Trasforming Submarine Cable Operations with Location Intelligence
By Stacia Canaday
November 23, 2020
Location has always been a key factor in the subsea cable industry. Deciding where to place a cable, determining ideal landing stations, ensuring the cable is placed in the right place, monitoring the construction, inspecting the assets after they are placed, and keeping employees safe throughout the whole process – all the key workflows have one thing in common: location.
The industry has always used maps and geography to make decisions and communicate with internal and external stakeholders. What’s changing is the way in which maps and data are shared. It was always common to find teams huddled around paper maps or exchanging spreadsheets with important metrics. Now it seems technology is catching up to the way subsea cable operators always wanted to work. The industry is undergoing digital transformation and forward-thinking operators are leveraging that one thing all their work processes have in common (location) as a natural systems integrator.
Why the need for digital transformation? Why are subsea cable operators seeking to fundamentally change the way they run their companies? Because the industry itself is evolving and demands of customers are forcing operators to modernize in order to keep that competitive advantage. Businesses and consumers alike have a seemingly endless demand for broadband access, network speeds, and network capacity. 5G isn’t eliminating the need for fiber; it’s forcing the entire industry to deploy more fiber with increased network diversity and capacity. The workforce itself is evolving and changing as are regulatory requirements. As new opportunities arise, the competitive landscape and investor expectations change along with them. Even customer expectations have shifted dramatically – I can order a coffee from my phone and see what time it will be ready for me to pickup. Those same expectations are now being carried over into professional situations: Why, then, can’t I see in near-real time the construction progress of the new cable we’re building?
Telecommunications providers, including subsea cable operators, are deploying next generation networks and network technologies in response to these changing industry pressures and opportunities. They are seeking out and implementing cutting-edge technologies to run their businesses; technologies that take advantage of modern architectures, leverage the cloud if desired, don’t require specialized hardware, and come with secure API’s for easier integration into enterprise IT stacks. And, since the telecommunications industry is so heavily based on location, it’s no wonder that mapping and GIS (geographic information systems) technologies are digitally transforming businesses.