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Aaditya Khimji

Managing Director, Seeracom

Abdullah Al Mandhari

Co-Founder, IBN Firnas

Drone technologies offer various opportunities for businesses in all sectors, and these companies are venturing further into various use cases as well as training academies.
Can you provide an overview of the company its main operations and services in Oman?

AADITYA KHIMJI Seeracom was established in 2014 to design and commission the critical communications systems and Muscat & Salalah International Airport. We were able to integrate equipment from multiple international OEMs to deliver a world class communications system for various stakeholders of the airports. Today, we provide services for various telecom projects in Oman and have ventured into other future technologies; for example, drones for various use cases including surveillance and mapping. In addition, we have deployed the drone detection system at Muscat International Airport that leverages technology from our partner company Aaronia AG from Germany. Seeracom is developing a platform, Seecore, that will enable drone detection and operations from one platform for end users and many other features that will enable better situational awareness for the users. It has been great to see adoption of the technology by various government stakeholders and there are some fantastic young SMEs actively participating in the market in Oman. We have seen use cases develop in drone delivery, surveying and agriculture in Oman via startups, which is great; however, like in the rest of the world, regulation remains a challenge in ensuring safe and productive operations. For Oman to create meaningful IP in this industry for global markets, we must allow local companies to experiment.

ABDULLAH AL MANDHARI Ibn Firnas was founded three years ago with belief that the time has come to unlock the potential of Omani youth. Drones have become one of the main components of today’s digital world with many advantages including cost reduction, efficiency, and new ways of doing business, which initiated the idea among the co-founders to bring this current technological revolution into the Sultanate of Oman. Our goal is to make Ibn Firnas one of the largest local companies in the drone business and to grow internationally. The UAV industry is advanced and moving rapidly to the extent not all businesses are ready to accommodate these new technologies; however, drones can still provide, and will provide, a better solution for industries such as oil, energy and agriculture. I expect that the drone market will be open for new generations as a result of expected ease in regulation. The drones will be allowed to be used by people in various activities not just for industry purposes. Moreover, many industries will start soon introducing the use of drones in their activities since it is proven that drones can provide better efficiency, let alone its value for cost and speed in comparison to the traditional means and ways.

What competitive advantages does Seeracom offer that others do not within the sector?

AK At Seeracom, we are focused on developing our own software platform that can bridge the usefulness of the technologies we have invested in. Our platform is primarily designed to enable end user use cases, whether it be with a drone or a bicycle. We work with many technology providers and believe we have found some unique technology that provides us with an advantage, however, we prioritize the end users’ needs first to deliver useful solutions to improve their operations. In our part of the world, end users are extremely vendor dependent, and our aspiration is to create a local entity that can create in-country value and skill sets. For drones to be useful, it is more important that we focus on the process or use case that we want to make more efficient. Drones are just one factor in the chain of the use case. This is true for all new technologies including data science, software development and even block chain.

What are your main priorities for the company?

AAM Being the sole agent in Oman for DJI drones, one of the main short-term priorities for the company is to expand its clients’ list in Oman as well as to open new markets outside of Oman. For example, the company currently sell drones to many governmental and private entities for their operational needs. Meanwhile, the company is expanding also its scope of services and activities by introducing new streams such as maintenance and after-sales insurance. In the medium term, the company has established a training center to provide certified courses for drone pilots, as well as host conferences, with the plan for this center will become the first drones academy in Oman in the near future. We will launch our platform, Seecore, in early 2023, and our priority is to develop as many use cases as possible with our end users. The software has the potential to save our customers time and money.

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