Drones are becoming increasingly important in assisting first responders and law enforcement officials in the area of surveillance, according to Stampede President & COO Kevin Kelly, who today asserted that this increase in drone usage offers ProAV dealers an unprecedented new opportunity in security, live event, and law enforcement surveillance applications.
“It should come as no surprise that one of the most immediate and promising applications of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is in the area of surveillance,” Kelly said. “Law enforcement officers, first responders, live event producers — anyone engaged in the critically important tasks of security and surveillance are quickly understanding the benefits of drones, and the FAA is beginning to allow their use for these applications.”
Just last month, according to Kelly, the Michigan State Police department became the first police force in the nation to receive statewide authorization by the FAA to use drones for law enforcement purposes. After reviewing the department’s safety and program procedures, the FAA approved the use of an unmanned aircraft to photograph crash sites, search for lost people, inspect natural disasters and conduct surveillance.
“All of these applications are casebook examples of how an exciting new technology like drones can be immediately incorporated by ProAV dealers into their product mix,” Kelly added. “Our industry, collectively, has the dealer network with the expertise in the video category and the vertical market end-user relationships required to seamlessly integrate drones into meaningful solutions that save time, money and in some cases, lives."
According to Kelly, two issues have stood in the way of making the use of drones a practical reality for customers who need and rely upon cost-effective surveillance solutions in their day-to- day life — concerns about privacy and the availability of educational resources to train drone operators. “In my opinion, both of these concerns can now be addressed in a way that allows for this remarkable new technology to quickly become a mainstream part of 21st century surveillance,” Kelly commented.
The FAA has made it very clear that it is in the process of developing standards and guidelines for the safe and legal use of drones in commercial applications, in ways that do not violate an individual’s right to privacy. The guiding principle in this process is to make sure that drones are used, not in a broad general way, but rather in an controlled environment where the owner/operator would have a right to have a security professional present. “The altitude limit of 500 feet further ensures that drones used for surveillance will not be used to monitor the activities of the at large general population,” Kelly added.
Secondly, Kelly said, there is now a very clear path forward for ProAV dealers seeking to offer their drone customers a complete solution. “Thanks to a strategic alliance Stampede has formed with Unmanned Vehicle University (www.uxvuniversity.com) ProAV dealers will now be able to purchase and resell to their customers specific certified courses that will enable them to operate drones in a safe and sanctioned way,” he added.
Unmanned Vehicle University is now designing dedicated manufacturer based product training that is customized to show vertical market specific dealers how to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into their product offerings to customers. Finally, there is a way to educate dealers on how to integrate drones into their commercial offering and then provide the necessary training to both their employees on the category and their customers on how to operate the drones, providing a complete turnkey solution. What’s more, the dealers will profit when they resell UVU’s unique training courses.
“The size commercial drone market will grow to be 12% of the $98-billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade,” Kelly added. “This partnership with UVU will help our customers to be ready to go when these licensing and training regulations are finalized. It will also allow our dealers to offer UVU’s training courses to their end-users as part of their camera drone offering and profit on every class they sell.”