Commercial UAV Expo 2020: 8 Commercial Tracks, AI-Powered Networking, In-Depth Sessions, and a Virtual APARTy
BY Zacc Dukowitz5 August 2020
Commercial UAV Expo is one of the biggest drone-focused conferences in the world, with a strong emphasis on the operation and integration of commercial drones.
The company also does a great job reporting on the drone industry throughout the year. In addition to its articles, since the pandemic hit it has hosted several webinars to continue sharing information about and providing value within the drone industry.
2019 was a record-breaking year for Commercial UAV Expo, with more than 200 exhibitors and 3,100 drone professionals from 54 countries.
And 2020 is poised to be even bigger than 2019.
Like many other big, in-person drone events, Commercial UAV Expo has moved its annual conference to a virtual format this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
We have stayed in close contact with our customers over the last few months. A huge thank you to all of them . . . What is clear is that they want and need the business networking and education normally provided by our event, but travel bans and other restrictions were going to prevent them from attending . . . We are excited to offer the key benefits they expect from us: critical, timely education delivered by industry leaders, opportunities to network and engage with peers, and the ability to learn about the newest technology in the space.
– Lisa Murray, Group Director at Diversified Communications, organizer of Commercial UAV Expo Americas
Although the venue has changed from Las Vegas to your living room, the dates and agenda for Commercial UAV Expo’s conference have essentially remained the same.
One of the biggest ‘gets’ this year for the conference is the current FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson. The other big keynote speakers this year are also from the government and include Brian Harrell, the Assistant Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), and Michael Kratsios, CTO of the U.S., from The White House.
[Register now for Commercial UAV Expo’s virtual conference, taking place from Tuesday, September 15 through Thursday, September 17.]
COVID-19 and Security Concerns Highlighted in Conference Agenda
It’s unclear if planners for Commercial UAV Expo have changed up their roster to address the abiding concerns of our times or not, but the lineup does seem well arranged to cover two of the hottest drone topics out there right now: COVID-19-related drone applications and drone security concerns.
With keynote speakers who work for the federal government, we’re sure to hear more about security concerns related to drone data and the American Security Drone Act (ASDA), which seems likely to pass this year.
Commercial UAV Expo has also incorporated content to address COVID-19 drone applications. Drone delivery to support efforts to contain COVID-19 will be discussed in a panel scheduled for Wednesday moderated by Lisa Ellman of the Commercial Drone Alliance & Hogan Lovells, and a talk scheduled for Thursday by Michael Blades from Frost & Sullivan will take a look at the economic impact of the pandemic and the path forward.
In a way, the fact that there are only two Coronavirus-specific sessions is a breath of fresh air.
Since quarantine efforts first went into effect back in March we’ve seen headline after headline about COVID-19 and drones, and it’s nice to see that the vast majority of the conference’s content is dedicated to the nuts and bolts of commercial drone operations.
Conference Preview—Eight Tracks, Virtual Exhibit Hall, and AI-Powered Networking
The conference features an impressive eight tracks for attendees to choose from:
- Drone Delivery
- Energy & Utilities
- Forestry & Agriculture
- Infrastructure & Transportation
- Public Safety & Emergency Services
- Surveying & Mapping
Each of these tracks will have devoted panels and talks by leaders at drone companies and from companies that work with drones.
The sessions will dive into the details, covering not just surface-level information regarding what is being done with drones in a given area but going into greater depth about how to actually do the work, as well as addressing relevant questions and common hurdles people face in each application.
Check out the conference agenda for a full list of sessions that will be offered.
Virtual Exhibit Hall
Despite moving online, there will still be a robust presence from exhibitors in the conference’s virtual exhibition hall.
Wondering what a virtual exhibition hall looks like? Here is everything you’ll be able to do as an attendee:
- Visit exhibitor’s virtual booths to peruse their products and offerings
- Interact with vendor exhibits
- Schedule live meetings and product demos
- Participate in live chats and Q&As with vendors for live interactions
Networking Powered by AI
Looking for work or partnership opportunities within the drone industry?
The folks at Commercial UAV Expo know that half the reason to attend a conference is to meet new people, which is why they’ve set up virtual networking. This networking will take place through personalized matchmaking with vendors and attendees, allowing you to schedule virtual meetings as you choose.
Using an AI algorithm, the conference planners will be sending all conference participants networking recommendations, so that attendees looking for work or for potential job candidates can get the most out of their conference experience.
Have a specific topic you really want to talk about with others in the industry? Topic-specific roundtable discussions will be available at the conference by invitation.
Check out this huge list of people and organizations from last year to get a sense of the opportunities you might find at the conference this year.
Since an in-person party isn’t possible this year, Commercial UAV Expo will be hosting a virtual “Together APARTy” as part of the conference.
If you’re attending, you can select the beverage of your choice and Commercial UAV Expo will ship it to you along with light snacks in time to celebrate a virtual toast on September 16.
Drinks available for shipping include:
- Red Wine Party Pack
- White Wine Party Pack
- Microbrew Party Pack
- Soft Beverage Party Pack
Full registration for the conference costs $295 this year. There are also other options for attendance, including choosing to only attend the Together APARTy. (Attending the Virtual Exhibit Hall is free.)
Planning to attend Commercial UAV Expo’s virtual conference? Share your plans on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum.