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Draganfly Inc. CEO Cameron Chell talks entrepreneurship, drones, and partnering with Fobi to provide a radical solution for COVID-19 management.

Listen to Fobi Insider - Episode 3: Go Far, Fly High

The following is a transcript of the conversation between Fobi Marketing Director Devon Seidel and SVP of Strategy & Corporate Development Richard Lee.

Draganfly Inc. CEO Cameron Chell: And so at the end of that, one of the deployment projects, one of their project leaders said, "Hey you know what would be really cool, is if you could detect COVID-19." Everybody kind of laughed and walked away. By the next morning, we thought what we could accomplish is that we couldn't detect COVID-19 but we could probably detect if somebody had an infectious condition, if they were sick. Nine months later, we deployed a system that could not just from a drone, but also from a kiosk, or from a security camera system, or from your laptop or a tablet, or now just recently from your smartphone. That camera can look at you in a matter of seconds, give you your heartbeat, your respiratory rate, your blood pressure, your SBO2, which is your blood oxygen level, which is probably the key indicator for a respiratory infection. 

It was originally developed for disaster response for very powerful cameras to be on helicopters going over disaster zones. And actually when they find a survivor, getting the vital signs of that survivor. We really identified strongly with what Loop was doing is because you adapted an existing technology for an incredible use case. So we're totally psyched and honoured to be able to have our technology integrate with your interface, and hopefully it adds to the solution and makes it even better.

Fobi Marketing Director Devon Seidel:  Hey, you're listening to the Loop Experience Podcast, join us for exclusive interviews, behind the scenes updates and all things Loop. Coming at you from the head office storage room I'm your host Dev. So today on the show I have Cameron Chell from Draganfly. How's it going?

Cameron: It's great. Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it. 

Devon: Yeah. How's your day been going? What are some things that you've been doing lately in this pandemic? 

Cameron: Well, our main operation is down at Los Angeles, California, where I live and work, but we moved our family up to Canada so that our kids could go to school up here and actually be in school and came up here in August. So they're in school like I said, but I was traveling down in the States last week. I've got essential worker status, but I'm still quarantining for a few days before I go back home. 

Devon: Great. Great. Yeah, I know it's been crazy with this pandemic. I actually just came back from the dentist today. This is my first dentist trip in COVID, which was very interesting. So all the listeners out there, my teeth were nice and clean. I know you can't see it but- 

Cameron: I can verify it. I can verify the fact that his teeth look smoking right now, they're crystal.

Devon: Thank you. Thank you. It's so weird that even my hygienist, she was wearing like enough PPE that I feel like she could also be taking out my appendix at the same time while she is cleaning my teeth. So we're in this new normal of all these extra garb, face masks, but I think we're doing a good job of handling it. I want to talk to you about Draganfly as Loop's kind of working with you on some different projects, but first I like to touch on your past. I know you have a love for entrepreneurship and that you've started a bunch of companies dating all the way back to your teens. So can you give me a little bit of insight into your history and where you came to, to get to today?

Cameron: Sure. Well, that's super interesting and thanks very much. So I grew up in a small town in a very small farming community in Alberta, in Southern Alberta. And like really the only option was to always kind of, it was expected that you would be in business. They didn't even call it entrepreneurial-ism or entrepreneurship back then. That's what you did. And so my dad had a ranch, he was also the local butcher. My mom was a local florist and I just saw them working and running their small businesses. So somewhat it's just the DNA. And did my first job, I think I was nine at the local theater and I would clean it and that was a big deal cause I wasn't necessarily working on the farm with everybody else at that moment. It was like an outside job. It was a big deal. 

And then at 14 I was digging ditches and installing irrigation systems for the neighbors. And I grew that into a business. I ended up selling it when I was in my early twenties. It grew to the point where we were doing golf course irrigation at larger commercial type contracts and started out a one hour photoshop, we started a computer repair business. This is all kind of a contracting business, all pre 18 years old. And it kind of all grew them to something that were real businesses, not always perfectly successful. I have lots of hard lumps that's for sure. 

But without boring you with the entire story just entrepreneurial-ism, I just love it. I think you're just creating something bigger than yourself as an entrepreneur. Frankly, I like to feel that's my form of art. It's also my form of therapy. It's my form of service. I really get into what we're doing and love to create big things that have big impacts, not just on the world, but on the people's lives who get to interact with the product or on the lives of the people that are building the product or the service. 

And so every day I wake up excited, which is probably the greatest thing that I'm, other than my kids, that's the greatest thing that I'm thankful for is being up excited and entrepreneurialism does that. First kind of substantial maybe company that we built was a company called Future Link and Future Link was the first cloud computing company. It wasn't called cloud computing back then in fact, it was called computer utility at first, and it was really built off after the model of the huge centralized computer systems that were in place in the sixties and the seventies because computing was so expensive, you could only access that computer if you were a large company or if you had like a major project that you were building on.

