As a Professional Aerial Photographer, lately I have been noticing a growing number of questionable drone photographs being used in the local press, and lets be honest, have probably been taken illegally and in contravention of the CAA guidelines for drone use. I am talking about photographs such as a bird’s eye views of the centre of London, or a bird’s eye view of a church in a town centre, overhead videos of Liverpool town centre, that sort of thing. You are probably wondering how the pictures where taken, in fact we as professional aerial photographers are wondering the very same thing.
In my own home town, we have had the local press publish stills from videos and links to youtube videos that have clearly been taken illegally. By Illegal I mean they have been taken by an enthusiastic amateur photographer with a drone, and then they have been published in the newspaper. there are, as I see it at least two issues with this.
1. The newspaper in printing the photograph are in some ways complicit in the taking of the illegal photograph by allowing it to be printed without checking on the photographer’s credentials.
2. This fuels the illegal uses of drones, and fires the aim to get more and more “risqué” pictures.
This sort of, turning a blind eye as to the authenticity of the photograph, by the press is at best a “little disappointing” from a professional’s aerial photographer standpoint. All too often we see Drones being flown to overlook people’s gardens, all too often they are being flown too close to airports, being flown in such a way that they scare livestock, you know the sorts of things, all to get that “special image”. With Christmas around the corner things will only get worse as the market explodes with drones being bought as the “Christmas toy to have”. Even a modestly prices UAV now is capable of being flown way out of the sight of its owner and potentially into the path of a plane. Surely the press have a duty, as well as the Drone industry, to collectively educate the public. The Drone Manufacturers put a leaflet into every purchased Drone highlighting “The Drone Code” as issued by the CAA. Perhaps they, the press and manufacturers, should also pay for some infomercials or print some informative articles in the local and national press prior to the Christmas rush highlighting the dangers of operating drones. Any intervention from the Professional aerial photographer against an over enthusiastic and miss guided amateur will, and can only be interpreted as sour grapes on the amateurs part so self regulation will not work in my opinion, although we do have a duty to report the worst offenders to the police. I say this as my experience of being known in the area as a professional drone operator, has led to people accusing me of overflying their gardens or their piece of land. Taunts of "I saw you the other day flying over that house", when in fact it was another amateur drone operator breaking the rules.
Manufacturers also need to stop making ill guided claims that “their Drone will fly X” number of kilometres away from the base unit", this is really unhelpful in educating the public as to what they can and cannot do with their Drones. As Professional Aerial Photographers we have all seen YouTube and its full of videos of people doing distance tests, in doing the distance test they are breaking the “Drone code” as the drone will be well out of sight during most of the test. By way of example of these cavalier claims the new Mavic drone launched this month by DJI as part of their selling points a line in their spec sheet says” New OcuSync transmission system offers up to 4.3 miles of transmission range”. Some people may see this as a challenge and not just a flight statistic.
My fear for this industry is that, unless the public are educated they will continue to ignore the rules and regulations, as this industry is predominately unregulated. It will take nothing short of a disaster for the governing bodies to wake up and pay attention, by then it will be too late for our industry. Maybe we as professional drone operators should self-police it in the interest of our businesses, but that raises all kinds of other issues as previously mentioned. The fact remains that something has to be done to safeguard the future of our businesses, after all we have made a sizeable investment to just get started as a Professional aerial photographer, and "I kinda like the job", long may it succeed !!
Drone View Ltd
PFAW No UAV 2021
Make the best of your Website carousel.
Most people like to see images on a slider on a website, they are a fairly well established design element. However, there are some dos and don’ts to bear in mind:-
Get the auto rotate right:
1. Don’t make them whizz by too fast, give the user a chance to linger on the nice images, maybe even read a heading.
2. Prioritise the order of your slides, the first will always be most important, the fourth may not get seen by a lot of users.
3. Pause on mouse hover, give the user the chance to click on any links and disable autorotate on mobile.
4. If the user clicks on the play controls, stop the auto rotate - they may just be trying to look at something.
5. Add swipe as well as arrows to control the slider on mobile, users like that on touch screens.
There are more things you can do too - check out the full list on our website. http://ilateralweb.co.uk/web-design-news/you-spin-me-right-round-a-guide-to-carousels-on-home-pages/
Cyber Attacks - hype or stark reality?
