently gather actionable insights from a whole program’s worth of drone flights. And with a suite of management tools for personnel, aircraft, batteries, and checklists, Skyward can help you get a holistic view of your program.
New in Skyward
Live Flight Tracking
Product manager Sam Ewen introduced us to Live Flights, a new feature enabling program managers in the office to monitor drone flights in the field in essentially real time. He gave an overview during the webinar and even fielded some questions about exactly how it works during the Q&A at the end. You can check out his recent article announcing Live Flights to learn more.
Risk Assessment Tool
Amanda Breese, another Skyward product manager, took us inside Skyward’s brand new risk assessment tool. On the webinar, we asked our attendees what challenges their programs are running into right now. Of those who identified a challenge, more than 35% responded that operating with a high level of risk was a major concern. Skyward’s risk assessment tool can help program managers and pilots capture a snapshot of each operation’s risk level and quickly determine if it might not be safe to fly.
Other new offerings from Skyward
We also introduced two new offerings from Skyward that aren’t part of our core software platform. First was the program manager dashboard, a set of preconfigured reports that make it easy to gather and share business insights on your drone program. Skyward’s Professional Services team also introduced a remote program assessment, a service to help you take a pulse on your program’s health and evaluate opportunities for growth.
SGI process for waivers and COAs
In the webinar, we also called attention to the FAA’s Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process. While not affiliated with Skyward in any way, this process allows public entities such as state and municipal governments, as well as emergency responders such as police and fire departments, to apply for expedited evaluation of regulatory waivers and Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COA). The SGI process could be especially helpful for public entities during the COVID-19 crisis. Look for more information from Skyward very soon!
Answers to a few of your top questions
Question: What types of drones does the Skyward platform work with?
Skyward’s Aviation Management Platform is manufacturer agnostic, which means that Skyward’s airspace intelligence and management tools work regardless of the make, model, and manufacturer of the drone. However, Skyward InFlight’s ground control system currently supports only select DJI drones. You can visit Skyward’s User Guide to find the currently supported models.
How do you calculate ROI for a drone management platform like Skyward?
Return on investment is incredibly important for drone programs, especially early on. And if you decide to invest in drone program management software, you’re going to want to be absolutely sure it will deliver the worthwhile results you need.
When you’re looking at determining ROI for one of these platforms, you’ll want to consider things such as time saved, risks mitigated, and problems solved. For a deeper dive on evaluating ROI in a drone program, check out this article by Skyward’s Director of UAS Strategic Solutions, or watch this on-demand webinar on planning and budgeting for a drone program.