In the Aviation and Aerospace industry, we can observe two sides of innovation – hardware and software. In hardware, many companies compete to develop material and product that not only better but also cost effective to manufacture. This has made many products like drones become more available to the general public. While hardware becomes more accessible and easier to use there is a huge opportunity for software innovation to catch up.
TRIK is one of the innovative company, which provides a 3D data visualization software for the Aviation and Aerospace industry. TRIK turns live feed photos/videos from a drone into a digital 3D model of the scene. Users can fly the same route multiple time and see in 3D how the scene has changed over time, make annotations in 3D and use machine learning to predict trends. It’s an ideal solution for asset monitoring or inspection of both large construction site and individual structures (eg. bridge, building, wind turbine, chemical plant).
As per market and market report, a better data visualization is expected to value up to 10% of the total drones service market in the next 5 years. TRIK has been working tirelessly to make a better data visualization software for drones that anyone can use. TRIK has 3 simple steps; upload, annotate and share. It automatically turns footage from a drone into a digital 3D model which can be annotated directly from the company’s web app.
The company makes sure that its solution is simple to use and require little to no training. If TRIK makes it easier for people to utilize the data from drones, it will be easier for them to see what benefit a drone could bring. There will be more need for drones services and people are likely to be more open-minded to the advance in aviation and aerospace solution in general. An Autonomous flying vehicle is more likely to get general public acceptance if most people are used to seeing autonomous drones that fly can scan their buildings for inspection every month, which is where TRIK aims to do.
Architect behind Trik
Pae Natwilai is a cutting-edge innovator, technologist and thought leader in drone innovation and digital construction. As Founder and CEO of Trik, she has developed and launched software that uses drone photography to create a real-time 3D mapping of buildings and other architectural structures. The technology, which represents a revolution for the structural inspection industry, has won Pae a host of accolades, including selection for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe, Industry list (2018).
Pae completed a BEng. in Mechanical and Robotic Engineering at Chulalongkorn University in her native Thailand. She started her career as an inspection and maintenance engineer at the Thai national oil and gas company, PTTEP, before winning a scholarship to study an MA/MSc. in Global Innovation Design at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art (RCA).
Pae while working in inspection and maintenance in the oil and gas industry, she saw that many times they spend more on sending someone up to check what needs fixing than actually fixing it. A drone could have made this task much easier. It could fly up to photograph structure condition without the need of tying people to a rope to climb down the structure or setting up a massive scaffolding. When she started investigating how she could get it done, she found that it wasn’t exactly easy to fly a drone or utilize data from the drone. That’s where her work making drones easier to use started. It has eventually ended up with starting TRIK to make it easy for anybody to fly and use data from drones.
The biggest problem that Pae and her team faced at the beginning is deciding whether to Build first or sell the vision first. Having an amazing product is not only about utilizing the most advanced technology. It heavily depends on everything else as much as the technology; how users interact with it, how the data is presented, etc.
“It’s a chicken and eggs problem. People don’t believe our technology works until they see it working. But we also don’t want to build a solution without knowing how people will use our technology either. It takes a lot of time to find the right balance. We end up focusing on finding a partner that believes in the vision enough to start working with us in the early day before we build our product. Though we kick-start slower than most companies, the continuous feedback throughout the product development make our software stand out and become highly in demand right after we launch it,” asserts Pae about her initial struggle.
Strategies for Success
TRIK is a big believer in user-centric design and agile development. What makes TRIK unique is that, though TRIK is a highly innovative company, they are not always following the latest technology. They are always balancing solutions with cost and focus highly on user adoption. Because the company knows that not everyone can afford the latest technology and not everyone wants the most advance solution. Most of the time, TRIK gradually educates the users when they introduce new technology. This is the main secret that makes TRIK so successful in the construction industry, one of the hardest industry to adapt to any changes.
Benefits for Users
TRIK’s aim is to make it easier for anyone to use drones and utilize data from a drone. TRIK turns drone’s photos into a digital 3D model and enables users to use these models as a file directory to search for photos or any data you are looking for. This makes it easier for people to use data from the drone and encourage people to use more drone for inspection. Drone operators, end up get more job, and people actually understand the value that drone operators bring. On the other end, Asset owners have a digital twin of their asset that they can track and compare change over time, making it easier to plan maintenance and they have a digital evidence record in case of a claim or lawsuit in the future.
Pae’s Advice to the Young Entrepreneurs in the Aviation and Aerospace Solution Space
“Believe and dream big. Your company can only grow as big as you can dream. It takes similar efforts to tackle a big issue or small issue. Don’t afraid to dream big. If you always talk to people in the industry and listen carefully, you will be able to find a great business idea that people want. Furthermore, people in the Aviation and Aerospace industry are very nice and helpful, they are more than willing to give you feedback to help advance your idea. Believe that you can do it, and others will believe in you as well.”
Future Roadmap of TRIK
TRIK has been working with a corporate partner to build enterprise software. In the near future, the company will be launching commercial software that a smaller company can use in addition to the present large enterprise.