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Opinion: opportunities presented by camera drones

Kevin Kelly, president, COO and owner of Stampede, reveals why camera drones represent the next great sales opportunity for the pro-AV industry.

Recent industry studies forecast that over the next five years, drones will be used by 40% of all businesses and that by 2024, the commercial drone market will grow to represent 12% of the $98 billion total market. Dealers looking to capitalise on this enormous commercial sales opportunity, which also promises to pull through additional sales of traditional AV and IT components, should include camera drones into their product mix. The sales of drones are set to take off as more and more vertical market end users come to realise the enormous benefits they bring to their businesses. The simple truth is that more companies in virtually every vertical market will utilise the exciting and convenient tools that camera drones have to offer.

Camera drones are a strategic and cost-effective way to capture aerial photography in the form of digital video. The agricultural industry, for example, is an early adopter of drones to assist in daily life. Camera drones offer farmers valuable data to determine irrigation needs and help plan harvesting. Covering expansive distances, camera drones enable the private use of technology on people’s own land. Collecting data via remote control saves the farmer time, as it essentially replaces the action of getting into a pick-up truck and traversing the land. The use of camera drones also proves to be more cost-effective overall, as farmers can more accurately determine the required levels of fertiliser use, eliminating waste.

Beyond agricultural use, first responders are also adopting drones as a means to monitor dangerous situations in real time. Law enforcement, local police and firefighters will likely use aerial photography and cinematography to monitor potentially life-threatening situations like fires, floods, or traffic accidents. In case of a natural disaster, law enforcers may deploy multiple drones at once to assist in search-and-rescue initiatives. This is a more effective way to search for missing people, or to warn others to stay away from dangerous areas.

Ongoing awareness

Drones promote immediate and ongoing awareness, so that first responders can safely and effectively monitor a situation.

Educators are also adopting drones to enhance security efforts. Higher education facilities such as universities are purchasing multiple drones to act as an extension of their campus security systems. Drones provide more accurate and widespread coverage, and will help security officers to keep university students safe. K-12 environments are bound to follow, maximising the security in schools across the US.

The applications are endless, and customisable drone solutions are on the horizon. Once an end-user decides to purchase a camera drone, dealers have an opportunity to work with them on developing their content transmission and storage, along with specific component add-ons and command and control that is applicable to a specific vertical market. It all adds up to selling a small, or large, command and control solution with every drone in addition to video content editing and storage equipment. With numerous camera, content transmission and command and control options, dealers will have the opportunity to specify unique solutions that provide meaningful solutions to end-users and profits to the dealership.

Stampede is North America’s oldest and largest high value-added distributor of pro-AV solutions. In 2014, Kevin Kelly pioneered unmanned aerial vehicles and drone-based video systems with the launch of a UAV product line that is now the largest and broadest in the pro-AV industry.

Stampede pro-AV distribution