- Key DJI public safety officials tell Heliguy USA that they want to develop drones to best suit the needs of first responders;
- Having recently joined DJI, retired U.S. fire chief Wayne Baker wants to enable public-safety departments to utilize drone technology;
- The plan is to focus on deeper UAS integration, easier adoption of the technology, better scale-up pathways, and more focused partnerships;
- Drones have 'massive potential' for public safety, having already rescued more than 350 people around the world;
- DJI also plans to 'better support' its enterprise channel partners, such as Heliguy USA.
Drones have become a vital tool for public safety, but the hard work will continue to ensure they maximize their true potential, say key DJI officials.
Thanks to the unique advantages of deploying unmanned aircraft, more than 350 people have been rescued around the world.
It's an impressive stat, showcasing the very best of what drones have to offer.
But senior figures at DJI are not complacent.
Rather, they have an ever-growing desire to develop this technology to best suit the needs of first responders, and work with crews on the ground to enhance deployment methods and integrate UAS into everyday workflows.
It’s a blend of education and innovation. And DJI knows that, only by continuing this work and building on the solid foundations put in place, will the emergency services begin to unleash the full capabilities of unmanned aircraft - benefiting rescue crews and the general public in equal measure.
With this in mind and outlining the focus for 2020, Romeo Durscher, Senior Director of Public Safety Integration at DJI, vowed to 'continue the quest' to learn and create new solutions to bolster the drone ecosystem in America.
Part of this strategy will be to 'better support' the manufacturing giant’s enterprise channel partners, such as Heliguy USA, to give them all the tools they need to assist and supply the emergency services with DJI’s leading drone technology.
As well as having a base in the USA, Heliguy is headquartered in the North East of England, and is the UK’s largest and longest-standing DJI-accredited drone retailer, with in-house technicians, a research and development division, renowned training team, and experienced sales staff.
Heliguy supplies drones to major enterprise clients across industries such as nuclear, construction and infrastructure, as well as first responder organizations. Utilizing bases in the USA and UK, Heliguy is cross-pollinating its years of service and knowledge to benefit the enterprise drone industry on either side of the Atlantic.
Romeo's division has also been strengthened by the recent addition of retired U.S. fire chief Wayne Baker, who plans to use his 26 years of experience to enable public-safety departments nationwide to utilize drone technology.
Speaking to Heliguy USA, Romeo said: "We are in a very fortunate situation that we have a very strong team attending to public safety. This is a very complex vertical with a lot of potential and use cases.
"In fact, the last five years have given us a lot of lessons learned, provided us with opportunities to learn, adjust and create solutions which today are not only streamlining deployments, but saving lives and mitigating risks to our first responders.
"But there is still lots more to learn and improve and Chief Baker and I will continue our quest to learn, work with our teams internally on creating new solutions, integrate the ecosystem and help develop end-to-end solutions. We both bring a unique skill set to the table and as such, we will focus on different geographical regions, use-cases and projects.
"Our focus will also be to better support our public safety enterprise channel partners, so that they have more tools available to help support local departments."
Romeo is no stranger to using drones in the public-safety arena and was on the frontline when DJI aircraft were deployed during a spate of devastating Californian wildfires.
And he is delighted to be working alongside Chief Baker, who champions drones for emergency response and has deployed UAS to countless fire and law-enforcement incidents.
Romeo said: "For many years Chief Baker has been using drones and their ability to get actionable data quickly. As such, he has been a leader in integrating this new technology in the fire service, and also leading and working with regional public safety UAV teams, to create a more standardized approach and deployment, as well as creating tactical training exercises.
"Chief Baker also worked very closely with DJI and myself as Senior Director of Public Safety Integration over the past several years, providing feedback, helping with testing hardware and software solutions, helping with the creation of educational content and other projects.
"And most importantly, Chief Baker is another person now on the team who understands the challenges in public safety and also fully believes in the benefits of new technologies in the fire service."
Echoing Romeo's sentiments, Chief Baker is relishing the chance to showcase and expand the potential of the technology, with a view to saving more lives, increasing first-responder safety, and shaping more effective deployment strategies.
He said: "Together we will strategically focus on deeper UAV integration, easier adoption of the technology, better scale-up pathways, and more focused partnerships. There is so much potential in this technology, and we still have a lot of educating to do.
"This includes helping departments start programs, scaling up programs, and gathering valuable feedback, doing needs assessments, and working with our R&D teams and the entire ecosystem to create even more beneficial solutions. Me joining the business development team is a great opportunity and is also a very important position.
"Strategic planning and execution, aligning the company’s needs as well as individual department needs, is one of the core functions of business development. Taking all of this and creating a strong network of partnerships is truly the essence of what we will be doing."
With Chief Baker being a true believer in drone technology being used to make responders safer and more efficient, and coupled with his previous firefighting experience, it is hoped that DJI’s new Director of Public Safety Integration will play a key role in encouraging first responders to adopt and scale UAS programs.
After all, he is one of the founding members of the North Central Texas Public Safety UAS Response Team, and has helped DJI lead the public safety drone market by evaluating new products such as the Matrice 200 series, Mavic 2 Enterprise series, and the XT2 thermal sensor - all sold by DJI Gold Partner Heliguy USA.
Chief Baker, who spent the past 10 years as Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Joshua, Texas, said: "My previous experience in the fire service, integrating UAV solutions, deploying this new technology during small and large-scale events, and training operators across the U.S. will allow me to hit the ground running.
"I am excited by the opportunity to be able to help DJI bring new products to the market that can save lives in public safety response, improving the quality of life of everyone that will benefit from these new products."
A passionate advocate of drone technology, Chief Baker's interest in UAS began when he saw a YouTube video from a DJI Phantom 2, after a tornado which devastated the southern U.S. state of Arkansas.
"It was the first time I saw a drone used in a disaster and knew I had to have one for emergency response," he said.
"It was such a tactical game-changer because of the exponential increase in data that was able to be obtained instantly.
"I immediately told my city manager and city council that we would be adopting this technology based on the potential uses. The suggested use cases were a very small list at the time, but we have gone way beyond that now."
Chief Baker and his team never looked back and have reaped the benefits of embracing drones.
He said: "Drones have helped make our firefighters and police officers safer, more agile, and more efficient. All of this results in an ever-increasing ability to save the lives and property of the people we are sworn to protect.
"Some of the biggest changes have been in the use of thermal. We have had handheld thermal imaging cameras (our last great piece of new technology) since the mid-1990s, but they cost $15,000 to $25,000 and are nowhere near the image quality gained by an XT2.
"When combined with that different perspective gained from the aerial view, its information gathering is phenomenal. Thermal use by XT2 has reduced firefighter and police officer risks on incidents as well as made our ability to resolve an incident much more rapidly, getting us available again for the next call for help."
It's for these reasons that the use of DJI drones within the American public safety arena has skyrocketed in the last four years, with the adoption rate exceeding 500%.
This represents a huge growth, but with the market still in its early days, the potential for more first responders to embrace drones is staggering - especially with the technology becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Chief Baker said: "I often wonder what’s next with drones and I am never disappointed with the answer. I really foresee a move into emergency medical operations, autonomous response ahead of crews, enhanced situational awareness with AI advances, firefighting drones capable of extinguishing fires, and so much more. I can’t wait to see what we come out with next."
Find out how Heliguy USA can start, support or scale your enterprise drone program by giving us a call on 862 298-5964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.