Accelerating the Delivery of Next Generation Fiber-Optic Networks
Engineering firm 4site has reduced the time required to survey fiber-optic networks in the field by 50 percent and improved the quality of the company's data by using Esri's ArcGIS platform. The company can now design smarter networks to reduce costs for its telecom industry clients and support the faster rollout of next generation fiber-optic networks.
- Mobile teams can complete network audits and capture data in the field 50 percent more quickly.
- Planners can produce designs for new fiber-optic network installations with a 25 percent faster turnaround.
- Telecom clients can save up to 20 percent during the build phase, due to more accurate data.
When telecom companies roll out new fiber-optic communications networks, the success and long-term profitability of the venture can hinge on the quality of the data collected at the very outset. For example, if the data is incomplete or out-of-date, unforeseen issues can emerge that increase costs during the build phase and impede the efficient operation of the network for years to come.
The traditional approach for collecting data to inform the installation of new fiber-optic networks was a highly manual one, fraught with the potential for errors. Surveyors typically used printed maps, notepads, laptops, and cameras to conduct surveys in the field up to three days a week and then spent around two days in the office transferring their findings to spreadsheets. The engineering solutions company 4site identified an opportunity to streamline this survey process to not only improve the accuracy of the data collected but also shorten the time required to share it.
Delivering a more accurate and efficient survey and design service for telecommunications companies.
- 50 percent faster completion of surveys in the field
- 25 percent faster turnaround of network designs
- Up to 20 percent cost savings for clients in the build phase
- Smarter network designs that optimize ongoing profitability
After evaluating a number of possible geographic information system (GIS) solutions, 4site selected Esri's ArcGIS platform, including the Collector for ArcGIS app, as the foundation for customizing its own survey app and process. "The real power of ArcGIS is that you can adapt it," says Niall Looney, operations director at 4site. "We were able to use products from the ArcGIS platform to develop a GIS-led survey workflow called 4Survey that, we believe, is the first of its kind in the fiber-optics deployment industry."
Now, 4site's mobile teams use smartphones and iPads in the field to view, query, and collect data pertaining to existing and planned fiber-optic networks. The 4Survey app allows the teams to complete audits, guided by preset drop-down list boxes; verify existing network features; take and upload images; validate network maps; and add information points with attributes.
The teams collect information in the field, using the Collector for ArcGIS mobile app. In what is a completely paperless process, all the information is transferred digitally back to 4site's planners in the company's Fibre Centre for Excellence in Limerick, Ireland. The planners can see survey data as soon as it becomes available and start designing new networks instantly. In the first six months following its introduction, 4Survey was used to provide survey, design, and planning services for the rollout of fiber-optics to more than 100,000 homes and businesses.
Fifty Percent Reduction in Survey Time
Using its ArcGIS software-based survey app and workflow, 4site can now complete fiber-optic network surveys for its clients 50 percent more quickly than before, enabling the company to offer a highly efficient survey service for its telecommunications industry clients. Field-based surveyors work much more productively, as they can perform all their required tasks using just one device and no longer have to return to the office to type up reports or manually link images to audits.
Faster Delivery of Next Generation Fiber-Optic Networks
With complete, accurate survey data delivered direct to their desktops the instant it is collected, 4site's planners can now complete the planning and design phase for new fiber-optic installations much more quickly. "4site has reduced its turnaround time for designing new fiber-optic networks by around 25 percent," estimates Looney. "This means that we can help our clients to reduce their time to market and help them deliver next generation fiber-optic networks to homes and businesses more quickly."
Significant Cost Savings in the Build Phase
The improved accuracy of the survey data is expected to result in significant cost savings for 4site's clients during the build phase, with fewer issues caused by incorrect information. This will reduce the need for last-minute design changes, expensive workarounds, and repeat site visits. According to Looney, "4site's clients could reduce their build costs by up to 20 percent, which—depending on the infrastructure profile—could result in savings of millions of euros."
Improved Profitability for Telecom Operators
With the higher quality of data that is now collected through the new 4Survey process, 4site can work with its clients to design smarter fiber-optic networks that will optimize future revenues and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. For example, networks can be planned to maximize the potential of clusters and ensure that the network extends to as many customers as possible. "We can verify the areas that are seemingly unviable at an earlier stage and develop solutions to make them viable as part of the core fiber-optic rollout," explains Looney.
4site has reduced its turnaround time for designing new fiber-optic networks by around 25 percent.