La SIA gets public funding for “Archimedes” project

La SIA receives funds from the program
OP ERDF Sicily 2014 – 2020
for the project “ARCHIMEDE” inherent in an infrastructure asset management system based on machine learning.

Technological background and application domain of the “Archimedes” project

Due to the technological, as well as regulatory and market evolution that has characterized TLC in recent years, there has come a point where the infrastructure has a poor quality of service delivery, effectively holding back the deployment of new and emerging digital services.

Archimedes Project - La SIA

This fact is encountered by technology entities and Public Administrations, and is one of the focus points in the Sicilian S3. Further confirmation comes from key stakeholders in this area, who are increasingly investing in planning and managing their assets to ensure higher and higher SLAs in the most cost-effective way possible. This fundamental issue is of interest to both so-called ‘TowerCompanies’ and network operators, who own the passive and active infrastructure, respectively.

It is no coincidence that one of their strategic pillars is the optimization of their assets (the towers and Radio Base Stations (SRBs)) through an asset management plan (AMP) that allows them to be monitored as well as updated quickly, and facilitates contractual management relationships between the parties. Optimized and smooth management of TLC infrastructure assets would enable:

  • Plan maintenance works and investments in new sites based on consolidated information;
  • To better manage the technological resources (available space, power supply and cooling systems) of the individual station and to create synergies at the network level;
  • Speed up the time it takes to contract hosting services between tower companies and network operators;
  • Streamline permit application and certification procedures for network facilities;
  • Decrease manual operation;
  • Ensuring superior SLAs.

One of the main obstacles in establishing an effective, large-scale MPA is the absence of a centralized database that for the individual station describes certain key aspects such as:

  • Georeferenced location of the site;
    Suitability of the tower for installation of active components;
  • Presence, location, type, orientation and pointing of antennas and dishes;
  • EM characteristics of the plant;
  • Shelter size (ground station).

and that it is able to offer an ergonomic and modular display of this data depending on the specific user consulting it. In fact, providing a centralized database of SRBs distributed throughout the territory would be tantamount to providing a useful tool for centralizing information, overcoming the paradigm according to which the different stakeholders of an asset have separate models and communication channels depending on the interlocutor and the project phase.

Archimedes Project - La SIA

The last few years have seen the rise of modeling technologies and methods such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and geographic information system (GIS), which certainly have the potential to become an enabling tool for the realization of the database described, but the high manual operation required for model generation and the lack of standard interfaces with component certification tools are a major obstacle to the large-scale realization and deployment of the platform. Both problems are amplified when related to the amount of sites on the Italian territory (about 45000 sites) and on the Sicilian territory (about 3700 sites) as well as the growing trends in the number of new installations required, which must be addressed by a streamlining in the practices of permit applications and certification of installations, for example, from an electromagnetic and structural point of view.

Thus, the project idea aims to develop a BIM-based asset management tool that provides the various stakeholders with the necessary functionality to manage the life cycle of TLC infrastructure. To make up for the limitations of existing solutions (mostly based on paper-based and fragmented archives) and to ensure the dissemination of the Data Base, a special focus will be placed on the usability of the tool, which must:

  • Comply with existing standards in terms of data format (IFC, IFCxml);
  • ensure low manual operation of users in model generation by automating it through innovative data processing systems;
  • Ensure modular and controlled access to information, making it palatable to all stakeholders.

Archimedes Project - La SIA

Objectives of the “Archimedes” project

In detail, the general objectives of the project described above can be detailed as follows:

  • Identification of relevant stakeholders and relevant data of interest;
  • Definition of the tower descriptive dataset that represents the best compromise between information content and model complexity;
  • Definition and implementation of the Reference DataBase for automatic recognition of infrastructure components;
  • Definition and implementation of the component recognition system;
  • Definition and implementation of data structures to accommodate the generated models;
  • Definition and implementation of logics for managing permissions and displaying results;
  • Implementation of interfaces with electromagnetic certification tools;
  • Process validation (on a case study).

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