500below Announces Public Launch of Drone Support App

App Built on World’s First Peer-to-Peer Network for Drone Owners

LAS VEGAS — (BUSINESS WIRE) — September 7, 2016 — 500below, the first-ever drone owners’ peer-to-peer, on demand support/training network, debuted the public version of its smartphone application today in Las Vegas at InterDrone, the largest commercial drone show in North America. (500below is in booth 1106 at the show.)

The announcement comes on the heels of the new Rule 107 taking effect as well as a successful beta test for 500below’s mobile application, which incorporated feedback from experienced drone hobbyists and commercial drone pilots – and one airline owner.

“I’ve been flying my drone in all sorts of environments – including Necker Island, Richard Branson’s Caribbean retreat – where I’ve been fortunate to join with other entrepreneurs who want to learn from Richard,” said 500below Founder Bill Kimberlin. “Recently, I was thrilled to find that Richard posted to his blog a video I made during one of my trips to Necker Island.”

(See Branson’s blog entry here: https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/mapping-necker-island-skies. And click here to learn how Kimberlin and Branson got together: http://bit.ly/2crIIvs.)

“A big problem with a hyper-growth market like drones is not just keeping up with a rapidly changing technology, but it’s also finding skilled technical support. To date, the drone community has relied on blogs and online posts for researching issues with the product. As manufacturers continue to produce every type drone imaginable, the lack of skilled technical support and feature training has become a big problem worth solving in the market,” said Kimberlin. “With the launch of our support network accessed via a mobile app, pilots will be able to form a collaborative community focused on providing quick assistance to other pilots in need.”

The app, which uses a patent-pending, Uber-like model and matching algorithm, will connect drone owners who are members of 500below to highly experienced drone pilots who fly the same types of drones and have opted in to provide support on the specific device. The member drone owner requesting support from the network will pay a fee if the support mission was a success. The fee will be shared between the supporting pilot and 500below.

“This solves a huge problem to the many drone manufacturers that are focused primarily on innovation and sales, and don’t have the resources to provide robust technical support,” said Kimberlin.

Drone owners in the United States are now able to download the app via the Apple Store and Android Marketplace. In its first public phase, the 500below app will be restricted to pilots in America, with plans to roll out globally starting with Canada, UK and Australia in the near future.

The 500below platform will act as a community orchestrator for its members and will continue to rely on the pilot community to suggest direction and provide feedback on the best ways to support other pilots.

To learn more about 500below, visit their website: http://500below.com.

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