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Drone holds potential of next big tech business

Hasan Al Javed
23 Oct 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 23 Oct 2021 00:04:24
Drone holds potential of next big tech business

Against the backdrop of technological advancement, business and technology go hand in hand while the application of unmanned aerial vehicles is helping overcome human limitations and expanding businesses.

As with other countries, Bangladesh holds a huge potential for commercial and legitimate use of drone; thereby a big drone market is waiting here locally.

Sources said drones are mostly imported from overseas since local expertise did not grow that way to go for drone production; besides, the aerial devices are sometimes brought under false declaration.

Training centres for drone operation, rental service, and spare parts shops have already developed sensing the need for customers.

The sole regulatory authority CAAB which is tasked with overseeing the flight of drone has taken some initiatives to create a digital database to monitor drone operation in line with its increasing applications in sectors like energy, agriculture, media, entertainment, construction, logistic, security and law.

According to photographers working on music video, documentation and wedding programmes, they are using camera drones extensively to these ends.

A professional video editor and photographer Shapnil Khan said he had been engaged in the profession for a long time.

“Nowadays I cannot imagine without a drone camera to depict aerial views as demanded by my customers. I have added several unmanned aircraft to my media centre in the capital’s Farmgate,” Shapnil explained.

Bangladeshi actor and producer DA Tayeb echoed the same as did Shapnil.

“I use camera drones to depict eye-catching aerial views for my film and drama,” said the entertainment professional.

Earlier, film makers used steel crane to capture aerial footage. The whole process was cumbersome because 2-3 people had to move that heavy metal. Besides, it had limitation that could capture image only from 10-15 feet above, but now it is possible to do the task at an altitude of over hundred feet and at different angles due to camera drones.

In addition, multipurpose commercial projects in the country including the media, documentation, land survey, water development issues are trying to make the best use of the technology.

YouTube and Facebook content creators are reportedly the major users of drone cameras and their trend of such usage increased during the pandemic when people shut in home turned to various online platforms for entertainments.

As per the drone importers and users, in the context of Bangladesh, the application of drones is restrictive because of strict government policy, and the users do it stealthily in some cases.

Anyone who opts to import such unmanned device has to obtain permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and a security clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to fly them in the open sky.

The sector people opined that it is very difficult and time-consuming to get permission or clearances before import and some drone users are found to have resorted to illegitimate channels.

Sensing a risk to the security of state, the CAAB imposed a strict drone policy. 

However, it could not be known about the exact market size of revolutionary technology in Bangladesh as most shipments arrive here through false declaration under the guise of other electronic devices.

Kamrul Hasan, CEO of Drone Bangladesh, told The Business Post there is a huge potential for selling drones locally.

“It is time that steps be taken to go for local production of drones,” he said.

According to the US-based market research organisation Grand View Research, the global commercial drone market size was valued $13.44 billion in 2020. In terms of volume, the demand was recorded at 6,89,400 units in 2020.

The market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 57.5 per cent to $501 in 2028.

CAAB said it would ease the process for the use of drone considering the importance of this rising sector.

AKM Faizul Haque, director (air transportation) of the regulatory authority, said policy regarding drone registration will come into effect in January next year, and installation of drone registration software and hiring experts to monitor the remotely piloted systems will precede everything.

“Then Bangladeshis will fly drones freely without airports, restrictions, prohibitions, and danger,” he made an assertion.  

CAAB officials say some airports and sensitive zones in Bangladesh have already got drone detective devices and successfully captured and prevented several illegally intruding drones.

The authorities hope that all airports and sensitive areas will be brought under the surveillance system.

Star Tech and Engineering Limited Director Jahed Ali Bhuiyan told The Business Post that they are importing the aerial devices through proper channel and selling them in a legitimate way.

“Content creators who upload videos to YouTube, Facebook are our prime customers for the products,” he said. 

Asked about the prices, Jahed said content creators usually purchase Chinese DJI brand drone worth Tk 50,000 to Tk 60,000 while survey drone is priced at around Tk 20 lakh.