This year, for three days in late November, the drone industry will converge on one of the smartest and most beautiful cities in the world – Amsterdam. Amsterdam Drone Week is “an event by and for the drone industry” say the organizers: and there is certainly something for every aspect of the community. From drone security to FPV racing, this is an event that will bring customers, technology providers, and pilots together to do business – and discuss the future of the industry.
Amsterdam is more than just a beauty spot. “The city of Amsterdam has long been known for its canals, cafés, and bicycling culture,” says an article by Leslie Brokaw in MIT’s Sloan Management Review. “In recent years, though, it’s also become known as a model for what it takes to become a “smart city,” utilizing information technology to improve city services.”
“In April 2016, Amsterdam won Europe’s Capital of Innovation award by the European Commission. This €950,000 prize will help the city scale up innovation efforts to improve the way people live and businesses work,” says the article.
Now, the city is including drones in their vision. Amsterdam’s major convention center, RAI, launched an initiative last spring which CEO Paul Riemens called “Amsterdam, City of Drones,” beginning with hosting the Commercial UAV Expo Europe in April. Amsterdam wants to do more than host drone conventions, however. The city, Riemens said last spring, “is a logical choice as a hub for the drone industry.”
A veteran of the aviation sector, Riemens and Amsterdam Drone Week have support at high levels in the European government. In addition to the usual events like networking and education – and entertainment – this conference may have global significance. EASA (European Aviation Safety Association) will be holding its high level conference during the event. Substantive discussions about Smart Mobility, the EASA Basic Regulations, U-Space (Unmanned Traffic Management) are scheduled.
New technologies, new business models, and what a future “city of drones” might look like are also on the program. For businesses new and old, the networking opportunities are plentiful. “Until now, most drone events were local and aimed at consumers,” said Riemens. “With this initiative, we would like to create a platform on a global scale, helping the sector develop as a whole.” It’s a smart conference for a smart city – one which will bring leaders in the industry together to collaborate on making drones a part of it.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.