The COVID-19 pandemic has caused most of the world to shut down, for all intents and purposes, in order to try and contain the spread of the virus. Most countries have enacted some form of lockdown or quarantine, with people only allowed out of their homes for essential shopping and services.
In such a situation, most businesses have been forced to close shop, especially those which rely on people stepping out of their homes and spending money.
Retail, aviation, and transport services are just three of the many sectors that have been hit hard, with soaring unemployment claims in the United States showing one example of how badly this virus has hit economic activity across the world.
However, there are many examples of innovation as well, with businesses taking this opportunity to go online and serve their customers through the internet. One of the biggest examples of this has been seen in the casino and gambling sector, where providers all over the world have turned to online casinos to serve their customers.
With the restrictions on public gatherings currently in force around the world, casinos have been forced to shut down, but slots online and card games have allowed gambling operators to continue their operations and thus keep generating revenue. While this a more ‘standard’ example, there are some truly innovative companies out there as well, and Swoop Aero is up there with the best of them.
Swoop Aero is a logistics provider, focusing on the delivery of medical products and supplies in developing countries. The company operates by using a fleet of drones to carry out its deliveries, and are active in Africa, in Malawi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Their idea to use drones helps them overcome the high cost of logistics in the medical supplies space, especially over the ‘last-mile’. Co-founder Eric Peck, a former Australian Air Force veteran, founded the company through their own money, scaling up their drone design to create a virtually autonomous drone delivery system, before receiving angel investment as well as acceptance into a financial accelerator program. However, as impressive as all this sounds, this is not the innovation we are talking about.
With the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 crisis, the team had to return to Australia from Africa. However, they have been able to continue deliveries in Malawi for the moment, with the team operating the fleet remotely from Australia. This has made them the first company to run drone logistics from outside the country of operation, providing a huge feather in their cap, as well as an implementable example for similar companies.
Closer to home, Swoop Aero is also focusing on starting operations in Australia itself, with its staff and technology ready to set up networks to support Australian healthcare services. They are currently working with aviation regulators in Australia to be able to quickly and safely deploy their services in the country. The expectation is that Swoop Aero will be able to roll out its services domestically within the next two weeks.
In the current situation, where going outdoors is increasingly risky, such services have taken on even more importance, and Swoop Aero is helping healthcare providers in a very vulnerable part of the world be able to deliver medicines and vaccines safely. At the same time, they have also provided a great example of innovation in these trying times, and companies should look to follow their example and try and do as much as possible online and remotely, both to safeguard their customers and employees, as well as continue revenue streams and therefore their payroll payments, keeping their employees financially secure in these troubled times.