But this thing called the internet had emerged and our idea was that, well, wait a minute, why is everybody walking around with a laptop? Why can't I just go into your office and use the big thing back then, it was called Thin Clients this was Scott McNealy from Sutton Systems who we were working with was pushing this notion of Thin Clients and ultimately, we ended up going with a Microsoft backend and Microsoft Office was our first publisher as we called it back then in order to put their system on a centralized server and access it over this thing called the internet. 

And of course, everybody thought that was the stupidest idea in the world. You're like, well, I've got it on my laptop. Like, why do I need to do that? And we're like, look things aren't going to scale unless... We had all of our reasons that nobody believed. But at the end of the day we got very fortunate and Microsoft allowed us to experiment. And then we brought on another customer called Great Plains, which was an enterprise system, which actually had real applicability because as auditors were going around to different offices and doing audits, they could actually access their files. So they were still taking their laptops, but they would centralize some of their more sensitive material or some of the files that they necessarily wanted to get access to, or if they forgot something or they needed to get access into somebody else's computer to get it. So it had real applicability and we started to see some traction. And then Microsoft made the acquisition of a company called Hotmail, which was $400 million acquisition at the time, which was just mind blowing and-

Devon: I remember that. That was my email address.

Cameron: There you go. So maybe I'm not that old. So at the end of the day, they didn't have anywhere to house it. They were a server space. There just wasn't the infrastructure. So we ended up housing some servers for them. And we grew the company like about 80 million bucks in revenue doing all kinds of things in that space as a computer utility or an application service provider, that is what we called it. And so there is some reference out there that we started the ASP industry, which then emerged into cloud computing. And we were doing very simple things like accessing Word online and it was a brutal experience to do it. 

But this thing called the internet boom was happening. And we were a startup that had 80 million in revenue and a very substantial New York firm showed up knocked on our door and we were tiny little penny stock, 12 cents then we traded. Just a disaster every day trying to make payroll the whole nine yards. I was in my early to mid twenties at that time. And we got lucky with the timing. And so they did a financing and turned... And long story short, it was a startup that had revenue, which was very novel in those days. 

Microsoft became our investor. Compact became our investor. HP became our investor. PQUAD became... Like all the great names at the time. And we grew it to a $3.2 billion market cap. And it was a great run. I mean, you've got real professional management, a real board of directors, all that stuff. And that classic story I got fired, like absolutely nailed it. And I should have been. I was an idiot way over my head and I did my part to get it to where it was at and eventually got fired because I thought I knew what I was doing and I didn't.

And then since then, that's a believer the story I have done multiple both private and public financing since then. And I love public venture capital. I think it's the most exciting world. The traditional VC route, I've tried it a couple of times. Private equity, I've tried it a couple of times and I'll tell you there's nothing more exciting than public venture. I think there's nothing more honest than it too. The shenanigans and everything that happens behind the doors in private venture capital and private VC world it's brutal for an entrepreneur to try to work up through those chambers and power struggles. And they all have their place. And there's amazing, brilliant, brilliant people working in those industries. But when you're in public venture capital, it's all out there. I mean, you have to perform every single day but you're performing for your shareholders and you're performing for people that are believing in what you're doing. And so it's, for me anyways, from my mentality, it's really motivating.

Devon: One thing that I want to touch on that you said is, you're very focused on service and service around people. Why do you have such a not a longing, but such a want to help people with the services or the businesses that you're creating?

Cameron: Well, I think there's a number of reasons. I grew up my father, he stood behind his meat market every single day. And he serviced people and he really cared about the cut of their meat. And he really cared right down to how we butchered their game and how he butchered the cow or slaughtered the cattle or the game. It was really important to how that cut of meat was going to come. And he could explain not just the cut of meat, but the whole process. And he had people from literally in this little town all over the world would come to him just to get his cuts of meat. And he just had such pride in knowing what their family was going to enjoy the story that they could tell about it. And it was just an experience that was beyond just having a good steak.

And why he was that way, I'm not a 100% sure, but that's where I learned it from. And my mum was in the service industry. She was a florist. And she just didn't make flowers. We grew up in between two Indian reserves and we had to just like... She would do these incredible way. She would understand the history of the family and the ancestry of the family. And she would incorporate in the flowers of the foliage from that particular area into that wedding. Oh, I well up even just thinking about it. Just the commitment to it and just the experience that those people would have was completely different than getting a steak or getting nice flowers.

I mean, they really added to the entire event or the wedding or the meal. When you see a customer that gets to experience that with a product that your team or the team that you're on built, it's a different experience. To me, that then creates meaning in the work that we do, but it also creates incredible competitive advantage that builds a culture in your company that's uncompetable. The experience the customer has isn't about our drone company, the battery life being 30 minutes longer, or the encryption being 15 bits stronger, it's all about the experience that that operator has gotten or somebody who's doing an analysis on a forest inventory like they do an incredible job because of the way that we're able to present the data to them or provide the AI or the data storage.

