How TowerCos and MNOs can Drive Operational Efficiencies with TowerSight’s Customizable Cell Site Inspections

18 September 2020

Towercos and MNOs around the world are adopting drone technology to digitize, standardize, and optimize cell tower management. But not all towers are built alike—and their drone inspections shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all.

The good news: Intelligent drone automation workflows can be tailored to each towerco and MNO’s needs. TowerSight users can select from pre-configured mission templates or they can configure their own. Here are the four steps TowerSight users can follow to ensure that their mission configurations capture the data they need and produce insights that drive operational efficiencies.

Step 1: Select Mission Configuration

Towercos and MNOs conduct different types of tower inspections for different purposes. They may conduct a simple mission to get quick situational analysis of their tower equipment, compound, and access roads. They can conduct more complex missions to create high precision, AI-driven 3D models of enterprise assets, deliver inventory and comparison reports, or identify defects such as rust.

TowerSight provides users with several pre-configured mission templates at different levels of operational complexity so they can ensure that their inspections capture and generate the information they need when paired with the appropriate dataflow. TowerSight users can also create custom mission configurations that provide the appropriate level of data capture for their processing and analytics partners.

Step 2: Conduct Tower Inspections

Once users have selected their mission configuration, they then have to input the size and shape of their towers into TowerSight. Basic tower information can be pre-loaded into the account, and specific details can be confirmed or provided by the pilot in the field. This information is used to create a tower-specific flight plan that captures all points of interest. Then it’s time to conduct the inspection.

You don’t have to buy an expensive commercial drone to use TowerSight—it’s compatible with the most popular, cost-effective drones on the market. Consumer-grade drones now carry professional, high-quality sensors and have advanced flight control systems that make it possible for AirMap’s capture application to detect obstacles, avoid collisions, maneuver accurately, and photograph tower infrastructure with precision and fidelity.

Step 3: Upload Data

TowerSight’s intelligent upload portal automatically sorts and categorizes drone captures, so there’s no need for the drone pilot to sort the data by asset type, tower, or customer. Once sorted, TowerSight sends the data to the user-specified processing partners and data storage locations via the cloud. Once this data is uploaded and processed, it’s available and easily accessible in users’ TowerSight accounts.

Step 4: Deliver Insights

Enterprises can access their processed data inside the TowerSight viewer. Enterprises that completed simple missions will be able to view images of their towers as multiple data types, including 360 photos, orthomosaics, and images series, that are organized based on the location, site ID, or custom groups. Enterprises that completed complex missions can use the TowerSight viewer to access AI-powered, 3D models of their towers. TowerSight will generate relevant reports such as as-built inventory and change detection.

Customizing Base Station Inspections: Rakuten Mobile

Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s newest mobile network operator, is building out the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized mobile network. The network requires Rakuten Mobile to install tens of thousands of new base stations across Japan, which must be inspected after installation to validate compliance.

Manual inspections require workers to climb towers, take measurements by hand, and visually check each piece of equipment. This process is slow, dangerous and error-prone. Rakuten Mobile wanted to ensure that its inspections could be completed safely, accurately, and efficiently at scale. They decided to leverage drone technology and automation, and are now using AirMap’s TowerSight software to conduct drone inspections of new base station sites.

With TowerSight, Rakuten Mobile has ramped up its tower installations quickly, completing over one thousand inspections in just five months.


See how Rakuten Mobile is using TowerSight to increase its speed to market as it rolls out its new mobile network.

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“Conducting the inspections with drones greatly improves the safety and the speed of the process,” said Hideaki Mukai, Representative Director and CEO of Rakuten AirMap, Inc., a joint venture between Rakuten, Inc. and AirMap.“TowerSight provides a single platform where Rakuten Mobile can manage its base station site data with a single simple interface.”

TowerSight allows companies to leverage off-the-shelf drones to autonomously conduct tower inspections, automatically create 3D reconstructions, and record a complete digital portfolio of all owned tower infrastructure.

Get started with TowerSight at airmap.com/towersight.