Let's Do IT

By Milan Dasgupta, AVP, HCL Technologies

Sipping the coffee, Rishit was thinking about the meeting that had just been concluded. It was a Friday morning. Being the head of ‘Strategy and Architecture’, Rishit looks forward to the bi-weekly Friday morning meetings organized by Damini, ‘Chief Innovation Officer’. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss about different opportunities to leap forward ahead of the competitors. Today’s topic was about energy saving opportunities.

"Spatial thinking is a cognitive skill that can be used in everyday life"

Rishit works for an Indian telecom. A mobile telecom organization has multiple base stations. These base stations have different radio equipment installed to provide network coverage for voice and data. The base stations are called sites. The data about the hardware, software along with different parameters and associated values installed at a site is known as ‘site configuration’. A mobile site needs to support 2G, 3G, and 4G networks for multiple bands.

Damini explained in the meeting about the availability of data and how they are being collected. There are mainly three different types of data. First the site configuration data, second the network traffic data, and third the energy consumption data. There is a direct link and correlation between energy consumption, site configuration and traffic data. Damini, as usual, posed the questions at the end of the meeting:

• What can we do to identify high energy consuming sites?

• How can we help improving the energy ‘savings’ for all sites?

“So, what do you think about it”? Rishit’s thought was interrupted by Shankar’s question. Shankar leads the business process analysts’ team and also takes active participation in the Friday morning meetings. Shankar continued as if he was explaining to himself. “We will need a system where we can bring all the data together. As the correlation exists, we will be able to analyse how different radio equipment are consuming energies. If we overlay the network traffic data on top of that we will be able to find out how different types of radio equipment are behaving to traffic patterns in terms of energy consumption. We will figure out the correlation as well as the high energy consuming sites.”

“What did you say”? Rishit asked the question leaning forward to Shankar. Before Shankar could answer, Rishit pronounced “Yes, that’s it.”

Looking at the ‘What?’ faces of Shankar, Chandra, and Praveen, Rishit continued. “We need a GIS. I was in a dilemma till I heard Shankar mentioning ‘overlay’.”

“Isn’t GIS related to plotting objects in map? I happened to see a fantastic example of it due to the recent ransomware attack. A world map was used to show the spread of ‘WannaCry’ across globe”. Praveen, the go to guy for visual intelligence, quipped.

Rishit was in full flow. “That’s correct. And have you noticed how the spread was linked with time? But there is much more to plotting objects in a map with or without the temporal dimension. In fact, there was a quote from National Research Council(NRC), part of US National Academy of Science - Spatial thinking is a cognitive skill that can be used in everyday life, the workplace, and science to structure problems, find answers, and express solutions using the properties of space. Basically, there are certain fundamental aspects to implement Geospatial Analysis. It is easy to think in terms of GIS once you get the idea about the fundamentals. Let me try to explain that first.”

“At the core of GIS, there is the concept of object. Object can be expressed in multiple ways; such as absolute address with zip code, or relative to landmark (which itself is another object), or neighbourhood. Objects can be stacked, nested, or overlaid. An object can be represented as a point, a line, an area. Once the concept of objects is established, we can start thinking about the relationships across objects. These objects can be static or moving, for ex: a building vs a car. Then we can think about the properties of the objects to be collected, that we will be interested in. Like, if we want to measure sound level for a certain area, we can think about collecting noises coming from buildings, car horns, other noises and so on. The beauty of it is  you can analyse individual object or overlay multiple objects to identify patterns, co-relations, cause and effect, spread and so on. This particular type of workis accomplished by applying statistical concepts and methods to spatial data.”

“Look, in our case, the sites and radio equipment are objects. We can think that site configuration, network traffic, energy consumptions all represents different properties or relationships of the objects. We can look at the properties individually or collectively. This will help us to determine if any particular site is behaving differently than sites having similar setup, or can we minimize site air conditioning usage based on location, temperature, and traffic patterns. Additionally, once the system is in place we can fine tune core processes significantly, like Effective call routing, Target competitive market, or Automation  network planning”

Rishit and team met Damini in the afternoon. After a gruelling thirty minutes, her voice kept ringing in Rishit’s ears. “Let’s do it.”

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