Airwards: altering hearts and minds with drones

By Dawn K. Zoldi, guest author

As we all know, one of the hardest nuts to get the drone industry to “fly” is one of the hardest nuts to get out of the community. How can we change the hearts and minds of the public so that the average person sees drones as vital to society – and not just as scary robots that invade the privacy of the air? Enter: Airwards!

This nonprofit was founded by UK-born Richard Nichols and is solely concerned with recognizing drone-for-good use cases through a global awards program. On a recent Interdrone Dawns at Drone podcast, Nichols stated, “Recognition drives people. It drives businesses. “

As a matter of fact.

Airwards’ added value proposition is that visually recognizing inspiring drone applications in turn has a positive impact on the public’s perception of drones.

Airwards plans to identify the “what-where-why” of using drones effectively in order to highlight the people and businesses that Nichol says are “making a positive impact.” The “what” focuses on the various facets of the drone ecosystem in the areas of technology, operations and supporting services such as advice and insurance. The “Where” is about the affected industrial field such as agriculture, energy, media and transport. The “why” component consists of the stories that tell how the person or company “gives something back” to the world through their use of drones. Here you can check the specifics of each category.

It works mainly through self-nomination via the Airwards nomination portal. Nichols also created a People’s Choice category where anyone can nominate the good works of another person or company. The submission deadline for all award types and categories is March 12th.

Once the nominations are compiled, they will be judged by a hand-picked jury of independent global experts from around the world, including the UK, USA, South Africa, Austria, Switzerland and Senegal. While the names of these judges will be announced in the coming weeks, Nichols announced that Charles Werner from DRONERESPONDERS will join the group. The nomination portal for second class judges is already open.

The judges have from April to early May to complete their selection. A short list of the semi-finalists can be announced in late April. The winners and runners-up (2-3 honorable mentions) will then be announced in the last week of May as part of an online winners’ week. This week will consist of a week of online engagements with each category, in Nichols’ words, “having its moment”.

Nichols wouldn’t divulge the types of submissions and use cases he’s seen so far other than saying it was “eye opening” to see the variety of the incredible things people are currently using drones for. We just have to stay tuned and see for ourselves when the winners are announced.

These winners will benefit from this recognition … and more. In addition to securing a spot in the spotlight, the winners will also receive a certificate of appreciation, a trophy and possibly a digital pouch for the time being. Nichols has bigger plans to extend the program into the next year and years after. The vision is to ultimately secure a television commercial. Oscars, watch out!

Nichols is active on social media, especially on LinkedIn. He also created some unbranded GIFs and free GIFs to promote the global goodness of drones.

So spread this good word – and together we can make a difference for this industry. Links to follow:

  • 10% discount code for nomination entries: AW20 / 21-ING.YR.10
  • The person selection category is free and only for nominations. Introduce companies and individuals who inspire you in the drone industry
  • Be the first to know, register with us for specials, news and more: http://eepurl.com/g6lXXL
  • Regarded as an industry expert / market leader? Fill out our judge application form.

Dawn MK Zoldi (Colonel, USAF, retired) is a licensed attorney with 28 years of active military and federal service in the Air Force Department. She is an internationally recognized expert in the law and politics of unmanned aircraft systems, a columnist for Law-Tech Connect ™ for Inside Unmanned Systems magazine, recipient of the Woman to Watch in UAS (Leadership) Award 2019 and CEO of P3 Tech Consulting LLC. You can find more information on their website at: https://www.p3techconsulting.com.

Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has written over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For advice or writing on the drone industry, email Miriam.

TWITTER: @spaldingbarker

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