Devon: Yeah, 100%. And it really makes that end customer not just feel like another number. They're not just coming to you and they're just getting their product. There's a real connection between you and you're listening to what the customer wants, customers listening to different aspects that maybe they didn't think of. And you can develop a solution that works better for both of you. You create that connection together with the customer. And like you said, a 100% that it builds that foundation of the company, and builds that foundation of the customer and their idea of who this great company is that they're working with.

Cameron: Yeah. And consequently, you can still attract the best people to work with them too. Which is kind of the self fulfilling prophecy of then creating an even greater experience because you're working with even greater people. And not that all people are great, but with people that have a particular passionate about something. At the end of the day, you can be the best technologist in something, but if you really don't care about how it affects the customer, like if you really don't care about that customer how their life or their experience is going to be better, you could be a C player, you could be a D player, but if what you're really loving, you're experiencing is that customer reaction you will be an A player. Head over heels in a button nanosecond over the best technologist or coder or operator or whatever it is.

Devon: I was reading in one of your past interviews that you're really into meditation lately, and really setting intention through your meditation. I've actually started getting into it a little bit myself through just the Headspace app. I feel like it's a good learning tool to teach you through guided meditation. I wonder if you can talk a little bit about kind of, you say that you start your meditation in the morning to really set your intentions for the day. How has that changed your outlook on the businesses that you're currently working with, your aspect of life and really what does that do to you and how does that benefit you?

Cameron: The main intention that I said every day is to not have an intention. Not that I don't have goals and not that I don't have all those things. I'm really religious, almost about setting those and working on them. But my biggest challenge personally is just to get out of my own way, is to let go of control until that better people do the things that are happening. And so my meditation really focuses on about letting the world, the universe, whatever it is everybody's version of God or spirituality, whatever it is, letting that work and not me work and being a part of that. So my meditation practice, if you will, and it's very rough to call it a practice but it is consistent and somewhat disciplined. It really has come out of the fact that, I need that moment to slow down. I need that moment to be reminded that there's something bigger than me that's happening. That I am not the center of anything much less my own world. And that's what meditation has really done.

Like a lot of people, almost everybody in the world maybe have had some traumatic experiences that helped define who they are and those traumatic experiences of thank goodness led me to starting my morning with a meditation which is... My biggest character defect certainly in my past, and maybe not as much now, hopefully not, but it probably is, is self-centeredness. I would love to think that the world revolves around me and that these ideas, and that the teams, and that the customer and none of it does. And so some of our very practical standpoint, as it relates to business, it gets me out of the way. And it helps me realize that I'm not the center of what's going on here, our customer is. And everybody else around that is a part of that equation. And I'm not even at the center of that equation either, but I just try to make a very, very practical. I mean, there's obviously a ton of other health and mental benefits to the meditation as well, but that's where I find the rubber hits the road for me on a daily basis.

Devon: No, and thank you for that. I find that everyone kind of has to find that little piece that works for them to really ground them. And thank you for being so honest with your answer there. But let's move into Draganfly. I know our listeners are probably super excited to hear a little bit more about that. But the company you specialize in building drones for government, industry, healthcare, public safety and you're actually one of the oldest operating commercial drone manufacturers in the world. And I think if I'm correct starting in 1998.

Cameron: Yeah. So I didn't start the company. It was started by a very fine gentleman named Zenon Dragan out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. So go flat Lander. And I was lucky enough to put an investment group together about eight years ago now and buy the company not from Zenon. Zenon remained a strong part of it but do a purchase of the company. And since that time we've been steadily year after year positioning our IP portfolio and positioning our engineering bench and our AI bench, our software development team for what we felt was going to be an entire new platform, an entire set of disruptive, innovative technologies that would change the world.

We had a view that it wasn't going to happen. '99 through I'll call it 2010 drones were very novel in sparse. And then from 2010 through some innovation up and through till about 2017 more commercial application was involved, but it was really toys and consumers and low end products and things like that. And not that there wasn't a ramp up of industrial and commercial stuff happening, but from a monetization standpoint, it really was about 2018 that the drone industry came into its own with a combination of the right regulations, the right technology, the right customer adoption, where you really started to see an inflection point happening. And so I think the investing public, if you will, is now starting to see the value of that inflection point. 

But there was a lot of cartridge back in the early days of drone companies that were backed by huge names and huge players, who've all gone away because the industry just wasn't ready for that true adoption yet. So we were lucky enough to hold our own and survive because of the contract engineering they be have done with military contractors in the U.S. building, the equipment and AI and software for them where we get to today, where we've had a commercial market that's growing at just almost unbelievable numbers. And so we're riding the wave, but we've been here for 20 years waiting for that perfect wave to happen.

