Wherever distributed industrial assets exist, Inspection² exist, to pioneer digital transformation. We interpret the complex and reimagine it with a more accurate more efficient process powered by AI and Computer Vision technology.

There are several sectors for which widespread distributed assets are a fundamental facet: Telecommunications, Oil and Gas and Transmission and Distribution.

Within the Telco sector there are two major strategic shifts that have been in play for a few years now, that continue to form and shape the market and the players within it. These are the consolidation of Tower Companies and 5G.

Tower Company consolidation

For several years, the US has experienced a consolidation of cell tower management into large independent Tower Companies. American Tower bought up AT&T sites, and more recently other players such as the InSight Wireless Group. Their growth is International, having entered the South American market as far back as the 1990’s. Other American owned Tower Companies such as IHS Towers are also expanding further afield – recently announcing the completion of the acquisition of Skysites, a provider of small cells and urban telecoms infrastructure in Brazil. This is the second acquisition for IHS in Brazil in 12 months.

The goal of each of these players; to enhance their customer offering and ensure they are well positioned to support the roll out of 5G (and 4G) to drive growth.

The same trend is now true of Europe. In our CEO James’s latest blog on how AI can power the growth of Tower Companies, he referenced the fact that a combination of political, regulatory and commercial pressures have been the key drivers in the region.

Cellnex, for example, just closed the acquisition of CK Hutchinsons tower assets in Denmark, Austria, and Ireland to a value of €10 billion. Telefonica’s tower division Telexius were bought by American Tower for €7.7 billion in January. Vodafone, who have a 50% stake in the UK Towers business Cornerstone, have done a deal with JV partner Telefonica to transfer their assets to Vantage Towers as it is set to IPO later this year.

Increasing demand for 5G technology

The complexity of network infrastructure and equipment has been increasing for some years. The addition of 5G technology is another layer in this landscape. What is pertinent right now is the perception of time, or lack thereof.

5G grabs headlines – and generates market demand – because of its market and economic potential.

COVID-19 has re-shaped people’s lives and through that, accelerated the need and demand for high-speed and high-quality connectivity. We are, after all, always on.

Research by Barclays suggests 5G could supercharge GDP by up to £15.7 billion a year by 2025. 5G of course, is not just about the consumer experience but is an enabler to transform business processes, underpin smart cities and assist in the development of new manufacturing practices.

5G then, is set to be critical to our economic recovery. Yet the delivery of 5G networks is neither cheap nor simple and requires significant investment. Tower sites need to be audited, inventory assessed, and equipment installed and checked.

Making 5G delivery faster and more efficient

By automating the processes around data capture and measurement (such as azimuth and tilt), creating a digital twin, and producing an accurate bill of materials with a full site report – 5G roll out can be reduced from 14 to 4 days.

When cell tower inventory is typically only 90% accurate – an incremental 5% achieved through better audit and assurance contributes significantly to revenue.

Newly consolidated Tower Companies, with an even greater and more widely distributed asset base, have a greater need than ever for efficiency and cost savings. The fact that industrial automation through AI can deliver incremental revenue as well, makes the consideration of this technology a no brainer. Digital transformation is most definitely, the Tower Companies friend.

James Harison

James Harison

Founder & CEO

Pin It on Pinterest