The adoption of drones has skyrocketed in the commercial market recently and is anticipated to act as a game-changing technology in the few years to come. Historically, drones have been identified as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (UAVs), being associated with military tools, however today it is being increasingly used for recreational and commercial use.
One of the industries that will benefit from this shift in trend is the entertainment industry. Global pop stars have already applied drone technology for their performances. Lady Gaga used Intel’s 300 drones for her Super Bowl 2017 halftime show and Drake filled up his performance space with micro drones as backup dancers.
Hollywood has also been releasing films with drone shots such as Skyfall (2012) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Drones are revolutionizing the entire entertainment industry as powerful tools to captivate fans and consumers.
Another industry, which drones are making a significant impact, is the construction industry as drones can participate in various phases on construction sites.
For starters, the use of drones can increase the accuracy of the survey of a land. It will provide better surveys in terms of both quality and quantity as it accumulates data from multiple angles in which humans are likely to miss.
Moreover, it will guarantee a safer environment for workers. Drones will keep in track with the process of the construction with more thorough inspection and assist with delivering construction materials, reducing the danger of the site.
And for the same convenient features, drones, beyond construction, will be leveraged across multiple business and purposes such as insurance claim inspection, forestry, delivery and so many more.
As the drone industry is expected to enhance communication technologies, leading telecommunication companies in Korea including SK Telecom (SKT) are investing in drones to maximize 5G service.
SK Telecom signed an MoU with the world’s leading drone maker, DJI in June 2018 to commercialize live HD streaming from drones. SK Telecom’s live video streaming technology, called T Live Caster will provide solutions such as live video streaming encoder, mobile application, and server software. From the partnership, both companies will work on the establishment of DJI drones with live streaming of HD footage with minimal latency via mobile communications network. SK Telecom and DJI will not only develop software and equipment for live streaming drones, but also jointly execute marketing strategies, targeting the global market. They are expecting the commercialized drones to actively contribute to various industries such as media, entertainment and logistics.
Currently, SK Telecom and DJI are planning to discuss the integration of SK Telecom’s streaming application, T Live Caster Smart and DJI’s drone controlling application, DJI Go. Furthermore, they are examining ways to unify SK Telecom’s video receiving and controlling solution called T Live Studio and DJI’s drone control solution called DJI Flight Hub to support businesses and government agencies to operate drones efficiently.
Both companies will apply their solution in Korea, the United States, and Japan, where LTE communication infrastructures are well-equipped, to estimate the possibility of success, and expand their business into more countries.
As proving the continuous interest in the drone industry in Korea, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Economy and Finance hosted the Korea Drone Festival from October 1 to 12. The festival was composed of a total of 16 events providing experience in various fields in which drones will be broadly applied.
In response to the commercialization of drones, the U.S. government requires every drone for either recreational or commercial use to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. Currently, the Trump administration released a draft drone bill. If passed, the government could obtain a right to seize, confiscate, or destroy any drone when judged as a security threat. While the government agrees with the potential of drones, it is still concerned with dangers drones may cause especially for terrorism and invasion of privacy.
The regulation of drones in Korea is somewhat more lenient than that of the U.S. While the U.S. requires drones over 250g to be registered for use, Korea sets 12kg as the minimum weight to be considered drone. Anyone who owns a drone below 12kg, regardless of the possession of a drone-pilot certificate, can operate a drone without having it registered. However, despite this comfortable environment for the growth for the drone industry, the drone market is relatively small in Korea due to the current situation where only a small number of companies with a large capital base are investing in the industry compared to those in the U.S. and China. It would be interesting to witness how these companies brings a change to the world with creative drone business.
As elaborated so far, drones provide numerous benefits to humans. They can serve as an efficient surveillance tool which can be applied to enhance many industries. In addition, they are efficient in terms of time and money. As an unmanned aerial vehicle, it requires a fewer human power, and task with less time than humans would have consumed.
The growing adoption of drone utilization among commercial industries will act as a catalyst for SK Telecom to further diversify their revenue stream. To exploit this opportunity SK Telecom, will invest in researches to dedicatedly provide the future with a unique communications experience and position itself as a notable player in digitization.