The future of photo and video is here, in our skies, in the form of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, now available at Drone Nerds of Pinecrest.
Drones have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. The revolutionary flying machines, which vary in size and complexity, can be programmed or controlled remotely to capture ultra-high-definition images, opening up previously impossible opportunities for photographers and videographers.
But while drones grow in ubiquity and rapidly advance technologically, few dedicated retail, service and support options are presently available. The solution is Drone Nerds, a one-stop shop for drones and drone-related equipment, services and training.
“By 2020, drones are expected to be an over $120 billion industry, but there’s very little help right now for people who are into them,” said Nelson Salazar, who owns and operates Drone Nerds of Pinecrest with his wife, Lissette, and their two children. “Brandsmart, Target and Best Buy sell drones, but they don’t help you set them up. If something’s wrong, you pretty much have to return them. There’s no help.”
Early adopters of commercial UAV technology, the Salazars began flying drones in 2010. Two years ago, they got into aerial drone photography through their son, Nicholas, who was in film school.
But when their drones needed servicing, the closest location the Salazars found was Drone Nerds in Aventura. For more than a year, they drove from their home near the Falls to the location up north. Last December, they noticed a sign in the store offering franchise opportunities. On Oct. 14, the family officially opened Drone Nerds of Pinecrest.
“People can come here and they won’t feel like they just spent good money on something they can’t use once they get home,” he said.
“They can call and we’ll help them over the phone or they can come in and we’ll help them here.”
One of the first drone-dedicated retail businesses in the U.S., Drone Nerds, a Florida-based company, is the country’s largest authorized dealer and service center for DJI drones. DJI is the world leader in the civilian-drone and aerial imaging industry, with more than a 70 percent share of the commercial drone market, according to Fortune.
“They’ve cornered the market,” he said. “They’re the most reliable for repairs and service. Some of the other drones you can buy, but once you have an issue, you can’t get parts or much help with them.”
The store offers an assortment of different drone models from DJI and other manufacturers like Team Black Sheep, Parrot and Yuneec.
Each model comes with a unique combination of features, which may include 4K resolution cameras, sophisticated obstacle avoidance, water resistance, dedicated navigation cameras, hand gesture programming, thermal image detection and video transmission distances of more than four miles.
And not all drones fly; the PowerVision PowerRay, a tethered drone equipped with a sonar fish finder, can dive 100 feet underwater.
Compared to big box retailers, Drone Nerds offers a significantly wider array of drones, drone parts and services ranging from basic setups and vehicle customization to firmware updates and repairs. Other devices are also sold in the store, including GoPro cameras that can be used with certain drone models and DJI Osmo Mobile gimbals that stabilize mobile phones for optimum photo and video results.
Drone Nerds also offers several training courses to bring new and experience drone enthusiasts up to speed on flying and photography fundamentals, all of which are held on-site at the store.
“The airspace at our location permits us to go outside and fly our drones, so we can do it right here,” he said. “We go outside, fly with you and make sure you feel comfortable enough that, when you leave, you can go anywhere, open up your drone and go.”
With numerous industries turning to drones for new and innovative perspectives, the demand for an all-inclusive retail and service facility continues to grow. Salazar said he and his family are thrilled to be at the forefront of a technological revolution whose transformative implications have only begun to be realized.
“Every three months, there’s something new coming out,” he said. “It’s an exciting place to be right now, because it’ll continue to grow.”
Drone Nerds of Pinecrest is located at 9075 S. Dixie Hwy. For more information, call 786-313-3664 or visit www.dronenerds.com/pinecrest.