SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — As news unfolds throughout the week, Port City Daily tries to cover topics that remain top-of-mind to the community. However, small newsrooms like PCD can’t always get to everything. (Consider supporting our work here.)
Here’s a weekly roundup of headlines that are important nonetheless and should be on the public’s radar — but didn’t necessarily make it on the site as soon as the news dropped.
Surf City emergency management requests unmanned aircraft to capture sand volume data
Surf City could soon have a vital emergency management tool to capture data about sand volume on beaches and assist with initial damage assessments following major storms. Emergency Management director Jason Horne has requested the purchase of a small unmanned aircraft system, or SUAS, in the town’s upcoming budget.
A SUAS is commonly referred to as a drone. The system requires multiple components, with the aircraft itself ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000, before adding sensors.
The sensors, available in a range of uses, do the data-collecting legwork. Horne said he’d prefer to buy a specialized lidar sensor, which uses laser components to capture sand volume information.
“We can get the height, depth and volume metric data,” he explained, “to establish a cycle of data collection and track where we’re losing sand and where we’re picking up sand.” The aircraft could be set up to fly over the same route at a specific frequency, such as once a month, to create cyclic volume collections. This would allow the department to keep an eye on problem areas.
“Basically, you build a model that allows you to then contrast data against one another,” he said.
This is important for emergency management to spot areas of concern before and after a storm. It can be used as an early warning system as well.
The aircraft can concurrently provide photos from a damage assessment viewpoint. It can be deployed in up to 40 mile-per-hour winds and fly over the beach and town to determine more quickly where damage has occurred. This would prioritize areas for assessment teams.
While it would not replace the FEMA surveys that must be done for federal funding following storm damage, it would augment the effort.
“My goal is to eventually have a dashboard and that information will be publicly available for those who have evacuated or have second homes, they can access that data quickly,” Horne said.
The SUAS tool runs on two high-capacity batteries and can average up to 30 minutes of airtime. The purchase would be a joint effort with community development, which could use the flyovers to capture GIS data and create future town maps.
To fly an unmanned aircraft, the user is required to obtain a Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 certification. Horne said he was previously certified and would have to get recertified before operating the drone.
As it stands now, Surf City uses third-party vendors to conduct sand surveys, which can be costly and must be scheduled. — Amy Passaretti
nCino expands partnership with Wells Fargo, shows 34% revenue increase in FY22
Financial technology company nCino announced Thursday Wells Fargo & Company will expand use of its bank operating system to streamline origination, underwriting and portfolio management in its consumer and small business banking division.
Wells Fargo first partnered with Wilmington-based nCino last fall to help with its commercial lending operations.
“The pandemic has certainly changed the way our customers want to work with us,” Derek Ellington, head of small business banking at Wells Fargo, said in a press release. “Providing more access to digital banking options that are fast, safe and convenient is important and has spurred additional investments in technology.”
A leading financial services company, Wells Fargo has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, and provides banking, investment, mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance. It ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations.
“Wells Fargo clearly sees the value of the cloud as an enabler in their continued evolution and transformation, and we are confident our best-in-class cloud platform will help drive additional efficiencies and unlock even more value for their employees and small business clients,” nCino CEO Pierre Naudé said in the release.
According to nCino, its bank operating system is designed to provide financial institutions with scalable technology to help achieve revenue growth, greater efficiency, cost savings and regulatory compliance. The cloud-based platform simplifies the process of onboarding clients, making and managing loans, and opening accounts.
Derek Ellington said in the release, the partnership between the two institutions will help reduce the “tedious back and forth that sometimes occurs when applying for and obtaining a loan, and it provides our employees a single view of each customer, making the end-to-end lending experience quicker and more efficient.”
nCino has partnered with more than 1,750 financial institutions globally. It has offices in London, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto, Germany, and Tokyo, and just two weeks ago announced an increased presence across the pond, into Spain and France to help digitize banking systems in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The company released its financial results for fiscal year 2022’s fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31.
The report shows total revenues for the fourth quarter equaled $75 million, a 32% increase from $56.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021. Subscription revenues were $62.8 million, up from $45.0 million one year ago, an increase of 40%.
Total revenues and subscription revenues from SimpleNexus were included: $3.9 million and $3.7 million, respectively. nCino announced the SimpleNexus acquisition in November 2021 in a $1.2-billion agreement, which closed at the beginning of the year, on Jan. 7. The two companies are working to innovate the independent mortgage banks market, as well as strengthen “consumer front-end technology and domain expertise,” and launch mobile and point-of-sale offerings that address consumer needs.
“With new logos, significant expansion deals, continued traction internationally and the completion of the SimpleNexus acquisition, the fourth quarter was a strong finish to a tremendous year for nCino,” Naudé added in a release.
Total revenues for fiscal year 2022 were $273.9 million, a 34% increase from $204.3 million in fiscal year 2021. Subscription revenues for fiscal year 2022 were $224.9 million, up from $162.4 million one year ago, an increase of 38%, according to the press release.
However, growth and acquisitions also have the company operating at a loss. The company reported a GAAP loss in 2022 of $71.4 million (2021 was $42.6 million) and a non-GAAP operating loss in 2022 for $17.6 million compared to $14.2 million last fiscal year.
As of Jan. 31, the company reported it had $88 million in cash and cash equivalents.
“As we look to fiscal year 2023, the strength of our combined businesses positions us extremely well for continued growth,” Naudé said in the release. “We are pursuing a large, global opportunity to help lenders and financial institutions of all sizes digitally transform their operations, and 10 years in, we are just getting started.” — Chris Six, contributor
City asks for public’s thoughts on housing issues
Residents in the City of Wilmington will have a chance to share their thoughts on the community’s needs — from affordable housing to homelessness — in a survey released Friday.
The responses are anonymous and will be used to help the city draft its Five-Year Consolidated Plan, which evaluates affordable housing, homelessness, special needs and community development.
“Public input is vital to identifying community needs, conditions, and priorities,” community development and housing planner Suzanne Rogers said in a statement. “We will use the information gleaned from this survey to establish meaningful and appropriate goals, which will guide our strategies in addressing these areas of need and help city officials and staff determine the allocation of limited resources.”
Each year, the city details the actions, activities and resources it intends to use to tackle the priorities and goals set out in the Consolidated Plan in a summary called the “Annual Action Plans.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires the city to create a five-year consolidated plan to acquire funding.
The survey, available online here, asks respondents to rank the importance of public services and contributors to quality of life. — Alexandria Sands Williams
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