Devon: And some of those big technologies that you're talking about are really centered around the Airborne Public Safety system of which is certainly making news these days. I've seen you on a lot of interviews on a lot of different outlets. And these drones are developed with sensors that are looking at body temperature, facial stresses, heart rate and blood pressure. How does this all work? And who's currently using these drones?

Cameron: Draganfly is one of these companies that can do a lot of things. So we're in a lot of industries and we're providing a lot of solutions to customers. We sold over 9,000 drones over the years to different public safety agencies, Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals, Border Patrol, RCMP, tons of U.S. sheriff offices, Australian Federal Police and the list goes on. And they bought our equipment again, not just because it had better battery life, better cameras, better all that kind of stuff but because we can provide them a turnkey solution, including training and data analysis and sensors that they couldn't get anywhere else. So we had a bit of that reputation in particular in the public safety industry. 

So we had a public safety client, a police department Sheriff's department approached us and say, "Hey, we've got this issue. We have a fleet of drones, but we actually want to be able to measure quantitatively measure how many people are in particular areas and how well their social distancing and if they're wearing masks." And they want it to start to collect data, to see if their public awareness campaigns were working and be able to quantitatively say, Hey, in this area, we need to put more resources. Or this area we need to put more resources, or, oh my God, there was a surge, there was an outbreak and we can attribute it back to this area. They can go back to the data that would come out of this and say, "you know what? More likely than not it happened in this park, at that time, here's the amount of people" and it was early in the pandemic.

So they were really just trying to find a way to discern data in a manner that could give them some insight, because the only insight that was available at that time was how full are the hospital beds? And so what we saw is, oh, my God, hospital beds are getting full. So while policy decisions to be made good and bad around what has to be done and how much we were reacting or not reacting. And then the surge dissipated and ventilators got there and the hospital beds weren't full, and they would change the policy, which had nothing to do with actually what the infection rate was doing or what the people's behaviors were doing. So it was really an insightful project. 

So we deployed the project and it's super cool. The drone would go up and it would look at a crowd and anybody that was too close to each other, they have red circle underneath them, and anybody that was socially distanced would have a green circle. But the AI would also do the work to determine is that a family unit, is that a couple? So it gave really good data, not just interpretive stuff that really could have a lot of errors in it. And so at the end of one of the deployment projects, one of their project leader said, "Hey what would be really cool is if you could detect COVID-19." Everybody kind of laughed and walked away. So that night at the hotel a group of us were like, "that's kind of an interesting question." And by the next morning we thought what we could accomplish was that we couldn't detect COVID-19, but that we could probably detect if somebody had an infectious condition, if they were sick.

Devon: Yeah.

Cameron: So I won't bore you with the whole story again, but at the end of the day, nine months later, we deployed a system that could not just from a drone, but also from a kiosk, or from a security camera system, or from your laptop, or a tablet, or now just recently from your smartphone, that camera can look at you and in a matter of seconds, give you your heart rate, your respiratory rate, your blood pressure, your SBO2, which is your blood oxygen level, which is probably the key indicator for respiratory infections, even your BMI, it can even tell you your Body Mass Index.

And then we coupled that with thermal cameras so that we could read temperatures as well, which a lot of people can do and isn't overly interesting. And actually isn't overly accurate either. But what's really important are these other underlying vital signs. And so we've deployed it into prison systems, on kiosks in the prison systems, on the college campuses, federal buildings, and entrance systems, and factory floors. So if you've got returning populations and you want to stay ahead of, "Hey, we didn't have any potential infectious conditions yesterday and we got three today" that tells you a lot right?

Devon: Yeah.

Cameron: And in certain workplace situations, those people, as they come in through an entrance, if they've got a potential infectious condition, not only you're immediately, "okay, let's do a quick isolation. Let's see what test, you're good. No big deal. Away you go." But if you get a test now you protect that entire... Like the ramifications of the technology and its use into that worker population and the effects it has on other families and stuff is massive. So we've had tremendous success with this, this year. And so now the technologies being imported and used in telemedicine systems, health apps, fitness apps. It's just amazing what's unfolding. It's just like one of those stories where you go like, in a matter of a couple of years just that product line would be a few hundred million bucks in revenue. 

Devon: Yeah. And I think we look at this as also being kind of a hot topic because your technology isn't a person scanning for temperature or taking these readings. It is either through the kiosk, like you said, or a drone, but I think we kind of look at it as well too and there's different trade offs. You have either the ability to keep a large general audience safe, you reduce bottlenecks of people having to go through some sort of queuing system to have a manual person there scanning and taking all those screening questions. What are you kind of seeing people's responses to this shift of moving the person out of the equation, but still having the technology there?

