- When travel halted because of COVID-19, so did in-person due diligence for business deals.
- In response, PwC Central and Eastern Europe have developed a drone-based tool for site inspections.
- The technology also clears a path to reducing carbon emissions by dealmakers.
The disruptions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have touched every aspect of businesses, from massive remote-work shifts to ongoing breakdowns in the global supply chain.
But one particular form of disruption required an especially visionary form of innovation, because it required being in many places at the same time, even in the face of travel lockdowns. That was the act of due diligence before a deal, when teams of decision-makers would visit 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 leads the firm’s Drone Powered Solutions Global Center of Excellence.
“That’s why due diligence lies at the heart of every single business transaction,” she continued. “To do this, you need to physically travel and see the asset. But when you can’t travel, you need to come up with an innovative solution — that’s where you can involve drones and on-site cameras to do the job for you.”
Gajewska sees the new solution as an expression of PwC’s commitment to delivering bold ideas and solutions that are human-led and tech-powered.
Drone technology goes above and beyond for site inspections
When the pandemic began to limit in-person travel and interactions, Gajewska and her team of engineers and data scientists moved quickly to design an aerial data-capture program that could be the eyes and ears of inspectors while they waited out the lockdown. This team developed the solution that would become known as Remote Asset Insights.
The goal was to navigate drones, satellites, and video cameras above and through a space with the same type of intuition and intent a human would bring. Gajewska said the tool allows viewers to see inside and outside a facility, for example, including difficult-to-reach areas and places where special safety precautions limit human presence. Other benefits of remote viewings include overhead 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 greater gains, said Will Jackson-Moore, a partner at PwC UK and its leader of global private equity, real estate, and …….