Introducing Ericsson’s Digital Twin Site
As the deployment of 5G continues to accelerate, it has also continued to challenge network deployment, modernization and expansion. This has increasingly pushed service providers to:
- Monetize 5G investments
- Digitize assets to leverage the installed base for more efficient network expansion
- Reduce the time from site design to live site
- Optimally connect existing and new technologies
This blog is about Ericsson’s Site Digital Twin – a sophisticated new capability that not only captures, connects and standardizes all site data, but also leverages it across the entire product, site design and development cycles. network life. This capability enables enterprises to access automation and analytics on a global scale, extract more value from their data, and optimize their 5G investments. Join us in this exploration of the uniqueness of the site’s digital twin to address the key challenges facing Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and Tower Companies (TowerCos) in the 5G era.
Enrich, improve and exploit your data
Capturing site data is the first step in any network deployment, upgrade, or expansion process. This was traditionally done manually – an engineer had to physically go to the site to measure and record the site topology, assets and components. This data would then be updated manually in different systems and in different formats, depending on the company doing it. Therefore, when a change was to be made to the data on the site, it would take a considerable administrative effort to update all the different formats and systems.
This means that current processes are highly manual and dependent on physical site visits, with a high risk of data loss and inaccuracy. Data capture and documentation, in turn, is fragmented and unstandardized – different entities in the ecosystem record and control network information using different systems and methodologies, which often do not communicate with each other. As a result, data from network sites is isolated, disconnected and inaccurate because it is not continuously updated. Much of the data is discarded or has low value, rendering it useless for network upgrade and expansion or for global use.
This is where Ericsson’s digital twin site comes in. According to an analysis by MarketsandMarkets, the global addressable digital twin market is envisioning drastic growth with a CAGR of 58% between 2020 and 2026, driven primarily by the Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, and Automotive industries. However, the technology is also gaining momentum in the telecommunications industry, primarily due to the need to make accelerated and informed decisions on where and how to invest from a 5G perspective.
What can Ericsson’s site digital twin do for site design, data capture, documentation and beyond? It digitizes network sites and all its components in a 3D environment, providing a 360 degree view of the installed base, sites and network through a digital twin platform. What used to be a manual, fragmented, and non-standard site engineering approach is now an automated, data-driven, and digitized approach. Let’s see how it works.
Ericsson’s digital twin platform
Ericsson’s Digital Site Twin Platform has two key elements: Site Data Sources, which are the different site data capture methodologies, and the Building Information Modeling (BIM) solution, which contains and manages all digital information about every aspect of the network. and life cycles of its products, in a supplier-independent environment. Let’s consider each of them in more detail.
There are three different methodologies for capturing site data and ingesting it into the system:
- Lasers and drones. These technologies provide data down to the millimeter and millions, if not billions, of data points to describe the site, which is about as good as it gets when it comes to capturing, viewing and interpreting site data. However, lasers and drones cannot be used in certain markets due to regulatory or market complexities.
- Manual capture of site data. Manual data collection mode. Once the site design is created, the engineer uses and updates this design dynamically. This allows data capture and maintenance at a dynamic level.
- Existing information from CAD solutions or inventory systems. They allow service providers to leverage existing investments when upgrading or expanding the network.
Once the data is captured, it can be translated into a digital twin of the site, a consistent approach to site information structure – the data is captured, created in a standardized format and continuously updated. This makes it valuable for every stakeholder in the value chain, as well as for the future evolution of the network, providing a contiguous data set that can be used at any point in the site’s lifecycle.
Building Information Modeling
The other key element of the platform is BIM, which is the data enrichment element. BIM is an open standard system used for construction projects in many different industries. Ericsson takes advantage of these existing solutions, adapting and enriching them with Ericsson’s telecommunications and knowledge to adapt them to our customers.
Ericsson uses BIM as an enabler for drag-and-drop technology. It works like when building a new kitchen – a company will capture the dimensions of the client’s kitchen, enter them into a drag and drop system along with items such as freezer, oven, etc. She will then create a bill of materials, a design drawing and the services required to install the kitchen. It is exactly the same for the digital twin of the site, but in this case, the BIM is used for the understanding of a site. Here are the key components of our BIM solution:
- Component digital twin library – We ingest components from a component library which is continuously maintained and contains over 30,000 components, both from Ericsson and third parties. This allows us to drag and drop 3D images of site components, see the space and power they use, and several attributes described in a table. We can think of them as the ingredients of a cake recipe.
- business logic – Business logic, or design rules, is the recipe for the cake – it allows components to be linked together. Rules define the relationship and compatibility between components. There are many different combinations of components, and Ericsson’s site digital twin leverages hundreds of business logic rules built into our systems.
- Project data – the process by which the user queries this data, how the data is ingested and how it relates to a result.
- Network and site view – the true digital twin of the installed base, site and networks
Ericsson’s BIM and Site Digital Twin digitizes sites not only to create 3D models, but also to create a data platform that helps CSPs and TowerCos get started from the design phase and continue through to to the construction and maintenance of network sites to guarantee better quality and more energy-efficient sites.
Get the most out of your site and network data
With Ericsson, FSCs and TowerCos no longer need to assume – they can make decisions based on facts. Ericsson’s digital site twin is fully searchable at the site and network level, and provides information on how best to plan, design, install and maintain customer networks.
Additionally, Ericsson can integrate with customers’ own IT systems through application programming interfaces (APIs). With this, customers can consume this data in their own systems, providing accurate data sets that can power, for example, operations, marketing and finance.
Get the most out of your site and network data with Ericsson’s Site Digital Twin and begin your journey to a true end-to-end, scalable network lifecycle.
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