Home » News » Agencies & People » GUEST POST: Why lettings proptech had its moment during lockdown previous nextProptechGUEST POST: Why lettings proptech had its moment during lockdownLeading industry figure Michael Cook argues why he thinks lettings is now the key area for innovation within the property industry.Michael Cook, National MD Lettings, Leaders Romans Group19th October 20201 Comment1,927 Views Tenant enquiries and property viewings unsurprisingly slowed this spring, due to the Government restrictions brought in to manage the pandemic.But the lettings market didn’t stop during that period – far from it, in fact. Many letting agencies used the opportunity to develop innovative solutions that would help the sector keep growing and make the rental process as easy as possible, for both landlords and tenants.The rise of virtual viewings is one of the most visible examples of this in action, with technology and innovation working together to help tenants view properties without leaving their home. Despite trepidation about how tenants would respond to virtual viewings, demand isn’t going away.Now, we’re in the middle of a lettings market boom, with Rightmove reporting record rental demand in July, and enquiries up 40% year-on-year. With more tenants entering the market, or contemplating a move, now is the time for letting agencies to embrace more forms of property technology, or proptech to make the buy-to-let market more efficient and easier for all.Six ways proptech is disrupting the lettings sector 1 Virtual viewingsVirtual viewings aren’t completely new, but they saw a huge uplift during the pandemic, with Zoopla reporting a 215% increase in video tour listings on their site. Video tours help tenants who are unable to see a house physically still view their future home, while landlords can be assured of less wasteful viewings.Some commercial property developers employ 360° walkthroughs, but such advanced technology isn’t essential to make a good property tour. In fact, for much of the lettings market, a simpler approach is better.With rental demand so high, some properties can be let within a day. Therefore, it’s essential that virtual viewing videos are turned around quickly and letting agencies provide their team with the right technology to shoot and edit a high-quality video themselves.We have found the best way to do this is supply all our agents with hand-held smartphone gimbles or stabilisers so they can film a steady and professional tour video. We also recommend an easy-to-use video editing app and on brand graphics, so that creating a professional and consistent virtual viewing video can be done in less than an hour.2 Virtual branchesWhen the lockdown was first announced, agencies transitioned to working remotely overnight. Thanks to softphone technology – VOIP software that redirects branch calls to a computer – letting agents can maintain customer contact just as if they were in the office.This proves branches can operate remotely without a bricks-and-mortar office and the industry is now seeing a number of virtual letting branches open across the UK. With a virtual branch, agencies are able to make the most of local expertise, deliver the personal touch and be that all important reassuring presence through the whole process in a growing number of areas, even without a high street presence.3 Landlord and property management portalsProptech innovations don’t only benefit the lettings industry; they can also make the lives of landlords and tenants easier. An online portal gives landlords instant access to accounts, reports and surveys, as well as maintenance and future plans for their properties – helping them to keep on top of their investments without a lot of paperwork. The software can also issue rent and tenancy review reminders, putting the landlord in control and saving agencies hundreds of admin hours.Meanwhile, block management teams can automate maintenance and admin by running metre readings, managing door access codes and electronic car park entry at the click of a button. In the future, smart building technology could make the maintenance process even more efficient with touchless access and automated monitoring for thermostats, appliances, lights and leaks. Smart technology is already common in new commercial developments, so we will likely see it soon used in residential lettings and new build developments, reimagining the lettings experience.4 Online tenant onboarding Online portals are also an efficient and stress-free way for agents to screen tenants, help them move in and ensure all documentation is up-to-date. While this tech still isn’t that common in the industry, widespread adoption would see far less documents to track and greater onboarding efficiency.On the financial side, open banking is set to transform tenant reference checks and payments. It makes the reference process instant, providing a real-time view of a tenant’s bank account, income and previous rent payments. This will allow landlords and agents to turn around affordability checks in minutes, instead of days, and will arguably paint a more accurate picture of tenant affordability.5 Maintenance managementMaintenance apps enable tenants to determine and report property issues, while also being able to self-diagnose small issues on the spot. At LRG, our portal has already shown a 16% reduction in reported maintenance issues in our managed properties. Tenants can get advice and track support queries, while landlords can get the reassurance that repair teams are only being called out when an issue really warrants it.6 Online auctionsWith large gatherings still restricted under the pandemic guidelines, it looks unlikely that in-person auctions will return in 2020. Therefore dedicated online auction technology is