What exactly is a drone?
Well let’s start with the basic definition “an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight”. So how does this differentiate from an RC plane? RC or radio-controlled aircraft need to be manually piloted, are typically made of light-weight and cheap materials, have rough flights and are prone to unwanted gyrations. While a drone is very similar to a RC plane, a drone is more specialized in its controls and functions. Drones are typically guided by GPS, but soon this will also be possible through vision and other sensors. They also carry some sort of payload, which at a bare minimum includes cameras or other sensors as well as some method to transmit data wirelessly back to a base. The stigma of the word ‘drone’ has transformed in the last decade and can invoke mixed emotions. Some have termed their drones ‘UAVs’ or ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ because of negative connotations associated with ‘drone’.
How are they being used?
Outside of military usage and the well known Amazon Prime Air delivery, drones are popping up in some really interesting places. Technologically-advanced farmers now use drones to manage water and fertilizer distribution on their crops. They are being explored by some local law enforcement agencies as first responders that can respond to accidents more effectively – like a chemical spill. And drones are gaining popularity among scientists who want to track and record data in hard to reach places.
What can they do for me?
- Selfies are so last year! Take a dronie and watch the likes come pouring in.
- Capturing the wide angle beauty of landscapes, as well as reaching those hard to get to picture perfect spots
- Some hobbyists have used drones to capture whatever outdoor activities they happen to be doing, shooting video of a rafting trip, say, from 100 feet in the air. (Some models come with tech that follows you along the ground via a sensor, always hovering above your head.)
- Others have used them to get a bird’s-eye view of special events, including family picnics and weddings.
- Fly one over your house to look for missing shingles or clogged gutters.
- Infrared sensors allow you to scan your house to check the efficiency of insulation
What does this have to do with events?
This is where it gets exciting event professionals, so listen up! Here are a few ways that drones and drone-inspired technology are already being used at meetings, trade shows, and events – along with some ideas for the future.
- Event marketers looking to break down the barrier between face-to-face and virtual events could use drones and drone-inspired technology. By deploying first-person view, remote attendees could experience the event online – from the expo floor, to general sessions and beyond.
- First person view is one of the fastest-growing areas of the hobby. A camera equipped drone is flown and beams its video to a special pair of goggles that the user wears, allowing him to see what the drone’s camera sees.
- Imagine using drones on-site at a busy, popular event. They can easily pick up on both hot spots and dead zones. Drones add to the event/tradeshow data tracking that is so relevant now.
- Does your event encompass a large space with a lot of activities? Let drones display the latest happenings across the show floor so attendees don’t feel they missed out.
- Have an exhibitor looking for an exciting new sponsorship? If it’s a fit for the exhibitor, incorporate their branding onto a wall that is displaying drone footage or better yet have a drone pulling a sponsored flag.