Facilities management in Telecommunication industry using GIS technology

Facilities management in Telecommunication industry using GIS technology

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S. Raghavendran
GIS Analyst, IMMCO, Inc, 11138 State Bridge Road, Suite 200, Alpharetta, GA, U.S.A.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Abstract
Broadband is the marriage of telecommunications and cable technologies. As it is rightly said, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, the last decade saw tremendous advancements in the arena of digital and fiber optic technologies- key elements empowering the Broadband technology.

Broadband technology has not only given a new meaning for information exchange, but has also been the building blocks for the so-called “Information Superhighway”. Besides fostering a new class of consumer and business related services such as IP based telephone and video conferencing services, Video On Demand (VOD), home networking etc., it has also resulted in increased cable modem penetration and deployment of cable telephony services, making cities digitally intelligent.

With the tremendous pace at which the Broadband infrastructure is being deployed and given the ever-growing consumer needs, the Cable and Broadband companies are at crossroads. These systems expand geographically and functionally every day. The realities of this new paradigm have made obsolete, the manual, non-integrated approach to asset management, network monitoring and customer care that characterized the cable industry’s simpler past.

In the absence of a comprehensive out-of-box solution in place and faced with the competitive realities, the cable companies are finding it difficult to not only manage the increasing volume of CAD documents associated with such network systems, but their real assets on the field as well. The engineering departments rely on system maps painstakingly drawn by drafters and residing in legacy CAD/database combination files, paper maps, disparate spread sheets and other such formats, thereby making their enterprise wide usage redundant. By virtue of the manner in which such critical cable plant network data in maintained and managed, quicker and accurate decisions are next to impossible.

It is in this context that GIS finds importance in not only giving asset management a new dimension with the ability to handle geospatial data but also in revolutionizing the way in which such key assets are managed. This paper is not only aimed at discussing the potential of GIS as a promising solution for the cable industry, but also as a curtain raiser to an unique, second to none, revolutionary web based GIS system developed in-house at IMMCO, Inc. to address the key issues confronting the such systems like: Network monitoring & Optimized Efficiency in Service, Ability to take Quicker and Accurate Decisions, Better Asset Management etc. Aptly called as “IBISS” (Intelligent Broadband Information System and Services), is a revolutionary new web based graphical interface designed for cable TV operators and other utility companies. IBISS is an effort by IMMCO, Inc. to help the MSO’s migrate their cable plant data to a web based GIS system like IBISS, thereby not only derive enterprise wide benefits but also effectively manage their assets, avoid intelligence redundancy and have the information about their assets at their finger tips.

Intelligent graphics and data binding between the graphical elements on a map and its corresponding attribute information in the database is the essence of any GIS. True to this, with IBISS beyond creating intelligent maps with completely searchable and locatable network elements up to a consumer address, GIS can also be effectively used to link consumer related data with the intelligent maps for marketing, sales, customer care and engineering purposes, an opportunity to get closer to their customers.