The physical security market is set to be worth $120.3 billion by 2025, according to a new market research report by MarketsandMarkets. While the figure is huge, it is perhaps unsurprising. The rising number of terrorist attacks, and technological advancements of wireless technology in security systems over the last few years, have been major drivers behind the increasing number of physical security solutions.

One such solution is autonomous surveillance drones, which are revolutionizing the security of sensitive industrial sites. These drones can be operated by security officers from their standard control interface. They can also be connected via 4G and 5G, meaning the drones and their control centers can be geographically dissociated.

With no one size fits all solution, there have always been different ways to tackle the plethora of security threats. However, the increasing use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as they are often called, is changing that. Fully automated drones can be operated by security agents, with no pilot certification, and are directly integrated into existing security networks and processes. But aren’t they expensive? And won’t the technology turn out to be just a passing trend?

The answer to both questions is no. There are multiple advantages and benefits that the use of autonomous surveillance drones could deliver to surveillance and operation teams, including improvements to overall safety levels, more efficient ways of working and cost savings. Let us look at how.


The benefits: quicker decisions and a safer environment for all

By the very nature of remotely operated devices, drones do not require an on-site team. Providing aerial surveillance all day, every day, security and safety teams can schedule remote patrols and follow the drone’s trajectory and video feedbacks in real time via their remote devices. In the event of a security breach, such as a break-in, the autonomous drone automatically flies to the alerted point, to instantly review the situation and provide a quick situational analysis. Security teams can take control of the drone’s camera remotely, to identify the perpetrator, and prepare an intervention. And in addition to this, the visual reminder or knowledge that UAV surveillance is in place, can often act as a deterrent to would-be criminals.

As such, safety and security managers of sensitive or critical sites are able to pool their human, financial and material resources more effectively. Drones can be deployed on sites all over the world, and still be operated from a single control center. The surveillance technology augments on-site security officers in their simple, tedious, or dangerous missions, allowing them to not only protect themselves from close contact with the public, but also to focus on decision-making tasks.


Adapting security solutions in a post-pandemic world

Throughout 2020, we have all witnessed human-led workforces, across multiple sectors, making major adjustments to how they work and deliver services in response to the post-pandemic world. In the security sector, operatives are still needed to monitor and react to abnormalities and suspicious behavior, but whilst keeping human interaction to a minimum and adhering to extra precautionary measures.

During these challenging times, the adoption of autonomous drones provides an additional layer of mobility and flexibility in delivering essential security and law enforcement tasks, but with minimized human contact. Added to this, these autonomous drones do not need ‘sick days’, therefore guaranteeing continued surveillance activity. Take for example, the vast size of some industrial sites (such as ports, logistic depots, and nuclear plants), the number of people working there, along with the repetition of certain surveillance tasks. In these scenarios, security forces need the assurance of a COVID-19 safe working environment, which remotely operated surveillance drones can certainly help deliver on.


Delivering a secure future

Whether it is digitizing the way businesses work, driving efficiencies, becoming more sustainable or even of course, the pandemic, there is no denying that autonomous technology has a huge part to play in reinforcing and protecting humans in the face of health and security threats.

Using drones for remote monitoring is paving the way for new applications in security and safety, and as we look ahead into 2021, we look forward to seeing drones play more of a role in bolstering the operational efficiency of security measures.


This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.