Are Drones the Security Solution You’re Missing?

Are you responsible for keeping large inventories safe from theft and damage?

Or, do you manage a team of security personnel, monitoring ports, outdoor warehouses, supply yards, or something similar?

If so, you know how hard it is to keep thieves and other dangers from causing major losses.

I know your pain. I’ve been in your shoes.

Having been responsible for large supply yards myself, I know the headaches and frustrations of managing facilities like these.

Labor is expensive, inventory management can be a nightmare, and all the while, you’re constantly on the lookout for theft. 

Because every facility is different, determining the right mix of people and equipment for asset protection is no small task.

While some tell you it’s as easy as hiring security guards and installing a few cameras, the truth is, it’s not that simple.

Sure, security guards and cameras help deter thieves, but they’re also easily avoided. Cameras are stuck in a single location, and guards on foot have expenses and limitations of their own.

Worse still, security cameras can even be hacked by savvy criminals, especially in extensive facilities.

Sometimes, you just need a better solution.

So, what if there really was an alternative? One that’s more mobile, reliable, safer, and less expensive?

If you’re looking for a way to cover large areas in a hurry, react quickly to disturbances, and improve the safety of operations all the while, it’s time to consider using drones for security purposes.

Can the advantages of UAVs help you?

If so, what type of drone is right for your situation? Do you need a drone & pilot, or a drone-in-a-box solution?

Let’s jump in and see if we can help answer some of those questions for you. 

Limitations of Traditional Security

You might be wondering, “Why should I use drones for security? Why not just use standard cameras and security guards, instead?” It’s a common, valid question.

In truth, for some cases, such as small supply yards or warehouses, drones probably aren’t your best option.

UAVs come at a cost, and smaller facilities might be easily monitored by a guard or two, or even a few cameras. 

But, the larger your facility is, the harder it is to monitor.

People are restricted to spaces they can move within or around. Fences, buildings, and even landscaping all inhibit their movement and slow down response times.

And, unless they’re equipped with a vehicle (an added expense), travelling on foot isn’t exactly the fastest way to get around.

In large facilities, it could take five or ten minutes to patrol from one end to the other. And, if buildings or fencing blocks their path, it could take even longer.

When it comes to standard security cameras, they offer pros and cons, too.

Although they’re always recording and aren’t terribly expensive, they’re also static positions with blind spots. And, since they’re typically placed in the same sorts of locations, like roof peaks or poles, they’re easy to spot & identify by would-be thieves.

Additionally, there are times when security cameras aren’t easy or practical to install. Large, open areas offer few locations for installation (at least not without the construction of obvious poles), while areas under active construction might not have the electrical systems in place to handle the needs of a camera – especially in a constantly evolving environment.

Silhouette of an electrical engineer flying a drone inspecting electrical lines
Recent: 4 Reasons Drones Outperform Crewed Aircraft in Industrial Inspections

Benefits of Using Drones for Security

But, as flying cameras, drones can go places people can’t.

And, with the ability to approach from nearly any angle, drones eliminate blind spots and monitor areas where placing cameras is difficult.

Easily flying at speeds of 30-40 mph or more, drones can monitor much larger areas than a person or a single static camera.

Additionally, drones can be outfitted with different payloads to suit your needs: standard cameras, night vision, thermal imaging, or even loudspeakers. 

Then, there’s the safety factor to consider.

If criminals break into your facility, would you rather have a drone go investigate the danger, or a human with the potential to be injured or killed? Using drones, the worse thing that happens is the loss of the UAV system.

Even if theft isn’t a major concern for your operation, suppose a fire breaks out in your supply yard.

Again, isn’t the drone a better asset to risk than sending a person to investigate the potential problem?  

Finally, there’s the cost factor.

Traditional security guards require fair wages, training, health insurance, and other benefits. Not to mention potential problems if your employee is injured while doing his job.

Suddenly, drones for security solutions look that much more attractive as a tool to augment your security presence. 

The Drone-in-a-Box Solution

If you’re already sold on the merits of using a drone for security, you’re not alone.

Drones come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Sometimes, deciding which is best for your security needs is a challenge.

One particularly attractive option for more extensive facilities are drone-in-a-box solutions, like the DJI Dock.

Unlike typical commercial drones, in which the aircraft, remote, and pilot make up a UAV system, drone-in-a-box systems take the pilot out of the equation.

The idea behind a drone-in-a-box is to have a single location where the drone can take off, fly a pre-programmed flight path, land, charge, and repeat – 24/7 with little-to-no human intervention.

Now, if your operations require high mobility and jobs on-the-go, drone-in-a-box solutions aren’t always ideal. After all, they do require a continuous power source.

But, for more permanent locations like ports and warehouses, or conducting mining or large-scale construction products, these all-in-one UAV platforms are perfect.

Once their flight patterns are programmed in, the drone-in-a-box takes care of the rest. They’ll take off, fly the route, return to base to recharge automatically.

Just imagine a drone monitoring your supply yard, alerting you to problems in real-time, with little effort on your part.

While it might sound too good to be true, there are already several drone-in-a-box solutions available on the market and ready for use.

Some can even maintain incredibly long periods of flight as tethered drones, releasing the cable when necessary and transforming into a free-flight UAV.

Final Thoughts

Keeping large facilities safe and secure is a difficult task.

While security guards and traditional camera systems are great for some situations, they’re still limited by cost, speed, and ease of avoidance.

However, drones are the perfect solution to these problems. Though the initial investment can be pricey, it’s easily recouped when compared to the costs of human employees.

While UAVs might not completely replace cameras or personnel on the ground, drones for security are one of the best force multipliers available.

With a bird’s eye view and ability to be equipped with night vision or thermal images, they’re able to detect potential problems missed by standard equipment on the ground.  

Drones for security, and particularly drone-in-a-box systems, just might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

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