For Broadband Providers, Internet Infrastructure Intelligene Starts with "Smart" Data
Whether we stop to think about it or not, we are living in a world driven by smart data. When leveraged correctly by broadband operators, smart data drives productivity, planning and communication to accelerate growth.
Smart data is “data from which signals and patterns have been extracted by intelligent algorithms.” Examples of smart data (and its cousin, fast data, which is in-the-moment-information that enables real time decision making) are all around us.
For communities and ISPs working to bring fiber connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of the United States, smart data has the potential to be transformative–and it’s already available. Intuitive, cloud-based fiber management software delivers internet infrastructure intelligence that streamlines broadband expansion from the very first stages of planning.
Telecom Thrives on Smart Data
This ability to extract insights from data to facilitate decision-making is essential in telecom. Fiber networks are dynamic. Elements are changing every day: on the physical layer, new connections are made, new cables are built, things are damaged or broken and have to be repaired or moved. On the operational or virtual layer, there’s internet data that’s traveling to homes via the physical layer. That traffic needs to be routed, monitored, and managed in conjunction with the physical layer, which often contains hundreds or even thousands of fiber strands that are cross-connected.
As infrastructure investments and demand for bandwidth soars, relying on a CAD drawing of your network’s routes, or trying to make sense of a spreadsheet with someone’s notes to understand splicing details of an increasingly complex network is not sustainable.
This data is “dumb” — the only way to wrest insight from it is to spend hours of time manually analyzing it. For fiber network operators, digitizing and documenting this information has never been more critical to achieving complete visibility over – and into – the network map to effectively deliver services.
Internet Infrastructure Intelligence Within Reach
Still, once you’ve successfully digitized all of your network and assets, transferring all of your data off of those spreadsheets and into a fiber management platform, operationalizing it and developing insight from it – in other words, extracting the value from the smart data you’ve collected – may seem challenging. A recent McKinsey study found that only 8% of the organizations it surveyed were effectively leveraging data to drive business decisions, even if they were heavily invested in collecting it.
But the future of fiber depends on this operationalized data, and fiber management software answers the call for a purpose-built engine for data insight. The right platform can deliver internet infrastructure intelligence — cloud based, real-time, smart data that anyone who works with the organization can access, query, filter, and export to meet their particular needs, at any time, from anywhere.
Insight Across the Organization
When it comes to planning and managing the capacity of your network, a smart fiber management platform can display not only where your fiber cables are located on the map, but take you inside each cable, down to the strand-level with a color-coded splice diagram that reveals data including the physical status of the connection and conditional status of each unique fiber.
You can then manage reserved fiber paths for future capacity, active customer paths, and pass-through, eliminating the need for specialized GIS training to get the bigger picture.
Digitized, smart data designs and plans also allow fiber operators to quickly and accurately estimate the cost of expansion, factoring in not only labor and fixed expenses, but the demand and potential revenue of any given area. Poring over a spreadsheet to understand and make informed recommendations is tedious and rife with opportunities for human error; with a fiber management platform, all you have to do is ask your data, and you don’t have to wait on engineering staff busy with other things to get your answer.
Smart Data is Shareable Data
Smart data should also be shareable data. If there’s a crew working in the field who needs to have a view of all the cables and connections between the start and endpoint of a unique path, they must have the ability to quickly access the specific map and parameters relevant to the project, relying on their smart data to also be fast data.
With smart fiber management, there’s no delay caused by having to call back to the office for information. And, when there are inevitably as-built changes, they can simply log updates in the platform. Colleagues in the office (or working from home), can see in real-time what’s happening on the road.
Making map data and the internet infrastructure intelligence derived from it the center of your fiber operations establishes what data visualization and business intelligence experts at Tableau refer to as a Data Culture: “a shared mission to enable their entire workforce with data, backed by leadership, a supportive community, and flexible technology.” Establishing a data-driven culture through a platform that brings information and insights to everyone in the organization will drive smarter decision-making across your organization, from the field to the head office.
A “Smarter” Customer Experience
The benefits of adopting intelligent fiber management software don’t stop with your engineering data. With connectors that integrate with operations and business support services systems, there are endless ways the platform can layer and serve up the data needed to provide a higher level of customer service, sales insight and c-suite business intelligence.
As a network operator, you’ll be able to rely on departmental insights to expand coverage to more homes and businesses in less time. Maintenance crews can use the data layered into the network map to “know before they go” for more efficient service calls. Customer history and the details of their connections will be at the fingertips of sales and support staff in the software platforms they’re already using, making every interaction “smarter” and more positive.
Get Smart Today
Now is a pivotal moment for broadband expansion as demand accelerates and more resources than ever before are allocated to bridging the digital divide. Internet infrastructure intelligence, delivered through fiber management software, can maximize the success of every broadband initiative by democratizing and distributing smart data, enabling a new standard of collaboration, communication and results for states, ISPs, engineers, and everyone working to deliver the connectivity and access essential to everyday life.