Nobody denies that DJI is the largest, and the strongest, drone manufacturer in the world. And despite a global trade war, consolidation in the drone industry, U.S. government issues and what industry analysts have called the death of drone industry hype, DJI’s enterprise business growth this year has been nothing short of phenomenal.
At a media presentation yesterday at DJI’s Airworks, DJI’s VP and North American Country Manager Mario Rebello named the figure: the company’s enterprise business grew at a stunning 80% year over year. With over 14,000 employees worldwide and 7 locations in the U.S., DJI is continuing to expand.
Rebello says that DJI’s enterprise growth mirrors the growth of the enterprise drone industry. “The value proposition for drone technology is very strong, ” says Rebello. “And the state of the business is strong.” Rebello says that leading enterprise organizations are scaling up, public safety and first responder organizations are scaling drone operations, and government agencies – including the Department of the Interior, the largest user of drone technology in the U.S. – are also scaling up their operations.
“These are creative, productive, and innovative times,” says Rebello.
In his characteristic straightforward manner, however, Rebello did not shy away from addressing recent U.S. government criticism of the DJI platform security. “We are facing some headwinds from a geopolitical perspective,” says Rebello, “and it is impacting how the industry is growing as a whole. But we’re ready to meet those challenges head on.”
“Let me be very clear,” said Rebello, referring to leaked draft memos about data security concerns. “False. These allegations are totally false. Our platform is clean, safe, and secure.”
Rebello points out that drones originally developed for a commercial product are now being used for government purposes: and the company is willing to customize their product to meet government needs, as they have with the Department of the Interior collaboration to develop DJI’s Government Edition. He states clearly and strongly, however, that allegations that the company “sends data back to China” are absolutely untrue and have been proven to be untrue – and that the politicization of the drone industry won’t help industry growth.
DJI’s message on security concerns is clear: if technical standards of performance and data security are defined, they and other manufacturers can work to meet the standards, however high they may be. Without any defined standards, however, it’s hard for DJI or any other manufacturer to defend themselves: and government policy based simply upon “country of origin” won’t help the industry or government agencies who must still define their needs for data seccurity. The development of those standards, says Rebello, will require a group effort between industry and regulators.
“We do see these challenges,” says Rebello. “We’re prepared for them, we’re meeting them head on… but this is a collaborative effort to work with regulators and collaborators. We all have a role to play.”