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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

In this next Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we'll look at a few of the Esri solutions to help your organization optimize resources. Resource optimization is not only optimizing telecom networks, but optimizing the people, processes, and systems that maintain and manage telecom networks. Understanding network performance in order to build open networks with growth in mind, while maximizing capacity on existing networks are key to resource optimization. But ensuring the processes and people who plan, build, and maintain the networks and support systems are also optimized is crucial to long term sustainability of asset management.

Esri’s ArcGIS can help telecom organizations and communication service providers (CSPs) optimize their resources through the use of location intelligence and GIS technology. ArcGIS solutions provide an advanced network model, geospatial visualization and analytics, and mobile apps that leverage an open and interoperable complete GIS. 

Network Model and Connectivity

Fixed Wireless and Fiber Planning

ArcGIS models the entire network with spatially accurate data. It has the tools to model fiber, COAX, wireless, and hybrid networks as they really are on the ground. ArcGIS's system of record for communication networks offers connectivity modeling of assets in two and three dimensions, supporting best practices and industry standards.  By leveraging one complete GIS for managing all aspects of the network, from design to as-built, CSPs can ensure networks are optimized and the right network technology is built in the right location, at the right time.

Getting Started with Fixed Wireless and Fiber Planning

To get started and for more information, check out this blog on the next generation network management solution in ArcGIS, or view this story map for details on wireless planning solutions.

Visualization and Analytics

Territory Design

CSP’s want a greater insight into their operations and daily processes. Map visualization and spatial analysis can play a strong role in effectively managing people and processes. ArcGIS’s spatial analytics tools for territory design can optimize the areas a technician services to ensure jobs are getting completed as assigned and install windows are being met.

Getting Started with Territory Design

To get started and for more information, check out the territory design tool apart of ArcGIS Business Analyst.

Mobile and Interoperable

Drop/Bury Management

ArcGIS brings network functionality to any device, anytime, anywhere for complete operational awareness. Advanced data collection tools for the field shorten network build outs and improve asset inspections. Share the immediate state of assets and projects with corporate.  ArcGIS apps can also improve collaboration between contractors and CSPs to ensure network drops are buried in a timely fashion. Whatever the field workflow may be, ArcGIS apps can be configured to support it, and if not, the extensive developer framework allows for extending the mobile apps with open SDKs.

Getting Started with Drop/Bury Management

To get started and for more information, check out ArcGIS QuickCapture and Operations Dashboard. And for other examples of ArcGIS mobile apps supporting field operations, take a look at this story map.

Also, be sure to re-watch the whole Resource Optimization Webinar from late last year to see all of the Esri solutions in action. Please feel free to comment below on anything covered in this blog, and to provide feedback or offer suggestions on functionality you would like to see in any of the Esri resource optimization business offerings, and for more information on all of Esri's solutions for telecommunications visit Esri.com/telecom.

 Thanks,

- Esri Telecom Team

telecominfo@esri.com

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

In this next Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we'll look at a few of the Esri solutions to help your organization grow revenue.  Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are always looking for ways to increase revenues. Revenue growth starts with understanding market demand and performing sales analytics. Next, it moves into ensuring a successful customer journey by accurately qualifying a prospect and service fulfillment. Finally, it goes into retaining and upselling the customer for continued revenue streams. Esri's solutions for revenue growth can help CSPs increase revenue by leveraging spatial analytics with existing market demand and sales analysis to locate high-growth areas and upsell opportunities, while enabling presales engineers and customer sales representatives (CSRs) to qualify customers in a quarter of the time. Esri also provides geospatial tools and maps to the organization for improving customer retention.  

Market Demand

Greenfield Opportunity Analysis

Understanding market demand allows for the right product or service to be offered to the right customer at the right time. With Esri's greenfield opportunity analysis solution you can easily locate market demand with geospatial analytics and Esri's demographic data.  With a GIS based service request app, you can start to capture the location of off-net service requests to be leveraged in network planning. And ArcGIS Business Analyst is a focused app to assist in greenfield opportunity analysis that brings together analytics and demographic data. The video below shows how you can leverage off-net service requests and ArcGIS Business Analyst.


Getting Started with Greenfield Opportunity Analysis

To get started and for more information, check out the service request solution template and take a look at the capabilities ArcGIS Business Analyst can offer for market analysis.

Sales Analytics

Upsell Opportunity Analysis

Spatial analytics support sales analytics in many ways—from retail analysis to customer 360 analysis to service qualification analysis. ArcGIS offers hundreds of ready-to-use spatial analytics tools to geographically analyze customer data and qualify customers faster. Create smart maps using ArcGIS Business Analyst that allows you to set an ideal customer demographic criteria, and locate all geographic areas that meet your criteria. See how in the video below.

Getting Started with Upsell Opportunity Analysis

To get started and for more information, check out the ArcGIS Business Analyst solution.

Serviceability & High-level Estimates

Enable staff in your organization to identify an optimized network route to customer locations by configuring the Serviceability and High-level Estimates solution. Serviceability lets pre-sales engineers to specify the customer’s location and determine the shortest route or use the business influence feature to find a route with maximum business potential. After determining the best route, save the results to share with your organization. Turn around service qualification requests faster with these serviceability and high-level estimate tools.

Serviceability & High-level Estimates - Instant Qualification

Serviceability & High-level Estimates - Network Planning

Getting Started with Serviceability & High-level Estimates

To get started and for more information, check out the downloadable solution template.

