The evolving role of GIS in telecom

Today’s Geographic Information System (GIS) goes beyond mere mapping; it plays a crucial role in enhancing business operations overall. In telecom, the integration of GIS into network operations has become increasingly essential—evolving from simple asset tracking to influencing business strategy. But what’s driving this need?

Grid modernization and smart cities 

The growth of smart cities and the subsequent requirement for grid modernization have heightened the demand for robust broadband infrastructure. Consequently, many cities and utilities, several of which already heavily depend upon GIS for various planning and management tasks, have now ventured into fiber deployment. Leveraging their existing GIS capabilities, these entities are strategically integrating fiber networks into existing infrastructure to optimize resource allocation. 

Revenue generation

Profitability hinges on the ability to monetize the fiber infrastructure effectively. It's not just about laying down the cables; it's about ensuring that the installed fiber translates into revenue-generating services that foster customer satisfaction and retention. Understanding capacity, availability, and utilization is essential for achieving this. 

Funding initiatives 

Initiatives like the Broadband Expansion and Deployment (BEAD) program in the United States and Project Gigabit contract awards in the United Kingdom highlight the urgency of timely and efficient fiber deployment. With a fixed timeline in place, operators must meet targets without compromising quality or efficiency, or risk facing penalties.  

Future-proofing operations

Operators must address not only present challenges but also anticipate and mitigate future ones. Through a deeper understanding of both the physical and logical networks, they can proactively identify and resolve discrepancies—preventing potential service issues.

Overcoming common challenges using GIS and AI

Despite the reasoning behind the network expansion, operators often grapple with common deployment challenges including site surveys, data collection, and infrastructure monitoring. Here's where GIS, combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), steps in. (However, it's crucial to ensure responsible AI practices, prioritizing ethical considerations and data privacy concerns.)

> Site surveys and data collection: GIS-powered AI tools, like SSP Vision, simplify field data capture using mobile devices. Features like augmented reality and voice recognition accelerate pre-design walkthroughs, ensuring accurate data collection and significant time savings.

> Address qualification and network mapping: Post-installation, GIS enables operators to map network coverage accurately. This facilitates swift identification of qualified customers, streamlining the ordering process and enhancing both operational efficiency and customer experience.

> Automation: The convergence of geospatial data and AI algorithms offers exciting automation possibilities for telco operators. From address validation to infrastructure monitoring, use of AI, through tools like GeoAI, has the potential to optimize operations, minimize errors, and boost overall efficiency. 

GIS has become essential in telecom, going beyond traditional mapping to driving innovation and efficiency. As the demand for robust broadband infrastructure grows, GIS remains crucial in optimizing operations, enhancing revenue generation, and future-proofing networks; and, when integrated with AI, offers transformative solutions to address and mitigate challenges faced by telecom operators.


This post is based on our recent webinar ‘Are you using GIS to the fullest?’ Miss the live session? Access the recording of the here. 

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