The benefits of digital twin technology in site scanning
Over the past 18 months the telecommunications sector has played a crucial role in keeping everyone connected and dealt amazingly with the demands placed on the networks. We’ve seen that the pandemic has also caused those in the telecoms industry to embrace new approaches that previously were further down the agenda.
Having developed our own digital twin in-house product, we’ve been able to scan mast sites for some time now. But we’ve noticed a sharp increase in interest from the mobile network operators in the past few months.
Traditional multi-skilled visits (as they’re known in the industry) see six or so people visiting a site to measure all aspects of the area where a new mast will be built. This is time consuming for everyone involved, as it includes travel to and from the site, as well as time spent assessing it and consulting with the other team members.
There mast be an easier way
Site scanning just needs one person to visit the site, who scans the entire area in 3D and then uploads the files into the system. Having only one person on site (rather than the usual five or six) not only saves many people’s time, but it reduces the chance of any health and safety problems. It also reduces travel-related carbon emissions.
The benefits continue with the quality of the data that is captured. While there’s the possibility for human error when assessing a site, which sometimes means having to revisit it to take measurements again, the scanner is incredibly accurate.
Once all the data is in the system, everything the team needs to create drawings, models and designs is at their fingertips. Previously, a radio planner from one of the mobile network operators could have spent a whole day on just one multi-skilled visit, but when a site is scanned in 3D and the data provided to them, they can work through several sites in just one day. A review at the end of the design process by the relevant team members is all that’s needed, and they can then move on to the next project.
We mast meet again
Once construction of the mast is finished, we’ve also been returning to do another scan to capture the new site. Having all the correct information to hand will make upgrades much faster to do; a huge cost-saver for the networks with all the 5G upgrade work that is needed.
The telecoms industry never stands still and we’re pleased to be involved is such a vibrant and innovative sector.
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