Customer Retention

Customer 360 Analysis

Reducing churn and upselling customers drive revenue growth. Boost customer engagement and improve the customer journey with ArcGIS. Geographically monitor NPS and customer sentiment and better understand the demographic characteristics of your customers.  With the customer 360 analysis tools in ArcGIS, you can analyze 100s of variables in your customer 360 database to better understand which variables impact churn.  Then use those analysis results as a model to run machine learning against your current customers to get alerts of when a customer is likely to churn.

Getting Started with Customer 360 Analysis

To get started and for more information, check out AI/ML tools in ArcGIS and the Forest-based Classification tools. 

 

Also, be sure to re-watch the whole Revenue Growth Webinar from earlier this year to see all of the Esri solutions in action.

 

Resource Optimization: Optimizing Assets, People, & Processes

In the next Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we’ll look at how telecommunication companies are optimizing their assets and field operations with digital, real-time, map based analytics and mobile apps. We'll focus on some ways our uses are reducing trips to the field with ArcGIS Field Apps. Please feel free to comment below on anything covered in this blog, and to provide feedback or offer suggestions on functionality you would like to see in any of the Esri revenue growth business offerings, and for more information on all of Esri's solutions for telecommunications visit Esri.com/telecom

Thanks,

- Esri Telecom Team

 telecominfo@esri.com

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

This year’s GeoConX meetup held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, saw the largest number of utility and telecom GIS professionals ever gathered to share their work, collaborate on new projects, and discuss new ways of leveraging GIS and location intelligence to support the telecom business.  The event kicked off with a half-day opening plenary session featuring geospatial thought leadership from Jack Dangermond, CEO of Esri, along with ArcGIS user presentations and ArcGIS technology updates.

Highlights from the plenary included a presentation from the University of Kentucky’s Eric Carroll on leveraging ArcGIS and its field capabilities to map UK's telecommunications backbone, creating a GIS fiber system of record for the entire campus. Adam Bakiera and Courtney Pesak from Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) shared during the plenary how they’ve created a simple, configurable, cohesive web mapping application, providing customers with the information they need about their broadband service, as well as capturing their interest, helping the cooperative better understand the customer’s needs to grow and expand their services to the community.

The opening session really set the energy for the rest of the week as there was a lot of buzz around how GIS supports fiber design and management, 5G and fixed wireless planning, and how to support the telecom business with maps and geospatial apps.  Here are a few of our favorite highlights during the week.


Telecom Peer Connects 

Connecting with peers is what GeoConX is all about. This year’s telecom peer connects session featured a panel with Gary Barden of American Tower, Derek Rieckmann of Midco, and Edward Gause of HTC. Lots of interesting Q&A and discussion around geospatial data quality and cleanup, fiber planning, service qualification, and enabling other parts of the business with maps and geospatial apps. Lots of common GIS related problems across tower providers, cable MSOs, and traditional carriers.



User Paper Sessions

Throughout the week, users of Esri’s ArcGIS shared how they are using GIS to help digitally transform their organizations to be the telecom of the future.  

  • Fiber Transport Modernization with GIS Insights - Trina Ivey, Senior Tech, Project/Program Manager for AT&T, shared how GIS solutions are being widely accepted in the telecom sector with the primary benefit being real-time accessibility and sharing of current information. Trina discussed how it’s important to consider the need to automate multiple workflows and different users (engineers, consultants, inspectors, managers, executives, and 3rd parties) who all need different tools to effectively perform their jobs. When all factors have been considered during design, the resulting GIS solution will drastically improve efficiencies for all users.
  • The IN of the Telecommunications Fiber Optic Infrastructure - Eric Carroll, Team Lead Utilities & Network GIS at University of Kentucky, showed how interior fiber optic network mapping on a geospatial platform is the way of the future. The ability to trace individual circuits, represent them in a geometric network, thus enabling analytics, maintenance scheduling and troubleshooting are powerful in their own right. Eric discussed how the University of Kentucky together with Geograph Technologies LLC, developed a method for collecting as-built information in a GIS. The solution presented combined ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS for Server, the CrescentLink extension for ArcGIS, and Survey123 to showcase how data could be collected, processed and represented in a format that is logical and easy-to-use.
  • Operational Transformation with GIS - Derek Rieckmann, Director of GIS at Midco, showcased how geospatial technology continues to expand its influence on the way that MSOs operate. Through digital transformation of legacy mapping to a more spatially intelligent option, new methodologies have been implemented across the enterprise around activities like plant maintenance, extensions, and troubleshooting.  Derek highlighted that GIS is no longer just a system of record, but also becoming one of engagement and insight.  Rather than simply reading data, it is the authoritative source for many datasets.   Derek discussed the path Midco took from using GIS to record network information with very specific use cases, to an enterprise level platform with over 80% of employees directly using web delivered services.
  • GIS at American Tower: The Evolution Toward an Enterprise GIS - Gary Barden, GIS Program Manager at American Tower discussed how their GIS team is ever adapting to the changing wireless market, and how their team evolved over the years to meet the needs of customers, both internal and external.

Tech Updates & Hands-on Learning Lab

Numerous new updates to Esri technology were shown at GeoConX and following the positive feedback of the hands-on learning lab last year, the lab was brought back this year and even more Esri products were available for attendees to try out and play with, and training courses were available for attendees to work through while at the event.

New Tech Highlights:

  • Machine Learning Tools An update to the machine learning tools in ArcGIS was shared in a session that focused on spatial tools for classification, clustering, and prediction. Some of tools shown were Random Trees, Density-based Clustering, and Geographically Weighted Regression. Also, show was the integration of ArcGIS with external machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow and Scikit Learn. Image detection for detecting features in imagery, such as poles and sidewalks, gained a lot of interest from fiber planners.
  • Network Planning – During the plenary session new updates to ArcGIS Pro showcased dynamic map binning of call record and tower locations, and planning tools for fiber buildouts. The tools included optimized fiber route planning with ArcGIS Network Analyst and network tracing within the ArcGIS Utility Network Management. Re-watch the demonstration below.

