For our latest round of updates, my team and I sat down and took a look at feedback from our customers and their business needs. We decided to build features that will help our customers run efficiently as they scale up their drone programs in 2016.
Five Features for Efficient Drone Operations
Duplicate Flights for Maximum Efficiency
To save you time when you’re planning flights, the “Duplicate” feature allows you to create copies of flight plan templates. Now you can simply change your batteries and update the time, and all of your other information will persist. You’ll have this option when you’re viewing a planned or logged flight, as well as within your Flights list.
This has a few big advantages:
-If one operation requires multiple flights, you don’t have to start from scratch for each one. Instead, you can copy the flight, update the battery and time, and then save it.
-You can now create standard templates for different job types. You can set up your templates with all of the documents and custom fields that you plan to use on each flight, then copy that template and fill out the flight-specific information.
To help you meet record-keeping requirements, you can now download your flight information to JSON. The “Download to JSON feature” creates a file with information within your flight record – date and time, pilot, drone, batteries, location and custom fields – in a format that you can import into many other programs.
If you haven’t used JSON before, you can open the file using a variety of programs, including Notepad. There are many websites (here’s one) that will convert your JSON data to a CSV file or other more familiar file formats.
Scale Your Operations with New Plan Options
We know that not all of you have launched full-scale drone operations just yet. So we structured our plan options to help you manage your drones and pilots, regardless of the size of your program, and scale up when you’re ready.
The basic version is still free and allows you to view the map, as well as to create flight areas.
If your company has already launched drone ops, check out our Startup, Professional and Professional Plus options. Among other features, these plans include unlimited drone pilots, and they may qualify you for discounts on your insurance premiums. If you’d like to continue using the features you came to know and love during your free trial, we recommend selecting the Professional plan.
To give you a free-and-clear view of your map, you now have the option of collapsing the map’s legend. In addition, the map now lists flight areas from newest to oldest.
We’ve also given users the ability to rename flight areas and org admins the ability to archive old flight areas.
Many of you requested the ability to embed live links into your records. Now, if you enter a Web address into the notes or Custom Fields areas of the Dashboard, Personnel, Drones and Batteries pages, you’ll see formatted, clickable links for easy navigation.
Improved Mobile Experience
In addition to allowing you to collapse the map legend, we’ve made Skyward easier to view on mobile devices. The information on the Flights, Drones, Personnel and Batteries pages are formatted and scrollable, making it easier to view all of the information you need to see.
Understand Your Organizations At a Glance
To help you understand all your Skyward memberships at a glance, we created an Organizations tab under Settings. Now you can see all the organizations of which you’re a member, their plan tier and the user who created the organization, as well as your own information.
If you have product feedback or questions about how to use Skyward for professional drone ops, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is adapted from a blog post by Ray Askew, senior product director at Skyward, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of an information management platform for commercial drone operators.