How drone technology is transforming business transactions
- When travel was cut short due to COVID-19, so was in-person due diligence for business transactions.
- In response, PwC Central and Eastern Europe has developed a drone-based tool for site inspections.
- Technology is also paving the way for reducing negotiators’ carbon emissions.
The disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of businesses, from massive remote work shifts to ongoing outages in the global supply chain.
But one particular form of disruption required a particularly visionary form of innovation, as it required being in many places at the same time, even in the face of travel blockages. It was the act of due diligence before a deal, when teams of decision-makers visited the facilities for on-site inspections.
“If you want to buy an asset, you have to go and see that asset,” said Agnieszka Gajewska, a partner at PwC Poland who heads the company’s global Drone Powered Solutions center of excellence.
“This is why due diligence is at the heart of every business transaction,” she continued. “To do that, you have to physically travel and see the asset. But when you can’t travel, you have to find an innovative solution – this is where you can involve drones and cameras on site to do the job for you. you .”
Gajewska sees the new solution as an expression of PwC’s commitment to delivering bold, human-led and technology-powered ideas and solutions.
Drone technology goes beyond site inspections
When the pandemic began to limit travel and in-person interactions, Gajewska and his team of engineers and data scientists quickly devised an aerial data capture program that could be the eyes and ears of inspectors while they were waiting for the lockdown to end. This team developed the solution that would become known as Remote Asset Insights.
The goal was to direct drones, satellites, and video cameras over and through space with the same kind of intuition and intention that a human would bring. Gajewska said the tool allows viewers to see inside and outside a facility, for example, including hard-to-reach areas and places where special safety precautions limit human presence. . Other benefits of remote visualizations include aerial views inaccessible to in-person visitors and 3D modeling to represent topological changes over time.
Remote Asset Insights keeps site inspections focused on smaller teams and bigger payouts, said Will Jackson-Moore, partner at PwC UK and its global leader in private equity, real estate and sovereign wealth funds.
“Buyers will probably want to visit at least one site to say they’ve ‘kicked their tires’,” he said. “But now their visits can be much more time-focused with the vendor’s management team. The drone solution will be the key tool of the site visit, as it cuts costs and increases the quality of the site. Evaluation.”
An aerial example of human-led innovation powered by technology
“Remote Asset Insights and drone-based solutions are my vision for the future, where people and technology work hand in hand,” said Gajewska. “Information and insight is very different from the gigabytes of data we receive from the field. As humans, we use this sophisticated technology to analyze this data and effectively translate it into meaningful information for potential buyers. This is how we create real trust in the whole process and with the whole transaction. “
The sites to be inspected aren’t always near airports or other travel hubs, Jackson-Moore said, so in-person tours have never been a perfect scenario. With the enhanced data and information drones can deliver, the tool creates value even beyond the benefit of not wasting time in transit.
“Our drone solution not only allows sites to be examined regardless of their location, but it also offers a much more in-depth inspection,” Jackson-Moore said.
An environmental and social boom
The ESG benefit of reducing air travel for executives responsible for transactions, which drags carbon emissions in its wake, cannot be overstated. A return flight between London and New York, for example, has been shown to generate more emissions than the average person in Burundi, Paraguay or more than 50 other countries produces in a year. And shorter flights can generate more emissions per passenger than longer flights.
But reducing reliance on air travel isn’t the only improvement Gajewska imagines drones create. “There is also the social impact of the tool,” she said. “This gives our customers the opportunity to create working conditions for employees that contribute to their work-life balance, rather than spending days traveling to visit new locations.”
She is also proud of the opportunity created by the tool for local drone operators and video companies, who are often hired to work from the ground up in their own markets.
“This solution is about people first and foremost – a human vision based on real experience,” she said.
This is why it is essential that each virtual tour is personalized based on what end users want to see and experience for themselves.
“Remote Asset Insights has proven to us that if we combine human intelligence, passion and a real business need with the most innovative technologies, we are able to create real value for our clients,” said Gajewska. “It’s even more important than the drones, data visualizations, and data analysis technologies involved. You could never get people out of this equation.”
Learn more about PwC’s human and technological approach to creating value in transactions here.
This post was created by Insider Studios with PwC.
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