  • Field Apps – The demonstrated Esri field apps showed how you can coordinate field activities using Workforce, how to efficiently get to the location of work using Navigator, how to gain spatial awareness and mark up maps using Explorer, how to accurately locate, capture and inspect assets using Collector, Survey123, and QuickCapture, and how you can improve accountability and enhance situational awareness using Tracker and Operations Dashboard.
  • Sensors, Big Data, and Analytics – Highlighted in this session was the ability to track field personnel as sensors, consuming their location with GeoEvent Server for visualization, geofencing, and storage for improved field operations and increased safety. GeoAnalytics Server was highlighted to help with the analysis of large collections of sensor data. Finally, a new Esri product in development was introduced: ArcGIS Analytics for IoT. This is a SaaS product that combines capabilities of GeoEvent Server and GeoAnalytics Server into a scalable, cloud-based product.
  • Business Analytics – New updates to ArcGIS Business Analyst were shown in a session that also highlighted greenfield opportunity analysis for broadband expansion and how to leverage Esri Demographics for upsell analysis. A crowd favorite was the improved dynamic infographics that can be configured and generated from apps across ArcGIS.


GeoConX Expo

Throughout the week, attendees had the opportunity to meet with Esri teams, including solutions engineers and product managers in the GeoConX Expo. 5G and fixed wireless planning seemed to be a top of everyone’s mind and new 3D analysis capabilities were shown at the Esri booth to assist in wireless planning.  Automating fiber design and field inspection workflows were also topics being discussed across the expo floor.

 

During the GeoConX Expo, Esri Partners showcased their latest solutions on top of ArcGIS for fiber, HFC, and copper network management, workflow automation, field operations, data migration, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

Another Fantastic GeoConX Event

This year’s GeoConX was another great meetup for GIS professionals in telecommunications, and we look forward to keeping the conversation going throughout the year, and seeing everyone at GeoConx 2020 in Denver, Colorado.  Be sure to stay engaged with the community on GeoNet, and register for the last telecommunications webinar of 2019, Resource Optimization on December 11th.

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

In the last Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we discussed Network Transformation and the impact 5G will have on communications networks.  To support Network Transformation, Esri and its Partner's solutions can be categorized into 4 main business offerings; Strategic Planning Tools, Desktop & Walkout Surveys, Network Design & Asset Management, and Project Tracking & Monitoring. While, the main focus of the previous blog was around Network Design & Asset Management solutions, this blog will take a look at the other solutions in these Network Transformation offering areas.

 

Strategic Planning Tools

Deployment of new wireless technologies, like 5G, and improvements to existing wireless networks are causing service providers to densify both their wireless antennas and their fiber networks.  But with limited CAPEX, services providers need to be strategic in where and when they perform network densification. Esri offers spatial analytical tools and models to help understand where network transformation should occur based historical network performance, market analysis, and business requirements. These tools can run in a desktop or server environment on hundreds or millions of data points. In the video below, a few of the Strategic Planning Tools are shown, including;

  • Clustering : Identifies statistically and geographically significant cluster of features
  • Snapping : Snaps features to lines and polygons for aggregated totals
  • Spatial Aggregation/Binning : Aggregates and summarizes features to other features like hexagon polygons
  • GeoEnrichment/Spatial Join : Appends attributes from one set of features to another set of features based on location
  • Site Suitability : Locate ideal locations based on overlaying and weighting input features
  • Space/Time Prediction : View patterns and trends over geographic space and time
  • ML Image Classification : Locate features in images or imagery based on training datasets

Big Data Toolkit

A new deployment option for the Strategic Planning Tools solution that has recently gained a lot of attention from ArcGIS users is the Big Data Toolkit.  This toolkit contains core ArcGIS spatial analysis tools that can be deployed into big data environments like Hadoop, and are run through Spark jobs.  This allows analysts to bring ArcGIS spatial analysis tools directly to large datasets, distribute analysis across nodes in a cluster, and perform spatial operations without spatial indexing, drastically improving performance and speed.  

Getting Started with Strategic Planning Tools

To deploy the Strategic Planning Tools within your organization, you have 3 main options, including Big Data Toolkit, depending on the analysis workflow and size of the datasets:

  1. ArcGIS Pro and ArcPy Python spatial libraries (core ArcGIS tools typically ran within a desktop environment)
  2. GeoAnalytics Server and Spatiotemporal Data Store (big data spatial analysis, bring the data to ArcGIS)
  3. Big Data Toolkit and ArcGIS (big data spatial analysis, bring ArcGIS to the data)

For more information on Esri's Strategic Planning Tools, check out this Story Map. https://arcg.is/1H1XH4 

Desktop & Walkout Surveys

While complete remote engineering is what we all strive for, its not always the case, and rolling a truck for pole audits and walkout surveys is part of the engineering process. Esri offers solutions for Desktop & Walkout Surveys that can help reduce truck rolls or site visits, while improving the efficiency of field work. Some of the ways that these ArcGIS solutions can aid your engineers and automate workflows are:

Desktop Surveys 

  • Automated fiber routing and if/then scenarios

  • Wireless planning and line of sight

  • Access to basemaps and geographic content from the Living Atlas

  • Heavy desktop solution or lightweight web apps

  • Integrated street view and image detection

  • Geographic data management

Walkout Surveys 

  • Cross platform configurable mobile apps
  • Offline mobile map books
  • Editing tools and redlining
  • Location based geotagging of photos
  • Integrated with Desktop Survey apps

Demo Video: Desktop & Walkout Survey Demo from Esri UC 2019 

Getting Started with Desktop & Walkout Surveys

To get started and for more information, check out this story map: https://arcg.is/1zKbbX 

Project Tracking & Monitoring

With the increased number of network build outs to support Network Transformation, project tracking and monitoring is more important today than ever before.  Engineers are designing networks on top of each other and in near real-time, and sales and operations teams need to know when projects will be completed.  So in order to make timely and accurate decisions, access to underlying data in an easy to interrupt format is a business necessity. Esri's Project Tracking & Monitoring solutions allow for visualizing data on a map or dashboard to better understand activities, projects, and operations. ArcGIS integrates existing data, metrics, and operational and analytical layers in a way that produces information valued by decision makers. Ensure all of your network transformation projects stay on time and on budget.

