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Digital Twins for 5G Towers with Drone Technology

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Open Tower iQ

The rollout of 5G connectivity is underway, and the demand for better data has continued to grow. However, the process of installing, inspecting and maintaining cellular towers remains difficult and costly. The strategic investment fund and incubator initiative has the goal of bringing together partners in digital co-ventures to accelerate the use and applications of digital twins. 

The Bentley Acceleration Initiative saw an opportunity. A co-venture with  OpenTower iQ,  Visual Intelligence, a Houston, Texas-based sensor technology company, and Aeroprotechnik, an aerial inspection engineering company based in Viseu, Portugal.

OpenTower iQ is a new digital twin solution powered by Bentley’s iTwin platform, and designed specifically for telecom towers. The platform can provide 3D visualization, real-time decision support, and predictive design from the ground up.

With OpenTower iQ, Tower Cos and Mobile Operators gain continuous access to near real-time information to better monitor, predict, and react to any required tower modifications by leveraging digital twins and reality modeling capabilities.

Drone Technology combined with AI

The demand for data continuously grows. Tower companies and engineering firms are constantly searching for all-inclusive, engineering-grade solutions to co-locate, modify, and maintain telecom infrastructure for the 5G rollout.

Telecommunication and infrastructure companies that manage towers can use OpenTower iQ to monitor the health of their towers and gain access to shared, secured data through a central portal. The launch of OpenTower iQ, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives acquired digital twin technology from Aeroprotechnik. They are a leading aerial inspection engineering company that specializes in automated asset data capture and digitalization solutions.

The technology included artificial intelligence and reality modeling capabilities that detailed information on current site conditions. This helps tower companies speed up 5G rollouts, enhance decision-making, and shorten sales cycles.

Bentley Acceleration Initiatives also partnered with Visual Intelligence. They are known for their patented dual-sensor drone technology that digitalizes physical infrastructure with millimeter accuracy to reliably deliver 3D, engineering-grade asset intelligence. They are able to map more measurable surface area than alternative aerial and ground-based methods.

With the ability to scan and create comprehensive, accurate digital twin, a tower company can virtually inspect a tower. Without sending personnel into dangerous conditions, operators can check if they asset has been constructed correctly, determine if the tower’s structural integrity is intact, and run co-location scenarios.

“The telecom industry is going through a rapid transformation as multinetwork operators are expanding their portfolios through consolidation and moving from a 4G platform to 5G. Without a doubt, digital twin solutions like OpenTower iQ, ‘powered by iTwin,’ will help tower owners make the most of the industry’s burgeoning opportunities.” says Santanu Das, senior vice president, chief acceleration officer, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives.