As construction and other industries are challenged to adapt to more dispersed workflows, new solutions are emerging to keep remote teams connected with minimal staff on site. A new company, Remote Optix, has embraced this opportunity by offering real-time streaming of drone flights and handheld on-site walkthroughs. Rather than either having everyone present for the inspection, or having a static artifact (like a video or series of photographs) after the fact, adding livestreaming allows for interested parties to watch live from afar, and also to participate and direct the inspection itself.
Typical site monitoring and inspections in construction can be time-consuming, and can tie up workers that might otherwise be contributing to a project’s completion – but are crucial for avoiding mistakes, identifying issues and correcting problems. Remote Optix has carved out a niche by offering a drone and handheld-based inspection service with the added ability to livestream those inspections to any browser. With both self service and managed service offerings, stakeholders can perform inspections in real time even if they are not onsite, as well as instruct their Remote Avatar™ to focus on critical areas. Rather than receiving a report after the fact, real-time results can inform crucial decisions with no waiting.
Designed with the construction industry in mind, Remote Optix, in combination with their in-house pilots and their partner DroneHive, which runs a network of over 1,000 FAA Part 107 Certified drone pilots, can deploy to a job sites across the US to begin an inspection livestream, sending high-quality, low-latency video to anywhere in the world. Drone pilots are specially trained on Remote Optix’s SOPs and safety protocols to ensure safety is always top-of-mind. Because the inspections stream directly through browsers, no plug-ins or specific software is required for those viewing the stream – opening up the audience to those who may be less technical in their roles.
Co-founder and CEO Dustin Williams said that this flexibility is applicable at all levels in a firm.
“We’ve gotten really good feedback from even the executive level – they are telling us they can’t travel to a project once a month (or however often they normally would) and they still need to get eyes on it.”
A typical interaction starts with a planning session where the goals and approximate path of the inspection will be reviewed, as well as any other logistical or safety concerns. On the scheduled day, the operator will arrive and start the livestream, which is password protected, but can be viewed across any device (including most modern smartphones or tablets). In addition, the session is also recorded, so it can be reviewed on-demand later, or be stored for site documentation purposes.
One of the most useful features of the livestreaming service is not only being able to see the inspection in real time, but having the ability to redirect it if there is something that needs to be looked at more closely. By using a Remote Avatar™, users can direct the operator to get the angles and insights that are needed for any particular task.
To accommodate a wide variety of situations, Remote Optix offers both stand-alone drone or handheld services as well as customized recurring options for longer-term inspections. This flexibility could also allow construction companies who are not yet willing to invest in their own drone operators to have this service provided when and where they need it, all at a cost that is not prohibitive.
With delays and cost overuns still plaguing the construction industry, a shift to live decision-making may be a watershed moment for the early adopters who forego meetings using last week’s data models and images. Eventually, this live-streaming tech could potentially be paired with more autonomous technologies to replace walkthroughs in more hazardous locations – but for now the company is focusing on handheld (terrestrial) and airborne (drone-based) streams.
With more collaborative features and 3rd-party integrations on Remote Optix’s roadmap, it should be interesting to see which organizations make the shifts necessary to embrace true, in-the-moment decision making.