Demo Video: Project Tracking & Monitoring Demo from Esri UC 2019

 

Getting Started with Project Tracking & Monitoring

To get started and for more information, check out Network Transformation at esri.com/telecom

Also, be sure to re-watch the Network Transformation Webinar from earlier this year to see all of the Esri solutions in action.

 

 

Network Transformation: Modeling Fiber - Part 1

In the next Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we’ll expand upon the second blog of the series and further discuss the simple network management capabilities and workflows available today, and the advanced network management capabilities and workflows coming with the addition of Object Classes in the utility network and the release of the Industry Configuration for fiber.  We'll also do a deeper dive on the first preview release of the fiber asset package data model. We'll follow up the 'Modeling Fiber' blog with additional blogs on the other Esri business offerings that support network transformation.  

Please feel free to comment below on anything covered in this blog, and to provide feedback or offer suggestions on functionality you would like to see in any of the Esri network transformation business offerings, and for more information on all of Esri's solutions for telecommunications visit Esri.com/telecom.

Thanks,

- Esri Telecom Team

 telecominfo@esri.com

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

There are plenty of rumors, miscommunication, and marketing around 5G and the size of the network investments, the value 5G will bring to end consumers, and the timelines for service roll out. Yet one thing that is clear, 5G is coming, and service providers are investing heavily in network transformation projects to densify wireless and fiber networks.  GIS and maps are playing a larger roll in the strategic planning, remote engineering, and operational awareness of these network transformation projects, and because of this, Esri has been investing in, and evolving ArcGIS to better support the geospatial requirements within telecommunications. This blog, and subsequent ones to come, will dive into more details on the Esri business offerings and the recent enhancements to ArcGIS that can help with network transformation.

To support 5G and fiber deployments, Esri and its Partner's solutions can be categorized into 4 main business offerings; Strategic Planning Tools, Desktop & Walkout Surveys, Network Design & Asset Management, and Project Tracking & Monitoring

Since understanding the location of existing network assets (towers, cables, cabinets, etc.) is a key component to planning, designing, and constructing new communications networks, the first business offering we'll explore is network design and asset management and the different tiers of GIS network management required to perform certain workflows, as well as the deployment options available today and in the future.  We'll cover the remaining network transformation business offerings in follow-on blogs, and be sure to re-watch the Network Transformation Webinar from earlier this year to see all of the Esri solutions in action.

 

Network Design & Asset Management

Esri and its Partners have offered network design and asset management solutions to the telecom industry for many years, and based on the business requirements and GIS maturity of an organization, ArcGIS is typically deployed to support a range of simple network management workflows to advanced network management workflows. Some examples of these two types of workflows include:

Tier 1 - Simple Network Management

  • Basic Physical Network Inventory (PNI)
  • Field Inspections
  • Serviceability Checks
  • Network Planning

Tier 2 - Advanced Network Management

  • Detailed PNI Including Ducts, Fiber Strands, & Ports
  • Logical Network Inventory (LNI)
  • Port to Port & Ring Management: Network Traces, OTDR Reports, Physical Redundancy Planning
  • Service & Channel Management: Circuit Trace, Channel Reports, Availability
  • Detailed Engineering & Design - Web and Mobile

With the recent release of the ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension, Esri has re-engineered its network modeling framework (previous network modeling framework was the Geometric Network) which supports network design & asset management solutions, giving ArcGIS users enhanced simple network management capabilities, while offering new advanced network management capabilities at a later release. This framework allows for better network modeling, enhanced visualization / embedded analytics, and easier network sharing.  Along with the release of this ArcGIS server extension, Esri’s Solutions Team is offering downloadable Industry Configurations (asset package data models + symbology + maps) for different industry domains which will allow users, developers, and Esri Partners to start modeling networks in the utility network and extending either simple or advanced solutions off it.

Over the coming months, as Esri further enhances the utility network and develops Industry Configurations for telecom to further support telecom networks (fiber, HFC/COAX, copper, & wireless/microwave) with advanced network management capabilities, we will be releasing a series of blogs apart of the Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog series, with documentation and best practices for how to model different telecom networks and devices within the utility network. The intent of this outreach is to educate and allow our users and Esri Partners to offer feedback and guidance for the direction of the Industry Configurations and core capabilities of the utility network in support of managing telecom networks. Because every organization models, manages, and designs networks in a slightly different way, we hope that the increase in transparency and communication with our users and Esri Partners will allow Esri to crowd-source and release best of breed Industry Configurations that support simple and advanced network management.  We are already engaged with many of our users and Esri Partners for validating our methodologies, and we hope to see that increase in the months to come. 

Modeling Telecom in the Utility Network

The first utility network Industry Configuration Esri will release for telecom networks will be for fiber (PON/GPON) networks.  While this is being developed by Esri, users and Esri Partners can design and deploy their own asset package data models on top of the utility network today to take advantage of simple network management. (To learn more about deploying your own asset package data model, please refer to this link.)

The utility network at the ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7.1 and ArcGIS Pro 2.4 release supports associations, containment, and connectivity of features with a spatial geometry. This means assets with a physical geometry (drawn on the map) can be managed and maintained within the utility network at its current release.  At a future release of the utility network, a new set of asset classes called Object Classes (edge & junction) will be introduced into the utility network to support management of non-spatial features. This will allow for associations and connectivity of features maintained in the utility network without requiring a physical geometry (not-drawn on the map). The diagram below shows a high-level conceptual view of the main fiber assets aligned to the utility network tiers and asset classes of the utility network. This includes physical assets that could be managed today (simple network management) by building your own asset package data model on the utility network, and non-spatial assets that could be managed at a later release of the utility network (advanced network management), or managed today through Partner solutions and the older Geometric Network framework. 

As you can see in the diagram above, the physical location and attributes for telecom sites, structures, equipment, span, and cables can be managed in the utility network today. This would provide simple network management and allows for containment on these features.  To support many of the non-spatial assets in a fiber network, like fiber strand and ports, and to run connectivity traces, the Object Classes (non-spatial tables) will be essential additions to the utility network set of asset classes providing advanced network management.  

Getting Started with Network Design & Asset Management

For those looking to leverage ArcGIS for network design & asset management here are the options today and in the future:

For simple network management today, ArcGIS with either a geodatabase, a geodatabase + Geometric Network, or ArcGIS + Utility Network Management extension is required to store asset locations and attribution about those assets.  Simple network management will enable a base set of capabilities and workflows for your organization. For advanced network management today, ArcGIS with a geodatabase + Geometric Network is required, and typically an Esri Partner solution built on top. At a future release of the utility network, ArcGIS + Utility Network Management will bring advanced network management capabilities to the table for users and Partners to build solutions around.  Also, keep in mind that Esri Partners and the user community are key to extending both simple and advanced network management capabilities offered by ArcGIS in order to build complete network management solutions for your organization.

Here is some additional guidance depending on if you are looking to deploy simple or advanced network management:

****For access to early version previews of the Industry Configurations for telecom, including asset package data models, please refer to this discussion thread: https://community.esri.com/message/717465-telecom-industry-configurations-for-arcgis-utility-network...

For more information and resources on the ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension, please refer to: https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/arcgis-utility-network-management/resources 

Network Transformation: Strategic Planning, Remote Engineering, & Operational Awareness

In the next Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we’ll look at other workflows in the Network Transformation process that surround Network Design & Asset Management. We'll highlight big data tools, fiber routing and planning tools, and dashboards for monitoring projects.

Please feel free to comment below on anything covered in this blog, and to provide feedback or offer suggestions on functionality you would like to see in any of the Esri network transformation business offerings, and for more information on all of Esri's solutions for telecommunications visit Esri.com/telecom.

Thanks,

- Esri Telecom Team

 telecominfo@esri.com

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

This years Esri Users Conference was another great event for GIS users in telecommunications.  One apparent observation was that the need for GIS and maps in support of telecom workflows is growing, and not only for traditional telecom service providers but for other industries that are starting to, or have been, deploying communications networks.  Because of this growing demand for GIS in telecom, the Esri Telecom Team will be releasing a series of blogs in correlation with the ongoing Telecommunications Webinar Series to explore new ways of Geospatially Enabling Telecom.  The ongoing webinar series and these blogs will look at how GIS and maps can support all aspects of the telecom business from network planning, to fulfillment, to assurance and how GIS directly impacts today's trends and driver's in the industry. The business drivers we'll focus on and explore GIS use cases within will be Network Transformation, Resource Optimization, Revenue Growth, Customer Experience, and Digital Services.

A Complete GIS for Telecommunications

In order to support the above technology trends and business drivers, GIS has needed to evolve from simple mapping software to a complete GIS platform supported by geospatial infrastructure.  This geospatial infrastructure which includes a system of record, system of engagement, and system of insights is moving into the cloud and giving organizations a web GIS, opening up geospatial web services for consumption in different OSS/BSS applications.

     

ArcGIS is the only Complete GIS digitally transforming telecommunications that offers geospatial infrastructure and focused business offerings designed specifically for telecommunications.  In the blogs to come we'll dive deeper into Esri's focused business offerings for telecommunications and how they support today's industry drivers along with how to get started with the solution.  Some of the offerings to look out for include:

Network Transformation (Watch Webinar)

Resource Optimization (Register for Webinar)

Revenue Growth (Watch Webinar)

Customer Experience (Watch Webinar)

Digital Services (Register for Webinar)

Network Transformation: A Strategic Investment in New Capabilities

In the next Geospatially Enabling Telecom blog we’ll discuss Esri's offerings for Network Transformation and how GIS is supporting network projects around 5G and fiber deployments. For more information on all of Esri's solutions for telecommunications visit Esri.com/telecom.

Thanks,

- Esri Telecom Team

 telecominfo@esri.com

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

Updates to original script in comments below - 9/5/2019

With hurricane season upon us, I wanted to share a simple but powerful python script which locates assets that are in path of a major storm.  The script leverages the ArcGIS Python API and can be run manually or automatically from a variety of sources, which I'll cover later on.  The script also requires that your asset locations are in a feature layer within your GIS portal, along with a polygon feature layer used as a storm track, and a layer to add your alarms or vulnerable assets to. The script is attached below, but lets first break it down.

