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DRONES ON THE RISE

Who would have thought that scale model building – a hobby which, along with many others, is treated with benign contempt – could one day become a promising business endeavour? And become it has! The market for new technologies is full of such surprises. You will have guessed what I mean by now! The drones, of course.

The drones market may be worth nearly one hundred and thirty billion dollars today. Of that figure, Poland accounts for about fifty million dollars, or two hundred million złoty, up 22,75% on last year. It is a really good result, given that drones have only just staged a debut in Poland.

Until recently many of us would have thought of drones as having purely specialist applications (e.g., the military), but today they are taking the consumer market by storm. No wonder. They are gaining popularity in so many areas it would be hard to list them all here. Forecasts saying that by 2025 Europe’s skies could be criss-crossed by as many as two hundred thousand specialised drones are impressive indeed, and that may be on the conservative side.

Since drones, whether for hobby enthusiasts, as collectors’ items or those for special applications, are only now becoming popular, not all of us have had a chance to have a first-hand experience of them. Likewise, few people realise that flying drones other than for recreational or sports purposes (subject to the relevant regulations) requires not only skills training but also an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator certificate (UAVO). So far, over 3,5 thousand of such licences have been issued in Poland.

Drones prices vary according to the make, size and range of accessories they have been fitted with. Basic toy models with limited functionality can cost less than one hundred złoty. Devices fitted with e.g., cameras or measuring instruments, will be priced much higher – the better the quality of the accessories, the higher the price. The more advanced craft for specialist applications are built by specialist companies and with all the gear on board prices start at an eye-watering level of several thousand złoty!

As I said, drones are only beginning to capture the market. New potential areas of application are being discovered as we speak, and with them new market niches. These range from videoing and preparing photographic documentation, through all kinds of land surveying applications, to 3D mapping. Prototypes designed to drop safety equipment for men overboard have also been built! The point is that drones are cheap to fly while their potential application is enormous. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that such a promising market has long attracted interest from ABC Data.

There is also a huge sales potential in simple toy drones. Of every ten drones sold in Poland, nine are toys. Drones, quite simply, are a dream product for retailers, especially at a time like this, just before Christmas. They are a great idea for the Christmas stocking, not just for boys and their fathers but – I’m convinced – women as well. I know from experience that flying a drone is not difficult, and that the whole family could have a lot of fun playing with them. Once we’ve got the secrets of piloting a drone down to a fine art, we can use this somewhat unlikely toy to take fantastic photographs from mid-air. We are limited only by our own creativity and perhaps the duration of the flying time, which is not long after a single recharge.

And since drones are now all the rage not only among the amateurs and hobby enthusiasts, there is little doubt that the market for professionals, including the training market, will grow rapidly. Companies looking for a prospective niche should get on the drones act quickly. And quickly means really quickly, because this is the last chance.

Some articles and reports about the drones market:

http://www.pwc.pl/pl/pdf/clarity-from-above-pwc.pdf
http://wyborcza.biz/biznes/1,100969,21082993,im-rynek-dronow-w-polsce-wzrosnie-o-22-75-r-r-do-201-mln-zl.html
https://www.crn.pl/aktualnosci/kwitnie-polski-rynek-dronow
http://www.forbes.pl/polski-rynek-dronow-wart-jest-juz-ok-165-mln-zl,artykuly,201514,1,1.html
http://biznes.onet.pl/wiadomosci/swiat/komercyjny-rynek-dronow-wart-prawie-130-miliardow-dolarow/70l360
http://www.rp.pl/Lotnictwo/305099848-Polska-moze-sie-stac-swiatowa-stolica-rynku-dronow.html
http://www.telix.pl/artykul/odlotowy-rynek-dronow-od-hobby-do-profesji-3,76941.html

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