With a relentless focus on innovation in the field of 3D computer vision and advanced data analytics for global asset inspections, 5×5 Technologies has quickly become a valuable resource in the telecom sector.
5×5 has been working in the drone space since 2012, providing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) services for telecom operators, tower companies, and turf vendors. It was through this work that the 5×5 team recognized the need for extracting data from real-world images in a 3D environment to create a fully automated platform for asset analysis.
“One of the findings that came out of that work was the reality that you get lots of pretty pictures when you are inspecting with a drone, but not a lot of actionable information,” said CEO Anne Zink. “We decided to create an application that can take the real world and operate it in a 3D environment through our Reality CAD tools that manually and automatically extract data.”
Backed by a $4.4 million investment by Japanese tech giant SoftBank in 2018, 5×5 was able to accelerate the development of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Ávrio Compute Engine contains a set of proprietary workflows and tools that take drone-captured data and transform it into actionable 3D insights that streamline and expedite the delivery of critical information, analysis, and engineering reports. These workflows are designed to efficiently create and precisely scale high resolution 3D models of client assets, providing a detailed view into their health and status. Ávrio’s proprietary workflows and tools are backed by Amazon Web Services – the world’s most advanced cloud and compute infrastructure.
“While others in the market produce 2D or low fidelity point clouds, we bring the process to life by producing a high fidelity, very precise digital twin in a 3D environment,” Zink said. “This allows our customers to use both AI and 3D computer vision to automatically extract data, as well as manually analyze the data and then, if desired, export that data back out into traditional 2D CAD environments,” Zink said.
“5×5 creates digital twins of Crown Castle towers using data captured by drones. These precise, high resolution models allow us to make faster, more accurate business decisions for our carrier customers,” said Robert McCoy, Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Manager, Crown Castle.
The process is simple yet precise. Drone operators upload the data they’ve collected into Ávrio Compute Engine, which then reconstructs and precisely scales a 3D digital twin of the entire tower and compound. Using a hybrid AI model, the platform analyzes key features of the tower such as antenna dimensions, alignment, highest appurtenances, and other components to provide users with a set of highly intuitive tools for engineers to complete additional manual analysis of the tower, such as mount maps. The digital twin delivers a remarkable level of precision. Depending on the sensor used to scan the tower, 5×5’s digital twins can be accurate to 1/32nd of an inch. The data can also be tailored to a multi-tenant situation, allowing the selective sharing of information and the retention of privacy for each tenant.
Ávrio’s mobile-friendly interface is a game-changer, allowing users the ability to view and share asset data directly from the field. Sales teams can view models and zoom into customer RAD centers to show available space or discuss leases. Field operations teams can view a model before they climb, and engineering teams can zoom in for a detailed look at tower components to determine the asset’s health and improve safety measures.
“Our platform was created from the customer up vs. from the developer down to ensure real world value across multiple functional groups – from sales through engineering and operations, through to finance,” said Zink.
With an eye ever focused on innovation and advancement, 5×5 is working to enhance the Compute Engine and Reality CAD platform with both new features and improved usability. With workflows currently able to reconstruct 100 to 150 towers a week, Zink said the platform will be able to handle 500 in early 2021 and she anticipates those numbers to grow into the thousands by the end of 2021.
5×5 Technologies is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida but maintains a global work presence. For more information about 5×5 Technologies, visit their website at https://www.5x5tech.com/.