Security Business

JUL 2019

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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34 Security Business / / July 2019 Cover Story Money from the Sky The security integrator's guide to launching a complementary drone services business By Steve Surfaro Are you ready for a new kind of recurring revenue? With the world poised on the precipice of converting commercial drones into true sources of revenue, forward-looking security integrators should be getting ready for the challenge. The data collected on a single drone-based service run can significantly add to profits – there is money in the air. The drone industry is expected to grow to more than $82.1 billion in annual revenue by 2025, according to The Economic Report. While this is largely driven by the consumer market, global commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) revenues will reach $15B in 2022, growing on average of 50 percent per year over the next five years. Although UAV hardware will remain a substantial market, an Interact Analysis report found that UAV services will be the biggest driver of revenue growth over the next five years – predicting that revenues generated by UAV services will exceed $8B by 2022, which is nearly double the revenue coming from the UAV hardware itself. These services are driving the business opportunity from the security angle. A single drone mission can gather data that can be monetized by security integrators in many ways, including perimeter security design; a city or state’s mapping data; potential civil engineering improvements like dams, washes and flood zones; inspection of critical transportation infrastructure such as bridges, as well as solar panels or building roofs; and the list goes on. “Drivers wanted” signs will soon be replaced by “Licensed Drone Pilots Needed.” A different skillset will be desired, and those remote pilot gamers and radio-controlled vehicle enthusiasts may finally get paid for their often-expensive hobbies. But first, integrators need to know their resources. Understanding your own drone program’s needs is a critical start, followed by identifying needs by company, market, city, state and federal authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ). You can become a pilot or add one to your team, acquire a license, get insurance, and then start focusing on markets and leveraging the new drones as a service. If you are already offering video surveillance systems, you may be tempted to focus your drone-related business on detection or so-called anti-drone technologies; in fact, I overheard an ISC West attendee say that “there are as many anti-drone systems in the exhibit hall as drones.” Anti-drone tech will be the topic of the next article, but here I will focus on drones and services and the markets where they are most appropriate. Getting Started Setting up a drone sale and/or service business is similar to setting up a dealership or franchise for a traditional security product line. Partner with a manufacturer and focus on a few products that you can speak confidentially about to an end-user. As it is with any security products, training and expertise are the keys. As far as compliance, Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regula-

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