A New Fourth of July Tradition: Drone Shows

Fireworks have been an essential part of Independence Day since the very first celebration back in Philadelphia in 1777. But like other holidays moving from open flames to electric lights to celebrate, the Fourth of July isn’t immune from technological changes. Cities are increasingly turning to drone displays as an alternative to traditional fireworks, citing fears about potential wildfires, concern for veterans with PTSD, and a desire to reduce air and noise pollution.

Drone displays can produce a visually stunning display – all without odor or noise and at cost parity with traditional fireworks displays. Spectators see an array of tiny lit flying machines executing very skilled maneuvers to music, forming incredible, colorful and dancing designs painting the night sky with the same “WOW!” effect as fireworks. Major events like the most recent presidential election and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee both featured drone shows, showing that they’re rapidly being adopted around the globe.

With the drone economy growing exponentially, drones are starting to play crucial roles in all aspects of society — from deliveries, agriculture, emergency response, and the military to art and culture. Unfortunately, this golden era of drones also presents opportunities for nefarious and careless activity in our skies. In order to tap the full potential of drones, we need to develop an action plan for citizens, enterprises, and ultimately the economy to ensure effective policing, protection, and policy — all without hampering the innovative, productive, and creative benefits that drones bring.

Policing vThe counter-drone industry isn’t anti-drone — in fact, the industry should be called “Airspace Security”. We recognize the impressive potential for drones to reshape — and fundamentally improve — society. Drones can create new jobs, help us be more productive, and keep essential supply chains flowing in even the most complex situations. And yes, they can be art. But at the same time, we also know that we must encourage the flourishing of legitimate drone activity while also stopping drones operated by malicious or careless users before they cause any issues.

When it comes to securing major events across all areas from marathons and fun runs like the Cooper Bridge 10K or sporting events like the Preakness Stakes, companies like Dedrone have worked with local law enforcement to build a flexible, yet responsive system designed specifically to repel drone incursions. This includes automated alerts to provide actionable information like drone and pilot location, integrated cameras to visually document the pilot and identify potential drone payload, and ultimately solutions to mitigate unauthorized flights. Systems like our own DedroneRapidResponse can detect a drone as soon as it is turned on, even while warming up and establishing its bearings on the ground. This gives security teams a significant headstart on a pilot about to send a drone into the no-fly zone.


The industry is constantly developing new solutions in the ongoing drone arms race. For example, the industry has already developed systems that can identify malicious drone usage and deploy countermeasures. Dedrone has already deployed citywide protection, integrated with infrastructure and local law enforcement, in a southern European city. While not all developments are public yet, the industry is always hard at work.


Finally, when it comes to policy, industry leaders and lawmakers are working in tandem to build policies that allow the productive drone economy to grow rapidly and still ensure people, property, and information are protected from the threat of drones.

In April this year, the White House launched its Domestic cUAS National Action Plan. Among its eight major points are:

  • Reauthorize / expand existing counter‑UAS authorities for federal and SLTT agenciesv
  • Enact comprehensive criminal statute that sets clear standards for legal / illegal drone use with adequate penalties to deter UAS-based crimes
  • Establish oversight and enablement mechanisms to support critical infrastructure facilities in purchasing counter-UAS equipment

The FAA launched an effort late last year to test and evaluate technologies and systems that could detect and mitigate potential safety risks posed by uncrewed aircraft at and near airports, testing at five major airports around the country. This testing, which will continue through next year, will help inform the FAA as to what systems for drone detection and mitigation should be certified or permitted.

Fireworks aren’t going away immediately. But at the same time, efforts to protect both citizens and the environment show that we need alternatives like drone shows. As we work to build a new, technologically-advanced Fourth of July tradition, we also need to build a system surrounding these drone shows that ensures they’re safe, uninterrupted, and easily enjoyed by viewers each and every year.


  • Progressing in Capabilities

    Progressing in Capabilities

    Hazardous areas within industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, agriculture and the like, have long-sought reliable video surveillance cameras and equipment that can operate safely in these harsh and unpredictable environments. Read Now

  • A Comprehensive Nationwide Solution

    A Comprehensive Nationwide Solution

    Across the United States, manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, truck yards, parking lots and car dealerships all have a common concern. They are targets for catalytic converters. In nearly every region, cases of catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed. Read Now

  • Planning for Your Perimeter

    Planning for Your Perimeter

    The perimeter is an organization’s first line of defense and a critical element of any security and surveillance program. Even if a building’s interior or exterior security is strong, without a solid perimeter surveillance approach any company or business is vulnerable. Read Now

  • The Key Issue

    The Key Issue

    It is February 2014. A woman is getting ready in her room on a cruise ship when she hears a knock on the door; it is a crewmember delivering breakfast. She is not presentable so she tells him to leave it by the door. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • XS4 Original+

    XS4 Original+

    The SALTO XS4 Original+ design is based on the same proven housing and mechanical mechanisms of the XS4 Original. The XS4 Original+, however, is embedded with SALTO’s BLUEnet real-time functionality and SVN-Flex capability that enables SALTO stand-alone smart XS4 Original+ locks to update user credentials directly at the door. Compatible with the array of SALTO platform solutions including SALTO Space data-on-card, SALTO KS Keys as a Service cloud-based access solution, and SALTO’s JustIn Mobile technology for digital keys. The XS4 Original+ also includes RFID Mifare DESFire, Bluetooth LE and NFC technology functionality. 3

  • SecureAuth


    The acceleration of digital transformation initiatives as a result of COVID-19 has created a lasting impact on how businesses empower their workforce and engage customers. 3

  • PDK IO Access Control Software

    PDK.IO Access Control Software

    ProdataKey now allows for "custom fields" within the interface of its pdk.io software. Custom fields increase PDK's solutions' overall functionality by allowing administrators to include a wide range of pertinent data associated with each user. 3