ASIS 2016 Recap: Key Takeaways for the UAV Industry


ASIS 2016 was billed as one of the largest security expositions in the world boasting over 20,000 security professionals from around the globe in attendance and the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The show features the latest and greatest in technology and gear for all facets of the security industry. Especially telling was the number of UAV companies exhibiting at ASIS 2016; two. Yep, just two.

Nightingale Security captured immense interest with their nested Robot as a Service (RaaS) application. It's basically a drone that emerges from it's hardened "nest" to fly a preprogramed waypoint route and send live imagery from the drone back to operators and other interested partners.

The service is unique is that it is based on a monthly subscription fee or annual contract. Nightingale Security installs, integrates, and maintains all hardware and software. The system offers autonomous takeoff, patrol, landing, and recharging, and is multi-sensor capable. Flight time is rated at 30 minutes, with a 45 minute recharge time and a top speed of 64 kilometers per hour. The operational radius is 4 km.

Nightingale's live demos attracted quite the crowd. Jinoo Jain, UAV Flight Systems Engineer, took the crowd through a typical patrol scenario. The drone was in California, we were in Florida. A noticeable lag time of approximately 5 seconds was apparent over the Verizon mobile network for the flight commands Jain initiated. The video quality was decent, bur certainly not as clear a typical Lightbridge connection from a DJI bird. Nevertheless, Nightingale Security broke the ice for the drone market as the only vendor at ASIS 2016. You thought there were two UAV's? There were.

The other UAV on display at ASIS 2016 was not a drone, but a balloon -- a SmartBalloon to be precise. The ALTA Tactical SmartBalloon system by Altametry, Inc. was on display courtesy of their national sales distributor, BluTek Solutions of Florida. The ALTA system floats in the air like a docile cloud thanks to its helium lift gas. The system BluTek had was an ALTA BatVu system which combines two low light HD cameras with a FLIR thermal imaging camera offering amazing nighttime capabilities. The ALTA SmartBalloon system was also a big hit according to Dennis Weiner, President of Blutek Solutions. "We are really amazed by the level of interest in the ALTA SmartBalloon system," said Weiner. "For most of the day, we had people two or three deep waiting to speak to us and learn more about the capabilities of the SmartBalloon. It was really amazing."

So what are the key takeaways from ASIS 2016 for the commercial UAV industry? First, the fact that there were only two exhibitors at ASIS 2016 shows that security is an industry in which UAV's have yet to significantly penetrate. The private security industry is one of the fasted growing categories in the U.S. It is projected to grow of a pace of 5% per year to USD $68 billion in 2019, according to the Freedonia Group.

Reading the tea leaves would leave one to presume that a tremendous amount of upside market potential exists for both of these rapidly growing markets (security and UAV) to integrate more tightly. The second takeaway was evident by the crowds and interest levels at each of the UAV vendor's exhibit booths; security industry executives are extremely excited about the growing potential of UAV's for their industry.

Based on this assessment, ASIS 2017 in Dallas, Texas should hold immense opportunity for UAV vendors who seek to penetrate the security industry with well-conceived solutions. We look forward to 2017!

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