vital to offer opportunity for property investors.Online auctions allow landlords and investors to log on from wherever they are in the country, or the world, and make bids on a property through the website. The process combines the auction bidding experience with a secure, digital sales process – all in real time. With the level of UK properties sold at online auction up by almost 13%, it’s clear there is strong demand for a fast, easy and efficient tool for all landlords and investors to buy and sell property at auction. Now it’s up to more agencies to provide the technology to support their customers.Embracing the futureAs a service industry, our customers will always have the biggest role to play in shaping the lettings sector, but it’s clear that proptech is key to help it transform for the future. Attitudes to technology in the property sector have warmed significantly since the on-set of the pandemic: 87% of property professionals now say that technology is a force for good compared to 71% at the beginning of the year.While the property market has traditionally been relatively slow to respond to technological changes, COVID-19 has only accelerated the role of technology in the industry. Now letting agencies must embrace these proptech solutions to ensure they are not left behind as the industry rapidly modernises.Read The Neg’s guide to proptech.Leaders Romans Group Michael Cook proptech Rightmove Zoopla October 19, 2020Nigel LewisOne commentAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 19th October 2020 at 8:32 amIt is good to see those in a position of authority talking about the positive empowerment that digital transformation is now giving forward thinking agencies. All it needs is for the word ‘disruption’ to disappear when tech is used in a discussion about real estate, and change it for ‘facilitator of profit and maximum efficiencies’ and maybe a lot more adopters will jump on board.VR and AR and the gamification of the sector are going to do nothing but accelerate over the next year. Many agencies realise that WFH is a metaphor for ‘everything has changed’ and this is an opportunity to refine their business model, losing some of those crippling fixed costs that high street premises entail.Doing ‘property’ digitally is now coming of age, yes property professionals are still required, but less of them, and more enabled by tech, 2021 is going to see a big shift in many verticals.Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021
By MADDY VITALEOrdinarily, standing or sitting on dunes would not be allowed or advised since the sand piles create that natural barrier between the ocean and properties during coastal storms.But on Saturday, environmentalists were together atop the dunes at 57th Street with a specific purpose to create an even stronger barrier against Mother Nature’s wrath, by planting beach plums.About seven members of the Ocean City High School Environmental Club and members of the city’s Environmental Commission and other members of the community got together to plant the beach plums in the dunes. Each equipped with a trowel or shovel and a bucket, they quickly went to work.All of the participants wore masks and observed social distancing guidelines as safeguards during the pandemic.For students Abby Armstrong and Daniella DiCicco, both 16 and of Upper Township, they said that it felt good to help the environment.Abby wants to pursue a career in environmental studies, while Daniella wants to go into the medical field.Environmental Club members gear up to start planting.But both of the friends and fellow club members said there is nothing more rewarding than being out in nature and helping preserve it.“I am very happy to be here. It is a nice feeling,” Abby explained. “I feel like we are lucky because we get to live near the beach, study it and help it.”Daniella added that a dune planting is a great opportunity for the students to study nature.“I’m going into the medical field, but it is great to be passionate about nature. It is important to protect nature,” she said. “A lot of other problems seem miniscule to this. If you don’t protect nature, nothing else seems as important.”Freshman Joshua Heng, 14, said he liked being a part of the Environmental Club, along with his sisters Izzy and Olivia Heng, along with other family members.“It is good to help the environment and the residents of Ocean City,” Joshua said.Alma George, owner of Jalma Farms in Ocean View, explains how to plant beach plums with Environmental Commission Chairman Rick Bernardini at left.Environmental Commission Chairman Rick Bernardini and his wife, Joanne, attended the plantings to help out.“We had to wait to hold this event,” Rick Bernardini noted of it being canceled due to COVID gathering restrictions last year. “This event is important for the environment and great for the kids.”Bernardini said the event wouldn’t be possible without the gracious donation of 75 beach plums for planting and also the guidance from Alma George, owner of Jalma Farms in Ocean View.George explained the importance of protecting the dunes and how dune grass alone is not enough to fortify the dunes. She also detailed how to properly plant the beach plums. She said that they should be spaced about 10 feet apart and deep in the sand and soil because of the long roots.Before George gave the environmentally conscious team of volunteers the go-ahead to start planting, she said, “It means a lot to see youths out there helping the environment. Being environmental stewards is what it is about.When the beach plums mature they will help the dunes provide a protective barrier against coastal storms. Ocean City High School Environmental Club members Abby Armstrong, left, and Daniella DiCicco, both 16 and of Upper Township, plant beach plums.
The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has announced that a team of five Harvard graduate students — Jonathan Bailey, Christopher Cummings, Marvin Figueroa, Kendall Fitch, and Hanseul Kang — were named the 2010 winners of The Urban Education Redesign Challenge, for their public engagement and mobilization strategy for DCPS.The challenge is a case competition, showcasing a critical and pressing issue and offering graduate students the opportunity to propose innovative solutions and strategies within the context of urban education reform at DCPS.The Harvard team’s first-place finish comes with a $5,000 prize, a meeting with the DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and an offer to join the Urban Education Leaders Internship Program for the summer, which comes with a stipend.
The findings reinforce previously known and stark disparities in primary care. Those who are male, Latino, Black, Asian, uninsured, and living in the South are much less likely to have primary care.The authors said that policymakers should prioritize increasing the numbers of Americans with primary care, and suggested immediate musts:Retooling the primary-care payment system to reflect the value of the “intense cognitive work” required in primary care and in longer-term and support investments in technology needed for a successful primary care system in the 21st century.Encouraging novel patient-clinician interactions, such as telemedicine, within established primary care relationships.Creating incentives for new doctors to enter primary care, particularly in rural practices.Increasing the number of Americans who have health insurance.“We know that primary care is associated with better health, yet fewer Americans have primary care than ever before,” said senior author Bruce Landon, professor of health care policy in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School and HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess, where he practices internal medicine. “To improve Americans’ health, we should prioritize investments to reinvigorate the American primary care system.”Jeffrey Linder of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine co-authored this report. Physicians’ salaries, cost of pharmaceuticals, and administrative expenses top the list Related The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. What’s behind high U.S. health care costs Fewer Americans are getting primary care than before, according to a national analysis of trends in the field by Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.The trend is alarming, the authors of the analysis said, because lack of consistent primary care does not bode well for population health or the sustainability of the health care system. Research has shown that people who have primary care have longer, healthier lives and are happier with their care.The study also found a particularly marked decline in primary care among younger Americans and those without complex medical issues. Its findings will be published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.“Primary care is the thread that runs through the fabric of all health care, and this study demonstrates we are potentially slowly unweaving that fabric,” said David Levine, Harvard Medical School instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he practices internal medicine and primary care. “America is already behind the curve when it comes to primary care; this shows we are moving in the wrong direction.”The study analyzed data from 2002 to 2015 from adult respondents to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a nationally representative annual survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The researchers found that in 2002, 77 percent of adult Americans had an established source of primary care, compared with 75 percent in 2015. This 2 percent difference translates to millions fewer Americans with primary care. Having primary care decreased over time for Americans in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Among those without complicated medical histories, having primary care declined over time in every decade of age through their 60s. “Primary care is the thread that runs through the fabric of all health care, and this study demonstrates we are potentially slowly unweaving that fabric.” — David Levine
December 21 officially marks the winter solstice, when areas in the Northern Hemisphere have the shortest day and the longest night of the year.A few popular plants given as holiday gifts include Christmas cacti, poinsettias, kalanchoes and chrysanthemums — plants whose flowering is perfectly timed to the shorter days experienced this time of year. In many plants, the initiation of flower buds depends upon the amount of daylight the plants receive. The plant response to day length is called “photoperiodism.” Some plants will flower as day length gets shorter, while others flower as day length gets longer. Some plants are neutral, where day length does not influence flowering directly. Christmas cacti are popular houseplants native to Brazil and are available in a wide variety of colors including red, rose, purple, lavender, peach, orange, cream and white. These species grow as epiphytes among tree branches in shady rain forests, and their cascading stems make them a great choice for hanging baskets. Flowering can last seven to eight weeks if the plants are kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.Clients commonly call the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office this time of year disappointed that their Christmas cacti or other short-day houseplants failed to bloom. They are often surprised to learn that if these plants are kept indoors year-round, their normal cycle of daylight exposure can be interrupted by artificial light inside the house. So, the challenge becomes trying to mimic normal daylight exposure with shorter days. One option is to place these plants in a room with only natural light exposure near a window, ensuring that artificial lights stay off at night. Another option is to keep these plants outdoors as long as possible in the fall and then bring them indoors just before the threat of freezing temperatures. This usually means keeping most tropical houseplants outside until around the end of October in the Atlanta area. By this time, short-day plants are programmed to start forming flowers during the upcoming holidays. I remember my grandfather keeping a Christmas cactus in a hanging basket on his porch all summer long and then bringing it inside just before the first freeze every year. It was an impressive plant with hundreds of flowers that would bloom between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I recall that he kept this plant going for almost a decade and it brought him many years of Christmas joy. One of the great things about a Christmas cactus is that it doesn’t shed leaves like poinsettias or other houseplants. Note that there are no true leaves on Christmas cacti, so photosynthesis occurs within the green stem segments known as phylloclades. Pinch back the stems in early June to promote branching terminals for more flowers, and use stem pieces with three to five segments to root new plants.The secret of good flower bud production on Christmas cacti during the fall involves temperature regulation and photoperiod (length of day and night) control. Fourteen hours or more of continuous darkness each night is required before flower bud set will occur.Long nights should start around the middle of September and continue for at least six continuous weeks for complete bud set. Note that as little as two hours of interrupted lighting will inhibit flower bud set. Buds normally will be visible in about four weeks. The photoperiod has no effect on flowering once the buds are set.Christmas cacti tolerate dry, slightly underwatered conditions during the spring and summer. Do not let the soil become waterlogged, especially during the long nights of winter. Following bud set in the fall, the soil must be kept evenly moist to prevent flower buds from falling off. Never let water stand in the saucer beneath the pot.Fertilize plants monthly from the time new growth starts — in late winter or early spring — and throughout the summer using a one-half strength liquid fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 with trace elements. Christmas cacti have a higher requirement for magnesium than many plants. Fertilize monthly during the growing season with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) mixed at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, but do not apply the same week as regular fertilizer. Stop fertilization during the late summer for greater flower bud production in the fall. Follow these tips to enjoy your Christmas cactus for many years to come.
Gregory D Woodworth has been named senior vice president and general counsel of National Life Group. In his three years with National Life, Greg has shown he is a superb lawyer of the highest integrity, said Mehran Assadi, NLGroup s president and chief executive officer. Greg has a broad knowledge of our business, a deep appreciation of our regulatory environment and a keen ability to explain complex legal issues in ways that allow us to understand the importance of the issue, said Assadi. As the regulatory and compliance challenges grow for our industry, I am very pleased to have someone of Greg s judgment and integrity serving as our general counsel, he said.Woodworth joined National Life in March 2006 as vice president and deputy general counsel after six years at MassMutual where he served as associate general counsel. Previously he worked at UNUMProvident (1995-2000) and as a trial lawyer at Pierce Atwood in Portland, Maine (1984-1995).He is a 1981 graduate of Middlebury College and received his law degree from Boston University School of Law.The appointment was effective Jan. 1, 2009.Source: National Life Group
