Drone-powered Telecom Tower Inspections

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Drone-powered Telecom Tower Inspections

The Telecom Industry is flourishing like never before. However, likewise, the challenges associated with its operations and growth are also huge. For instance, managing vast, complex, remote field infrastructures in hard-to-reach and dangerous terrain is a real challenge. What's even more challenging is that, amid these obstacles, the telecoms need to keep their network equipment sound and safe. Hence, comprehensive real-time monitoring is the need of the hour, and right now, the only way to attain this is to switch to drone-powered solutions.

Traditional Telecom Tower Inspection

Using Boom Trucks, or climbing to the top of towers located on difficult terrains, potentially disrupts tower performance and puts human safety at risk. Then, to keep track of the installed equipment on the tower, inspectors typically manually count the installed assets. And, even after the demanding physical labour and hazards, we still face reduced visibility from traditional inspection methods making it hard to inspect your assets comprehensively. As a result, the operators lack a complete record of the assets mounted on their towers or more insights on whether towers could accommodate new equipment or not. But this dilemma only had a little life until drones came into action.

Drone-powered Telecom Tower Inspections

PwC estimates that the whole market value of drone-powered solutions in the communications sector is nearly $20bn. This number is on the rise as Drones make tower inspection operations Safer, more Efficient, Accurate, and way more Cost-effective as compared to traditional practices. Owing to these benefits that drones offer, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) itself has a subcommittee called the TIA Drones Ad Hoc. The association testifies that they have continued to see increased adoption of UAS projects in the tower industry.

  • Automate the data capturing
  • Capture HD Videos and Images of the Telecom Towers
  • Live stream the captured data if required
  • Significantly cut down the cost and time
  • Safely assess the condition and orientation of tower components
  • Inspect Towers at a safe distance while they are functional
  • Attain highly accurate and reliable data
  • Open avenues for Predictive Maintenance

We can't assess the efficiency of the assets with traditional methods; by the time the traditional inspection is done, even a minor issue might have developed into a serious issue. Predictive Maintenance is another significant advantage that drone-based telecom inspection offers; we have the added advantage of taking precautionary actions.

Drones fly around the telecom towers, capture high-resolution images and 4k videos in a few minutes, and send them to the carrier network automatically or after post-processing, depending on the client's requirements. A drone flight provides us with reliable data points. Furthermore, 3D virtual reconstructions, popularly known as Digital Twins, can be leveraged from these datasets. This Digital Twin delivers end-to-end visibility across tower infrastructures at the comfort of your office/home to establish precise inventories of station equipment, measure their antenna tilts, identify rust, remotely plan tower maintenance and more. We can even automate cell tower inspections by using software solutions like the PIX4Dscan. It is reportedly cutting down field-time and operational costs by 75%, boosting profitability and keeping the inspection crews safe. With proper flight planning, automated data capturing, and smart data processing systems, drones can completely automate Telecom Inspections.

Did you know that the Rakuten Mobile Network has been using drone operations to inspect its base station sites since it rolled out the world's first virtualized mobile network? Adopting drones helped the company significantly cut down inspection prices and time, and they could afford to offer a mobile plan at less than half the competitors' price.

Why should we hire drone experts?

Drone-powered solutions are setting new standards in the Telecom sector. However, truth be told, a drone-based inspection is NOT everyone's cup of tea. For instance, Telecom Towers emit Radio waves, and they interfere with a drone's internal system, making it extremely difficult for drones to fly. Amateur pilots are at risk of crashing the drone and damaging critical towers, or worse, if the tower is located in urban areas; the damage may not be contained to just the tower. We can't just grab a consumer drone without proper interference protection and redundancy systems for Telecom Tower inspections. The drones used in the mission must be resistant to some interference, and multiple powerful sensors are required to have a comprehensive report of the Telecom Towers.

For the aforementioned reasons, it is always advised to partner with a drone-service provider with strong domain expertise who can deliver accurate results.

Deliverables of Drone-powered Telecom Tower Inspection

  • HD visual data (photos and videos) of telecom towers
  • HD geotagged inspection asset imagery
  • 3D point cloud model
  • Thermal Scanning to identify energy loss
  • Historic Preservation Mapping and Modeling
  • Telecom Tower assessment summary for individual Towers
  • Comprehensive Telecom Tower Report
  • Our clients can also access the collected data on the Reporting and Analysis platforms like Vertikaliti, Inspector 2 and so on for best interpreting the data.

Telecom Tower Inspection with FEDS

Are you looking forward to conducting telecom tower inspections? Team FEDS is the first and only drone-service provider in the Middle East to achieve an ISO 21384-3:2019 certification – the first International Standard specifically for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Get in touch with us to find out how FEDS can help you.

About the author

Maria Thomas


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