First, import the necessary ArcGIS python libraries and authenticate into your GIS portal.  Since this script uses feature layers, we'll mostly use the arcgis.features module.

from arcgis.gis import GIS
from arcgis.features import FeatureLayer
from arcgis.features.managers import FeatureLayerManager
from arcgis.geometry import filters
from IPython.display import display
gis = GIS("https://your.portal.here/", 'username', 'password')‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Next we'll load in the feature layers used in the script. The script requires a point feature layer of your asset locations, a polygon feature layer of your storm track, and another point layer used as alarms or your vulnerable asset locations.

Ninja Pro Tip: Leverage the Active Hurricane live feed from Esri's Living Atlas as your storm strack.

#assets layer
cellSiteFeatureLayer = gis.content.get('88b5acd4444343b3bdaea40918d070bf')
#storm track layer
hurricaneFeatureLayer = gis.content.get('6c8256c93c0e40debe46d9dcf79d0049')
#alarms layer
warningsFeatureLayer = gis.content.get('6f735776f0c246b1ba602a774dbc1b1d')‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Next, well truncate and clear out previous alarms and vulnerable assets from the alarms layers.

warningsLayer = warningsFeatureLayer.layers[0]
warningsLayer.manager.truncate()‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Then, well store the current geometry of the polygon layer or the storm track which will be used to query the assets that fall within it.

hurricaneFeatures = hurricaneFeatureLayer.layers[8]
queryHurricane = hurricaneFeatures.query(where='1=1')
hurricaneGeometry = queryHurricane.features[3].geometry
##print (hurricaneGeometry)‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Now we'll the use the geometry we just stored as the spatial geometry filter for our query on the assets layer.

cellSiteFeatures = cellSiteFeatureLayer.layers[0]
warningsResult = cellSiteFeatures.query(where='1=1', out_fields='SiteID', geometry_filter=filters.intersects(hurricaneGeometry))
##print(warningsResult)‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Finally, take the feature set returned by the query and add the features to the alarm layer.

warningsLayer.edit_features(adds=warningsResult)
‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

And that's it. The result is new point locations showing you where assets fall within a storm track.

The script can be run in variety of locations depending on the experience you want for the end user.  Here some options:

  1. Locally in your own IDE
  2. Within ArcGIS Pro as a GP tool
  3. Shared as a GP service and leveraged in the GP widget of Web AppBuilder
  4. Brought into ArcGIS Notebook server
  5. Ran automatically using Windows Task Scheduler 

Ninja Pro Tip: Leverage Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS to view the results of the analysis.

Patrick Huls

Solution Engineer Team Lead - Telecommunications

LinkedIn: Patrick Huls| Twitter: @SpatialNinja| GeoNet:Phuls-esristaff

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

Many new features and apps were released in the 10.7 version of ArcGIS. Here are my top 10.

10. Reports in ArcGIS Pro

New in ArcGIS Pro 2.3 is Reports. For those that leveraged CrystalReports in ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro now supports an all Esri based report template capability. Its great for dynamically adding attributes from your data and an inset map into a PDF report. 

Spatial Ninja Pro Tip: Reports in ArcGIS Pro—ArcGIS Pro | ArcGIS Desktop 

9. Spellcheck in ArcGIS Pro

Spelchek!!! yay!! This is one of my favorite updates to Pro in the 2.3 release. The ability to run spellcheck against your map layouts, attributes, and popups is a long awaited enhancement to Pro. 

Spatial Ninja Pro Tip: What's new in ArcGIS Pro 2.3 - YouTube 

8. Shared Instances in ArcGIS Server

For those who have managed an ArcGIS Server, you are aware of the RAM hogging SOC processes that support all of services running on that machine. New at 10.7, shared instances allows for a 1:M relationship between SOC processes and service definitions: a shared service instance (SOC process) can service requests for multiple services. 

When publishing a map service, and setting it to use shared instances, the added memory cost of the new service is effectively zero. Instead of creating a dedicated pool of service instances (SOCs) the service will be handled by the shared instance pool.

7. Distributed Collaboration

Distributed collaboration allows for portals to share layers and content through a collaboration group. Items can be referenced or copied based on a set time interval. New at 10.7 is support for Insights workbooks, view layers, and the ability to pause and resume collaboration sync. 

6. Cost Analysis Widget for Web AppBuilder

A new widget called Cost Analysis is now available in Web AppBuilder. The Cost Analysis widget allows you to set up an editing template with a cost associated to each feature. So if I am planning a fiber network I can have the widget automatically total up the cost of the build. You'll also have the ability to add additional costs or multipliers based on territories or manual input. 

5. Tracker for ArcGIS

Tracker for ArcGIS is a new mobile app that allows organizations to track the locations of their mobile workers.  Tracks can be recorded while online or offline, and Tracker can be scheduled to record location only during business hours. The location tracks can be viewed in the Tracker web application or brought into any web map as a layer.

 

4. Collector for ArcGIS

The latest version of Collector, code named Aurora, was released in November on 2018. This new version enabled better mapping with support for vector tiles and labeling, a new interface for collecting data, a better offline experience for users, and smarter forms to support barcode scanning. Grouping of fields and snapping are coming later this year.

 

3. ArcGIS Notebooks

ArcGIS Notebooks is a web-based, interactive, computational environment for you to write, document, and run code all in one place. It is based on the is a popular open source notebook environment, Jupyter. Python is the main scripting language for ArcGIS, and can be accessed and run in many locations across ArcGIS. ArcGIS Notebooks provides a more integrated experience within the Web GIS.

2. in_memory workspace in ArcGIS Pro

In the 2.3 release of ArcGIS Pro the ability to have an in_memory workspace was added. This means you can now write the output results of a geoprcoessing tool to memory for use as intermediate data.

