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03New eyes in the skies

Computer vision, data analytics, tracking, data monetisation


From digital inventories to user behaviour, data is a core strategic asset for firms that is still under-utilised in terms of monetisation. And a new, truly global data frontier is about to open. Computer vision and data analysis technologies, coupled with cheaper access to drones and satellites, will give businesses the chance to create value by harnessing new insights from drones and satellite imagery.

What will change
Data collection will move to the skies as drones and cheap satellites begin gathering increasing amounts of new kinds of data. Both autonomous and manual drone passes will enable businesses of all kinds to collect data from previously inaccessible areas at scale, while satellites can provide valuable insights to everyone from mining and agriculture to construction and city planning teams.

Emerging technologies to watch
As new commercial actors continue to make drone and satellite technology cheaper and more capable, increasingly sophisticated computer vision and data analysis technologies can be harnessed throughout UAV fleets and satellite constellations.

Opportunities worth taking
Multiple commercial companies are already selling satellite launches as a service, and the cost is decreasing. Satellite data (coupled with location-based data sources) will enable many new approaches to physical asset management, including the planning of predictive maintenance for critical infrastructure. Insurance companies will use location intelligence to map risk and reward when creating flood damage policies, while construction businesses will be able to find and assess land, track construction processes and monitor their portfolios.

This is where the open-minded, the visionaries, the rebels and disruptors design new digital customer experiences for the world to come. Are you one of us?

  • Insurance

    Insurance companies can use drones to evaluate property conditions and perform defective property inspections. Satellite data can also supply historical data while investigating damages or natural catastrophes.

  • Banking

    The banking industry can deploy dedicated satellites as primary or backup connectivity for ATMs and POS systems. Satellite imagery can be used to assess financial risks and possibilities.

  • Utility

    Both drones and satellite data can be used to monitor critical infrastructure for keeping it secure and predict the future maintenance needs. This is becoming more common also for private companies in addition to government facilities.

  • Mining

    The measurement and assessment of physical material is more effective when performed from the air than from the ground. Drones can also be used to improve mine security.

  • Conservation

    Endangered species can be protected by autonomous poacher detection drones and animal tracking. Climate change impact can be assessed from satellite or drone imagery.

  • Agriculture

    Farmers can use drones to gather crop data and automate repetitive tasks.

  • Maritime

    Autonomous shipping navigation systems will use drone and satellite data to manage traffic and shipping routes. Drones can also inspect ships and monitor emissions at ports.

  • Retail

    Footfall metrics can help anticipate demand. Orbital Insight successfully identified a 5.4% quarterly traffic decrease at Walmart before same-store sales were announced in the FY2019Q2 earnings call.

Why is this relevant

Total market 2024

Space tech market size is expected to reach $ 447 bn, IOT market estimate $ 936 bn.

Look at these 2024

Satellite data market value forecasted to increase up to 23.4 billion USD by 2025 (Bloomberg), Data monetisation CAGR 25% to $ 3,8 bn, data protection $ 155 bn, unmanned drones & services $ 43 bn with 24% CAGR.

Top 18 unicorn sniffing smart money VCs, 1376 investments 2018-2020

Drones 2%, satellite 1%, security 8%, privacy 4%.

Special focus

Companies operating in this domain are industry generalists, so there will be a need to tailor data collection and analysis depending on use cases.

Things to consider
  • Surveillance

    The race for ownership and security of space can lead to more surveillance and accessing the objective truth.

  • Waste

    There is an ongoing discussion about the proliferation of low earth orbit satellites, with light waste creation a particular point of concern.

  • Privacy

    There are quite obvious implications for privacy when satellite frequency and sophistication increases.

  • Autonomy

    Autonomous drones are more commonplace, and companies should ensure collisions with humans, animals and critical infrastructure do not happen.

Technologies that will enable the shift
  • Satellites

    New aerospace actors are offering satellite launches as a service at ever lower price points.

  • Autonomous drones

    Breakthroughs in autonomous operations - from vertical take-off and landing to flying beyond visual line of sight - continue to be critical for feasibility. At the same time, policy, regulation and ecosystem partnerships will be crucial as the arena continues to expand.

  • Computer vision

    Using video image as a source for identifying, analysing and acting (objects & faces to provide access, personalise, charge, recommend, etc.)

  • AI/ML Artificial intelligence (AI)

    Computer systems that accomplish goals in some task(s). It is not a single thing; it is a combination of technologies such as machine learning. Machine Learning (ML) - toolbox of algorithms and techniques that learn rules from data. Used to implement AI in narrow tasks. Not magic; learns from the data by minimising a cost function.

  • Edge computing

    Components that are required to run an ML Algorithm locally on a device. In edge computing, a microcontroller unit (a small chip) is embedded with the ability to perform AI/ML computing offline based on sensor inputs without needing a cloud connection.

  • 5G

    The 5th generation of wireless technology that operates on a broader set of frequencies than 4G. This enables faster speed and latency in data transfer, as well as uninterrupted connectivity. This doesn’t mean 4G is already redundant, but IoT-services & autonomous connectivity are considered to require 5G connections.



  • Data economy makes companies now seek for quality of data and making it actionable.

  • Companies build disruptive new growth avenues for themselves by monetizing their data and algorithms.

  • Increasing use of satellite data in banking (credit ratings), insurance (i.e. property conditions), trade market (forecasting oil price) and government (maintenance of critical infra).


  • What is the purpose behind using data.

  • Business growth vs restrictions.

    What is the right balance between protecting the rights of individuals vs implementing models that deliver growth to the nation as a whole.

  • Societal impact and sustainability

    Is the goal of the business to maximize profit or purpose driven?

  • Ethics

    As the commercial satellite data is available all afford to buy: what is the data used for and by whom?

  • Privacy

    Privacy matters become significant, especially when satellite data combined with other location or tracking data.



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    Business Consultant



  • Niina Uusi-Autti

    VP, Emerging Business

    +358 40 546 2335‬


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