They’re known for building things and powering things, and as co-chairs of the fifth annual Go Red for Women Luncheon, Melinda Moulton, CEO of Main Street Landing, and Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, will build on the spirit of camaraderie of nearly 400 women to power up the fight against heart disease in the state of Vermont.The fifth annual Go Red for Women Luncheon is set for Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center. There will be educational sessions, health screenings, a silent auction, moving stories from heart disease survivors, a keynote speaker, and a heart-healthy lunch.Powell said the Go Red for Women Luncheon is an event she’s long wanted to be a part of, and her schedule permitted it this year.‘Heart disease is in my family,’ said Powell. ‘For women, it’s troubling that the symptoms are often misdiagnosed. A year ago, a friend of mine was exhibiting what are classic signs of heart disease in women, but she was diagnosed with indigestion. She’s OK now, but nearly died of a massive heart attack. Awareness is the first step, and the Go Red for Women Luncheon is a great way to change the way we think about heart disease and women.’Moulton participated in last year’s Go Red for Women Luncheon as a panelist addressing the issue of stress.‘I’m the worst in the world at handling my stress,’ Moulton said. ‘Women worry about everything ‘ ourselves, our families, money, friends, our households, the state of the world. We are so set up for heart disease, and the luncheon provides a place for people to confer and confide in one another.’Moulton also found it rewarding to be surrounded by so many women at the luncheon.‘I work in a man’s world, and I felt that I was being bathed in female energy and love at the Go Red for Women Luncheon,’ she said. ‘It’s an opportunity to be with each other, to network and to celebrate our good health. We need to learn to take care of ourselves, because our community, friends and family need us.’In her position as CEO of Green Mountain Power, Powell oversees 200 employees at the state’s second largest fully integrated electric utility that serves 200,000 Vermonters. She became CEO of the utility in 2008, after working at Green Mountain Power for 10 years.‘I love the challenge of crafting a low-carbon, low-cost future for our customers, while working with the 200 people here,’ Powell said. ‘We’ve been expanding into renewable energy and have been an innovator in bringing a tremendous amount of solar power online. We’re trying to build Vermont’s largest wind farm.’The South Hero resident started her career in the mutual fund business in her native Manhattan. After moving to Vermont in 1989, Powell served under three governors and then worked in the banking and energy sectors. Powell, 50, and her husband Mark also own a small business, called Spot the Dog, and have a 14-year-old daughter, Alex.Moulton has also brought a great deal of change to the state of Vermont, primarily through the Burlington waterfront redevelopment that is today’s Main Street Landing.‘I’ve worked on this redevelopment for 30 years,’ Moulton said. ‘There’s 250,000 square feet of space here, with businesses, an art gallery and a theater. I started with a phone on the floor in a small office, and my partner Lisa Steele and I created Main Street Landing.’Main Street Landing has won several awards, nationally and locally, and Moulton speaks nationwide about her project and work ethic of social responsibility. The 60-year-old Allentown, Pa., native is married to filmmaker Rick Moulton. They have two children and four grandchildren.Both women serve on several boards, and are now turning their attention to the Go Red for Women Luncheon.‘We’d like to raise $200,000,’ Moulton said. ‘We think we can easily accomplish this while bringing women together and having a really great time while fighting the No. 1 killer of women in America, heart disease.’The Go Red for Women Luncheon is set for Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington. Lauren Maloney of FOX44 is the emcee of the luncheon. Macy’s and Merck are the national sponsors of Go Red for Women. Presenting sponsor of the Go Red for Women Luncheon is Fletcher Allen Health Care. A Picture and A Promise sponsor is NorthCountry Federal Credit Union. Main Street Landing is a local sponsor. Media sponsors are FOX44, Star 92.9 and the Burlington Free Press.About Go Red For WomenGo Red For Women is part of the American Heart Association’s solution to help save women’s lives. With one out of three women still dying from heart disease, we are committed to fighting this No. 1 killer, which is largely preventable. GoRedForWomen.org, a premiere source of information and education, connects millions of women of all ages and gives them tangible resources to turn personal choices into lifesaving actions. We encourage women and the men who love them to embrace the cause. For more information, please visit GoRedForWomen.org or call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278). The movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and Merck & Co., Inc.Photos: Top, Mary Powell, GMP; and Melinda Moulton, Main Street Landing.
