Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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MAY/JUNE 2017 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 59 inventory and mapping were common, and it was already prototyping a mapping platform product that aligned closely with GWI's goals. A working partnership was born. For several years, GWI executives, sales staff and engineers worked closely with NBT to define the ideal platform, and in 2016, NBT launched VETRO FiberMap (vetro is the Italian word for "glass"). AUTOMATION AND MORE GWI quickly adopted VETRO FiberMap as a core business platform. It uses the platform to automate much of its workflow – for example, turning design documents into intelligent as- built mapping. As a result, Kittredge says, "We can do many more projects simultaneously. Overhead goes down, and there is better coordination between departments." In addition, operational information is more readily available than before – for example, the impact of a fiber cut can be calculated immediately. Kittredge adds, "We gain back huge amounts of time and productivity, but that's not the only major aspect of ROI. Using VETRO has really allowed us to do business in a different and better way, with greater creativity and flexibility. It helps develop new business and explore new scenarios in a way that wasn't available to us before and in a way that is more profitable for us." Using VETRO allows GWI to determine where to build networks and to build them more quickly. "Combining demographic and geographic information is very powerful," Kittredge says. "Say you had a set of technical data that told you in great detail how much it would cost to build a network and another big data set with demographic information. at could allow you to make more accurate and fine-grained decisions about what you do." Also important, Kittredge says, is VETRO's ability to combine owned and leased fiber on the same map and to combine existing with planned networks. GWI's clients, both commercial and municipal, can also make better- informed decisions as a result of the VETRO analyses. "Having the ability to create what-if scenarios and line them up with the needs of both individual customers and people like economic development officers and municipalities has been a game changer for us," Kittredge says. "Now we can sit with them and say, 'Here's what happens if we do this part of town and these people get connected.' We can give them a much more accurate figure on cost, and it makes a huge difference. Suddenly, an abstract topic with lots of uncertainty becomes very concrete, visual and easy to understand." MANY SOURCES OF DATA e information GWI maps and analyzes through VETRO comes from various sources, internal and external; much of the demographic and project data is stored in Salesforce. VETRO uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to access data from a wide variety of platforms and to expose the physical network mapping to external systems. GWI leverages these APIs to integrate VETRO with its provisioning system (which was developed in-house) and its billing system, Tucows Platypus. Kittredge says, "We know that growing our business is going to require intelligent use of various applications and finding ways to make them work together and complement one another. e unique value of the APIs that power VETRO is that they allow us to bring the network map together with other cloud-based applications like Salesforce to vastly increase our overall productivity." ACCESS FOR ALL Will Mitchell and Sean Myers, VETRO FiberMap's co-founders, explain their thinking about the features that GWI and their other clients find most useful. Mitchell says, "Some ISPs have engineering firms or in-house staff lay out network maps in a desktop GIS or on Google Earth, and that map gets stranded or stuck in the back office on one laptop on an engineer's desk or on paper. So we tried to create a platform that would give access to the entire organization for different business uses. … We expose the network map in a way that it can be accessed by other systems and by all business units." Unlike most network mapping developers, Mitchell and Myers steered NBT clear of traditional CAD and GIS back ends, such as Esri, which are feature-rich but not specifically tailored to fiber networks. Developing their own platform on an open-source geospatial technology stack allowed them to create Combined view of the physical and logical network depicting a fiber circuit

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