Vodafone creates ‘digital twin’ network visualisation tool

Vodafone has developed a 3D ‘digital twin’ of its UK mobile mast network, with the aim of allowing its engineers to “visualise and strategise network improvements or expansion.” This will in turn “allow them to make instant decisions to improve services to customers without leaving their desks.”

According to a statement, creation of the digital twin required the mapping over 40 million environmental features using GIS (geographic information system) software. These included buildings, hills, valleys and trees.

To quote the statement directly: “Engineers now have access to a 360-degree virtual view of the network from their laptop or mobile device over a secure connection. They can plan where to position new mobile sites more effectively and identify which ones need upgrading or repositioning to meet increases in customer demand, or to compensate for the construction of new buildings or tree growth.”

Vodafone GIS lead, Dr Rebecca King, said: “A customer’s mobile phone might cut out due to what we call clutter. This is usually down to the construction of new buildings or seasonal tree growth interfering with the signal strength. We like to visualise these in a digital format so that we can better plan the expansion of our network around them.”

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