IVADRONES’ drone as a service model brings value to tower owners

From its established French footprint, IVADRONES plans a European expansion

Grégoire Saint-Cast IVADRONES

Read this article to learn:

  • Who IVADRONES are and what their experience has been in the telecoms sector to date
  • The level of detail provided by IVADRONES
  • The company's relationship with AI platform providers
  • Challenges facing the use of drones
  • How drone technnology will evolve

IVADRONES has been working extensively with tower owners and subcontractors in the French market, aiding stakeholder to collect site data faster and more accurately. In this interview we speak to IVADRONES CEO and founder, Grégoire Saint-Cast to understand his vision for the use of drones in the telecoms sector.


TowerXchange: Please can you introduce IVADRONES and where you are meeting an unmet need in the drone industry

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: Since 2018, IVADRONES has been providing a centralised solution for the telecommunication market and all major companies that want to use drones at a large scale. IVADRONES have started with an end-to-end service that provides the operational management platform, the drone data acquisition and a harmonised post-treatment department that guarantees a great quality service no matter where your mission is done.

Thanks to our dedicated team, our clients are have been fully satisfied by our quality services from the beginning and they are now coming to us when it comes to working on a more innovative solution like a digital twin project.

Our neutral positioning in the market and the fact that every project requiring drones also needs a great task force, means clients come to us and look for our advice.

We started with classic operations like line of site, panoramics and pathloss in order to fully understand the ecosystem, the daily challenge of a roll out and the workflow. Now, our solution is evolving based out of our clients’ needs.


TowerXchange: What has been your experience in the telecoms sector to date?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: Since the beginning, we have been working with all first level subcontractors and tower companies that are operating in France. Name it, you can be sure that we are working for them.


TowerXchange: Can you explain the level of detail that is obtainable by your drones on telecom tower flights? How effectively are the drones able to for example capture information of the type of assets on towers, wear and tear on towers, or navigate complex lattice structures?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: Depending on the drone you’re going to use (P4PRO/M200/M300/M600) and if you are using GCP (Ground Control Point), you can go from few centimetres to centimetre accuracy.

Keep in mind that the drone industry is evolving very fast and in few months with the spreading of LiDAR technology, you will quickly go down to millimeter accuracy and be able to measure the thickness of a structure (probably within a year from my point of view).

The level of detail is not only about the drone you’re going to use – it is also about which AI you’re going to choose to reconstruct your model and for what purpose. There are few great AIs on the market and each one of them can answer up to a certain level of accuracy or can fit better to a use case more than another.

IVADRONES is able to provide any level of accuracy needed.


TowerXchange: Whilst the data obtained by drones is key, the real value to tower owners comes in the interpretation and analysis of such data. How can the data obtained by IVADRONES be turned into a digital twin that can provide actionable insights to tower owners? Does it readily integrate into a large array of platforms?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: The market is composed of few AI platforms that are here to bring this technology to tower companies. But all those pure players cannot execute data collection when it comes to doing it at a larger scale. This is when IVADRONES enters into the ecosystem. With IVADRONES, tower companies can count on a full end-to-end service that will provide a fully harmonised data-acquisition and automatised operation management platform that has the capability to integrate to their ERP and their chosen AI for digital twin projects.

What we need to understand is that each AI can answer to different use cases, from virtualisation of the technical visit to engineering and structural analysis level. IVADRONES is providing the operation, roll-out follow up, site management and workflow KPIs to bring a harmonised data to the AIs that will reconstruct the digital twin.

All your KPIs are centralised, thanks to a data-driven company that can fully operate and integrate into the best artificial intelligence solutions on the market.

We have relationships with most of the AI providers in the market because we believe that we need each other to bring an end-to-end solution to the industry.


TowerXchange: What do you see as some of the challenges of using drones in the industry (for example airspace restrictions) and how do you see this evolving? Why don’t you see the usage of drones as commonplace at tower sites today?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: There is indeed a legislative barrier that is not helping. For instance, to have fully autonomous drones flying from site to site (and there is also a technological barrier that is too complex to explain here that might prevent this vision from happening in the next years).

This is exactly why tower companies need what we call a DaaS (Drone as a Service) solution like us to handle that. Working with a company with a DaaS model, tower companies can rely on a full end-to-end service that will provide a fully harmonised data-acquisition and automatised operation management platform that have the capability to integrate into their ERP and their chosen AI for digital twin. Tower companies will then just have to sit back and follow their KPIs and concentrate on what they are doing the best.

Drones will answer most of the needs of this industry. But the industry has a greater challenge to focus on (5G roll-out, IOT). That is why drones, at a perfect time, are here. This is the momentum the industry was waiting for years now, and drones are the key.


TowerXchange: How do you feel that the economics of and quality of data obtained by drones (and particularly IVADRONES offering) stack up against the use of traditional manual inspections?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: Drone data acquisition is already greater than human inspection in terms of speed and accuracy, and it will go beyond with LiDAR technology.

The only thing that still requires human resources on site today are for security matters, which are so important for the industry.

A solution such as ours and those of AIs are not here to replace humans, and it will not happen in the near future, but it will allow humans to do more in a shorter time and tower companies to significantly increase their knowledge of their assets and optimise their revenue.


TowerXchange: Can you explain a little about the different service/pricing models that IVADRONES has?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: IVADRONES is mostly on a pay per mission model. The access of our operational management platform is free for basic operations like Panoramics, line of site and pathloss.

Some of our premium clients that are using integrated technology like AI – advanced workflow features – site management system and ERP integration also have a SaaS model (licenced).


TowerXchange: What is the plan for IVADRONES in the future?

Grégoire Saint-Cast, CEO & Founder, IVADRONES: IVADRONES is currently scaling its model to the European market, we are currently in fund raising process to support our fast development and apply our vision to Europe and beyond.

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