May 23rd: Appalachian Trail Hike and Trail Magic: Nellysford, Va.– Join the crew from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and Blue Ridge Mountain Sports on a two-hour, out-and-back hike along the Appalachian Trail. We’ll meet at the Reed’s Gap parking lot at 9 a.m. and return by 11 a.m. to whip up some lunch for hungry thru-hikers passing by. Continue the party afterwards and help the magazine celebrate its 20th anniversary in Charlottesville at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion for a live performance by Old Crow Medicine Show and The Devil Makes Three. My dad calls it “the force of the world.” It’s that feeling of reassurance you get from the kindness of strangers, or from a bad-day-turned-good. It’s the sense that you’re not alone out there, that this vast planet is actually smaller, more familiar, than we lend ourselves to believe, that the path on which you tread is neither right nor wrong but your creation alone.The force of the world. Or, as I’ve come to know it, the power of random, of chance and coincidence and fate all colliding together in a cosmic-like encounter.I’ve felt this force of the world, the power of random, many times over the now year-plus I’ve spent living on the road. At Beech Mountain this past winter, I sat down on the ski lift next to a chiropractor based out of Boone. After a few minutes of small-talk, we realized we knew each other from Trail Days in Damascus, Va. He’d met me when I first hit the road and, knowing very well what the realities of road life would mean for my back, had given me his contact information should I ever need an adjustment. I spent the majority of the fall and winter clutching my lower back, cursing my poor organizational skills as I dug through the Jeep in search of his business card. I never found it, but I didn’t need to. He found me.Just a few weeks later, I was chasing snow in the High Country outside of Boone and decided to make a pit stop at Moses Cone Memorial Park. I had limited time, no knowledge of the area, no map to guide the way, no sidekick to get lost with. Yet as soon as I arrived, a middle-aged woman on a pair of waxable cross-country skis glided over to my car. She was a local and an avid uphill skier. In a matter of minutes, I had a hand-drawn map and directions for a two-hour tour de Moses Cone. I might have figured it out on my own, might have gotten turned around or been forced to backtrack. But I didn’t need to.It’s moments like these that, for better or worse, never really convince me to plan ahead and prepare. After all, as the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once wrote, “a good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” So why not wing it, why not continue to fly by the seat of my pants if it’s worked out thus far? Sure, uncertainty can be a little uncomfortable at times, but it can also be liberating.This weekend at Cheat River Fest in Albright, W.Va. (see images below from festival), I “hosted” the first of many meet-ups-to-come. I use the term “hosted” in a very loose sense, as it was my first time downriver and the people I paddled with, and the river itself, were really the ones hosting me. The logistics of the meet-up hardly went according to whatever plan I had tried to concoct in the weeks leading up to the event, but, as fate or chance or the force of the world would have it, everything worked itself out in due time (thank you to Laura and co.!). In part, that’s what I love about the meet-ups. They’ve taught me the difference between “planning” and “plans.” While planning is important, the ability to ditch those plans is essential. Because really, when does anything in life go according to plan?So let’s ditch those plans together. Let’s fly by the seat of our pants and let the force of the world take the reins. I’ll be “hosting” a few more meet-ups in the month of May and would love for you to join me. So check your schedule and mark your calendars! May 7th: Patagonia Worn Wear Tour: Fayetteville, W.Va.– See Water Stone Outdoor’s website for more details on the day’s festivities. I’ll be hanging out in the Waterstonia parking lot bringing hacky back. But join me later at the American Alpine Club Campground just over the New River Gorge Bridge around 5 p.m. for a slackline contest with prizes from ENO, LifeStraw, and Farm To Feet.
