Technology’s Role in Dealing with Disasters

first_img natural disaster Technology 2019-09-23 Mike Albanese About Author: Mike Albanese Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: Foreclosures Levels Continue to Drop Next: A New Alternative to Affordable Housing? The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Technology’s Role in Dealing with Disasters Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Related Articles Tagged with: natural disaster Technology in Daily Dose, Featured, Loss Mitigation, News, Technology Chad MosleyChad Mosley is Chief Relationship Officer for Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS), a nationwide provider of property inspections, property preservation, REO property maintenance, HOA and utility services, property registrations, steel security products and other mortgage-related services.Mosley joined MCS in summer 2008 as AVP of business development, where he was responsible for creating and growing both new and existing business relationships. He later took on additional responsibilities as VP of Operations, including the oversight of inspections and REO operations. In 2012, Mosley was promoted to SVP as he oversaw new business development efforts, industry relations initiatives and corporate expansion.Mosley now oversees the company’s customer-facing functions including, the management of all MCS client teams as well as business development and marketing.Mosley recently spoke to DS News on how technology has impacted disaster preparedness, storm response, and the biggest mistakes companies make when using technology.How has technology changed how companies track and monitor natural disasters?The main thing technology has done here in recent years has allowed us at MCS and the industry as a whole, to be more proactive, either preparing for a natural disaster or for being more prepared to manage that storm or that disaster right after it happens. Before new technology, the industry was more reactive when a storm or a disaster hit, and then we would have to wait until we could get boots on the ground in those areas to assess the damage. We would require our vendor network in those areas to get in and report back on what the condition of those properties were.Some of the technology tools that are available really allow us to monitor the storm tracks. Whether it’s in preparation or whether it’s post the event, the tools allow us to be able to look at those storm tracks, and then really be able to combine that data and those analytics with the portfolios of our mortgage servicing clients to really be able to identify where the risk is at. With one of the storms that came through the central Midwest this past spring, we were able to use the technology that very specifically tracks the storm, to track the tornado. We were then able to overlay the storm track with the portfolio of properties for any one of our clients. With this data, we were able to separate what were the occupied properties and what were the vacant properties.This allowed us to start to strategize on prioritization of which properties should be inspected, the ones that definitely had a good chance of being in the storm track with a high probability of damage; versus which ones were probably not in the storm track. Even with this new technology, we still have to utilize our vendors to have boots on the ground inspecting these properties, but utilizing new technology allows us to plan and prepare and to prioritize how we react.What is the biggest mistake that some companies make when using technology?The absolute biggest mistake is that you can’t solely rely on the technology in inspecting a property. There are some high tech tools that are being used in the industry right now. There’s satellite imagery, where companies will fly airplanes and have high definition photography of areas from a very high altitude.These things are great and there are different tools that can be used as part of the management process, but it does not replace having boots on the ground and having an actual professional property inspector visit a property, especially a vacant property. You can see from the air using planes, drones or satellite imagery to see large areas. From the air, you can see things like where there has been flooding, where there are damages and you can see roofs very well. However, having the human element to actually be able to stand in front of that property and walk into that property can often times be more accurate, it has to be a combination of both.A good example is Superstorm Sandy that hit the Northeast Coast and the amount of storm surge that was pushed into those communities in the Jersey Shore area, and even up into New York City. You could look at the roof of a property, or you could look at a property visually from a bird’s eye view, and it looks like there’s no damage. But as we had boots on the ground, both representatives from MCS and our vendor contractors in the area, you could walk down a street and one property would have no damage; it escaped the storm, there was no water or wind damage. But then as you approached the property right next door