Cyber security has become a key risk to businesses of all sizes. With almost 3 in 4 small businesses in the UK having experienced a security breach in the last 12 months, cyber attacks have become headline news.
In today’s business environment, virtually all companies (regardless of their size) collect and store personal information about customers, employees and others. With this increased level of data, follows a higher rate of data breaches - the theft, loss or mistaken release of private information - is on the rise.
Don’t be fooled in thinking that these data breaches are just a big business problem; small and medium-sized businesses with fewer data security resources are particularly vulnerable.
Why do businesses need cyber insurance?
With the average cost to a small business of the worst security breaches between £75-£311,000, having specific insurance coverage in place to mitigate these risks can reduce the financial impact.
Key considerations for businesses when choosing cyber insurance are whether the policy provides:
– Cover for the costs of dealing with data breaches
– Cover for the costs of dealing with cyber liability claims
– Cover for business losses from a cyber event
– Cover that helps businesses deal with the impact of cyber crime
– Cover for hardware and data corruption
– Access to expert advice and support e.g. IT, legal, forensic and media relations when an incident occurs.
How can businesses protect themselves?
The best advice to start with is to speak to an insurance expert. By trying to purchase this cover on-line or over the telephone, you risk there being gaps in your cover (see above) or simply not getting the cover that is tailored to your business.
At Cass Stephens, we are able to access specialist policies that are designed to meet the demand of businesses faced with this modern-day threat to their survival.
One insurer with whom we deal can offer cover that would deal with the following scenarios:
Example claims covered under the HSB Cyber Insurance policy
Data corruption and extra costs
Ex-employee hacked computer system. Data restoration and recreation required.
Property management firm’s email system became corrupted. IT investigation needed to confirm a virus was the cause. Former customers sued for damages after being infected by email. Claim: £31,261
Accountant’s laptop stolen containing 800 customer tax records. Cost to replace laptop, notify clients and investigate loss. Claim: £35,000
How many times have you witnessed a laptop or tablet being left unattended on a train whilst the owner visits the buffet carriage for instance?
Please feel free to get in touch if you have a specific enquiry or would simply like to talk through your options.
Andrew Long Cert CII
Commercial Account Executive
Cass Stephens Insurances Ltd
And why failing to seek professional mortgage advice doesn't make any sense.
In today’s world of comparison sites, which allow one to compare the price of almost anything, why would anyone go direct to a lender when it comes to getting a mortgage? And, with a plethora of mortgage brokers out there, many of whom offer free mortgage reviews, what reason is there not to take them up on an offer that could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds?
An example I often use is this; when you get your car serviced, do you do it yourself? No, unless you are a trained mechanic. Do you go to the first operator you can find? Again, no. Do you shop around and find the best deal possible? Yes, of course you do!
However, when it comes to finding the best mortgage, many either believe they can do the ‘servicing’ on their own, or decide to look no further than one lender. Picking a mortgage is likely to be one of the most important financial decisions a person makes in their life, so it makes sense to ensure you don’t end up paying far more than you really have to for years to come.
I once worked with a client who had already been turned down by two different lenders for differing reasons, ranging from his wife’s age to affordability issues owing the fact he already owned a residential property, which he was renting out.
I spent an hour or so with him one Saturday morning discussing his situation and discovered that he served in the army. He wasn’t aware that this meant he didn’t have to pay a consent to let fee; even though he had spoken to his lender on a number of occasions they had never told him that, as a serviceman, he was exempt from this particular charge. With this one little piece of information, and because I had experience of a similar scenario, I was able to save him a significant amount of money.
After gaining a full understanding of his situation, it didn’t take me long to review his circumstances and make financially beneficial decisions on the two mortgages. We freed equity from what was now going to be his buy-to-let to use towards the deposit on his new residential property, thereby reducing the level of borrowing required.
This in turn meant we were able to reduce the term of the mortgage, and keep it all within the client’s retirement age and also his wife’s. Not only that, but we managed to find a solution that was entirely affordable.