By Andréa Barretto/Diálogo November 10, 2016 More than 1,000 Brazilian Army and Navy personnel participated in the exercise to retake an area that had been simulated to be overrun by invaders. The training – dubbed Operation Ribeirinha (Riverside in Portuguese) – took place from October 11th to 17th in a region located nearly 40 kilometers from the city of Porto Murtinho, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, near Paraguay. During the exercise, 100 marines equipped with one ship and one airplane posed as enemy combatants, while another 700 carried out the mission of retaking the invaded area. Among the participants were 200 marines stationed in Ládario. They landed ashore, opening up a staging area for 135 Army soldiers. “During Operation Ribeirinha, people pretend that a given area has been taken by an enemy group. The Marines arrive on site to retake the area. After the area is brought under control, our Army troops come ashore to infiltrate the area. That is to say, they advance over the terrain until they guarantee that they have fully secured the area,” explained Rear Admiral Petrônio Augusto Siqueira de Aguiar, commander of the 6th Naval District. This Navy unit and the Army’s 18th Border Infantry Brigade worked together to plan and execute Operation Ribeirinha. “The interaction between these two forces was exceptional. Our goal was to complete military operations training while fostering a mutual understanding between members of these units,” Rear Adm. Petrônio said. “The region where we held the operation is primarily a river area, and that is why Operation Ribeirinha is so important. I suppose that any potential need to deploy troops here in this region would be done just the way we did.” The two forces came together in a single phase of two different operations: the Brazilian Navy’s Operation Fronteira Sul (Southern Border in Portuguese), and the Army’s Operation Ricardo Franco. “These operations complemented each other, and they allowed for interoperability between the two forces. Both forces deployed along the border area of the Paraguay River,” said Major General João Denison Maia Correia, commander of the Brazilian Army’s 18th Border Infantry Brigade. The area that Maj. Gen. Denison is referring to is located between the cities of Ladário, in the northern part of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, and Porto Murtinho in the southern part of the state. The Paraguay River spans 520 kilometers, which separate the two cities. Of these, 300 kilometers are shared waters between Brazil and Paraguay. Operation Fronteira Sul achieves its objectives Operation Fronteira Sul was held from October 5th to 21st, during which four different phases of the operation were implemented. Each phase corresponded to a different objective: military training for the troops, hydrographic survey, medical aid, and navigational safety operations. In May of this year, the Adagio-based 6th Naval District Command conducted Operation Celeiro (Barn in Portuguese). The operation had the same objectives as Operation Fronteira Sul but was limited to the northern part of the state, along the border with Bolivia. “Now, in addition to our operating in a different area, there were also a larger number of troops involved. It was a more solid operation,” said Rear Adm. Petrônio. In the troop-training phase of Operation Ribeirinha, the Navy deployed 10 ships, two planes, and dozens of speedboats, while the Army deployed one vessel and one plane. One airplane and one ship were in the hands of soldiers posing as the enemy, who surprised and attacked the other team. The exercise allowed troops to put rapid-response exercises into practice. While sailing towards the territory that served as the land-based setting for the training, firing and aerial reconnaissance exercises were carried out in order to ascertain the exact position of the enemy unit. Rear Adm. Petrônio explained that the hydrographic survey was part of the navigational safety operations, as it required updating the nautical charts that are used by navigators to orient themselves as they pilot their vessels. “The Paraguay-Paraná waterway is quite important, and it is bound to become even more so. The river is constantly changing, and that is why we must always do new hydrographic surveys.” As a way of promoting navigational safety, naval inspection operations were also conducted to verify whether the boats on the Paraguay River had the required lifesaving equipment and whether the pilots of those vessels were duly qualified. Additionally, a medical team from the hospital ship Tenente Maximiano conducted 425 medical examinations, 161 dental procedures, and distributed more than 30,000 medications to residents in the city of Porto Murtinho and in the Paraguayan town of Isla Margarita. Operation Ricardo Franco Operation Ricardo Franco included the participation of 1,250 soldiers from units under the command of the Army’s 18th Border Infantry Brigade. As opposed to the naval operations, which had multiple objectives, the land force focused on advanced training operations for its troops. “We geared the operations towards a wide array of conflicts in which offensive and defensive operations, pacification operations, and operations for providing support to government agencies, among others, were all carried out,” Maj. Gen. Denison said.
