Drones take flight at CEDIA 2015, show off their potential to integrators


They’ve been a popular topic of conversation in everyday conversations among aviation fanatics, they’ve been put under the microscope by Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration, and they can capture some pretty incredible images with everything from the users cell phone to high-end DSLR cameras. But what, exactly, can drones provide the custom integrator industry?

That’s what Stampede and Unmanned Vehicle University set out to explore during CEDIA 2015, taking place this week at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

With the help of drone manufactures like Walkera, DJI, xFold, and Vision Aerial, Stampede and UVU dove into various applications for drones for custom integrators, and even demoed some of the drones on-hand in the Drone Pavilion’s Flying Cage—a netted area on the show floor where the devices could be safely operated.

Among the topics covered in various educational sessions were oil, gas, and energy industry applications; 3D mapping with drones (Stampede’s Eric Jameson talked about how a swarm of drones was used recently to map out the Matterhorn); drone-vertising, or using drones to advertise products; ranching and livestock asset tracking and management; and even cellular, telecommunications, and wireless video support.

Kevin Kelly, COO at Stampede, explained that drones will be a near necessity in the future for integrators and a vital tool to help them in their every day jobs. Drones have the ability to safely position themselves and the cameras attached to them at such heights that they can assist in, for example, assessing potential damage to the top of a bridge or near telephone wires to get an up-close look at the wiring. From damage control to regular maintenance, drones can provide a value not realized before, all while keeping the integrator safely on the ground.

“Industry analysts predict that over the next five years, drones will be used by over 40 percent of all businesses and that by 2024, the commercial drone market will grow to represent 12 percent of the $98 billion total market,” Kelly said. “These 25-plus presentations, demos, and training sessions will equip the commercial and residential CI integrators and dealers, in virtually every virtual market, with the foundational knowledge required to take advantage of this multi-billion dollar opportunity.”

As for congressional regulation around drones, Kelly said Congress is being surprisingly quick with their work on the matter. After several years of stalling, the FAA released a set of rules for commercial drone flying, and opened up an application process where businesses could apply to have their specific drone use cases approved. In a few short months, more than 1,000 applications have been approved in a number of industries including real estate, farming, entertainment/movies, and more.

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