Gemba Heads West for the 1st Annual DJI Enterprise Airworks Conference

Earlier this month, I had a unique opportunity to travel with the Gemba team to San Francisco, CA for the launch of DJI Enterprise’s first-annual Airworks conference – a networking event for software developers, business partners, and public safety officials to share and gather insight about the evolving UAV industry.


DJI Enterprise tapped Gemba to plan, develop, brand, and execute Airworks from start to finish, all within a one-month timeframe. It was a challenge, to say the least, but it was also an adventure; a crazy, caffeine-filled adventure that resulted in the coming together of more than 350 industry leaders, all of who are contributors to the expanding ecosystem of drone technology. In other words, it was a wild success, and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year.

Though, as a young copywriter with little no UAV knowledge, I felt a little out of my league, what with all the advanced aircraft and tech talk circulating throughout the room. These devices and the people developing them are paving the way for a more secure, more functional future, and witnessing the inner-workings of such a thriving industry was an eye-opening, humbling experience that pretty much blew my mind.


In between running the registration table, answering attendee questions, and transporting heavy things from one place to another, I snuck in to one of the breakout sessions presented by Thomas Calvert, Captain at the Menlo Fire Department in Menlo Park, CA.

Calvert provided insightful information on public safety and the ways in which drone technology assists fire departments and their rescue and relief efforts.

Currently, drones are used by fire departments to collect vantage point images for accurate assessment, as well as detect thermal activity, allowing firemen to locate survivors and pinpoint the source of the fire. Thanks to this type of technology, fire departments across the country have gained critical assistance in their search-and-rescue missions.


But like all things, there’s room for improvement.

Calvert expressed a need for a tracking device via drone that would allow the incident commander to receive updates and precise whereabouts of every active firefighter, both inside and outside of the building or disaster site. He also suggested software developers create drones that emit a powerful stream of light for nighttime missions or areas of dense smoke. Typically, firefighters walk through the front door of the burning building and find themselves engulfed in darkness, so a reliable light source would be exponentially better than whatever device they’re currently using.


One thing I observed while listening to Calvert’s presentation is how eager drone software developers are to help. Almost everyone in the room had a question for Calvert, asking what they can do to make fire department efforts more efficient and more impactful. Drones are powerful tools, and in an environment where lives are on the line, it’s imperative that our ecosystem of software developers continues to communicate, network, and learn more about what needs to be done both on the ground and in the air.

From agriculture to construction to public safety, the UAV industry has only scratched the surface of how this type of technology can assist our environment, our economy, and our lives. In an industry that’s projected to grow from $9 billion to $125 billion in the next three years, there’s no doubt that the future of drone technology is looking up (excuse the pun).

The DJI Airworks conference marked the beginning of something big, and, for Gemba Marketing, it was an honor and a joy being a part of it all.

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