William Saliba will spend the 2019-20 season on loan at Saint-Etienne (Picture: Getty)With Laurent Koscielny entering his mid-30s, Rob Holding returning from a serious knee injury and Shkodran Mustafi hardly a reliable option, there is every chance that Saliba would have been given first-team opportunities in north London, perhaps alongside Sokratis Papastathopolous.Another pressing concern for Emery is that the initial €25m (approximately £22.5m) takes a sizable chunk out of his summer budget. There is a general consensus that Emery has just £40-45m to work with this summer before raising additional funds through player sales.Committing half a budget towards a player who won’t be available for another year is a risk considering there are numerous areas of Arsenal’s squad that requires strengthening and few existing players who would raise sufficient income if moved on.Long-term planningOn the flip side, Arsenal’s desire to get the deal done quickly indicates that they are willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain, such is their confidence in Saliba’s potential to make the necessary step-up once he does finally join.It is precisely this kind of forward planning that Arsenal have been accused of lacking in the past. After all, the decision to hand Mesut Ozil a three-year deal worth £350,000 per week despite seemingly little interest in his services elsewhere occurred less than 18-months ago.AdvertisementAdvertisementArsenal have also committed big money – both in terms of transfer fees and wages – to more established players with little resale value, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (30), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (30), Sokratis Papastathopolous (31) and to a lesser extent, Stephan Lichsteiner (35) all joining in the previous three transfer windows.Although there has been worth to those signings, particularly with Aubameyang who shared the Premier League golden boot last season, there aren’t many big clubs who have directed so much of their budget towards older rather than younger players. Oliver Young-MylesThursday 27 Jun 2019 8:45 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link69Shares Advertisement Why Arsenal transfer target William Saliba will be worth the wait Comment Celtic defender Kieran Tierney is another young player on Unai Emery’s transfer wishlist (Picture: Getty)That Arsenal are signing Saliba and generally targetting players under the age of 25 this summer, such as Celtic’s 22-year-old left-back Kieran Tierney, suggests that they are beginning to modernise their transfer policy.Another factor in Arsenal securing Saliba’s signature early is that they could well have ended up being priced out of a move for him had they waited. Considering Saliba is already worth €25m after only 19 senior games for Saint-Etienne, his valuation is only likely to raise over the course of another season.Arsenal cannot compete with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid or Juventus in the transfer market meaning they have to be more creative in the transfer market. Signing talented players yet to really explode onto the scene, is a smart way of doing so.Promising performances last seasonDespite only turning 18 on March 24, Saliba racked up 16 appearances in Ligue 1 last season – 13 of which were starts – and he certainly didn’t seem fazed when taking his first steps in professional football.Saliba averaged more tackles per game than any of his defensive colleagues with two, while only one-time Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy averaged more interceptions with two to the youngster’s 1.8. He also won 1.8 aerial duels per game, which ranked third in Saint-Etienne’s squad.AdvertisementDespite his age, Saliba was able to physically dominate opponents in one-on-one duels, using his body to his advantage extremely well. Not only that, he reads the game exceptionally too given his lack of experience and his pace enables him to eat up lost ground if he does find himself out of position. Saliba demonstrated his versatility by filling in at right-back (Picture: Getty)As well as being solid defensively, Saliba also displayed good temperament and composure, picking up only one yellow card and completing 85.6% of his passes, highlighting his ability to distribute the ball effectively from defence.Something else that might have caught the eye of Emery and his watching scouts is that Saliba was used at right-back as well as in his natural position in the middle. Emery is a tactically flexible coach and having adaptable players capable of playing in different positions is something he would welcome.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Advertisement Arsenal are hopeful of making Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba their first summer signing (Picture: Getty)Arsenal are closing in on their first summer signing with Saint-Etienne’s highly-rated teenage defender William Saliba reportedly close to completing a €25m switch to the Emirates.The 18-year-old has emerged as one of France’s brightest young talents since debuting for Les Verts last September and Arsenal faced competition from PSG, Napoli and Spurs for his signature.Although Arsenal have won the race to sign the France Under-20 international, they will have to wait a while for him to officially join as he is set to spend the 2019-20 season on loan at Saint-Etienne.Unai Emery had been keen on getting Saliba on board quickly to help ease Arsenal’s central defensive woes but Saint-Etienne are determined to keep the youngster for another year.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTFurthermore, reports in France suggest that Saliba himself is keen to remain where he is for the time being over concerns about his immediate playing time in north London.It is a testament to how highly Arsenal rate Saliba, though, that they are content to play a waiting game for him despite their ongoing defensive issues.A blow to Emery’s immediate plansSince Arsenal’s stuttering end to last season, the club has been linked to a plethora of central defenders across Europe ranging from established stars such as Samuel Umtiti to younger players like Saliba and Sampdoria’s Joachim Andersen.Having identified Saliba as a player whom Arsenal can build around for the foreseeable future, Emery will be disappointed not to be able to work alongside him for a further 12-months, particularly given his strong track record with young players.Similarly to Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi was an unknown quantity outside of his homeland prior to his move to Arsenal last summer, but Emery trusted him implicitly from the moment he arrived from FC Lorient, handing the midfielder 48 appearances across all competitions in his debut campaign.