Believe it or not, flying robots – or mini drones – are quickly finding their place as a bona fide event technology option for corporate events. According to a 2015 Cievents’ blog on ‘The rise of the drones’, mini drone event technology can be used by event planners to:
- Help foster social interaction, and better engage event attendees;
- Live stream events onto screens using an aerial perspective;
- Live stream audio-visual content of guests or speakers into an event;
- Help event organisers survey potential event spaces before even selecting them.
Certain mini drones can also be used as aerial carriers for small items, while other flying robots come with extra accessories that enable them to operate on land (much like a remote-controlled car) – allowing for different visual perspectives on video recordings.
So, how do mini drones work – what is the extent of their functionality?
There are numerous mini drone models on the market. One US-based manufacturer, Parrot, has created a “connected robot” called Rolling Spider. This mini drone is smartphone-controlled and allows users to view and control video recordings, in real-time, from a range of up to 20m/66ft. Rolling Spider can reach up to 18kmh/11mph and is operated through an app that can be downloaded onto any iOS or Android smartphone. This mini drone can do flips, take aerial shots, and has a battery life that allows for eight minutes of autonomous flight and recording time.
Another Parrot model, the Bebop Drone, is fitted with a full HD, wide angle video camera. According to Parrot, it is lightweight and safe and has an embedded GPS system with Flight Map Control that allows you to pre-plan your flights. This is handy if you want to use this event technology to do some outdoor video recording for live streaming at your events.
So, now that you may be keen to try out drone technology for your next event, where do you begin?
According to this informative blog by Sean Hollister, beginner flyers should first get their hands on a cheaper drone fitted with propeller guards. This is because drones can be tricky to operate at first, and propeller guards are a great safety precaution for preventing damage to both your property and self. Hollister rates the following cost-effective mini drones as the best overall:
- The Air Hogs Helix X4 Stunt. According to Hollister, this drone is easy to control and won’t damage anything it hits as you learn to fly it. On the flipside, it’s far from speedy and it makes a terrible noise when it flies. This may mean it won’t be that inconspicuous as an event technology.
- The Syma X5C comes with a propeller guard and, for its size and price, is fitted with a pretty good camera, says Hollister. It can be flown both indoors and outdoors, is wind resistant, and has a seven-minute flight time.
The good news for South African corporate event organisers is that there are companies that already stock drones for recreational use in the country
DRONEWORLD is a supplier of brands such as Parrot, Fat Shark and AEE. The company reassures us that drones have been legal to operate in South Africa for recreational purposes since 2015. Action Gear is another company in South Africa that stocks and supplies drones.
For more information on other trending event technology options, download our Event Technology 101 eBook. This handy eBook will bring you up to speed on the history of event technology, and will provide you with some useful tips on how to turn your event attendees into engaged participants. It also touches on the value of using automated Event Management Software.