Drones have gained prominence in recent years as they trickle down into the consumer market, but according to Stampede president and COO, Kevin Kelly, pro AV dealers could have a new revenue stream with security, live event and law enforcement surveillance applications.

In the US the Michigan State Police department became the first police force to gain authorisation by state regulators to use drones for law enforcement purposes.

The police department hopes that drones could help it with taking photographs of crash sites, searching for lost people, inspecting natural disasters and conducting general surveillance.

According to Kevin: “The size of the commercial drone market will grow to be 12% of the £62-billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade.”

Kevin believes that more AV dealers should look at offering drones, given the expertise in the video category and the end-user relations required to ensure drones are integrated into meaningful solutions in a way that can save money, time and ‘in some cases, lives’.

Concerns about privacy and the availability of educational resources to train drone operators are cited by Kevin as issues standing in the way of drone use.

The FAA, the US’ Federal Aviation Authority, has signalled that it is working on rectifying these issues by developing a set of guidelines and standards for the safe and legal use of drones in commercial applications. The FAA is also taking into consideration individuals’ rights to privacy.

Kevin believes that Stampede’s partnership with the Unmanned Vehicle University can help pro AV dealers out when it comes to selling drones.

The strategic alliance between the two allows pro AV dealers to offer their customers a certified training course that will enable them to operate drones in a safe and sanctioned way.

While just about anyone in the US can use a drone, in the UK the law is a bit stricter. For instance, the drone must be within 500m horizontally and 400ft vertically of the drone operator, and not of the line of sight.

The UK’s CAA also prevents drones from flying within 150m of any congested area or within 50m of any vehicle or structure not under the control of the drone operator, meaning commercial applications in the UK are rather difficult under current regulations.

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