back to article How much is the drone biz worth to the UK? How's £42bn by 2030 sound? – PWC

Accounting house PwC has stuck its fingers in the air and declared that drones will create more than 600,000 jobs in the United Kingdom. They've also said it will add more value to the UK than the entire Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish manufacturing sectors combined. A 28-page PwC report titled "Drones – taking the UK's …

  1. }{amis}{
    Coffee/keyboard

    Drone > Telecoms!

    It looks like its time to cut PWC's crack budget again if they think that drones will ever be worth more than telecoms.

    Even if drones so somehow inexplicably explode into the "Next Big Thing" they will all need backhaul for any serious work thus growing the telecoms market instep.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Drone > Telecoms!

      Apparently their audit department will be sending out drones to check the existence of assets rather than humans.

      I'm not really sure that this will work out to be cheaper.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Drone > Telecoms!

        It might be more accurate.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Drone > Telecoms!

          It presumably still needs a human to look at the photos and match what they see to the fixed asset register.

          Also, you still need to verify ownership by some other means.

          I could say I own this large building in central London - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Buckingham+Palace/@51.5021759,-0.1347406,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x48760520cd5b5eb5:0xa26abf514d902a7!8m2!3d51.5013631!4d-0.1418889

          If you go there, you will indeed find the building, but the people inside might dispute my ownership of it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drone > Telecoms!

      They arn't saying that drones will be will be worth £42bn to the UK per year by 2030. They are saying that the total impact by 2030 will be $42bn, so an average of 3 or 4bn per year. They give the figure of £127bn per year globally. Even that sounds wildly optomistic as the only obvious sectors where they will gave a great impact are inspection work for construction and agriculture, but maybe.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    PWC

    wouldn't they be better focused on what they are paid to do, y'know, auditing companies with massive unsustainable debts and pointing out they may want to sort out their finances.

    Oh no I forgot, so long as they get paid, doesn't matter.

    1. }{amis}{
      Devil

      Re: PWC

      And here I thought their job was to provide documentation supporting the conclusion that the customer demanded before the audit started.

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: PWC

        Which is what I think happened here- someone (pro-Brexit I'm guessing) wanted rainbows and unicorns regarding the UK's future economic position...

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: PWC

      "wouldn't they be better focused on [...]"

      I think it is pretty clear from this that they are a bunch of innumerate twonks, so no. Really. It would *not* be better for them to focus on any activity that requires counting.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Oh no I forgot, so long as they get paid, doesn't matter.'

      How right you are:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/21/facebook_privacy_audit_finds_everything_is_awesome/

  3. 0laf

    No chance

    Shite.

    Drones are easy to fly and relatively cheap which means that existing employees will be trained to use them and we'll buy them like any other piece of equipment.

    We'll pay off the guys that used to climb up tall building to inspect them and we won't need so many access systems such as lifts and cherry pickers. We'll also need fewer expensive manned aircraft and pilots.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: No chance

      I agree with most of your post, but I doubt very much that drones will put any kind of dent in the number of pilots and manned aircraft, most of which are either leisure or people/cargo transport.

      No way a drone can persuade a true pilot to let go the stick and sit in a chair in front of a screen. he knows how to do it for real.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No chance

        "No way a drone can persuade a true pilot to let go the stick and sit in a chair in front of a screen. he knows how to do it for real."\

        Not the drone' its owner.

        No reason to waste all that space and weight (and thus fuel) just to haul an excess human around, while reducing the reliability and service hours for the drone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No chance

      "We'll pay off the guys that used to climb up tall building to inspect them and we won't need so many access systems such as lifts and cherry pickers. We'll also need fewer expensive manned aircraft and pilots."

      Increased productivity, increased safety, additional capabilities become affordable... benefits all round.

  4. trevorde Silver badge

    Didn't they(*) say the same things about...

    virtual reality

    * 'they' being various 'experts' hyping the next big thing

  5. Andy 73

    Yes but...

    You know you're in trouble when you're relying on licensing to make it possible to make money in a business. Either you're capable of offering a service that adds value, or you're not. If the value is *only* established by artificially restricting entrance to the market, then you don't have a business.

    It seems to me the biggest issues facing the drone industry are that

    (1) all of the major platforms are built outside this country and are 'closed source', so we have limited capacity to develop custom applications without first re-inventing the wheel.

    (2) we're still waiting on regulations that *enable* businesses. We can't fly beyond line of sight, or autonomously without an expensively trained operator.

    (3) operations in built up areas are heavily restricted

    The points above mean that the only business currently possible is 'pay by the hour camera operator' - which is not attractive to most business clients. Construction companies want to either just 'use a drone' or 'pay for a national service' - not have to find a local 'man with a van' who may or may not be able to provide data that their departments can use. The same applies for most other suggested use cases; they need to be either cost effective to run in-house, or available as a consistent service nationwide.

    In short, we're still trying to develop the technology and discover the business models that will work - yet the confused regulation and uncertain environment severely restrict experimentation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes but...

