Top 3 Things Telecoms Are Probably Not Tracking Through Data Analytics – But Should

March 21, 2017

When I was a kid, I treasured my US atlas book.  I memorized the US capital cities, the mountain ranges, rivers, etc.  I liked learning where they were in the US and how far they were from each other.  When we had family trips I would measure our highway trip route (in inches, with the map measurement guide) and estimate the amount of time it would take to get where we were going.  In simple terms, I just wanted to know (1) where we were going and (2) how long would it take to get there.

Today, most of us hardly even realize how much we depend on location information in relation to the tasks we accomplish each day.  In the last 30 years, map information has exploded into digital format and has been available to the public in many formats.  It is so fundamental to our daily lives to know where everything is in relation to us that, today, every personal cell phone has an ability to download a variety of mapping apps and GPS functionality.  Clearly, our society has deemed location data as VERY important.

For telecoms, whether you have 5,000 subscribers or millions, you can be certain of a couple things: over 80% of your assets and footprint elements will need to be geographically referenced for your staff, and the more geographical info you have, the better opportunity you’ll have to make well-informed business decisions regarding your future.

Why do I know this to be true? Because GIS has exploded across the telecom industry in the last 20 years.  Most telecoms that own GIS software are using it to track their telecom network.  So why wouldn’t telecoms use it to track EVERY piece of data in their footprint, and not just their network?  Every fixed piece of equipment can be tracked with a latitude and longitude, and those that are mobile can normally be tracked via GPS.  The overall value of GIS software is that you can literally see your whole telecom footprint and all its elements (well, those for which you’ve added data points) from a computer monitor or mobile device.

There are probably 3 major data sets your telecom may not be tracking with data points.

  • Work Force Management Data:  The capability to monitor daily work orders, their various statuses (open or closed), and the field tech vehicles assigned to those service calls in real-time is significant in knowing your team is on track and not drifting into over-time.  Knowing the pending workload assigned on any given day/week is central to knowing if your staff can meet those demands.  Seeing the service calls within GIS allows you to group service orders according to region or field tech skillset.
  • Network Alarm Monitoring and Capacity Tracking:  Assuming that you are already tracking your network infrastructure within your GIS software, the next primary need is the ability for alarm data to be shown in real-time.  When service is affected it’s vital to be able to identify fiber assignments from the HUB cabinet to the ONT to resolve issues with signal degradation, battery problems or faulty equipment.  Tracking infrastructure equipment like splitter cards, pigtails and OLT cards to confirm when you are nearing capacity is key to managing a small piece of CapEx.
  • Sales and Marketing Analysis:  Every telecom service provider has a billing and rating engine for pricing and payment collection, right?  How much easier would it be to view your marketing campaign targets within a map view overlaid with general census or demographic data pertaining to average household income or real estate values?  Or view sales averages over subdivision, hub areas or larger regions?  Your OSS/BSS system also lends numerous subscriber record information that is valuable in estimating revenue assurance across your footprint.

Of course, the purpose of this blog is to give telecom service providers a forum to express their own tips, tricks and strategies for improved management of their telecom footprint and processes.  GIS continues to be a powerful tool that can automate processes and help decrease effort and expenses by displaying data sets and queries in a visual format.

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