Cameron: Well, that's such a great question because there's two constituents there that we've seen just incredible fascination from. First is the person that's getting the scan. So if I'm on a health app and I'm answering all my questions, no, no, no, no, no. I don't have a runny nose and I haven't been in touch with anybody that's has COVID and they're getting their vital signs. The experience that we create in doing that is, whoa, it's not intrusive. It's like, "wow, that's really valuable. Like, I actually just see what my SBO2 is. I'm okay." Most people at some point have a runny nose and they answered no anyway. And then they hate that my heart rate is normal. My blood pressure's good. Okay. So it gives them a really good experience.

What it does on the other side is it's not asking a security guard or a food attendant or somebody like that to make a really awkward judgment that they shouldn't have to be making. So example in food courts, we have that social distancing software that we just talked about, we'll have cameras. And then we have big screens up in the food courts of colleges. And so people walk in and they see that they've got a red circle underneath them, and everybody else sees that they got a red circle underneath them. And you could see what happens is people walk into that food court and they just separate. They socially distance. So that food attendant or that security guard, isn't sitting there and saying, separate or stay apart or like all of the obtrusive offensive things that people take offense to.

The social engineering, if you will of like, Hey, wait a minute I just need to stay apart from you and everybody can see about saying apart from you. And there's a different color if it's a couple, because the AI determines if there are couples and it's not perfect, but it's amazingly close. And so there's two sides of that experience to it, and we have found certainly from our customer side, just the amount of relief that their employees get from not having to like, "listen, I don't have to stop you from coming in."

Devon: Yeah. I really liked what you said there, because it's elevating the customer experience through technology. It's not just a camera sitting there taking in the information. Through that screen, you're feeding it back to the users. And they're not hearing what they're doing wrong from somebody else, an attendant or a security guard like you said, they can see firsthand, "Oh, from that little bubble, I need to move out. I need to do that separation" and they're doing it themselves. And they're actively making the choice to do it instead of somebody telling them to do it.

Cameron: People want to do the right thing, but they don't want to be told to do the right thing because then you get into the judgements and histories and all of that type of stuff. So in particular on college campuses, it's worked unbelievably well. Just the social continuity of people doing things for other people, "I'm going to separate, I'm going to wear a mask," all of which we all have personal judgments of whether that should be policy or shouldn't be, but when you can put it in the context of listen I may or may not disagree with this, but potentially it's risky to use. So I'm going to do the right thing. And it just changes the whole field, the whole conversation about getting through this. So that's been the biggest thrill for us. 

Devon: That's great. And I'm guessing that this technology probably wasn't developed for COVID, because it seems very advanced and kind of the timeframe of this last year even with us, we were able to pivot some of our technology and use it in a use case for COVID situations and pivot the way that we're using it and create solutions for COVID. So what was the original use for this technology that you developed?

Cameron: Yeah, so the original use for the technology was actually disaster response. So it comes out of the Department of Defense in Australia. So the University of South Australia has been a client of Draganfly for 20 years. And when we do a lot of work with them. They've got a great AI program. So we recruit out of there. Like they're really just amazing people. And Dr. Javaan Chahl is the world leader on basically using AI cameras to be able to detect all kinds of things already onset Parkinson's. Like it's just crazy what it's doing. So we approached him with this idea and he's become our lead scientist on this working with our AI bench to put this in place.

But it was originally developed for disaster response for very powerful cameras to be on helicopters, going over disaster zones. And actually when they find a survivor getting the vital signs of that survivor. And then understanding, okay, is that person alive or not? Or if they are, how serious, do we need to triage? That type of thing. And so that was the original use case. Now, since then it's also been used to verify kills for snipers at great, great distances which isn't a use case that we're interested in any way, but just to give you a sense of the advanced nature of the technology. And even really interesting, maybe not overly practical, but incredibly interesting is it has been used in wildlife management, where they'll do herd health management, where let's say we got a migrating herd of a particular animal species. You can't go up and see how healthy they are, but you can get their heart rates and their respiratory rates from a distance. Like that's amazing that to be able to do that, we've got zoos that are now actually using the technology right now to monitor the vital signs of animals. 

It's not overly commercial at this point, but it's really important. It's really cool work, which is great for our culture because we're able to attract people that are passionate about doing something with animals. And the favorite use case that we had before we really adopted in now commercialize the technology was a lot of their clinical trial work was done in wards of premature babies where you can't put monitors and tape them to their skin, because it actually will completely remove their skin when you try to take the tape off. And they're moving around and the cords are a danger. And so the cameras were mounted on the walls to actually monitor the heart rates and respiratory of a preemie babies.

And so the application of the technology, we're just thrilled to be able to be taking this out to market because the impact on people is just tremendous. And we really identified strongly with what Loop was doing and the mission that you guys had in terms of like creating the bubbles and utilizing your technique. And it's why you're able to get to market so quick with it is because you adapted an existing technology for an incredible use case and how you guys did that was, it was actually more important to us as a partner than actually the fact that you were doing it, the reason that you were doing it, the passion of the people behind it were doing it, and it's why you deployed quickly. And so we're totally psyched that honored to be able to have our technology integrate with your interface and hopefully it adds to the solution and makes it even better. 

