Beacon Council Doubles Down on Drones

By Debora Lima – Reporter, South Florida Business Journal
May 4, 2017


Miami’s economic development agency, The Beacon Council, is doubling down on drones with a new initiative focused on this fast-growing segment of the aviation and technology industries.

On June 15, the organization will host a mini-seminar called “Miami and Commercial Drones” for local business leaders at its downtown Miami offices. The event will provide a summary of how drones are reshaping key industries such as agriculture, real estate, construction and public safety. The Council’s Aviation Committee has also formed a division dedicated to developing strategies on how Miami-Dade County can capitalize on the increasing interest in drones.

Officially designated as unmanned aircraft systems by the Federal Aviation Administration, drones are proving useful to businesses that have begun exploring ways to use the equipment to increase efficiency or cut costs. UPS, for example, successfully tested drone deliveries for home packages for the first time in Florida last month, a trial aimed at decreasing the number of miles drivers have to go to finish their routes.

The FAA is predicting that more than 3 million hobbyist drones and 442,000 commercial drones will be active by 2021. The overall global drone services sector is expected to be valued at nearly $130 billion by 2020, according to a 2016 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers titled “Clarity From Above.”

Given South Florida’s robust aviation and aeronautics industry, the region is well-positioned to benefit from demand for this new technology, said Alex De Gunten, chair of the Council’s Aviation Committee.

“Commercial interest in unmanned aircraft systems is accelerating rapidly,” De Gunten said. “Miami-Dade County is uniquely qualified to serve as a year-round hub of drone innovation, as well as the [drone] gateway into Latin America.”

Those interested in attending the Council’s upcoming mini-seminar can register online at

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