Smart Digital Sales and Holding GmbH (SDSH) is a start-up based in Lower Austria. The innovative business leverages unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remote sensing, digitization, big data, analytics, and AI. 

SDSH is the only company in Austria with this groundbreaking data-driven approach and technology is at the core of its business. The company is looking to implement more new digital business ideas. Breakthrough innovations require the fastest, most powerful solutions to solve problems that have never been addressed before.

Everything has to be done quickly, easily, and with minimal effort. This is where the simplicity of Pure comes into play.

SDSH relies on Pure Storage® FlashBlade®, a unified fast file and object (UFFO) storage platform,  as a central part of its IT infrastructure. 

SDSH Aims High with Its Own Fleet of Drones

SDSH creates drone applications and services based on image data from drone flights for agriculture and forestry, surveying, insurance, public safety, and disaster control—to name a few. The company uses wing drones and multicopters developed by Eurodragons, a subsidiary specializing in precision unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The high-end drones are equipped with image acquisition systems, special measuring devices, laser systems, spectral and thermal cameras. They deliver reliable, high-resolution images even in poor visibility. The data is recorded in flight and read out for later evaluation. The company’s solutions are used for a variety of purposes. For example, customers evaluate environmental and disaster scenarios, such as avalanche danger, and record the condition of power lines through pattern recognition using AI.

“Our goal is to offer solutions that add value for our customers and are as highly automated as possible. The applications range from the precise recording of the condition of forest and agricultural areas, to defects on construction sites and traffic routes, to signs of wear and tear on power grids,” explains Wolfgang Kalny, CTO of Smart Digital.

FlashBlade as a Central Part of the High-End Infrastructure

Complex image evaluations and algorithms require high-performance IT infrastructure. The company has been using FlashBlade since day one. FlashBlade delivers the high performance necessary for the complex evaluation of the data recorded by the drones. In addition to the internal team, SDSH can fall back on a large network of external experts and various service providers. The Viennese data-center service provider WNT manages the operation. Just one SDSH employee can maintain the self-controlled storage system, which improves the efficiency of the small team. 

Huge Amounts of Data, Demanding Analysis

When a storm, flood, drought, or forest fire damages an agricultural area, drones collect images and data from the air. Insurance companies use the data to precisely and quickly determine the damage. “With a drone overflight, the insurer receives secure information about the overall damage situation in its claims processing system. This helps to ensure that claims can be processed more quickly and truthfully, benefiting both insurers and policyholders,” says Kalny.

To provide customers with the details they need, the drones record a large amount of image data during the flight, generating 50MB of image data per second. A drone flight usually takes around an hour, resulting in 180GB of data. That adds up to nearly one petabyte of image and measurement data every year. 

FlashBlade is essential to manage this huge amount of data as well as to run the software and algorithms that go with it. One algorithm developed by SDSH detects damage to high-voltage lines. In-house software uses another algorithm to analyze vegetation in agriculture for sowing, irrigation, and harvest planning. With FlashBlade, all development and production processes for analysis, calculation, and storage occur in a highly efficient and fast manner.

“We are a small team and work in a completely new industry. We cannot afford to have an employee spend hours on complex IT. Everything has to be done quickly, easily, and with minimal effort. This is where the simplicity of Pure comes into play. We can concentrate on our business model and remain agile in order to deliver new services more quickly and easily scale,” says Kalny.

SDSH sees Pure as a growth accelerator. The company’s long-term goal is to establish the use of automated AI for pattern recognition in various use cases to reliably detect errors and damage to infrastructure systems and enable predictive maintenance work. The maintenance of offshore wind farms with drones is also likely in the future with the help of Pure. Increasing the availability of such critical infrastructure systems will have a big financial impact on the company.

SDSH aims to grow significantly over the next few years. Pure will play a significant part in this.

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