In our interview series, At The Controls, we talk to our community of drone pilots and operators about their experiences of working with drones and using SOARIZON to plan drone missions.
In our second instalment, we caught up with Stephen and Chris from FlyBy Guys, a drone service provision company based in Finland, to find out more about their unique business, and how they came to be market leaders in drone consulting services.
It’s great to meet you both, what initially sparked your interest in drones?
Stephen: For me, it was drone photography. I got my first drone about three years ago and started to take lots of pictures of the city here in Helsinki and began to get some recognition for it. I’d always had a vision that drones would really be the next big thing.
One night, Chris and I were sitting having a few beers and we said, why don’t we take this to the next level and start a company? I had the idea for the name ‘FlyBy Guys’ and that’s really how it all started! Initially we were focussed on real estate work, but quickly realised we wanted to focus on data delivery and visualisation because that’s a large portion of the market here.
Tell me about your business; what are you up to currently?
Stephen: We are based in Finland, specialising in drone services and aerial footage captured from drones, leveraging AI and machine learning to extract data from the content. A core part of our business is drone consultancy work; we work across many different sectors with lots of different companies, providing help with things like market research, legislation, and general tips in drone use. The FlyBy Guys brand has always been one of the most important things for us; we wanted to make sure people know who we are, just from seeing the name.
Chris: As a city, Helsinki is a fantastic market for us to offer our services. With big companies whose core competencies are repair work or maintenance of the city for example, we can step in and either provide drone services on their behalf, or train up their team to do it themselves for a longer-term solution. With all that we do, safety is paramount; above all else, we want to make sure that our customers and the public are kept safe.
What do you love most about working in the drone industry?
Stephen: For me, the fact that we are able to shape the drone industry in the way that we are is really amazing. We work very closely with the UAV business community in Finland and have a great bond together. It's really nice that we have the ability to communicate because we're all aiming for the one thing: to make the industry work, which we can only achieve if we do it together. Hopefully in five or ten years we will have played a part in shaping the future of the drone industry. It’s hard work for sure, but incredibly satisfying!
What are some of the main challenges you’ve found working in the drone industry?
Stephen: Although the market has come a long way, public acceptance is still often a struggle.
As a member of the World UAV Federation Finnish Chapter, I am active in the community and strongly believe we need to be leading by example. When members of the public come and speak to us when we are out flying, I think it’s so important to spend some time with them to just explain what we are doing and show them the controller display screen. It’s particularly important as many people might have quite a negative vision of what drones are, often from the press and news headlines, which can be quite damaging for us.
I actively advocate for public acceptance of drones, to inform and educate people on their incredible potential!
How do you use SOARIZON in your operations?
Stephen: We do all our flight planning on SOARIZON. It’s great for keeping track of our equipment and all our flights. If something goes wrong with one of our drones, for example, or if the batteries fail, I can mark them off on the platform. It’s also great for logging all of our flights, so that we can keep a full record of everything we’ve done and everything that’s coming up in a consistent way.
We really needed a platform like SOARIZON to keep our operations running efficiently, so for us, it’s perfect.
Are there any other features that you’d like to see in SOARIZON to help with drone mission planning?
Stephen: We regularly consult the team at SOARIZON about the future requirements and help with User Testing to ensure that SOARIZON provides everything we need for operations across Finland.
So, what’s next for the future of Flyby Guys?
Chris: We’re looking to partner with more companies in the drone industry; I think that's a really key advantage of the drone community as well, that we can partner with so many different solutions to bring added value.
Stephen: Our big news is that we have just taken on a new contract, working with the global leaders in drone light shows. As a growing company, we are extremely grateful for this opportunity to learn new skills and to expand our capabilities in areas such as swarm technology. With a solution that has been developed so well, we now have a big responsibility to make sure it is looked after correctly. However, with our excellent safety record and positive attitude, we feel confident that we’re well equipped for this challenge. Now, we are looking ahead to our first show with great anticipation and excitement, ready to see lots of happy faces in the crowd!
To hear more about what the Flyby Guys are up to, check out their work at flybyguys.com and follow them on LinkedIn. Stephen regularly posts informative drone videos on the Flyby Guys YouTube channel so make sure to like and subscribe.