We had the opportunity to speak with Eric Brock, the CEO of Ondas Holdings, at the 2023 Commercial UAV Show in Las Vegas. Ondas Holdings is listed as a National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) company, which meant that the discussion was primarily focused on revenue and data and how it is utilised within the drone industry.
Bringing his financial background as an Investment Banker on Wall Street, Eric started the initial phase of Ondas six years ago. The company started as Ondas Networks, an industrial wireless business that enables mission-critical operations accessibility to modern technology and software for edge computing, sensors and automation.
Eric explained that Ondas Holdings now has two business units, Ondas Networks and Ondas Autonomous Systems. Within Ondas Autonomous Systems, there are two autonomous drone platforms: American Robotics, based in the USA, and Airobotics, based in Israel.
He detailed that autonomous drone platforms are known as drone-in-the-box technology, but for him, it is much more. Eric described it as a sophisticated docking station that provides commercial solutions for governments, public safety, and industrial markets such as oil, gas and railroads. Ondas data solutions and security were created with these markets in mind.
Following the success at the World Police Summit, where Ondas autonomous drone platform, Airobotics and the Dubai police signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to implement the Airobotics’ Optimus System, we asked Eric what makes Ondas products so unique.
“The public safety market is a huge opportunity, and drones are essentially used to save lives. We're talking about emergency response, being able to protect the public and police officers themselves,” he answered.
The drone industry as a whole is experiencing explosive growth in what is known as the first responder marketplace. He led with the example of the Dubai police as they deployed the Airorobotictimist System.
“For the city of Dubai, we're going to deploy 24 different systems, so they have ubiquitous coverage for emergency response. Now that we’ve moved past the proof of concept, we're doing commercial adoption. Currently, they have four systems and soon will expand the fleet to 24.” he said.
Eric gave us one of his key reasons why Ondas drone solutions were chosen in Dubai. He explained that it was due to their proven reliability and safety in autonomous technologies.
“24/7 availability is really important for law enforcement. When you deploy autonomous infrastructure, it means that the drone will be doing its mission and if it lands nine out of ten times or 95 out of 100. That's not enough. It's got to be 100 out of 100, otherwise it's not autonomous. We have robotic arms that can swap batteries and swap payloads autonomously. So what that means is we can be available in an operation airborne 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.
Eric disclosed from his financial perspective that he sees a steady growth pattern compared to the last two years. He interpreted that the increase would not be linear. Instead, it will adapt the S curve, such as how other technology markets advanced. He predicted that the growth will be exponential.
Eric used the growth of the PC and the auto industry as examples to predict the future of drone revenue. He stated that in the development of both of these technologies, the early phases began with 100’s of companies. He found this as a similarity to where we are in the current phase of the drone industry. He called it “The Infancy” and explained that as the technology matures, the ecosystem will scale with it, and a select group of high-quality solutions and companies will remain.
When asked how far we are as an industry into this phase, Eric told us he believes we are further into the scaling curve than people are aware.
“In the next three to five years, you're going to see a shrinking number of companies. You're going to see revenues grow to very meaningful levels, profits, and that's when it's going to be great,” he said.
Eric shared his thoughts on the user perspective and how he believes it will influence the drone ecosystem. He remained consistent with his prediction that the industry would scale down and only the outstanding performers would remain.
Eric also said that he believes, with the large number of technological developments in the industry, that the customer holds some of the responsibility to increase the performance of any particular platform. He concluded that the customers' choice would lead to the market scaling more rapidly.
Ondas Holdings (NASDAQ: ONDS) is a leading developer of enterprise autonomous systems. Their products digitise industrial operations through autonomous drones, wireless networks, data, and AI. Subsidiary companies include Ondas Networks, American Robotics, Airobotics, Iron Drone, Ardenna. Ondas companies have offices in Waltham, MA, Sunnyvale, CA, and Petah Tikva, Israel.
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