The Next Big Thing: Drones

December 28, 2014 | Event Technology

A Drone, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is an aircraft without a pilot. UAV’s are generally either controlled by a remote pilot or can operate autonomously via onboard computers.

There are many different types of UAVs, with various purposes—but all include a small aircraft, usually under 55 pounds, and a control system. Much of the attention at this time and where most event industry potential lies is in drones with mounted camera systems. These small, remote-controlled cameras can include onboard software to control, stabilize or automate the position and tracking of a camera in relation to a subject and are capable of live streaming content wirelessly.

Amazon and DHL have been testing drones with aspirations to use them as delivery vehicles. Computer programmers, creative agencies and startups are pushing the technology, particularly as a tool for capturing unique video footage. Marketers are already honing campaigns around the devices, as well as incorporating their use into all sorts of experiential activations.

How can you use it at your next event?

This technology is in the midst of rapid development and adoption and has vast implications on how you capture, stream and broadcast event content—and possibly fulfill event-related sales. Camera-mounted drones provide an unprecedented point of view, delivering unique content that will capture an audience's attention. Combined with custom software development, drones can create next-level engagements that until now have not been achievable any other way. Delivering a product to a unique location, allowing consumers to control an event stream remotely, tracking subject matter or delivering a choreographed, floating laser light show.

3 Things to Remember:

  1. Film Your Crowds: Show the scale and impact of your event by capturing amazing aerial footage of your crowds. Great stuff for social media posts, post-event footage and marketing materials for next year's event.

  2. Find a Perch for Time Lapse: Film that setup or event time lapse footage, showing the scale and impressiveness of the event without the expensive equipment and labor typically needed to set a camera at a bird's-eye view.

  3. Be Aware of Regulations: This is still somewhat of a gray area. Use of drones for commercial activations in public airspace still requires a permit from the FAA, though changes are coming soon.

Look for FAA regulations to become clearer in the next 12 months. Follow the trends and the laws, and find developers, event agencies and production houses who are savvy in the technology so you don’t miss out on this exciting trend.

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Posted by Jamie Barlow | Request as a Speaker

Devoted creative servant and quiet sage of technology. Inspired by nature and motivated by mediocrity. Digital team lead @sparksmarketing.