Secured major contract for remote base station monitoring

SafeBase secured a contract of close to NOK 100 million with Telia to provide an IoT (Internet of Things) solution the telecom giant can use to remotely monitor their base stations. This should lead to reduced downtimes and more robust services for customers.

The solution, which includes both hardware and software, will be installed on all base stations throughout the country — from north to south, on high mountains and in low valleys.

“We will help make network operation and maintenance more efficient through digitalization. Once the project is completed and the IoT solution deployed, Telia will have one of the largest data networks in Norway, says Lars Erik Gjervan, CEO of SafeBase.

He describes this contract as a huge vote of confidence from Telia, whom they have worked with on several earlier projects.

Ready for condition-based maintenance

Gjervan isn’t willing to go into too much detail about the solution, but describes it as a combination of the company’s proprietary device SensorHub, the big data platform SafeMon and custom software. The physical components come in a handy rack, which makes installation in the base stations easier.

“In short, the solution will constantly monitor various wearing components inside the base station. The solution provides information about whether it’s time to replace a component, or whether it has a longer lifespan than expected, Gjervan explains.

His colleague Odd Jostein Svendsli, Director of Sales and Marketing in SafeBase, nods in agreement. He adds that Telia now moves from calendar-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance.

“With condition-based maintenance, you don’t replace parts that are still good. With calendar-based maintenance, components get replaced according to a schedule when they are approaching their ‘expiration date’. With condition-based maintenance, you work with the actual condition of each component,” he explains. 

Svendsli argues that this approach will yield considerable savings. In addition, technicians and repair crew do not have to travel out to the base stations as often, which is also good for the environment.

Aiming for sustainability goals

Ignas Antanavicius is Telia’s project manager, and he confirms that this solution will help Telia reach its own sustainability goals.

“Our goal is to become a zero-emission company by 2030. Remote monitoring will reduce transport out to our base stations and help reduce both our emissions and our impact on the natural landscape,” says Antanavicius.

The solution is customized to Telia’s specifications, and will, according to Antanavicius, make a considerable difference in automating and streamlining internal processes.

“Our future is digital, and the deployment of remote monitoring is a huge step forward in our digitalization efforts.”

Antanavicius also points out that Telia and SafeBase’s collaboration is as close as it’s possible to get.

“SafeBase’s experiences from our industry makes this collaboration much easier. They are working closely with us on our goals — in fact, we don’t even consider them an external partner — they are a part of our Telia team, working on providing our customers with better mobile services.”

Better overview of the customer experience

The new monitoring provides technicians with better insight into the root cause of error messages before going out to the base station. This means technicians are able to bring the spare parts they need and fix the problem more quickly, thereby significantly reducing the downtime for the mobile services.

“Another advantage to collecting operational data is that it enables the network operator to recognize patterns in the error messages with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence. For example, if one condition leads to a specific kind of problem, we will be able to see that. This means it will be easier to investigate which other stations have the same conditions, and, thereby, a potential risk of encountering the same problem,” Svendsli explains.

Antanavicius adds that Telia will now be able to measure customer experiences at each individual base station.

“Through remote monitoring, we will be able to continuously see how our customers experience coverage in that area. That way, we can ensure high quality services in all areas where customers use their mobile phones,” he says.

Strengthening Norwegian industry

The IoT solution is 100 percent Norwegian. All of the software is developed in Trondheim by SafeBase, and the technologcy company NORBIT has been brought in as a partner for the development and production of hardware. Both Svendsli and Gjervan emphasize the joy of having this kind of expertise locally available here in Norway.

“The entire solution is developed and produced locally, which means the products are local and all revenues stay in Norway,” Gjervan says.

Experienced IoT provider

SafeBase has considerable experience with delivering IoT solutions based on the SaaS (Software as a Service) principle. They have delivered solutions to several energy companies, and the Telia contract now bring these two focus areas together.

“Our employees have personal experience from both the telecom and the energy industries. We have delivered IoT solutions to several energy companies, and we have been able to apply our experience and our technological platform from that industry to this telecom project. This means we are able to provide quality-assured, effective remote monitoring of base stations,” says Svendsli.

Antanavicius in Telia says this expertise was essential in their choice of partner for this project.

“SafeBase gets us. We emphasized the high level of service and follow-up we got from them in the past, and we are confident that this project will go according to plan, because SafeBase knows how our world works,” he adds.

Deployment of the IoT solution for remote monitoring of base stations will begin later this year.