top of page

Digital Transformation For The Pole Attachments Industry

Updated: Feb 22

My favorite question to answer is one that my team is asked by family and friends all the time: "what exactly do you do?" The reason I love this question is that our team does a ton of impactful work in many subtle ways—and it's awesome to get to talk about poles with people who aren't engineers.

When people ask WHY we do what we do, the answer is straightforward—to provide an inspiring place for young-at-heart tech talent to grow and positively impact their communities. WHAT we do is a little bit trickier to explain. As I've shared before, we like to think of ourselves as a software engineering team that specializes in the pole attachments process. If you're anything like my family and friends, the phrase "pole attachments" is something that you're probably neutral about, if not aggressively disinterested. Why would most people care about the politics and technical details of getting a power company to let you hang some wires on their poles?


Picture of utility pole

Communication attachments and conductors providing essential services to homes in Dillsburg


This process is important to everyone, mostly because we count on these essential services (power and internet) almost every minute of every day, even though most of us have no idea how these utilities are delivered to our homes and businesses. Fortunately for us and our communities, the people responsible for distributing power and internet to our homes and businesses are passionate about these services and work very hard to get it right.

In the current global climate, many industries have embraced new technology and the digital transformation necessary to do efficient, safe business in 2020. While utility and telecommunications companies are doing this across the board, the niche intersection of the two, the pole attachments world, sometimes feels a bit behind. In many parts of the country, teams are still using pole "head sheets" to document existing conditions, and pole owners are still working with hard copies of this data to approve new attachments.


A pole profile sheet
Pole profile sheet

Baffling, I know. The reason for this is mostly because the pole owners require attachers to play by their rules (for good reason), but because they are a regulated business, they have little to no incentive to make major improvements to the process—there's no profit in it. This leaves the whole industry and the ambitious new frontier of rural broadband deployment feeling slow and painful.

If I was trying to sell you something, this would be the point where I said "...and Katapult Engineering is the only team that can help!" But this isn't really true, is it? I've only been doing this since 2017, yet I've been a part of hundreds of conversations with people working on both sides of the pole attachments process who are equally passionate and committed to finding better ways to bring faster internet to underserved communities—safely.

Digital transformation is taking over the way pole attachments work, with more and more pole owners utilizing software such as SPANS, Verasset, and SPIDAmin to manage the process, in addition to those using the Katapult Pro pole attachments platform.


Contractors across North America are implementing new and better data collection tools that improve accuracy while digitizing records and often providing photo documentation of existing conditions. ikeGPS, Fulcrum, TerraGo, Collector, and other solutions are all evidence that the industry is moving forward, and quickly. While our internal team leverages a photogrammetric solution inside the Katapult Pro platform, we look forward to the future of these tools and the possibility of integrating smoothly no matter the data collection tool.


ArcGIS Collector from ESRI
ArcGIS Collector from ESRI (Image taken from https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/collector-for-arcgis/overview)

In addition to project tracking and data collection tools, the industry has made exceptional progress in advanced loading analysis tools such as SPIDAcalc, O-Calc Pro, and PoleForeman. These tools, while at one time were reserved for distribution engineers, are becoming increasingly popular with OSP engineers, contractors, and attachers to determine a safe, cost-effective route for their new fiber attachments. Check out the links above to learn more about these teams and their platforms. To learn more about the SPIDA Software team and their suite of innovative products, you can reach out to Ray Swetlin here.

Beyond software, we've also seen a major change in the attitude of companies who do work in the pole attachments industry. Years ago, we often heard that our software and methodology was too much of a paradigm shift, and "that's not the way we've always done things." Instead, our recent conversations have been spent trying to push the Katapult Pro platform forward, and how to find ways to pull the industry together through technology and innovation.

Thanks for reading! Our next blog series will be on the topic of rural broadband and how we can help to bring reliable, high-speed internet to underserved communities across North America. Questions or comments? Shoot us an email at contact@katapultengineering.com!

97 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentários

Avaliado com 0 de 5 estrelas.
Ainda sem avaliações

Adicione uma avaliação
bottom of page