Security Industry Association (SIA) member AeroDefense provides counter-UAS solutions to detect drones and pilots at correctional facilities, stadiums, critical infrastructure and other high-value targets. Headquartered in Holmdel, New Jersey, AeroDefense serves the United States through a select network of partners.
SIA spoke with Linda Ziemba, founding CEO of AeroDefense, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us the story of your company.
Ziemba: Founded in 2015 on the premise that drones are computers in flight,
AeroDefense’s drone detection system, AirWarden, leverages internet security
techniques to enhance public safety and personal privacy from drone misuse.
Developed in just over a year, the system was designed to provide the early
warning and situational awareness security personnel need to respond quickly
and effectively to drone threats.
In April 2017, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) selected AeroDefense to participate in the first-ever urban drone detection technology assessment in New Orleans, Louisiana. Later that year, DHS selected AirWarden for a drone detection technology assessment at Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia, and a U.S. prison security firm, Securus Technologies, selected AirWarden as the drone detection system for its correctional facility customers. For the 2017-2018 football season, AirWarden underwent extreme radio frequency (RF) environment testing at MetLife Stadium and was selected for commercial deployment at the stadium in 2018.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
LZ: AeroDefense developed a patented drone detection system, AirWarden, that detects the RF signals emitted by drones and their controllers and locates both drone and controller. Upon detection, AirWarden sends alerts to security personnel via email, text message and the web-based drone detection command console.
Unlike military solutions, AirWarden operates legally for domestic commercial use because it does not demodulate and decode any signals and therefore doesn’t violate federal wiretapping laws.
In addition, because AeroDefense developed AirWarden in a high-RF urban environment, the system is able to detect and locate in both rural and urban areas. Many competitive systems struggle to detect in a busy urban environment.
What’s something we might not know about your company – or something new you’re doing in security?
LZ: AeroDefense is a self-funded, woman-owned small business. Before we expanded our marketing and sales activity, we focused on two key customers in two strategic verticals to “get the product right” and build strong references.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
LZ: Our goal is to deliver affordable, reliable, legal drone detection that provides organizations with situational awareness of threats in their airspace. This way, they can protect both facilities and people from clueless or careless drone pilots and bad actors.
Traditional physical security solutions are two dimensional. They weren’t designed to handle aerial threats. But as new threats evolve, so do solutions, and we look forward to working with professionals in the security industry as we develop the advanced tools and strategies needed to optimize drone threat response and keep our country safe.
What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
LZ: Emerging tech companies in competitive markets face the challenge of breaking through the clutter of confusing and sometimes blatantly false claims. Industries like drone detection or drone security face a lot of regulations written long before the technologies were contemplated.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
LZ: Two things really – First, the people. Everyone in our company thrives on the passion, the work and the team, so it’s a lot of fun to work at AeroDefense.
Second, helping protect our community. I watched the twin towers come down and sat at a computer all day recording and posting survivors’ information as they came off the ferry in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, so their loved ones could find them. I wanted to do something right away to help prevent another attack like that but was unable. Now, our company focuses every day on solutions to prevent drone-based terror attacks.
SIA: What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership?
LZ: AeroDefense spent three years perfecting its drone and pilot detection, location and alert system. SIA offers access to potential customers to help us grow the business and protect more people.
SIA: How does your organization engage with SIA? What are your plans for involvement in the next year?
LZ: AeroDefense plans to engage in local events such as SIAThere! AeroDefense learned many valuable lessons through year-long production deployments at prisons and stadiums and plans to share these learnings via the Drone and Robotics Working Group. If we can help advance policy – even better.