Takeaways Blog: Women and Drones at CES 2023

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Posted on January 30

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Takeaways Blog: Women and Drones at the Consumer Electronics Show, 2023

By Kimberly Hayes, Founder, Valkim Technologies

First off, let me say that Las Vegas was totally overtaken by the sea of white, blue and yellow badges of those heading to Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It seemed like if you weren’t actively at a CES event you were next to someone who was talking about CES or on their way to something CES-related. It was extremely stimulating and I had the opportunity to meet many dynamic people–starting with my seatmate on the flight over.

However, the most interesting and impressive group were the attendees from Women and Drones. Electric exchanges emanated from the room, filled as it was with so many inspiring, awesome and accomplished women. Being a part of an entire ecosystem of entrepreneurial, diverse and inclusive technology showcases and events with women who traveled from all over the world and have done so many amazing feats invigorated every day. From PhDs at NASA working on Mars projects to vertiport strategists, a test pilot for a flying car and a former government awardees in technology and a likeminded UAS founder for confined space inspection for NDT in O&G–the expertise was as robust as it was varied.

While CES is largely focused on consumer technology, there were a lot of industrial exhibits as well. These technologies would have seemed like something from the future a few years ago, but they are now considered tried-and-true inspection tools that any competent inspector will understand. This adoption has led to some fascinating ways to use them–too numerous to list here.

These so-called emerging technologies are part of an overall movement to create tools that capture and converge human senses–visual, auditory, touch, smell–and put those tools inside of platforms that can go anywhere. With each iteration of new robotics, the need to expose humans to dangerous environments diminishes and the practicality of robots escalates–especially when you consider that the measurements and imagery produced go well beyond what human senses can perceive or capture. 

As impressive as these inspection tools are, they are little more than science experiments until we fully commit to leveraging their findings into actions. While a PDF full of NDT measurements and high-resolution pictures from robotic devices is great, locking that information up makes it burdensome to use at best, and useless at worst. 

The inspection data must be aggregated, standardized and–most importantly–easily accessible. Copying and pasting data into spreadsheets just steals back the time saved by effective use of new inspection tools. When we see that becoming the industry standard, the real benefits of new technology will be here.

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