Intelligent Broadband Information System
GIS Analyst, IMMCO, Inc, 11138 State Bridge Road, Suite 200, Alpharetta, GA, U.S.A.
Broadband is the marriage of telecommunications and cable technologies. As it is rightly said, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, the last decade saw tremendous advancements in the arena of digital and fiber optic technologies: key elements empowering the broadband technology.
Broadband technology has not only given a new meaning for information exchange, but has also been the building blocks for the so-called “Information Superhighway”. Besides fostering a new class of consumer and business related services such as IP based telephone and video conferencing services, Video On Demand (VOD), home networking etc., it has also resulted in increased cable modem penetration and deployment of cable telephony services, making cities digitally intelligent.
Broadband technology besides being looked upon as an innovative technology, as a tool to make the city residents digitally literate, competent and proficient, it is also being looked upon as an “always-open gateway” to a new world of telecommunications and cable technologies and as the buildings blocks for the so called “Information Superhighway”, expected to dictate the economic development of the cities of the third world.
Need for an Intelligent Broadband Information System
As with most utilities, cable companies traditionally create and maintain detailed paper maps of their systems (network and equipments). In the last decade these paper maps became increasingly generated and stored using CAD and rarely did these MSO’s employ the software for tasks beyond simple drafting. In other words the CAD technology was merely used to create an image for the purpose of engineering documentation, whilst maintaining key data in disparate spreadsheets and other databases to manage their key assets.
With the tremendous pace at which the broadband infrastructure is being deployed and given the ever-growing consumer needs, the cable and broadband companies are at crossroads. Moreover these systems expand geographically and functionally every day. The realities of this new paradigm have made obsolete, the manual, non-integrated approach to asset management, network monitoring and customer care that characterized the cable industry’s simpler past.
In the absence of a comprehensive out-of-box solution in place and faced with the competitive realities, the cable companies are finding it difficult to not only manage the increasing volume of CAD documents associated with such network systems, but their real assets on the field as well. The engineering departments rely on system maps painstakingly drawn by drafters and residing in legacy CAD/Database combination files, paper maps, disparate spread sheets and other such formats, thereby making their enterprise wide usage redundant. By virtue of the manner in which such critical cable plant network data is maintained and managed, quicker and accurate decisions are next to impossible.
It is in this context that GIS finds importance in not only giving asset management a new dimension with the ability to handle geospatial data but also in revolutionizing the way in which such key assets are managed. In the recent years the trend has been to integrate geospatial and asset management systems to provide the most natural and effective links in utility information management and this synergy has been quite evident.
Awakened by the shortcomings of the CAD/Database combination approach of the existing legacy systems to maintain key network element information and faced with the competitive realities, it seemed only logical for IMMCO, Inc. to apply geospatial technology for a solution to this crisis.
Intelligent Broadband Information System – What is it?
IMMCO, Inc has been serving the Broadband/ Cable industry for the past 10 years and this rich experience along with its skilled in-house GIS team has gone into developing this Intelligent Broadband Information System: a second to none, revolutionary web based GIS system developed in-house at IMMCO, Inc. to address the key issues confronting such systems like: Network monitoring & Optimized Efficiency in Service, Ability to take Quicker and Accurate Decisions, Better Asset Management etc.
Aptly named as iBISS (Intelligent Broadband Information System and Services), is a revolutionary web based GIS designed for cable TV operators and other utility companies. It is a linkage of databases and maps, thereby creating a searchable interface that includes the simplest functionalities like zooming and panning to the sophisticated ones like printable reports and completely searchable and locatable network elements.
iBISS is an effort by IMMCO, Inc. to help the MSO’s migrate their cable plant data from their existing obsolete legacy CAD/ Database systems to a web based GIS system like iBISS, thereby not only derive enterprise wide benefits but also effectively manage their assets, avoid intelligence redundancy and have the information about their assets at their finger tips.
The making of iBISS
Intelligent graphics and data binding between the graphical elements on a map and its corresponding information in a database is the essence of any GIS system and true to this, iBISS is the set of tools and technologies that does this.
With the key task of iBISS being to enable the Broadband, Coaxial, Fiber and other network element information data of cable companies residing in legacy CAD/Database systems accessible to its users enterprise wide via corporate intranet or the World Wide Web, the first step and the most challenging for IMMCO, Inc. was to perform spatial & attribute data mining and migration from the traditional CAD/Database format combinations to a user friendly, cost effective and easy to use GIS format. On several considerations MapInfoâ’s TAB format seemed to fit in to these requirements.