When it comes to drones, the question is not if this technology will dominate the market or not—it’s a matter of when.
This was the message driven home to CI and SSI guests in the joint education session, “Emerging Opportunities and Applications for Drones,” which took place at the Total Tech Summit in Atlanta, Georgia this past November.
On stage was Eric Jameson, UAV product manager for Stampede, who has transferred his decades of experience in the Air Force to overseeing the much smaller, yet exponentially advancing, aerial technology of drones.
“I would say my background has really given me the ability to see what’s possible,” says Jameson.
Jameson began his presentation by noting Stampede’s impressive recent growth. The distributor of A/V products just went global this past year and will soon enter its 20th year of business. But soon after, he dove into the true depth of what drones can bring to both the CI and SSI industries and how integration professionals can capitalize on this evolution.
“We tend to be on the cutting edge, and our goal is to help you guys move into areas that you might not be familiar with in order to monetize it,” Jameson told the audience.
A Billion Dollar Industry
In discussing drones, Jameson knew how to capture the audience’s attention immediately … with dollar signs.
“It’s all in the Bs,” teased Jameson. “When people talk about drones, they are always talking about billions of dollars, not millions. It’s a big deal.”
As drones advance, Jameson stressed that professionals take advantage of the technology by communicating the benefits with their clients directly. Drones are a complicated product, which is ideal for the integration industry.
“We don’t want commoditized products in this business. We want complicated products that clients need us for in order to install. If they can just pick it up at Best Buy and install it themselves, what’s the point?” asks Jameson.
“The bottom line is … somebody is going to sell drones to your clients. It could be you.”
Key Advice – Solution Before Product
One of the most crucial pieces of advice offered by Stampede is that integrators should never lead a conversation with the product. Drones are impressive, yes, but integrators should avoid talking about specific products directly and rather lead with how the ultimate solution will better serve the client.
“Discuss the solution and integration instead,” says Jameson. “Ask the client, ‘How are you going to tie this drone into your video management system?’ Then, help them find that solution.”
Following the session, most attendees seemed to agree with Stampede’s approach. If the market goes the way it is expected to, then drones present extremely favorable business opportunities for the integration professional.
“I think it’s very promising, but it comes down to the application of it,” says Michael Shinn, technology operations and marketing professional for IMS Tech Services.