 

Spatial Ninja Pro Tip: What's new in ArcGIS Pro 2.3—ArcGIS Pro | ArcGIS Desktop 

 1. ArcGIS Indoors

ArcGIS Indoors allows your organization to create 2D/3D indoor maps and mage indoor assets. These indoor maps can be generated from CAD and BIM and indoor routing can be configured through ArcGIS Pro.

Spatial Ninja Pro Tip: Indoor Mapping System | ArcGIS Indoors 

Patrick Huls

Solution Engineer Team Lead - Telecommunications

LinkedIn: Patrick Huls| Twitter: @SpatialNinja| GeoNet:Phuls-esristaff

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PatrickHuls_SpatialNinja
Esri Regular Contributor

At this years GeoConX conference we held a technical session on administering your portal. Following the session numerous attendees asked for access to some of the tools we highlighted, so I wanted to recap the session and share all of those with you. My team at Esri administers our demonstration environments for our global business development team, which includes 2000+ users.  We maintain a hybrid ArcGIS Enterprise and Online environment, and below are the ways, we internally at Esri, have outlined our governance practices.

Authoritative Content - authoritative content is all about separating the 'portal clutter' or sandbox content from the authoritative web maps, apps, and layers that are shared with users in the portal, and the best practices around doing so.  Here are some useful tools and best practices for maintaining authoritative content:

  • Portal Item Branding
    • Adding a thumbnail, a summary, and description to items in your portal will allow users to easily understand what the app, map, or layer is and whether it is relevant to them.  There are numerous ways to build awesome thumbnails; including a PowerPoint template that is downloadable here, or using this app from our Application Prototype Lab team. 
  • Metadata
    • Adding metadata to items will provide authoritative details on what the item is and where the content came from.  ArcGIS Online now supports standard metadata formats: Metadata—ArcGIS Online Help | ArcGIS 
  • Setting Default Branding
  • Authoritative Content Tagging

Organization & AccessibilityA clean and organized portal is a happy portal. Users will continue to come back to the portal if it is well organized, content can be found relatively easy, and content is easily accessible. Here are some useful tools and best practices for maintaining organization & accessibility:

  • Portal Home Page Branding
  • Sites
    • One limitation of the portal homepage is that it cannot be tailored to each user or team. Sites for ArcGIS now allows you to create a destination for different departments that presents only the maps, apps, and layers that are relevant to that team.  Additional context can also be added to a Site through a configurable HTML builder. Sites are currently available in ArcGIS Enterprise only, but ArcGIS Online is coming. About ArcGIS Enterprise Sites—Portal for ArcGIS (10.6) | ArcGIS Enterprise 
  • Groups, Categories, Gallery Apps
    • Groups organize content and enable access to content based on user identity, but Gallery Apps can give a clean user interface into a group.  The new Categories feature allows you to group content based on a specific category or tag.  Users can filter content within a group based on these new categories, allowing for an easier time to find relevant content. 
  • Identity Management with Single Sign On
    • If you have ever forgot your password, raise your hand. Image result for hand raised emoji Well so have I. ArcGIS allows for its identity management system to be connected to your corporate identity management system by setting up enterprise logins.  This will allow you to manage users easier and allow users to use their corporate logins to access ArcGIS, reducing the number passwords they need to remember. 
  • Distributed Collaboration
    • New in ArcGIS is Distributed Collaboration. This capability will allow you to share content from one portal to another, creating a portal of portals experience. So for large organizations with multiple portals, distributed collaboration will easily allow for content to be shared between those portals.
  • End User Experience
    • A consideration when creating apps is understanding the primary location from where a user will be accessing the app, and from what kind of device. Web AppBuilder allows you to see what your web app will look like on different devices.  The new web version of Operations Dashboard can also be viewed on a mobile device, but if a phone is expected as the primary device to view the dashboard, then consideration should be made to how the widgets are set up. Here is some help: Strategies & Best Practices for using Dashboards on your Smartphone % Dashboards on a smart phone
    • A new ArcGIS mobile app is also available for accessing your portal on a mobile device. The experience of accessing the portal over a web browser on a mobile device hasn't always been the best, so ArcGIS Companion is a new native mobile app that is a much better user experience for accessing your portal on a mobile device. Introducing ArcGIS Companion - New Mobile App for your Organization 

AvailabilityWith more and more organizations and employees adopting the notion of 'work' being a state of mind and not a location, the need to have business applications running 24/7 is crucial. Here are some useful tools and best practices for ensuring high availability of your portal and apps:

Management - Governance and management of the portal is key to keeping the portal sustainable and ensuring all the key elements above. Here are some useful tools and best practices for management of your portal:

  • Development Process
    • Having a development life cycle for content in your portal is good best practice. You can setup a development process by creating dev groups, and limiting sharing of content to only those dev groups. This will keep authoritative business groups clear of development content, and ensure all content in production is working. Here is some guidance on creating a development group structure process for moving content though a dev life cycle in your portal:

      1. Development 

      During the development stage of apps, contents will be kept in the curator’s user contents.  The app(s) may be shared with the Sandbox group for testing and feedback from other users.  Once a working prototype of the item is complete, the item may be shared with the Prototyping group.

      2. Prototyping 

      During the prototyping stage, the app is kept in the Prototyping group while the content is tested by additional developers.  If changes are made to the app during this stage, the content will need to be removed from the Prototyping group and shared back into the Sandbox group.  When the prototype has been tested and is working, the app may be shared with the Staging group for preparation of final release. 