you could immediately see the damage from the amount of water that hit that property. We had entire structures that were pushed six to 12 inches off the foundation, to where that property became uninhabitable and that’s something that you can’t see from 30,000 feet. That type of damage is something that you have to have boots on the ground, you have to have an actual human element of somebody going in and visually inspecting those properties.It goes back to only relying on the technology and not including those local property inspectors actually going into those vacant properties. It’s a combination of using all the tools that are available, which is really what creates and what results in the best strategy.How can technology be used in the response efforts and the reaction efforts following a storm?From a default mortgage servicing perspective, it allows us along with our clients to prioritize based on where the risk is at. Vacant properties are going to carry a higher risk than an occupied property that has a homeowner living in the property. Those consumers and those customers are the utmost value and the utmost concern.But a property that’s been vacant or abandoned, there’s nobody there, there’s nobody looking after it. There’s nobody there that may be boarding up the windows or may be putting the sandbags in front of the house. From a default perspective, it allows us to analyze the storm track, overlay that with where the vacant properties are at, and make sure that we’re getting boots on the ground to inspect those vacant properties.The other piece of that, of where technology can really aid in the response to a disaster is also on the performing side of the house. With all of our mortgage servicer clients on their performing book of business, most of those servicers are doing call campaigns to all of their customers that potentially could have been in the storm track.What we’re able to do is take a portfolio for a customer of their performing loans and overlay those properties into our technology tool to look at the storm tracks and where the actual wind damage was, where the precipitation was or maybe where the flooding was. By looking at elevations, we’re able to prioritize and we’re able to give feedback to our clients to know that they could have thousands of customers that were impacted by a storm.Think of Hurricane Irma in Florida that struck in the Keys, went inland on the Gulf Coast and then traveled straight up through the middle of Florida, all the way up through the state. You had thousands and thousands of customers that were impacted.We’re now able to use our storm tracking technology to provide a tool to our clients. They can prioritize by being able to see, these are the customers we need to start contacting first, here are the ones that probably have less risk that we can contact second and then here’s the bucket of customers that we can contact towards the end of the call campaign, because there’s a good probability that they didn’t suffer any damage.How important is it that people or industry professionals attend events such as the Disaster Preparedness Symposium?The Disaster Preparedness Symposium was really a nice range of different experts from all over different sectors of the industry. There were many good perspectives there, where we’re able to have dialogue to brainstorm and discuss best practices, both preparing for a storm and reacting to a storm.It’s all about preparedness, you’re not going to be able to solve everything and there’s always going to be new things that come up and new obstacles and new challenges that we’ve never experienced before. Attending these types of events is very important in navigating through these obstacles and challenges.Hurricane Harvey that hit the Texas coast and the Houston area was unprecedented in that a storm of that size made landfall, and then basically stalled and spent two or three days dumping record amounts of rainfall in a very isolated area that had never seen that before. That’s something that was different than every other land falling hurricane that we’ve ever seen in recent history and really changed the conversation of natural disasters during that time.You can’t plan for everything, but the preparedness is hugely important to try and come up with what you’re going to do, have the playbook updated and prepare as much as you can. So at the time when there is a storm or natural disaster, those conversations have been had before. As a service provider, we’ve had conversations with our mortgage servicing clients, discussing what are we going to do in this situation and how are we going to handle these types of properties so we aren’t trying to figure all that out on the fly when something happens. Technology’s Role in Dealing with Disasters Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago  Print This Post Subscribe Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Share Save September 23, 2019 1,408 Views Sign up for DS News Daily last_img read more

Bubble Dribble: Here’s what an NBA game is like without fans

