Smarter site engineering with drones and site digitalization

Fast, accurate and sustainable network rollout

Speed, accuracy and safety are extremely important when it comes to 5G rollouts. This means that the planning, design, deployment and acceptance of network sites have become even more important aspects to consider, since they can all have major long-term impacts on the project.

With this in mind, as part of its mission to shape Denmark’s digital future, TDC NET partnered with Ericsson to use the very latest in drone, 3D modeling, AI and machine learning technology to roll out their new 5G network. This is Intelligent Site Engineering.

Uffe Tomasson (TDC NET) and Ulf Granhäll (Ericsson) discuss the effective partnership between Ericsson and TDC NET and the advantages of Intelligent Site Engineering.

Simple steps

Intelligent Site Engineering means that - in most scenarios - a site survey requires only a single site engineer. Equipped with a drone and a 360-degree camera and with help of a cloud-based application, the site engineer can create fully digitalized 3D models ready for analysis and decision making. TDC NET and Ericsson have utilized this streamlined and efficient process on over 200 sites across Denmark to ensure the fastest and most accurate 5G roll-out possible.

Speed, safety and societal concerns

Before Intelligent Site Engineering, a site survey required more resources, sometimes bulky equipment and several hours’ on-site work, followed by a lengthy post-survey analysis. The new, optimized methodology of Intelligent Site Engineering streamlines the whole process. The survey itself can be completed in as little as one hour by one engineer equipped with a drone, while analysis is completed much quicker with 3D models and AI-based decision making.

But making TDC NET’s 5G rollout faster and more efficient isn’t the only benefit of Intelligent Site Engineering.  Local landowners can now be informed ahead of time of how much work and equipment will be required on-site. Workers are much safer, as there is now less need for climbing towers in adverse conditions. The carbon footprint of each site is even reduced thanks to the lighter equipment involved and fewer site visits required.

Flying into the future

There will be further advantages to Intelligent Site Engineering that will be unlocked beyond the initial rollout of 5G networks. Drone scans can be at the heart of proactive maintenance, reducing the resources needed to investigate and identify faults. Machine learning can be used on continuous feeds to predict environmental changes that could negatively impact coverage before they even occur.

Next, the service will enable AI applications to generate a bill of materials autmatically following site surveys, which will drastically cut the amount of time needed to create site documentation. The reduced manual input will further decrease the risk of human error and cut expenditure on unnecessary resources and materials.

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