Using Drones to Streamline Management Strategy

October 20, 2017
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It seems as if drones—unmanned aerial vehicles without a human pilot aboard—have been increasingly in the news for their use by the military, commercial businesses, and private recreational users. The use of drones in combat has long been talked about, the retail giant Amazon has launched a new service that uses drones to deliver packages, and drones are common at parks and open spaces.

Managers should seize upon new technology if it can streamline operations and benefit the association, and drones are no exception. But before you put drones on your association’s radar as a solution to some typical HOA and condominium problems, familiarize yourself with this type of valuable tool. Be aware that members may also want to use drones for recreation. Make a rule and create a policy that allows for the fun use of drones, but helps limit risks that can crop up.

As with any type of new technology, there will be some concern about the implications of its use—and possibly reticence about using it. Because drones have the ability to fly above and around homes in a planned community and windows and balconies in a condominium, invasion of privacy is a common fear among members. So coming up with a policy for your association’s use of drones and explaining how drones can be a partner in the success of the association are key. Holding information meetings is a good idea. Education sessions for members are the best way to allay concerns about invasion of privacy.

Advise the membership about why the association is going to utilize drone technology. Informational meetings are especially helpful when the vendor who is providing a service or item to the association demonstrates its usefulness and how noninvasive it really is. A drone vendor could show footage of how the association’s drone would operate, which would demonstrate how nonintrusive or noninvasive it would be. For example, the vendor could show footage of the drone zeroing in on blemished areas, instead of taking footage that seems excessive.

For more information about incorporating drones into your management strategy, and a model drone rule that you can use in your governing documents, see “Use Drones to Improve Association Efficiency,” available to subscribers here.