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the Friday July 24 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. Reporter Kyle Goon is one of the few in the country allowed inside the NBA’s bubble. To get the “Bubble Dribble” insider accounts in your inbox throughout the NBA conclusion, sign up here.LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It’s an exchange I’ve seen perhaps a hundred times. I’ve never heard it like this.LeBron James ran to the rack and dropped in a lay-up on Thursday night, then hunted out a referee: “That’s an And-1,” he said, asking for a whistle on contact by the Mavericks defense. Moments later, Jared Dudley was called for a foul. Frank Vogel was incensed by a perceived double standard. As James shouted an expletive, Vogel started arguing his case.“LeBron’s getting mauled down there,” he said to official Jacyn Goble, “and it’s ‘Play on.’” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersI’ve written about this before, but usually experience it like this: Reporters on the sideline spot body language between coaches, players and officials, and make a note to ask about it later. What coaches and players say after the game helps shape how we view those moments. Even though media seats at Staples Center are fantastic, the din of a passionate crowd usually blankets the chatter on the court.But in the Visa Athletic Center, an airy field house that is split in two by a black curtain to cordon off the playing area from the improvised “locker rooms,” there is no overlapping fan noise of any kind. There are no fans at all.Three days into scrimmages at the NBA bubble, I’ve watched games at each of the three venues at Wide World of Sports on the Disney campus. They’re all perched close together, and they’re all much smaller than NBA arenas. As far as I can tell, Visa Athletic Center, the smallest and most intimate of all three, isn’t truly designed for large spectating crowds in any way.In a world with COVID-19, everyone is tuning in on TV. In person, the venue reflects a television product with large digital screens and about 30 different cameras (all but three controlled remotely) capturing the action. There’s music during possessions, and I heard from TV viewers that crowd noise was added artificially on the broadcast to simulate the feel of a normal game.So to be one of the two hundred-or-so people sitting live — and as Joe Vardon put it at The Athletic, “spitting distance” — is weird. Audiences are not just set dressing for TV (which some have argued they are), but they help create drama, help accentuate the powerful moments and highlights, and ultimately do things that actually do affect the game — like forcing coaches to take timeouts. I imagined it would be like tuning in to your favorite song, but only having the bass line without being able to hear any other instrument. And sometimes, it is. My first encounter was during a scrimmage between the Clippers and the Orlando Magic, which was a staid, sterile environment at The Arena, the largest venue on campus. The in-arena temperature was comparable to a meat locker — I don’t know if it mattered ultimately that it was chilly, but maybe it did. While the technological aspects designed for television looked impressive, it was sometimes difficult to feel like I was watching the same game.So many times, fans punctuate not just what we pay attention to, but become characters within the stories we write. The NBA has picked up home court sounds and graphics to help simulate home court advantage, so it started hitting me how weird some of these things sound on their own: from the race car engines of the Indiana Pacers, to the robotic monotone of “DE-FENSE” the Clippers played over some of their possessions. A call without a response feels completely unnatural — and just a little sad.But that overall lack of energy translated to the teams playing, and on spaced-out benches, it took each team a while to kind of buy in — but eventually by the end of the game, they seemed to, waving towels and shouting.Lou Williams was a little hoarse in his press conference following the scrimmage, and when he said it was the most he’s ever had to talk from the bench during a game, Doc Rivers — who has the most well-known rasp in the league — butted into his Zoom call with reporters: “Now you know this is why I talk like this!”I was a little cold on the overall experience: Truthfully, I love that NBA games are big events. This is also true of pregame routines for reporters, which consists of mingling along the sidelines with NBA staffers and coaches and other media alike. At Staples Center, the courtside stars feel just as much a part of the game as the stanchion or the 3-point line. This is one aspect that makes covering the Lakers unlike any job I’ve ever had.But coming away from Thursday night’s game in the smallest venue here has begun to sway my opinion.The media had spaced-out courtside seats, giving us fantastic vantages of both the action and the dialogue. I got to hear a lot of player communication, especially on defense. Vogel has said many, many times that James is the “quarterback” of his defense (yes, it’s a mixed metaphor), but I’ve never heard that more clearly than in the scrimmage, as James barked during almost every possession who was going to be covering who.