      "yet the confused regulation and uncertain environment severely restrict experimentation."

      There is nothing confused about it.

      You don't fly a heavy lump of plastic where it can cause damage or kill people, unless you have full control and are fully trained, licensed and insured.

      Pretty easy.

      The "confused" bit is we want to dick around and try stuff, regardless of possible consequences.

      1. Andy 73

        Re: Yes but...

        Sigh..

        You won't find anyone in the industry who doesn't agree with the safety aspect. There are enough discussions about the risks involved with flying a commercial grade machine, that every pilot will be well aware of the consequences.

        However, we've now been waiting for at least a year for clarification about what exactly the regulations will involve, and issues like beyond line of sight and autonomous flight are still completely unresolved. The confusion is that regulation is slow to emerge and the current interim regulations have no answer when it comes to running a scaleable business.

        As I said, the current regulations are fine if you want to run a (safe) single operator business, but that is not what clients want (unless you're a wedding photographer).

        Please don't confuse hobbyist fliers with commercial operators.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes but...

        "You don't fly a heavy lump of plastic where it can cause damage or kill people, unless you have full control and are fully trained, licensed and insured."

        Instead, you tell a computer where to go and what to do, and it handles the rest.

        Humans are just too fallible for this to be a good idea for business drones. Recreational drones are just fancy model airplanes, which have been with us for a century. A million drones delivering for Amazon and Alibada are a much different situation.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Yes but...

      @Andy 73

      "The points above mean that the only business currently possible is 'pay by the hour camera operator' - which is not attractive to most business clients."

      Shhh! Uber may notice and move into the market

  6. x 7

    And that is why PWC are shite auditors

    They have no idea of reality or truth

    But then do any of the big accounting companies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I expect the auditing part of the firm does know a thing or two about it and I doubt this report was done by them.

      And by the way, like most of the big firms it's a partnership, not a company. There's a difference. Not a particularly relevant one in this context but hey, I felt like sharing that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Computable General Equilibrium model

    That's a funny name for a crystal ball.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Computable General Equilibrium model

      You mis-spelled "my arse".

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Computable General Equilibrium model

        Garbage In = Garbage Out

  8. StuntMisanthrope

    The Big F’all!

    Following on from last weeks MAX FAC’ing Intern Invoice debacle, infinity has been discovered on a billable scale and dark matter found between an analysts ears. #stiffdrinksareonme

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about a big fat ZERO

    as local councils ban the pesky things because of all those voyeurs out there. Yes YOU!

    Shame on you for spying on next door's 16 year old in her bedroom. Didn't you know that only pervs on the internet can do that (sic)

    People will get fed up with the things buzzing around at all hours of the day and night.

    Could it be a fad that is close to having had it's day already? I really hope so.

    Posting A/C as I don't want 'Dronebois' to target my home thank you very much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about a big fat ZERO

      Could it be a fad that is close to having had it's day already?

      Take a deep breath, calm down. Private user drones are the twenty-teens equivalent of volume use of CB radio in the UK. It came, every eejit joined in, lost interest, went on to the next moronic fad, and the more serious and generally responsible users will be able to use the technology sensibly.

      Note: I'm still waiting for this "smartphone" fad to pass amongst the smelly masses.

  10. SVV

    "Drones – taking the UK's economy to new heights"

    Are you sure the report with this name wasn't actually about the ever shittier pay and working conditions they envisage being inflicted upon us in the coming years, as we become nothing more than disposable hive creatures?

  11. pAnoNymous

    Net net of what?

    The drones will be made in China and IP will be owned out of some Caribbean island.. so after all those jobs are lost how exactly will GDP grow?

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Net net of what?

      Bearing in mind the Chinese respect for IP rights, and the speed at which factories can churn them out, the money wont be in making and selling, but in operating and using.

      and no doubt the majority of the money is in replacing Bob and his cherrypicker, etc. and dumping him on the unemployment line.

      Oh BTW Airliners already effectivley fly themselves, the Human "Pilot" is pretty much a failsafe.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This line says it all

    Accounting house PwC has stuck its fingers in the air

    Join us on https://www.reddit.com/r/RPAS/ for a fact based discussion on the drone market

    Molly

  13. strum

    "We input our multi-factor productivity figures into our Computable General Equilibrium model"

    Yeah. That's what I do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A very knowledgable man once wrote:

      "All models are wrong, but some are useful" - George E. P. Box

      It seems PWC's model is just wrong..

  14. SVV

    the public sector will apparently be flying an oddly specific 27,521 drones by 2030

    Presumably these will be the drones operated by the Drone Licensing Agency, run by Capita and sent up to fly around looking for drones operated by people who haven't bought a Drone Licence, and identify them using the national face recognition database. All those who have not registered as a drone owner will receive an endless stream of accusatory letters threatening them with dire penalties if the drone licencing inspectors turn up unnanounced in a drone licencing detector drone and find so much as a paper aeroplane on the premises, and the profits of all this will be partly funnelled into an highly paid executive directorship for the Minister of Drones once they leave office.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like