New pricing options unveiled by Microdrones provide even more flexibility for drone surveying customers to access the company’s mdInfinity software data processing modules to fit their business.
Microdrones added the new offerings to its Microdrones as a Service (mdaaS) pricing menu in September. First introduced in May 2020, mdaaS gives professionals the ability to decide whether they want to rent or buy drone surveying equipment with convenient software packages and payment options to process data.
The pricing updates come on the software side, the first of which is the new choice to subscribe for data processing and analytics monthly through the “Explorer” package. Explorer joins the mdInfinity options to pay per project or to choose unlimited use.
The second update creates new basic and pro user levels for LiDAR data processing, allowing users to decide the breadth of modules they need to access.
LiDAR: DATA PROCESSING PLANS
Photogrammetry users also benefit from an Explorer Basic Mapper plan to help align data processing needs with their business.
Photogrammetry: Data Processing Plans
These updates demonstrate the commitment from Microdrones to making sure that customers get everything they need for drone LiDAR and photogrammetry through flexible packages and payment options.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Chuck Dorgan, US Director of Sales at Microdrones.
Filling a gap
Getting started with drones might be a daunting experience for traditional surveyors or geospatial professionals, who may be hesitant to purchase a high-end, fully integrated system up front.
By giving a choice to buy or rent, Microdrones as a Service can appeal especially to those just looking to get started by accommodating small monthly payments instead of one large expense. Budget flexibility and understanding the cost of ownership also appeals to customers.
“Well, it's been wildly successful, right out of the gate,” Dorgan said about the mdaaS launch in spring 2020. “At that time, many of our customers were considered essential workers, completing infrastructure projects, surveying, and construction jobs. So, timing-wise, we saw an uptick after we introduced Microdrones as a Service.”
“If you’re out there completing jobs and bidding on new work, you can start with pay-per-project. Then, as business grows and you start using your Microdrones systems to line up multiple jobs, you can go into either the Explorer or the Unlimited plan”Chuck Dorgan, Microdrones Director of Sales, North America
The breadth of options and lack of a need for a big one time capital investment proved popular, though Microdrones did start recognizing a need among a segment of users.
“We have customers that didn't want to use pay per project exclusively,” Dorgan said. “They were using it more regularly, but not enough to progress to an unlimited plan.”
The month-to-month payment option offered through the Explorer package fills the need. The idea was inspired by customers that didn’t sign up for the unlimited plan because they were unable to fly drones year-round due to harsher winter climates.
Maybe a surveyor knows that their company will be busy during June, July, and August, so they elect to go with the Explorer package during the summer months. They can then switch back to paying per project in the fall but can elect to go back into the Explorer package for a month if, for instance, a big project comes up in November.
Dorgan laid out another scenario that could resonate with customers.
“If you’re out there completing jobs and bidding on new work, you can start with pay-per-project,” he said. “Then, as business grows and you start using your Microdrones systems to line up multiple jobs, you can go into either the Explorer or the Unlimited plan.”
Available Payment Options
In general, the pay-per-project option is recommended for those who might conduct five to seven flights per month. The Explorer package would be recommended for more regular users who might fly their drones eight to 10 times a month. The unlimited plan would be for heavy users who fly even more frequently.
Flexibility also is the keyword for the new, two-tiered LiDAR data processing plans from Microdrones as a Service.
The Basic LiDAR Explorer programs offers:
- Trajectory Processing,
- 15 gigabytes of storage, and
- availability in the cloud or offline.
The Pro LiDAR Explorer package adds
- an annual Boresight Calibration,
- Strip Adjustment,
- Precision Enhancement, and
- 30 gigabytes of storage.
Under each tier, additional tokens can be purchased if additional data processing modules are needed on a project. Flexibility is built in to allow users to select the plan best suited for their needs and grow as they start picking up more jobs.
Data processing plans for photogrammetric users have also been updated to reflect recommended needs based on usage, making it easier to estimate costs and maximize the workflow.
The Photogrammetry or LiDAR Basic Explorer program offers a monthly 200 minutes of data processing, available with or without a 12-month commitment.
The Photogrammetry Basic User Plan provides access to:
- Single Base Trajectory Processing,
- 15 gigabytes of storage and
- it’s available on the cloud.
Extra data processing tokens can be purchased if needed.
Under both the LiDAR and Photogrammetry plans, additional storage is available upon request. For users operating multiple payloads or systems, fleet management options are offered to help manage data processing plans.
If users need a little help to figure out the best plan for their needs, sales managers from Microdrones are there to assist and provide cost analysis.
“We've seen that progression with some customers that start out at pay-per-project and then switch over to unlimited,” Dorgan said. “Our team can show you how to estimate jobs and you can get a feel for how many tokens it would take you to process some of your average work, and then get an idea of whether to pay per project or if you want to use a monthly plan. We provide as much as we can to help.”