Mic on Mondays | Duncan Walker - Colliers International | London



  1. July 2018

  2. Mic on Mondays | Duncan Walker

    2 July 2018
    Duncan Walker is Managing Director at Skyports, an urban aviation infrastructure that help the process of delivering goods by drones. Duncan tells us about the company and how it will enhance delivery and logistics in the future.

    What is Skyports & what is the service you deliver?

    We set up last year to try and capture the benefit of the emerging drone market, across the world in many places there is a lot of technological development. Actual deliveries and passenger movement by drone is now in China, the US and Switzerland, but not very much in the UK. We have been looking across the world as to where these drones are creating real benefit. Our view is that they are most beneficial in urban locations so we set up to provide landing zones, which we call vertiports, effectively heliports, for electric drones in London and other cities around the world.

    Where did the idea for the business originate from?

    My co-founder, Simon Morrish, and I originated the idea in the middle of last year when we became more and more aware of what was happening in the drone world and the amount of money going into technological development. Both in terms of the vehicles themselves and all of the enabling technology around it, the air space management and the operational platforms. However, very little investment going in to the infrastructure that enables these things to operate. I am a real estate guy by background, with that in mind we thought this was a good opportunity to try and create the network to enable drones to be very effective at the point when they have full aviation authority sign off and the technology is fully embraced and proven, our belief is that will ramp up very quickly.

    How does your service change delivery & logistics?

    It is very much an extension to the existing delivery network in more rural locations it can solve some of those very expensive, inefficient journeys which are hampered by typography, mountains and lakes, which makes ground based delivers very expensive. In urban locations, it is an extension to the same day, same hour delivery network which is very costly to logistics providers and very difficult to service in urban locations where there is lots of congestion and lots of pollution. So we are a bolt on to that service, very efficient, low cost, very predictable delivery times and viable across a whole range of goods and services.

    What is the future of Skyports?

    I think there is going to be a lot of evolution, we originally are an infrastructure place with the heliports for these cargo and passenger carrying drones, the market is emerging very quickly. Recent PWC report identified over 100 billion pound market for drones to capture and we will move with that. We are beginning to do more end to end operations in other territories where regulations are a little bit more advanced than they are here in the UK. So we may well become a service provider of sorts but ultimately we are really focused on providing that ground based infrastructure and being the heliport.

    How is Colliers helping your business grow?

    We have just started working with Colliers, Colliers obviously have a huge network across the UK for landlords and building owners. We have begun to work with them to try and explore the idea, how they can offer an additional service to their clients, how we can help them and they can help us to create that network and introduce us to a number of landlords.