This particular client will be able to pay off the mortgage within 10 years, and has the guarantee that they payments will never increase because we took out a fixed 10-year mortgage. This all came with the added benefit that the new profit from the buy-to-let property – now on a much better rate – is enough to cover his mortgage payments.
Experience and knowledge of the market can make a big difference when it comes to finding the right mortgage. When making a decision that will impact your finances for many years to come, it makes sense to speak to someone that can secure a deal that will be as financially beneficial in the long-term as possible.
To speak to the author of this article Jason Whitehead, based in Gloucestershire, visit his VouchedFor profile here.
If you are looking for advice on a mortgage, or would like additional guidance in relation to your finances, search the VouchedFor database to find a professional in your area.
I'm sure you've noticed that after browsing online for something, similar things seem to magically appear in your inbox?
You may be aware that Amazon tracks all of it's customers browsing history so that they may offer them items more closely matched to their likes?
This technology is being used by many online suppliers in an attempt to ensure that they, rather than their competition get your business.
Whilst this can be useful in helping you to focus on the things you want rather than the ocean of other products available on the web, it can become a nuisance. Particularly when your email in box is bombarded with spam!
Without getting overly technical, all web browsers keep a history of your searches. This means that they can also keep a record of sites you've used your email address(es) to log into. Vastly increasing their ability to send you spam. By the way, when your PC starts to run slowly, this is the first thing we try to clean up!
If you use Google Chrome however, they've introduced a useful little tool called 'Incognito window'. This deliberately keeps no history meaning you can browse or do online banking and be happy that no history is kept when the browser is closed.
Augusta "Ada", Countess of Lovelace was Lord Byron's only legitimate daughter and went on to work with Charles Babbage on his difference engine, the first modern computer. She was a brilliant mathematician and was the first to describe the software used by modern Computers.
In a century where we are constantly championing to role of Women in our society, surely we should be making this amazing lady as well known as Stephenson, Faraday and Newton?
If it were not for Ada, life would be very different today and I for one would not have a business!
What price loyalty or a guarantee
Skype suffers worldwide outage for a full day, users of the free app threaten to leave in droves! What price loyalty eh?
Just because something is free, it should still work and nothing is more frustrating than a free and useful product suddenly becoming unavailable. People become resentful and bitter toward the products owners.
Apparently, the business version was unaffected which leads one to imagine that their view is that the free product didn't matter? Cynical yes and probably incorrect but that's the world view.
We recently had to compare product availability for a business continuity plan for a telephone system.
The very best quoted service level agreement on the market is from a leading British Telecom provider. However, their claim of 99.9% availability is only guaranteed if you use their equipment and their broadband! Strangely, our humble Module IT VOIP is currently at 99.975% and we will use any broadband and equipment. To put this in perspective, 99.9% equals about a working day per annum. 99.975% is about 2 hours.
What does this really mean to my business?
Well, you should be cynical about sales claims and work out what the real impact might be but then look at the cost difference between the systems. The one guaranteeing 99.9% costs over 100 times more than the one currently performing better but of course we cannot guarantee that! ;)
What are the chances?!
1) You've just bought a new house and the 70's avocado bathroom suite has to go.
2) After some bad weather, the fence between your neighbours has broken and their little doggy is leaving some presents on your lawn.
3) Your little darling has given your beautiful lounge walls a little update.
What do you do?
You might look in the local paper, grab a business directory out of the drawer, Google local services, jump onto social media and search for a local business, ask on social media if anyone knows anyone, or ring friends and family for suggestions.
So...... now, you are that local business they need, using the options above, how can they find your number and not your competitors? Everyone works differently, some use only one of these methods, some a mixture, some all - how many can you be found by?
If it's only 1 of them, you have a 1 in 6 chance they will use the option that finds you, but wait.......there's many other people who also do what you do and they also market themselves in the same place. What's the chance that you will get the call? Probably one in maybe even hundreds at times.
Have a think about your business and whether you are in enough places. Brand awareness is a massive part of your business plan and must not be overlooked.
If you'd like more information on brand awareness and how to expose your business, contact Jo of Forest Traders for more details.
Business planning and networking helps
I have been bad. Business networking is most effective when you attend regularly and take the small steps that build relationships and understanding of potential clients, either those in the room or those they can refer.
