Research Reveals Commercial Drone Programs Realize ROI in One Year or Less

Skyward, a Verizon company and maker of drone operation management software and consulting services, announced today results of a custom-built quantitative survey by Blue Research®. The data revealed that one in 10 companies with revenue of $50 million and more use drones and 92 percent realized a positive ROI on their
drone investment in one year or less. Further, by the end of 2018, the data indicates drone use could reach 12 percent among this same market.

Blue Research sampled 1,736 individuals working for a random mix of U.S. companies with $50 million or more in revenue. Based on responses, the survey revealed that one in 10 companies with revenue of $50 million and over use drones, with the highest adoption in construction and engineering (35 percent). Moreover, 19 percent of the surveyed professionals indicated that their company currently uses or expects to use drones in the future. The results also showed that drones are integral to business operations: half reported their company’s bottom line would
suffer if their company did not use drones.


“In the last two years since the FAA passed Part 107, we’ve seen drone use accelerate across small businesses and multinational firms, and watched our customers build drone programs into sophisticated operations that increase efficiency, worker safety, and access to data,” said Mariah Scott, President, Skyward. “As we develop our platform and services, I wanted more data about how medium and large businesses view drone technology and how they plan to put it to work in the future. The Blue Research data shows us who is adopting, at what pace, as well as the ROI drones are providing today. It also both validated, and challenged, our thinking about adoption hurdles and barriers to growth.”

Research Key Points:

  • 1,736 individuals working for U.S. companies with $50M or more in revenue were
  • Drone use among survey responders is at 10%; expected to increase to 20% in the
  • About half of respondents reported their company’s bottom line would suffer if their
    company did not use drones
  • A wide majority realized a positive ROI on their drone investment in one year or less
  • Drone adoption is the highest in the construction and engineering industry (35%);
    government is next highest industry (24%)
  • Over four in five companies expect their drone flights to increase year over year
  • Three in four expect to increase spending on their drone program over the next 12
  • Drone operations management software appears to address important drone program
  • ”Staying up to date with laws and regulations” and “ensuring internal policies are
    followed” are common challenges

“In speaking one-on-one with executives we’ve heard that many large corporations are rapidly expanding their drone programs. This agrees with existing research in which the potential size of the market within specific industries has been assessed. However, this is the first study in which both adoption and the return on investment has been assessed with companies of this size, across industries. It is fascinating to see how quickly these organizations are obtaining a positive ROI. Although still a fairly nascent market, these data suggest the market is well poised to grow — and with good reason for doing so,” said Paul Abel, Ph.D., managing partner, Blue

To obtain these data, Blue Research created a custom-designed quantitative survey designed to ensure reliable data and avoid bias. To learn more about Skyward visit and to download a full report of the Blue Research survey data, please visit,

About Skyward
Skyward, a Verizon company is a leading drone operations management platform. Skyward
helps companies save time and scale faster by connecting all of the people, projects, and
equipment in a drone program, into one efficient workflow. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon,
the company was founded by career pilots and computer science experts with a mission to
ensure that the standards of safety and professionalism are carried into this new era of aviation.
For more on Skyward, visit

About Blue Research
Over the past 15 years, Blue Research® has become the preferred research partner and
trusted advisor for some of the most well-known brands in the technology sector. Using a mix of
proprietary qualitative and quantitative techniques, Blue provides executives the clarity they
need to make effective, insight-driven decisions, without taxing internal resources or needing a
degree in market research. With backgrounds in marketing, management, strategy and
research, product management, and analysis, Blue’s staff has been “in its clients’ shoes.” Blue
works with clients to align their internal and external project stakeholders in a non-political
context and ultimately delivers reports that drive action throughout the organization.

For more  Blue Research, visit

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