21-23 Aug 2024
ICC, Sydney


Jan 23, 2018

At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.

Are the security companies confident in delivering close to an air tight security to their clients? One can’t help but feel their pain with increasing thefts in both commercial and residential sectors under their guard.

Security Companies are investing the money, working on slim margins, increasing their work force but still at times cannot deliver and stand to lose business. This may not be a reflection to their ability but their capability to harness all information which is critical for them.  This they presently cannot, due to a clear and present problem – limited situational awareness.

It is the small parcel of information these companies get using conventional means; security cameras; intruder alarms; manned patrols and its predetermined frequency. The problem is that it is becoming far too easy to break these links and find a way in and out of the domain of these security companies.

Re-thinking security is fast becoming a necessity, rather than a choice, for a growing number of organisations in this industry. The rethink is fast leading to a solution coming from one of the fastest evolving industries in the world – Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Visualise a drone sitting atop a shopping centre in its own weather proof hangar on the roof. It comes on when the doors are locked, taking off and sending back a 4k live feed of bird’s eye view to the command centre. This turns to thermal imaging when it gets dark. Working seamlessly with intruder alarms and their own thermal imaging cameras, they can easily detect intruders & focus search lights on them, geo-tag the location and even execute a reporting protocol. This immediately takes away the limitation of looking at things from a human height-of-eye and gives the organisation an additional capability to deter.

Given the CASA regulations of not flying a drone within 30m of a person and other complexities, drones cannot be used for residential surveillance as yet. However possibilities of using drones within the security industry are galore. The business case for locations such as construction sites is there where theft of machinery is a big problem. Drones can now stay longer in the air, some with re-charging capabilities, sustain winds up to 40km/hour and even fly in light rain. If flashing strobe lights of a drone in the sky are not a deterrent enough then their arsenal of search lights, loud hailers and ability to track intruders till they are caught has definitely shown positive results in Europe and North America. Oil pipeline security, long term car parks, industrial perimeters, port infrastructure – to name a few – are well suited to benefit from a variety of drones offering a variety of solutions to deter intruders and secure business for an important industry.

Drones are not a disruptive technology. Security companies can integrate drones into their existing framework and better use their human resources, potentially cutting about 30% of their costs in wages, expense, claims and loss of business by the use of drones. With such benefits, its not if this technology is integrated into security activities, its just a matter of when.

Ken Chaddha is the director of YellowFIN Robotics offering drone services to the security and surveillance, asset inspection, mapping and surveying industries, and a CASA Certified UAV Pilot.

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