I keep missing CAP as I’m too busy working in my business. This is much like the approach most owner-managers take to business planning.
Lots of owners get stuck in talking about sometime doing some business planning. But the time never arrives. Yet talk is the first building block of any business plan. Talk about your business objectively and candidly with someone. What is good? What is bad? What would better look like?
The choice of the person is key. Close family is unlikely to be completely objective. But if they are all that is available, proceed carefully. The tale of the successful builder of two £1M+ businesses struggling with his own business, being asked by his wife when was he going to get a proper job, is true.
Assets and Liabilities
Review everything and everyone involved with your business. Ask what and who are assets taking your business forward. Conversely what are the liabilities holding you back.
Often entrepreneurs find that something can be an asset as well as a liability. The contract with Fred provides regular monthly income (steady cashflow) but takes up so much time as he likes to talk (query profitability).
Then ask which liabilities should I ditch and how can I use my assets more. Or alternatively what changes or training needs to be done to get more asset and less liability.
In business planning terms these are the many different ways the business could go. Shell has a department which plans every conceivable scenario for its operations around the world, so that it can react quickly and appropriately. Smaller companies have at least 5 opportunities:
· Stay as you are- getting the same business the same way, changing nothing
· Grow slowly- getting more of the business you want, but not risking much.
· Grow rapidly- focusing solely on what will get you the business you want now.
· Decline slowly- almost stay as you are; keep working in the business not on it
· Collapse- end the business as it is going nowhere (positive) or become over-reliant on a small customer base which lets you down (negative).
Consider what are the real opportunities for you? Is it a new market/ product/approach/people/client?
Assets, Liabilities and Opportunities all need objective analysis. Vision is all about what you are trying to achieve as a business. If this business is successful what will it be doing and for whom? Who are your ideal customers and why and how does your business fit their needs? Why are you different?
It is a good business habit to be able to articulate your vision in a short sentence or two. This allows you to decide whether the asset/liability/opportunity fits that vision and have a prepared networking 30 seconds.
A business plan is not the carefully crafted hefty document gathering dust on the shelf. Business planning is the creation of larger strategies which are broken down into small steps. A step needs to be done today so that the next can be taken tomorrow. Along the way there are intermediate goals. Win 5 new clients for the new product range by Jan 1st comes back to firstly designing the range by 1st October and secondly devising and executing the marketing and sales plan so there are at least 5 qualified leads on 31st November.
Business Schools give acronyms to processes to aid the memory. I call this the TA LOVE model to remind me that I need objective feedback from other people to plan my business effectively. Much like I might find at a business network like CAP!
Andrew Callard and Aimed Business helps owners and senior managers achieve their goals through providing advice and insight to enable their business to grow and to devising and executing cost effective marketing strategies. He can be found (sometimes) at CAP or at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m in business because….. Everyone in business has a why. Every successful business person is able to explain why they are in business and what they want to achieve to fulfil that why.
So take time today and think about your why. The immediate wrong answers are:
· I’m in business for the money.
· I’m in a job.
· I haven’t got time to answer this as I’m far too busy!
Recent research into characteristics of successful entrepreneurs show that most have higher missions (eg saving the world….) or really love what they do and inspire others. It’s not about money; it is about taking responsibility and it is about focusing their time on what really matters.
Why have a Why? Rarely are people in business for the money alone. Do you need money so you can retire in 5 years’ time to the holiday mansion in Spain and/or with the Ferrari outside. Or just enough to not work for 20 years. Or to put your children through university/college.
The old photo of the family on the desk has now moved to the computer, but for many it is there as a reminder of their why; not because they’ve forgotten what their family looks like. Or it’s the family having fun in the sun, which is the motivation. Or the image of a boat or car.
If you are able to know what your why is, you can create an image of that success to motivate when times get tough or celebrate another success achieved on the road to that why. A visual image of the why is a powerful means of focusing yourself on your goals and a reminder to keep you on track.
And it can also stop you doing something stupid. The old joke is why do bank robbers rob banks? Answer because that’s where the money is. So if you’re in business solely for the money why aren’t you robbing banks as that’s where most of it is?
So why are you in business then….?
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