      3. Staging

      During the staging stage, all associated contents (maps, layers, apps) for the app must be shared into the Staging group.  At that point, a proper thumbnail, summary, and description should be added to the app and associated contents.  The curator or developer of the contents will then document that app. The GIS admin of the portal will then QAQC the contents and the documentation.  When the app is finalized, the admin will share the app into the proper business function group, and move all associated contents (web map and layers) from the curator’s user contents into the admin’s user contents, this reduces the possibility of content associated with the app accidentally being deleted or modified.

      4. Production

      Once the app is released and in production, the admin will host and keep the contents for the app in their contents. 

  • Item Reporting and Views
    • There are times when content in the portal is no longer used, yet server resources are still running in support of that content. Tracking views on content will allow you to gauge what content may need to be deprecated or even deleted. Attached to this blog is a tool to mine the content views recorded in ArcGIS Online and Enterprise and output a CSV of those views.  That output data can be summarized in Excel or pulled into Insights for ArcGIS for further evaluation. 

  • Here are instructions for setting up the tool: 
    1. Install ArcREST from https://github.com/Esri/ArcREST
    2. The tool has the option to run the report on one item or multiple items.  So if running the tool on multiple items, you’ll need to add items to the input_items.csv file.
    3. Open the tool from ArcCatalog, ArcMap, or Pro, and fill in the input parameters. 
    4. View output CSV file.  The tool returns the information below. 
  • Custom Roles
    • Custom roles can allow you to group users by type of user or by teams. Although users in different teams may have the same user permissions, custom roles can allow you to group users even if they have the same permissions in the portal. These custom roles can aid in provisioning or reporting workflows.
  • New Organization Tab
    • New in ArcGIS is a revamp on the admin Organization tab. Here you can manage credits, users, view system health, and more through a redesigned interface.
  • Admin Tools
    • Managing your portal on a day to day basis can be a lot of work. There are a variety of tools to assist. Here are some of the ones we use constantly. 
      • GeoJobe - Admin Tools is a great set of tools for managing users, copying content, dealing with tags, updating URLs, and more.
      • ArcGIS API for Python - This python library was designed for managing and automating tasks within your portal.
      • ArcGIS Assistant - ArcGIS Assistant will allow you to copy content and update REST endpoints for services in your web maps.  Removing a layer in a map and re-adding it is no longer required if you have published a new service and need to replace the REST endpoint.

As always, feel free to reach out with any feedback or questions.

Patrick Huls

Technical Evangelist - Telecommunications

LinkedIn: Patrick Huls| Twitter: @SpatialNinja| GeoNet:Phuls-esristaff

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Esri Regular Contributor

This year's Esri User Conference showcased a lot of great advancements in GIS technology and brought the vast user community of GIS professionals in telecommunications together. Being a GIS user for 5 years and then working for Esri the past 4 years, I'm always blown away by the energy at the User Conference. This year I wanted to share the top 5 things I'm excited for following the conference. So here we go:

5. ArcGIS Field Solutions

Esri's suite of mobile apps keep on growing in number and improving in capabilities. I am really excited about Survey123, the next generation of Collector, and the new markup capabilities in Explorer.

Survey123 for ArcGIS

What I like the most about Survey123 is its form centric approach to data collection. Its more user friendly for those not familiar with a map/GIS based interface. Building these smart forms is also really easy using the web based form builder and desktop based Survey123 Connect, and the new barcode scanner, report template, and photo markup are great additions to this app. 

Collector for ArcGIS

Collector, the map centric data collection app, was the first ArcGIS mobile app for data collection on iOS and Android. Its been around for quite some time, but I'm really excited about the future release of Collector which has been named 'The Aurora Project'. The Aurora Project release of Collector will finally see Vector Tile and labeling support for web maps used in Collector. You'll also get a brand new, easier to use, interface which allows for quicker data collection. 

Explorer for ArcGIS

Explorer can be thought of as your mobile map book. No longer are the days of printing off large map books, marking them up in the field, and digitizing those edits in the back office. That workflow is completely streamlined and digital now, thanks to the new markup features in Explorer.

4. The New Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS

I've always been excited for the possibilities and uses of Operations Dashboard, but the app traditionally being a desktop only solution limited its potential. Operations Dashboard has been overhauled and is now completely web based. The builder experience and end dashboard product are both accessible over a web browser.  The underlying JavaScript/HTML5 framework also makes the new Operations Dashboard so much more customizable and extendable. 

3. ArcGIS Enterprise Sites

Sites are new way to customize a home page for different users of your ArcGIS Enterprise portal. You can now tailor a unique portal experience for different user groups within your organization, presenting to them the maps, apps, and content they most commonly need to perform their day to day job.

2. Advancements in Big Data and AI/ML Tools

Esri continues to put the Science of Where to work with their spatial analysis tools. I'm really excited about some of the new big data and AI/ML tools that Esri is building into ArcGIS, especially for use cases around analyzing communications network performance.  These tools can now also be accessed in ArcGIS or deployed directly within your big data environments, bringing the analysis to the data. 

1. GIS's Continued Use as a Complete Platform

The number one thing I'm most excited for following this years User Conference is seeing how ArcGIS continues to be adopted as a platform for all things mapping and location intelligence. For years and years GIS has been seen as only an engineering and design solution or outside plant management solution. But we continue to see the transition of GIS as a platform to not only support infrastructure lifecycle management, but telecommunications planning, fulfillment, and assurance. Its amazing to see our users push ArcGIS to new limits and support more and more departments within their telco with mapping and location intelligence capabilities. 

Spatial Ninja Pro Tips:

Another User Conference in the books and I can't wait until I get to see everyone again at the GeoConX Conference in the fall.

Patrick Huls

Technical Evangelist - Telecommunications

LinkedIn: Patrick Huls| Twitter: @SpatialNinja| GeoNet:Phuls-esristaff

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