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Standardising Data Capture for Telecom and T&D Inspections

Right now, we see a change in industrial inspections. it’s no longer enough to simply search for better tools to capture visual data. It’s all about the quality and what you do with the data – that’s where the real value is. Case in point: telecom and transmission & distribution assets. 

Visual data can reduce existing costs, speed up inspection and fault detection, and drive more efficient workflows. With inspection tools like drones widely available, now is the time to take your inspections to the next level to truly get the most out of the data you collect. 

We have had the ability to map horizontal assets like solar farms for decades. However vertical assets like towers are notoriously challenging — and risky — to inspect. Drones provide a unique advantage for keeping inspecting vertical assets faster and better while keeping workers safe. Prior to drones, telecom and T&D relied solely on manual checks to provide data on asset conditions. For telecom inspections, only a limited portion of the tower is accessible to workers from the ground, meaning that many records were incomplete. In order to gain better data, technicians must climb the tower, introducing high levels of risk. 

When it comes to T&D assets, challenges with manual inspections are just as evident. Complexity in site access, worker safety, and expensive labour contribute to costly, incomplete, and slow inspections.

With massive amounts of unstructured data, tower owners and grid providers find themselves without a standardised way to capture, process, and store data at scale. And as visual data piles up into large digital data-lakes teams struggle to gain meaningful intelligence from the data they do have. 

But, with a combination of data capture technologies and intelligent data processing, users are left with the answers they need when they need them, removing the burden of searching through terra-bytes of visual data manually. 


Getting the right value from your data 

The data is only ever the starting point. It’s about using this data to optimize maintenance and drive smart decisions across your entire organisation.

The power of understanding sector-specific needs

Sector-specific expertise and knowledge is vital when it comes to extracting value from data. To help telecos and grid owners get the most from their data, we’re excited about our recent acquisition of Inspection², the leading provider of AI-enabled aerial inspections in the UK and Europe.

DroneBase has a world-class heritage in aerial inspections and data capture. With an 80,000+ strong network of pilots operating across over 60 countries, we lead the industry in our ability to efficiently capture data, easily and at a global scale, and transform it into actionable insights. Our expertise spans industries, from solar and wind, to construction and property management.

Now, with the addition of Inspection2, we are expanding our inspection capabilities to the telecommunication and transmission and distribution sectors. We can continue to reduce time to inspect and produce actionable insights for customers managing high-value assets, from towers to grid networks.

This data collected from these inspections is then integrated into our Insights Platform, giving you the insight and knowledge to better exploit your data and proactively manage your assets.

As our second acquisition in less than 12 months, the capabilities of Inspection² mean that we can now inspect the entire renewable energy site from asset to grid.

Transmission and distribution

As a service provider and partner, understanding industry challenges is key in enabling you to deliver meaningful business benefits.

With the promise of lower costs and greenhouse gas emission reductions, fossil fuels are being replaced with renewable power generation as a source of electric energy.

However, with an increasing amount of consumers comes more pressure on the grid. So, with levels of electricity use rapidly growing, will the grid be able to cope?

In fact, with rising concerns around overloading the network, special measures have already been implemented in places like California, where residents are told to avoid charging electric cars at certain times. These measures control levels of demand for electricity, especially at times when there is less renewable energy available.

Extreme and changing weather conditions are also a pressing issue right now in the transmission and distribution sector. With climate change taking hold, we’re seeing more extreme global weather events, which often lead to grid failure.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and other natural disasters could knock out entire grid networks, with those that are poorly managed most at risk. Without effective inspection and maintenance, the failure of these grids could have disastrous consequences for everyone – a risk that is only heightened by the growing frequency of extreme weather issues.



Although different than T&D, the telecom sector is also facing a series of pressing needs.

The 5G rollout brings with it a huge range of benefits, providing a more uniform, reliable internet experience for industrial use cases. But the technology still has its challenges. Ensuring a safe rollout of 5G is a key priority for telecom providers.

As well as the 5G rollout, telecom providers are also contending with the digitisation of assets. By digitising, telecommunication assets are made more discoverable and accessible, making it easy to understand tower inventory from anywhere.

With digitisation reshaping the industry landscape, telecom companies are tasked with the job of maintaining their market positions and creating innovative offerings for customers.

For tower owners and newly-listed tower companies, the opportunity to establish competitive advantage will come from understanding what is on their towers and, therefore, where additional revenue can be gained.

The support of DroneBase

With challenges facing both industries, effective asset inspection and maintenance is key in enabling a timely response.

But inspection is merely just the start. In order to truly gain value from these inspections, it comes down to what you do with the data collected – and that’s where DroneBase provides value as a trusted industry partner.

We understand the issues viewed as a matter of urgency for the telecom and T&D industries. To put tower owners and grid providers in the best position to respond to these challenges, frequent and efficient inspection of assets won’t be enough.

With DroneBase’s industry-leading combination of intelligent imagery and AI-driven insights, asset owners can increase efficiency around remedial actions, like the ordering and management of assets. Better understanding asset condition, and capacity, helping to maximise revenue and reduce costly truck rolls.

Knowledge is the key to solving problems

Our focus is on building a business that solves the technical challenges faced by our customers. The capabilities of Inspection² will help us get there.

With the addition of Inspection², DroneBase now has sector-specific engineering experience. We also have expertise in highly specialised machine learning models that are solving problems in the transmission and distribution and telecommunication sectors.

Acquiring this specialised technology has helped us take a critical step in our journey to solving our clients’ problems, allowing us to deliver an even better end-to-end experience. We are proud of our complete offering for owners, operators, and investors across nearly all critical infrastructure asset classes.

“We've developed the industry's leading offerings for solar and wind energy owners and operators. Inspection² has designed solutions that enable the transmission & distribution and the telecom sectors to quickly and accurately identify early warnings of degradation and take action to improve operations, planning, and risk mitigation."
- Dan Burton, DroneBase CEO and Founder


Across these critical industries, transformation is occurring at speed. The question of how to inspect accurately, quickly, safely, and at scale is just the beginning.

Real transformation occurs when you take action on the data in a standard, repeatable way. These processes and procedures drive real business outcomes including efficiency gains, productivity increases, or top-line revenue generation.

Providing actionable insights, high-quality technology, and specialist expertise as your trusted partner is exactly what DroneBase does best.

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Tags: Telecom utilities
Andrew (Max) Maximow
Andrew (Max) Maximow

Andrew Maximow spent his professional career in fast-growing technology domain progressively moving from engineering, sales, and leadership roles. At DroneBase Andrew leads Sales and Business Development for Electric Utilities, and prior to that, as Chief Drone Officer at Firmatek, managing partner at Drone Dynamics, and Enterprise Services lead at 3D Robotics.


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