“You stay on (Justin) Jackson,” James shouted in one break, then pointed to Tim Hardaway Jr. “I’ll stay on him.” It was at a distance so I can’t be sure, but Hardaway seemed to shoot James a dirty look (it’s not exactly a compliment that LeBron wants to guard you on defense).You get to hear what coaches are concerned about, especially in breaks in music. During a Mavericks possession, gigantic center Boban Marjanovic was fed the ball in the post and prepared to back down Dwight Howard. A chorus of Mavericks bench voices said all at once: “TAKE YOUR TIME!”Thursday’s postgame comments were mostly occupied by issues of social justice (which we wrote about at length), but I still have a list of questions about things I heard. For example, why, when Quinn Cook was sinking free throws at the line, were LeBron and Anthony Davis shouting “Green beans!” (A Twitter follower offered that it was a reference to NBA 2K, which the trio has played together)?It felt like the Lakers and Mavericks had gotten revved up to be loud from the bench. One of the best moments came as Dion Waiters made his Lakers’ debut, and firing up a 3-pointer before the buzzer. Even before the shot fell, the Lakers bench was up and shouting his nickname: “CHEEEEEEEEESE!”Again, it’s worth reminding how small these places are. Taking a quick break at halftime, I walked by a number of players and coaches, and realized they were spending most of their 15 minutes on the warm-up courts just on the other side of the curtain. Even venues with locker rooms don’t really have many amenities. Players don’t even shower at the venues, heading straight on the bus moments after the clock runs out.This experience was definitely not the NBA I know, but shoot, it was entertaining. Earlier this week, Danny Green speculated that the fanless environment might be like a high-level pickup game at L.A. Fitness — in this third game I watched, that seemed to capture it. Of course it doesn’t really matter to the NBA how the court feels to me: The impressions of the millions at home are going to determine whether this restart is actually a success.What is going to be hardest to replicate are those clock-stopping or clock-slowing moments. I think of athletic, tone-setting blocks that send would-be layups careening into the stands. I think of big dunks that force the other team to huddle up and take a break. I think of incredibly tense and dramatic playoff possessions, thick with excitement, as fans stand up to see if their team can actually pull this one out.What would LeBron’s chasedown block in Game 7 of 2016 be like without fans? Ray Allen’s 2013 shot in Game 6? What would either of Damian Lillard’s walkoff buzzer-beaters to close out series be like without the crowd of some 20,000 people losing their minds? None of these moments will be the same — that’s not really up for debate.But there’s a lot the NBA is doing to try to adapt to the COVID-19 era, including replicating homecourt environments as much as possible — this is particularly of interest to the Lakers and Clippers, who are high seeds for the upcoming playoffs. On the 17-foot digital boards surrounding three sides of each court, there will be “virtual fans” in attendance selected by home court teams. On Thursday, images of the Laker girls flashed in an attempt to restore some of the Showtime magic to the venue.My impression, however, is the games will largely be on the spectrum I’ve already seen. They can feel distant and somewhat off-rhythm. But as players adapt more to the environment and the stakes rise, I imagine that they’ll end up feeling more intimate and heated. A venue without in-person fans is far from perfect, but if the league can find a way to keep up the intensity in these small spaces, it just might do for now.– Kyle GoonEditor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. Reporter Kyle Goon is one of the few in the country allowed inside the NBA’s bubble. To get the “Bubble Dribble” insider accounts in your inbox throughout the NBA’s conclusion , sign up here.From the Bubble“There ain’t been no damn movement for us.’ – LeBron stumps for Breonna Taylor’s case and expresses frustrations over racial justice in America.Taking up for Taylor – A more pointed look at why Taylor’s case has spoken to NBA players and how they’re voicing themselves about it.Basketball is back – The Lakers made their debut in a scrimmage against the Mavericks where LeBron and AD looked lively.More on fan-less arenas – What is different about the new venues in Disney, and what the NBA is still trying to figure out.The pull of real life – The difficult decisions some players are already making, as they decide whether to leave the bubble for personal reasons.Markieff Morris arrives – He’s since cleared quarantine but didn’t play on Thursday.A swift building project – Our last newsletter reflected on how quickly the NBA was able to organize the restart.Follow along on Instagram – I’m sharing stories from the bubble in a different way, and you can check it out here.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more