Devon: Yeah. And thank you for that. Yeah, I think all the tools that we're always developing we always look at it from a user centric based first, how is somebody going to interact with this service that we created? How can we create a experience that's better for that user? And then we also look at, especially with the pandemic, there is economic recovery that needs to happen from this. So a big thing of what we're doing is creating tools and services that ultimately help economic recovery by either building consumer confidence to return to facilities and events, or giving them a way to still interact from a distance. And I think that's something that we definitely align with in our partnership as well too.

Cameron: Oh, you guys have done that in space. You proved it with customers. It's really impressive.

Devon: Yeah. And for you as well with your kind of reopening of stadiums, because I know you have some projects working in there where you partner was stadiums, arenas, and other large public venues. There's a really interesting technology that you're actually attaching sanitization and sanitizers onto the bottom of drones as well too, to create that mass sanitization in a shortened amount of time. How does that work or what are you guys doing with those tools?

Cameron: I'm so glad you asked about that. This is such a cool project. So we were involved with a particular Polymer. It's a genetically modified algae that was originally used to separate oil and water in the Gulf, and also has been used to do some separation of oil and sand up into oil sands. And long story short working with the scientist of this particular polymer, which has all kinds of amazing properties. And so this particular polymer has the ability when mixed with the right ethanol and some of the spray product has a little bit of peroxide in it but the hand sanitizer is basically ethanol and this polymer.

And what that does is it's a little bit more complex than that, but it goes on your hand and it creates a glove. You don't feel the glove on there, it's micro, but it has three different layers in it. So if a pathogen hits that, first of all, the ethanol can immediately kill it. And the ethanol stays on the outside of the glove. So it actually doesn't get to your hand and dry you out the same way a regular sanitizer does, but then what it does is it sequesters the pathogen, actually into the middle layer so that it actually can't be spread. And then the bottom layer-

Devon: Its actually absorbing the pathogens.

Cameron: It absorbs off the surface right into this layer. So if there's already pathogens it absorbs them into the surface and the new ones that come on, get absorbed into the surface. And that's really important because if you use whatever type of sanitizer today, you put it on and it kills everything that's there. But if something new comes on, it's still there and it can still be infected unless you use this particular product. So this product provides over 20 hours of sequestration and kill efficacy of any pathogens so whether it's on your hands or whatever the case is. So we formulated that into a spray for drones. And so we're the exclusive flights services company for this particular product worldwide. And so we're FDA lab tested, at 100% organic, EPA it's all there.

And so our value proposition, when we go to a customer into a stadium, isn't like, Hey, we can spray your stadium and then what? It kind of kills everything that's there, but we can spray your stadium. And for the next 24 hours, people can come into your stadium and they're not going to be spreading that pathogen around. Like that totally different value proposition for the customer. So we could wrap a couple of 100 crews right now if we could just scale that fast, but we're wrapping 50 new crews right now in order to meet the demand in order to start spraying stadiums. And listen it's stadiums, it's civic centers, it's basketball arenas, it's school hallways, it's everything. 

And so again, we have patented drone technology that does this, but customers are coming to us because we provide them the solution. What does a customer want? Well, they want to disinfect. Yeah, sure. But what they really want is they want to open up their stadium for people to come in and enjoy the game. So we charge between 60 cents and a dollar per seat for the spraying service, so for a typical stadium that we're working in right now, that's 50 to 70 or more $1,000 per spray. But to get the stadium open. So the ROI is just like, it's a no brainer. But on top of it on the ticket, they'll put a $2 to COVID surcharge which helps cover their charges to get all our services and all the other services paid for, and people are happy to pay that it's inconsequential on the ticket price. And so it's a win-win for the stadium. Again, not only are they offering a better service, getting the stadium open, but they're actually paying for it at the same time.

And again, it's that end to end thinking that our teams have like, okay, what does the customer really want? Like how do we win this business and own it, period, recurring forever. And every customer we go with that approach. And so that's why we can build a great drone, but in that case, it's not about the drone. The most important thing is the sanitizer. So we make sure that we own an engineer that piece around the sanitizer. And we do the same thing, so whether we're building drones to shoot germination pods for forests, we can engineer a great drone to do that. The most important piece of that is the science it's germination pod. It's like, how do we ensure that our customer, that forest company has the highest yield has the highest rate of germination? 

And so that isn't about... It's somewhat about the drone, but it's really about the science of how deep that goes. What's the germination formula? And what's the crop? Totally different crop at different areas. So again, taking that approach that what's the end users solution requirement is I think what's allowing us to scale as a business. 

Devon: And that must be so fun to work on as well too. Like you're talking about the germination process, just the testing and figuring out what's the best use case to shoot these pods out of the drone and what are kind of different testings that we can do because each customer that you work with or each situation that comes up, you guys probably get to really get in there and just have a bunch of fun playing with these drones and developing all these payloads that they're carrying.

