Tech Tuesday: Are Drones Ready To Take Off?

12518_1000x1000The past few weeks we’ve seen a lot of predictions in event technology for 2015 and one consistent technology mentioned is drones. For those unfamiliar, a drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (more commonly called UAV) or flying robot. Drones differ from radio-controlled aircraft, in that they are typically guided by GPS. They can also carry things like a camera or a sensor and have the ability to transmit the data wirelessly back to a base. The real questions on everybody’s mind are how are drones being used at events and can we expect them to become mainstream in the near future?

There are a lot of possibilities for drone usage at our events, but only a few are being used right now. That’s due to the safety precautions many events are exercising by forbidding drone usage in areas where attendees congregate. Drones could do some harm if used improperly.

Photos and Videos

Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-12.29.23-AMOne of the most popular drone uses is taking photo and video and even livestreaming events. Drones have the ability to fly over large crowds and show a brand new perspective, particularly for large events. Imagine walking onto a tradeshow floor and watching a live overhead view of the entire tradeshow floor. Or how about getting an awesome photo of all your attendees in one picture at the opening reception? The possibilities for photos and videos of your event are endless. You can expect to see a lot of event photographers pushing this add-on in the near future.

Data Capture

Big data and analytics is an important growing trend in the events industry. Drones will have the ability to scan and track traffic patterns on a tradeshow floor. Event planners will be able to generate realtime mapping of their meetings and react to problems immediately onsite. They’ll also be able to take the data generated throughout a conference and adjust pricing structures in the future based on traffic flow and crowding.

Virtual Attendees

Robotics_1You’ve probably seen those Segway-looking remote-controlled robots with an iPad attached roaming around an expo floor. Drones have all but killed any possibility of using the Johnny 5 look-alike as a remote attendee. Drones have the ability to connect face-to-face attendees to virtual attendees. By deploying first-person view, remote attendees can experience the event online through the eyes of a drone.

Site Visits

If you haven’t heard of Plantour, you will soon. Web-based tool Plantour (parent company Freeman) has announced enhancements to its virtual venue tours with drone technology. Now you’ll be able to experience venue fly-throughs, user-controlled 360 imagery, and real-life views of meeting spaces and facilities. This is a game changer for meeting planners who cant afford to visit a site in person. You’ll also be able to see real time venue updates for those that are under construction.

These are only some of the possibilities for drone usage at events and conferences. For more information about new drone technology and products check out Parrot, Skycatch, and DJI: just a few of the many companies working to launch drone technology into mainstream events.

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