Quadcopter drones: what’s the problem that they solve?

GoPro's Karma quadcopter drone

GoPro’s Karma quadcopter drone

Today’s quadcopter drones offer crazy amounts of tech for crazy low money. Every year they cram in more features – and cost less. It’s a full-blown feature fight that not even the winners will necessarily survive, as this Verge article argues.

But there is hope – just maybe not in the B2C space.

Seriously, once you’ve given your kids one for Christmas and you’ve all had a go and quickly realized it won’t make you feel like Superman or turn you into Steven Spielberg and that you first have to become a world-class skier or mountain biker to get the kind of footage that’ll make you a YouTube sensation – why would you ever get next year’s upgrade?

At the moment, they’re mainly an impulse purchase or a gift purchase. And because the shop offers you a choice, and the brand names mean nothing to you, you simply buy the most features for the lowest price. And with all the R&D going on behind the scenes, that means zero profit for anyone.

It’ll be a pity to see the innovators get squished by the copycats. Sure, the bigger quadcopters will have a life as platforms for professional cameras and as delivery drones (if they’re not simply shot out of the sky or Amazon doesn’t use them to spy on our back gardens so they can flog us new garden furniture).

But I know that with a bit of thought it’s possible to identify a problem that every business with large, spread-out premises will pay a monthly subscription to solve. And there are a lot of factories, warehouses, hotels and schools out there.

Start with the problem, then create the value, the brand – and a sustainable business.