As we enter the next era of Telecom, legacy data takes on new significance. And as tower companies begin to deploy drones to digitize their portfolios, the 3d digital model will take on greater importance as it becomes foundational for all other analysis and automation.
As tower companies expand their industry footprint and position themselves for the next era of Telecom, they face new challenges. In addition to coping with aging infrastructure, redundant site visits and changing tenant requirements, modern telecom players must also navigate increasing equipment size and weight, acute labor shortages and engineering backlogs. To overcome these challenges and position themselves for the digital era, companies must start understanding the active state of their infrastructure and begin using AI to automate reporting and analysis.
This brings us to the problem. Legacy data is a huge challenge in the Telecom industry today. Tower company data is notoriously outdated, incorrect or missing. Traditionally, companies circumvent a lack of data by relying on repetitive site visits, outsourced services and educated guesswork. However, in the next era of Telecom, this model is no longer sustainable. Towercos will need to adopt new forward-looking approaches that both update and digitize their legacy information.
It’s time for a great data reset.
Legacy Data is a Big Problem
Understanding sites is key to tower longevity and profitability. Over their lifecycle, tower structures naturally age. The ground settles, steel rusts, bolts loosen, beams twist and animals habitate towers. Additionally, sites are purchased and sold, equipment is upgraded, towers are reinforced, carriers change, and service providers switch. Furthermore, sites are frequently visited by internal and external personnel of differing skillsets, each collecting data within a narrow scope and saving information within their respective data repositories.
All this compounds to create one big problem – poor legacy data.
Tower companies today have site data that is incomplete, inaccurate or missing altogether. As data trades hands and is manually shared between systems and processes, data can be lost. As updates or modifications are made, data can become outdated. And as various teams visit sites and record measurements by hand, data can become inaccurate. This means tower companies are increasingly uncertain about the active state of any given site, creating problems for Finance to accurately capture billable revenue, Sales to effectively communicate available inventory, Engineering to accurately calculate structural capacity, M&A to validate and onboard new sites, and Field Operations to perform safe and efficient inspections.
And with recent trends including equipment recalls, larger and heavier equipment upgrades, aggressive 5g rollout schedules, a rise in M&A activity and labor shortages – the problem of legacy data will only be amplified in the future.