Working towards a new standard for preparedness and response to natural disasters in India

Working towards a new standard for preparedness and response to natural disasters in India
Working towards a new standard for preparedness and response to natural disasters in India

Interview

With the launch of EagleView Technologies' R&D centre in Bengaluru, Rishi Daga, the company's CEO, discusses their vision for India and elaborates on how their technology can help in disaster management, urban planning, property assessment, among others.

What are some of the key factors that make India a strong R&D hub?

EagleView is poised for growth as we continue to expand our global presence with the opening of our new R&D centre in Bengaluru, India. The new centre in Bengaluru joins our headquarters in Seattle as well as offices we have in Rochester and Perth and is located within the Pritech Park special economic zone (SEZ), which will allow us to establish a world-class innovation centre.

Our expansion in India highlights Bengaluru's role, and India's more broadly, as a global innovation hub. It enables us to establish our largest R&D centre to accelerate the development of new products, bolster our global operations, and further expand our capabilities in the areas of cloud services, computer vision, machine learning, and aerial imager processing. This is also emblematic of EagleView India's start-up culture with growth opportunities and agility that are not often available in more mature tech companies, and as we plan to create 500 new jobs in Bengaluru over the next year. Not only is this expansion an exciting time for our company, it is also rewarding for me, as I am a native of India, born in Kolkata and raised in Ahmedabad. We take our role as corporate citizens in India seriously and are committed to serving as a best-in-class employer through social responsibility and charitable initiatives.

How have data analytics transformed in recent times; how would you describe some of its everyday uses for the layperson?

EagleView is a technology leader in data analytics derived from aerial imagery and computer vision. We use this high-resolution aerial imagery to modernise workflows and help professionals across different industries make informed decisions - accelerating digital transformation, most notably in the insurance and construction industries as well as solar and government sectors.

The data analytics provided by our high-resolution aerial imagery enables a smoother, more revolutionary workflow for customers. Our capabilities allow us to create three-dimensional (3D) simulations of physical locations that allow for a massive amount of applications by our customers, such as highly accurate and objective property data for the local government tax and planning authorities, and the generation of fast and accurate measurements for construction professionals in a way that they no longer have to climb onto rooftops to measure things.

What are some of the lesser-known real-world impacts of aerial imagery that excite you?

Drone technology and fixed wing aerial imagery have some very exciting impacts around the world. But in India, we believe our technology can make a difference and set a new standard for how Indian communities can prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

Prior to a natural disaster or flooding, EagleView can collect as much property information as possible - which can be accessed on the cloud in real-time - before a storm hits, making it easier to spring into action to assess damages and start the rebuilding process once the storm is over. After a natural disaster, our technology, including 3D models of properties built by our aerial images and unique algorithms, helps people recover by rebuilding more quickly and efficiently.

How do you see geographic information system (GIS) solutions developing in India; is there a growing demand for it?

EagleView's technology could have a widespread positive impact in the areas of disaster planning and management, urban planning, property information management, property assessment, infrastructure planning, and many other fields. As we have seen in our other industry markets, these areas require participation with the local government.

The regulatory framework in India for aerial players like EagleView is still developing and we are committed to working with the government agencies to ensure we can operate within the regulations while demonstrating the value we can create for India.

Our ambition is to establish India as our hub of Asia with a base of operations here that encompass both our Global R&D Centre but also successfully delivering products and services in the local market. We understand that some of these technologies will be disruptive to the economy and the processes currently in place and changes will require a good long-term vision coupled with partnerships with local government leadership. We do, however, see some recent advances in this area. The drone policy has been a good step, which has caught the interest of many start-ups and some established companies.

Are concerns around data security being effectively balanced with a need for analytics?

Drones, aerial imagery, and data analytics are innovative new technologies impacting various industries each day. EagleView is at the forefront of raising important questions about privacy, security, and the impact of regulations on drone usage and data analytics, and we continue to contribute to important conversations around these critical issues.

We place the highest priority on ensuring data security and privacy and incorporate that commitment into all facets of our company's customer outcomes. Our products are developed on cloud technologies in a manner which enables us to keep the data in a geography if required. The entitlement framework ensures that only those who have the right authority have access to the information.

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