The technology required for today’s private security infrastructure continues to evolve at a dizzying pace. In recent years, the commercial availability of drones has been forcing security companies to reassess their operations. Helicopter drones are becoming extremely popular for both commercial and consumer use. This year, 4 million drones were sold to consumers, and estimates put drone sales on track to reach 16 million by 2020. The drastic number of benefits that drones can provide make them an increasingly important part of private security services. Security companies are already using drones on a regular basis for both closed circuit video recording and as a way to complement existing security guards.
Enhanced surveillance is one of the main benefits to the deployment of drones as far as private security is concerned. They are able to monitor large areas of external property for businesses, estates, government facilities, or any other site where security is needed. Drones provide extensive coverage that’s far superior to that which video surveillance can currently provide. For any large facility with multiple entrances that needs effective security, drones are especially useful. They can provide many benefits to surveillance and security, including: HD recordings of any person entering the property, photos of unauthorized or suspicious individuals, vehicles, and license plates. They can also autonomously provide real-time alerts to security and law enforcement in the event of suspicious activity. Drones can help to eliminate blind spots on a property and are easily equipped with sensors, including thermal imaging and night vision lenses to make sure that the property is protected, even at night. As drone technology continues to develop, their utility and application will continue to expand.
The ability to act as an airborne camera gives drones another useful advantage in the private security industry. They have the capability to launch at a moment’s notice – even autonomously. A drone can be deployed anywhere, including to areas that may be dangerous to personnel, like a situation involving an active shooter. Once in the air, drones can hover over an area, easily providing an aerial view that stationary cameras simply cannot offer. They are also capable of delivering a 360-degree view, which a standard security camera cannot. This means that the drone’s camera will have an uninterrupted view of anything under surveillance.
Other incredible benefits of drone cameras over traditional surveillance cameras include: The ability to operate out-of-reach of an intruder, preventing the devices from being tampered with, disabled, or blinded. A drone can follow a suspect on the run, keeping track of their location to assist authorities when they arrive. For vast areas of land like national parks and farms, drones are an effective way to prevent poachers or track predators. They can also check on valuable assets in remote areas like machinery, pipelines, and wind farms.
Drone technology works together seamlessly with private security guards, helping to improve their ability to perform their duties. Private security drones also help guards by integrating into and communicating with security systems. User-friendly interfaces allow security guards to easily control the drones, offering them the additional ability to zoom in on a specific area, send immediate alerts, and program various autonomous drone patrols. Drones are easily adapted to most existing security software, so adding a security drone to an existing operation is a relatively seamless process.
Improved safety is a substantial benefit of private security drones, since they are becoming increasingly more affordable and can be sent into harm’s way to assess almost any dangerous situation. For example, a drone can be quickly deployed to evaluate potential problems – like intruders or even a prison fight – faster than an officer can. Once in position, it can assess the risk so personnel know how to properly respond to the threat. In addition to visual surveillance, drones can analyze images and use audio and video sensors to listen or look for potential danger like gunfire or explosives. The most sophisticated systems can tell the difference between gunfire and explosions and can automatically alert the proper authorities to the emergency.
There are, of course, security challenges facing drone technology today, with the main threat being data theft. This is a major concern, since sensitive data is being transmitted from drones to operators all over the world, with countless types of drones equipped with any range of security — from none at all, to highly sophisticated military grade encryption. Drones can be just as vulnerable to hackers and security threats as any device that connects to the Internet, whether they’re in flight or not.
Government regulation is the other major barrier to the commercial use of drones. Legislation places strict demands on private security’s ability to freely operate drones. Right now, commercial drones in the US must be under 55 lbs, and kept in the operator’s line of sight. If they are 55 lbs or more, they must be registered with the FAA.
When compared to most major security systems, today’s drones are relatively inexpensive. The price of a drone itself can be as low as a few hundred dollars, and unlike traditional surveillance systems, there are no installation costs. Drone flights also cost a fraction of the what traditional manned aircraft can cost if you need to secure a large area. Unlike human security guards, drones don’t require breaks or 8-hour workdays, so they never need to change shifts and can be operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays, making them the perfect addition to security efforts.