One of the biggest security companies in the world just made a big move in the world of anti-drone security. London-based private security giant G4S, which was acquired by Allied Universal, announced in January a partnership that could allow some customers to purchase drone detection and tracking services.
The offering is available through a partnership between airspace security company Dedrone and G4S, which is the world’s largest security company by revenue. G4S operates in more than 85 countries and is the largest single private employer across Europe and Africa. In 2021, the company was acquired by Allied Universal, which is the largest provider of security guards in the U.S.
And now, certain G4S customers can use Dedrone’s command and control (C2) drone detection, tracking and identification (DTI) solution suite. The offering is available currently to G4S customers in about 50 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
What does Dedrone offer to Allied Universal?
Dedrone’s products are designed to help customers with airspace and perimeter protection.
The company’s flagship counter-drone platform is called DedroneTracker, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to evaluate and prioritize drone threats autonomously.
DedroneTracker is built on an Open Systems Architecture (OSA). Given that, Dedrone’s products can integrate with other third-party products as well, such as other sensors or cameras. That makes it more likely a G4S customer might be able to incorporate counter-drone tech into their existing security infrastructure.
Another popular Dedrone product is DroneDefender, which in theory can stop drones from flying in certain areas through precision Radio Frequency (RF) jamming.
G4S has long offered security services ranging from human security guards to sophisticated security systems to all sorts of clients. And now, drone security is an optional add-on.
Mary-Lou Smulders, CMO of Dedrone, said integrating Dedrone tech into existing security infrastructure is easy.
“Dedrone is able to leverage existing cameras, if the customer prefers, integrate into overall security command and control systems, and even work through general alerting systems like Everbridge,” she said. “It is as simple as a G4S customer saying they’d like to add airspace security to their overall apparatus, and G4S then installs Dedrone’s technology according to on-site needs (air-gapped vs. cloud, etc).
Dedrone: already big in Latvia
G4S is already touting one of its first and biggest clients: The State Police of Latvia. For now, Dedrone tech is being used to establish a mobile drone detection system for large events in Riga using six mobile drone detection systems. Dedrone tech will track how many devices are flying across the capital city and monitor activity close to key buildings used by the police, councils and government.
Māris, who is a representative for the State Police of Latvia with a focus on drones, called Dedrone’s tech a “significant addition” to its ability to control drones.
“These devices make it possible to determine the height, route and, most importantly, the location of a drone’s remote pilot, which is essential for detecting any potential law-breaking,” Vitkovski said. “We will use Dedrone to ensure public safety, including during public events, in order to prevent violations, including those that may threaten the safety of the public.”
Latvia has 6000 registered drone pilots, though Dedrone said it expects that there are many more who are not licensed. And the Civil Aviation Agency, which regulates Latvian drone flying, in line with wider European rules, says around only half of the pilots registered are even qualified to fly drones.
In Latvia, drones cannot legally fly over military installations, within 8 kms of airports, 3 kms of heliports or 1 km from residential areas. There are also restrictions on how high a drone may fly.
As is the case in many countries, some folks in the Latvian government are concerned about the risks of drones flying in crowded areas and to critical national infrastructure.
“This is a persistent and escalating threat to public safety,” said Aleksandrs Šnevels, Head of Technology for G4S in Latvia. “However, the public wants to have the freedom to be able to use and enjoy drones, so a balance needs to be found.”
With Dedrone, the police will more easily be able to understand the route of the drone and the location of the drone’s remote pilot. A spokesperson said that proactive tech to find drone pilots could “prevent violations, including those that may threaten the safety of the public.”
What the Allied Universal partnership means for Dedrone
The partnership is a big win for Dedrone, which is currently the only counter-drone solution offered by G4S in the EMEA region.
Dedrone was established in 2014 in San Francisco. To date, Dedrone’s products have been used in at least 40 countries, four of which are G-7 nation governments. It’s also in relatively wide use within the U.S. government, holding contracts with nine U.S. federal agencies, including the Department of Defense. Dedrone tech is also used to monitor more than 75 critical infrastructure sites, 20 airports and 50 correctional facilities worldwide.