Cameron: Every day is totally completely fascinating. And again, when you can provide that environment, you can hire great people.

Devon: I want to touch on a piece there when you were talking about scale. Because I know your business model probably before COVID was really focusing on creating specific services either through your drones or your payloads for individual customers. But now we're kind of moving into where the pandemic is and you have, all of a sudden, so many different stadiums of event locations that are needing your service and wanting your service. What are you looking at for scale moving forward? And are you looking at it at in a point where you're still having that individual customer relationship, or now it's kind of moving more towards, you need a sanitization system? Like you said, that's the main piece of the drone here's kind of your project.

Cameron: Yeah. So depending on the actual division that we're working in, some of them are moving into a channel model. Some of them are working into licensing models and certainly in with our military contractors, for example, those are direct relationships. It really depends on our drone delivery, what's happening there. We're not a branded drone delivery service. That's not our model. But our model is and we now can successfully say that we have customers that have a use case that want drone delivery. We're working with a company called Cold Chain Technology services, which is one of the largest vaccine distributors in the United States. So they've got incredible remote locations, challenged locations that they need to get vaccines to and medical equipment. So what we're doing is we're building an entire drone platform, which will operate for them, but it'll be the Cold Chain Technology services gig. 

So whether it's direct, whether it's channel or whether it's licensing, it really depends on the size of the opportunity, the economics of the opportunity, how many resources we're going to put towards it. And again, what the actual product is. So it's a mix up of things that's very specific to that particular customer set.

Devon: That's good. I want to switch gears a little bit here and talk about our partnership together. So Loop and Draganfly together, we're working on some film projects and stadium projects together to create that end to end solution for the consumer or for the user. And it integrates your scanners into the Loop wallet pass technology. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit more about how that works together.

Cameron: Yeah, so really like anything like we want to go with best of breed and people that are like customer focused, hustle on it every day, find the solution and the economics will come out of the right solution being delivered for the best customers with the best people. And so you guys have clearly demonstrated that. So the first project that we have embarked on with you guys is we have a number of customers in the movie industry and particularly at the movie production industry. So what they do is effectively before we knew Loop, they were trying to create what you call the bubble. So we provided our scanners. We provided our phones so people can do vital checks. And that was part of the pre-screening process. So that as they were doing testing every single day, they were also doing scanning at different points.

Now, listen, we're good at building the scanners and the technology behind it, but really the whole matter of the tracing, and the check-ins, and the integration with a wallet pass and all that type of stuff in fact, we didn't even think of it. We thought we had it covered until we saw what you guys were doing. And then we realized, wow, we don't have it covered. So, number one, that's not what's best for the customer. And number two, we need to provide a total solution. So we approached Loop and said that we think we need you to work with us to provide an even better solution for our customer. That was the bottom line motivation. And in doing that, what we have uncovered together is that, man we can create a solution that's pretty much uncompetable in the market. And so now as we move into the next set of customers with just our movie sets, that can create great bubbles but actually being allowed to be incorporated into your athletic bubbles, in your venue bubbles and things like that.

So what's great for us is you brought great value to us with the customer we were working with, and we got lots more of that we're now rolling this out with and they really see the value. So as a customer us to you, you've been great, but really it was a partner that at the end users, but fantastic. And now as we move into these other bubble scenarios that you guys are just crushing it on it's just a thrill to see our technology as a part of that and adding value into it. 

And ultimately, again, what it does is it creates a scenario where it's very tough for other people that are doing pieces of this to compete with because now there's not just one or two, but there's three and four and five different differentiating factors in the combined solution that Loop's able to offer that other people just don't have. Unless it's something entirely different, unless it's a wearable or something, but it's really powerful what you guys have done.

Devon: And that's what I get so excited about with Loop as well, working here is, I mean, ultimately at the base, we are a data first company. So our foundation is in the connection of data and connection input of third-party data in different data sets through APIs or physical connections through our hardware. So be able to start with his face of a data connection and seeing all the different building blocks that we can build on top of it until we get a great solution that is built up of partnerships, because I agree, I don't think one company can offer a sound solution. There's always going to be little pieces that need to be plugged in. And as soon as you open the door up for partnerships and working together, it really removes it from you being the company that's offering a product and saying, Hey, customer, you have to buy my product to the foundation of your company is how do we create a solution that best works for our customers is really what they actually need.

Cameron: Yeah. I love how you said that. Ultimately the only currency is trust. And so if you could build trust with the customer by not selling them a product, but providing them a solution, and we're doing that here by partnering with best of breed, it's a better solution. So one way or the other, if we didn't provide them a better solution, they eventually would've got through that. Got there. So we just want to make sure that we're the folks that keep doing that, and we're lucky to do it with you.

