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National Sports Security Laboratory Evaluates Emerging Technologies

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - On Tuesday, March 13, the University of Southern Mississippi's (USM) National Sports Security Laboratory (NSSL) tested and evaluated drones to see if they could be used as a safety device during sporting events. “What we are seeing is technology rapidly outrunning policy. Technology has been advancing to the point where we can introduce larger payloads than we could in the past,” Daniel Ward, Director of the National Sports Security Laboratory, said. “The accessibility and availability has become more than we've seen in previous years.” Ultimately, causing the sports industry to be on their toes. “At this point, as readily available as they are this is something we as the sports industry have to continue to prepare for,” Ward said. Which is the reason why, the USM's NSSL team tested drones this week to see the threats these devices possess. “We could face anything from a drone falling on spectators, to a payload being introduced to drone technology, to unauthorized footage being taken, or flying in an unauthorized airspace,” Ward explained. However, Ward also mentioned the device could be beneficial. “But we know that we could really harness that same technology to be a great benefit to spectator safety and security as well,” Ward further explained. “We're able to introduce the types of payload that allows us to integrate camera platforms, we're able to integrate sensor technology, and gather information that was previously unavailable to us.” As technology continues to evolve, Wards stresses the for importance security staffs around the country to continue growing with technology. “We want to make sure that we are educating people on how to successfully navigate those [drones], and make sure they understand how to implement and incorporate drone technology into their venues,” Ward said.



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