START-UP SITESEE GIVES NEW VISION OF MOBILE PHONE TOWERS
13 January 2017, Written by James Perkins
A GOLD Coast start-up is receiving strong signals from the telecoms industry that its 3D modelling service for mobile phone towers is desperately needed.
"There were mountains of drawings and photos that we had to go through from the last time the contractor was on-site to try and find the most up-to-date information that we could, and we still didn't have a clear understanding of what was on the structure."
SiteSee works with its drone partner, AeroLens, to acquire the images for the 3D model, created by off-the-shelf software, then applies its own analytics to the model, developed by CTO Lucio Piccoli (pictured right) and a team of four interns from UQ and QUT.
"We have computer vision analytics which we run over that 3D tower representation and we identify all the equipment on the structure," says Crane.
"With the model, we can automatically identify and catalogue all antennas, and determine where the antennas are on the structure, how high they are and what direction they are pointing.
"Additionally, the software automatically identifies rust and corrosion on the tower and catalogues that corrosion."
For tower owners, there is the added value in that safety margins are reduced due to the clear picture provided by the model.
"Mobile phone towers are like vertical real estate and the tower owner wants to rent out as much space as they can to companies that want to put equipment and antennas on the tower."
Crane estimates that this will allow the owners to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra revenue over the life of the tower, while also preventing premature upgrades and reducing costs associated with maintenance.
Business development manager Lachlan Crane (pictured left) recently showed off the concept at the TowerXchange conference in Singapore, where c-level executives from phone and tower companies from around the world were "blown away" by the product.
The product will get further international exposure when David travels to San Francisco as part of the River City Labs, muru-D accelerator program, which has provided seed funding and mentoring as part of the next step of SiteSee's growth.
It follows the start-up's graduation from Bond University's Business Accelerator program.