Devon: Thank you. Let's talk about real time data and how vital it is. I know that in a lot of different videos that I've watched on your websites and a lot of interviews that I've watched you, that real-time data piece is very important that either the vital signs that your cameras or your kiosks are picking up to integrate that in, the actual use of data is only usable if it's in real time and if it's able to be ingested in real time. We look at it and we work with a lot of customers that have systems that they could activate something in real time, but their data is being bashed and they don't get insights until the end of the night or the end of the month or quarterly. So being able to take that data and use it in real time, what are the benefits that you've seen on your side from that?

Cameron: Well, they're numerous. But I totally agree with you, old data's interesting and it can help you. You can learn from it, but it's not actionable. And so key as we go forward, everybody talks about big data in very generic ways. Key going forward is it actionable? And if it's actionable, is it immediately actionable? And if it is that's your competitive advantage or that's the better advantage you're giving to a solution. So, I think about what you guys are doing with the NCAA and people checking in, like if there's a problem it's popping up on your dashboards right now. And that's the only time to stop it because by the time that person then moves on, goes into the locker room and talks to four other people and gets halfway out on the court and it's an hour later, or was batching it at night and you're going, "dude this guy he's got an elevated heart rate or whatever it is, where did he go today and where was he at?"

Devon: Yeah. 

Cameron: Now your data is actually worse because now you're speculating on everything that could go wrong and everything that you have to do to solve it. So you could be creating an entire false negative scenario of a problem. So would you help, in that example, but you guys do so well that real time data allows you to be actual immediately and you make all the difference in the world to the customer. And so that's the same approach we take. 

Sometimes you just can't create real-time data, and sometimes they can't be actionable because they don't have access to the data, but any time possible, like our drones are streaming all the time, the information is updating immediately into the dashboards when people have elevated heart rates, our surveillance systems, our military system, everything, it's all about real-time.

Now, the real-time data can be so overwhelming that if you don't, and this is where AI good user interface comes up. If you just start streaming data and feeding data to your customer, you're just going to frustrate them. Like it's just like, "I don't need this. I just need to know these three things." So you need to be able to provide relevant, actionable data. And sometimes it's a lot of complexity in the background to get down to what's simple. It's like Mark Twain he said, "I would have written you a shorter letter if I had more time," but to get to the simple, most important thing, it does take a lot of complexity in the backend, but when you can elegantly deliver the one piece of data no matter how complex the one piece of data that becomes actionable in real time, you've got a customer for life. 

Devon: And I think you hit it on the head there, it's actionable. That's the word. You can have as much data as you want in the world, but until you can make an action or make a decision based on that data, it is ultimately useless.

Cameron: Yeah.

Devon: I want to shift gears a little bit as we're nearing the end. You talked about how you've moved up to the West Coast here in Canada now. I think one piece that we always look at is how has COVID negatively affected you, but I want to touch on how has COVID positively affected you and your family?

Cameron: Yeah. Well, I'm Canadian and I moved to the states in order to... Actually one of the biggest reasons we moved to LA was I wanted to cut down my travel time, not be in a hub, be able to have direct flight, able to attract customers and those types of things. And so I kept my travel time from about 20 days a month down to seven days a month, years and years and years ago when we moved to the States. And that was the primary reason that we moved. And since COVID, I've traveled one day to Toronto since last February, and then this last week was my first trip and it's changed forever. We're not traveling. Like I don't have to be in a... I like being in front of customers, but I don't have to be in front of the customer now, because this is the acceptable trust that we're refinancings for projects and stuff like the road shows happened over Zoom now, it's incredible. 

We have a tiny spot.  Very, very, very humble little place. And I have a little bowler trader out back that I worked out. I walk in the house at five o'clock every day, and I have more time with my kids, coaching soccer all this last year. So parts of me of loving COVID parts of me. Knock on wood.

Devon: Yeah. And our last question is something that I ask everyone all the time is, what's something that you've learned recently and it doesn't have to be business-related, it could be a hobby, or maybe you learned to cook, or really took up a different thing that you hadn't done before. What's something that, I guess, with COVID and being locked down a little bit more, something that you've learned.

Cameron: Well, I think that's a good question. I don't know. [inaudible 00:51:39] the truth. What have I learned? What have I learned? I learned to trust a lot more. You have to trust. Trust the people in your bubble. Trust the people that you're not working in the same office with every day that they're getting their stuff done. You can't be somewhere, you've got critical things where you used to think that now I got to be in front of the customer to do this. I have to be... So I've learned to trust a lot more.

Devon: That's great. That's great. We'll wrap it up here. Thank you to our listeners for listening. Again, thank you, Cameron for joining the show and taking your time out of your busy schedule to really talk about your past and talk about the company and the connection with Loop as well too. I really appreciate it. And we'll be back for our listeners next week.

Cameron: Thanks so much.

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Post by Fobi
February 4, 2021