Drone systems maker Kespry – fixing a land of broken toys

SUMMARY:

Kespry has just released the latest version of its drone technology. This follows the recent hiring of an analytics industry veteran who will propel the company forward in new and interesting ways.

kespry george mathew
George Mathew, CEO Kespry

You’ve probably never heard of them but Kespry is one of a group of up and coming vendors that is capitalizing on recent advances in drone technology, coupled with intelligence systems to deliver commercial solutions for age old problems. Of  interest to this author is the fact that Kespry recently hired George Mathew as its CEO. George who?

I knew Mathew when he was at SAP and then at Alteryx as its president and COO. Alteryx is interesting to us because it is the de facto ETL provider supporting Tableau, Qlik and others.

You would have thought I’d stay at Alteryx to see it through to the next phase, but when this opportunity came up, it was just too hard to turn away. Kespry is onto something really important, the marriage of hardware and software that has multiple use cases, most of which we are only scratching the surface  today

said Mathew in a recent phone conversation with me. I quipped that I am insanely jealous of the job he’s landed because Mathew gets to play with some of the coolest toys around.

Well yeah, they are cool but you know we live in a land of broken toys and I want to take Kespry to a place where we fix that.

I asked Mathew what he means. Using the example of construction industry surveying, he explained that the job of getting accurate inventory counts for commodities like lumber and bricks is not only difficult and time consuming but can be dangerous.

You’ve got people who have to climb over these great piles of material. It’s really dangerous and whatever measure they return will be inaccurate within hours and days. A drone, equipped with the means to understand what it is seeing can return highly accurate data which we capture and crunch in our cloud. It happens in real-time.

Mathew’s characterization is important. Traditional methods of measuring in construction are riddled with inaccuracy, making the payment for goods fraught with error and open to abuse. The Kespry method almost entirely eliminates that problem but more to the point, measures can be taken with greater frequency so that surveyors can, for example, get a better understanding of wastage, shortages, and material utilization under different conditions.

I quizzed Mathew about the degree of accuracy to which he referenced the recently announced Drone 2.

We are now seeing measurements that are accurate to within a few centimeters. That’s a dramatic improvement. It opens up fresh opportunities for us to provide intelligence in industries where precision is critical. Couple that with the way regulation is developing and you can see how we are looking at a true blue sky opportunity.

This is truly exciting stuff and, as Mathew points out, an opportunity with genuine global application. However, there is a long way to go. In an interview with Commercial UAV News, Mathew is quoted as saying:

Today, with the Kespry 2.0 system, we have a one-dimensional LiDAR capability. As LiDAR becomes lighter and lighter, there’s no reason why, for instance, 2D multi-pass LIDAR can’t be introduced into the drone system of the future. New sensors which can identify heat and humidity from the drone itself are also being developed.

There will still be innovation on the hardware side, because I don’t think the industrial side of the drone market is one where you have that complete, finished hardware platform that you can build all the software, analytics, and services on top of. I think there will be a slower evolution on the hardware side for at least the next half decade, but there will still be strong innovation with the hardware.

Mathew brings a strong background in analytics in the context of multiple data sources to the table. That means he can imagine different use cases and then hunt down the technologies that will make them happen. The most recent development for example opens up the prospect of mine planning, an activity that demands survey-grade precision. Another application area is insurance where lands can be accurately surveyed for potential hazard analysis. All of this provides Kespry with the components that allow it to lay claim as an arial intelligence platform.

Before getting carried away with the technology, Mathew reminded me that there are regulatory limitations on what drones can do in a commercial setting. They have to operate within line of sight for example. Making them fully autonomous is not yet a reality but Mathew envisages a time when that will be possible, improving the efficiency of drone systems another step forward.

Almost every freshly minted CEO I have ever interviewed has told me how enthusiastic and excited they are with whatever the opportunity at hand looks like. In this case, Mathew doesn’t have to work hard on convincing me. The use cases we discussed are self evident and he, if he gets to play with some of the most interesting toys available to techies then who wouldn’t say they’re having fun?

Image credit - via the author