Thanks to drone-based photogrammetry, the tower industry views its assets from a whole new perspective. Pointivo goes beyond the pictures provided by the unmanned aerial vehicles, and uses cutting-edge, patented technology to extract critical and actionable data for tower owners and tenants.
Pointivo, based in Atlanta, is a software provider bringing AI-driven automation and digital analysis to a variety of verticals, including telecom. Combining machine learning, computer vision and advanced analytics, the company provides insights and strengthens business processes for everything from damage detection and equipment inventory to budgeting and risk mitigation.
“We deliver end-to-end solutions that provide for a safer, more sustainable and better-connected future,” said Pat Lien, VP of Sales and Marketing at Pointivo.
The 3D Difference
Pointivo takes imagery captured by a drone and tracks data throughout the entire lifecycle of a tower. Using Pointivo’s proprietary AI-driven software platform, tower imagery is converted to rich 3D digital twins. Analytics are used to identify and measure all of the equipment and mount structures and verify those measurements on the imagery itself.
“The detailed analytics and automation are really what differentiate the data. It’s information that can be used to make educated business decisions,” Lien said.
Drone photogrammetry-based 3D models, also referred to as digital twins, can vary dramatically in quality, accuracy, and scalability across the industry. With 20 patents, according to Lien, Pointivo leads the industry in speed, measurement accuracy, and scale, having completed more than 50,000 towers.
“Many people are surprised to learn we are the technology behind the technology,” explains Lien, who suggests Pointivo’s plethora of patents prove to enterprise clients that they are partnering with the original inventors. Patents cover extracting accurate measurement data and 3D objects as well as boundary and wireframe generation – all essential processes for precision.
Information extracted from the scene by Pointivo includes tower metrics, measurement data that meets engineering standards, structural members and their cross-section type, various types of objects on the tower and their geometrical, topological and semantic attributes, as well as various surface deficiencies.
A Solution for All Seasons
Pointivo addresses needs throughout the entire lifecycle of a tower, from site acquisition to construction, sales and leasing, modifications and maintenance. “Tower owners see benefits from having precise data that’s immediately available for sales and leasing, making it easy for the carriers and site acquisition firms to identify available space,” Lien said. When it comes to lease compliance, tower owners see returns from digital twins with the recapture of lease revenue based on the actual equipment installed, not just what it was designed for.
For TIA-222 Maintenance and Condition Assessments, safety hazards can be identified and eliminated by AI-driven inspection. Structural issues can be seen that may not be visible to a tower climber. Technicians are able to prioritize and bundle their maintenance activities to minimize spend. Lien says some Pointivo clients and their TIA inspection contractors are flying the towers ahead of the climbing crews, reducing time on site and time spent creating the report by as much as 90%.
Pointivo provides complete and accurate mount mapping, and leverages AI to augment the mount analysis process. “In just a few days, typically within 48 hours, we will generate a standard report, consistent with your existing and preferred formats, which engineers can rely on,” Lien said. Pointivo tower analytics provide these timely reports pre-construction, and accurate closeout data post-construction, eliminating repeat trips to the site.
Future Proof: Accommodate Technology and Withstand Macroeconomic Instability
Whether the economy is inflationary or goes into recession, companies that operate the most efficiently are best able to protect themselves. This includes tower companies that have digitized their portfolios.
Alex Gellman, CEO and Co-Founder at Vertical Bridge mentioned the state of the industry in a recent Inside Towers article saying, “Stable assets and cash flow make the tower business highly attractive.” Lien agrees adding, “technology advances provide us an opportunity to set new standards during unprecedented times. That’s what Pointivo continues to empower through our AI-driven software platform – stability in telecom asset management, even during a downturn.”
For example, a tower owner that streamlines the process for carriers to identify and contract their needed space will be able to accelerate the beginning of lease revenue, Lien said. Similarly, the ability to plan maintenance and repair across their entire portfolio saves money by addressing the sites that need attention in priority order.
Plus, digital twins allow tower owners to adapt to the next “G.” Understanding how new technologies will be deployed, whether it is antennas, ground space requirements, or edge computing, allows tower owners to anticipate carrier needs and rest assured their assets are prepared to accept them.
“Having complete digital data on their towers and ground space facilitates this process of being prepared for the future,” Lien said. “As new technologies come out, tower owners can accurately monitor and receive compensation for the modifications based on what is actually installed.” Pointivo’s automated change detection supplements that review by the tower owner and allows them to see exactly what has been added or removed, so everyone is looking at one version of the truth from a billing and revenue standpoint.
By combining drone inspection services with its patented data analytics platform, Pointivo empowers tower companies and carriers by delivering accurate, finely detailed and unique data. The AI-driven platform serves the full lifecycle of a tower, including sales and lease planning, tower inspections, mount mapping, pre- and post-construction audits, structural and civil engineering and tower acquisition. Pointivo provides real data that drives tower management processes.