A technology as innovative as the senseFly eBee X tends to garner a lot of attention. What often gets overlooked are the amazing individuals that bring it all together.
To give readers a better look at the people working to behind the scenes to help make drone mapping safer, easier and more efficient, Waypoint is kicking off a new employee spotlight series aimed at highlighting all the talented individuals working at senseFly.
For this session, Waypoint sat down Daniel Murphy, Customer Service and Satisfaction Manager – North America, to learn more about his role, what initially drew him to senseFly and what drives his passion for the drone industry.
Hi, Daniel! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Well, I’m from Waterloo, Iowa, and went to school at the University of Northern Iowa for a Bachelor of Science degree in geographic information science (GIS).
I did a lot of work in the geography department there, which is where I was also first introduced to drones–specifically, the eBee. The geography department decided to get an eBee from our reseller in Iowa, Labor Crop. Then I worked on a few different agriculture-based projects.
Once I finished with my bachelor’s degree, I continued at the University of Northern Iowa with a master’s degree in geography doing lots of different drone stuff with hyperspectral and thermal remote sensing of crops.
How and when did you get started with senseFly?
Right out of school, back in February of 2016, I saw a job advertised for senseFly out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and I applied. I met with several members of the Switzerland-based team over video to get to know them a little bit.
It was actually a sales job that I had applied for. I certainly wasn’t interested in doing sales, nor did I understand why senseFly had a presence in Iowa outside of Labor Crop, but I was an eBee fanatic, and I was really interested in the drone space.
It took all of about three minutes talking to the team to understand I was a better fit on the technical side than on the sales side.
What does your average day at work look like?
What I do is to try and take whatever technical issues our customers or resellers may have and figure out what is required to unblock it. That could mean doing a thorough technical analysis, some type of repair or working with logistics to figure out how we can get a part to some really remote location in Canada.
My work is very customer focused. A big part of my job is to troubleshoot with customers, asking them to go out and try new things and trying to figure out what type of solution we can imagine for whatever issue they’re facing. It’s easy to forget because our drones work really well, but they are very complex pieces of tech. So, it’s important for me and my team to be helpful, to be a resource to our distribution partners whenever they have issues or questions.
I also work with the repair team on taking drones in, doing analyses, repairing them and providing customers and resellers with quotation for repair. I guess you could say that my job every day is to be a support network for our distributors and our customers.
What is your favorite thing about working at senseFly?
I really enjoy being a facilitator of other people’s interesting work. There are times when something is so interesting that I can’t help but ask questions. We have so many customers, and even distributors, that do really, really interesting work. Even if my piece is something little—like pushing through some repair, giving advice about flight planning, answering a question about the product, or providing insight—even if my piece in that is really little, it’s still nice to have some type of involvement in the bigger piece. And that’s true not just for a couple projects, but tons and tons of really big projects and smaller ones, too.
Everyone at senseFly shares the same passion for drones and the drone industry. What about drone technology are you most passionate about?
For me, it’s about the data collection. It’s about the collection of really precise, high-resolution data that we didn’t have access to before. It enables more interesting research. Yes, satellite imagery is great. Compared to a drone, we know which one is high resolution and which one provides the data we’re looking for.
Where do you see the drone industry heading in the next 3-5 years?
There will be a continuation in advancing hardware from both the airframe and payload side. It will continue to push the envelope with new payloads and more precision, which stems from the evolution of the drone industry.
When drones first became popular, we saw a lot of papers and studies that were just investigating the topic of using the drone as a tool. They were asking “is a drone a good tool” or “is it possible to do such-and-such work with a drone”.
They made a lot of comparisons to manned aviation, which is just flying an airplane with a camera in the bottom. People have been doing that for a really long time. So, they would compare using a drone to that and also to satellite imagery.
Now, we see a more interesting area where that question has been answered from more of a broad sense: “Yes the drone is a good solution. We can collect more spatial data with a drone.” Now the question is more about the application side of things. People are using the drone to collect data just like they would with any other instrument—like a GPS, some type of scanning tool or any other device that sits in their laboratory.
And this will continue. Drones will continue to be great technology for researchers to help them answer questions more effectively. That’s why people explore and ultimately use new technology; to do something that they couldn’t do without it and to make their lives easier.
Thank you so much for talking with us today, Daniel.