The proven partner for tower owners in MENA- Infozech’s CEO describes how the company has made an impact in MENA

Ankur Lal- CEO and Founder Infozech

With a keen focus on an easy to use and cost-effective platform, Infozech has an impressive record of deploying IoT and telecom site management solutions for various telecom infrastructure companies and operators across the globe. In this interview, Infozech’s CEO shares how Infozech’s solutions are generating value for the MENA telecom industry in terms of revenue assurance, operational efficiency, and cost optimisation.


TowerXchange: Please tell us about Infozech and how your solutions make telecommunication tower companies’ operations more efficient?


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


Infozech is an IT solution partner serving large Tower Companies and Telecommunication Operators embedded with its deep domain understanding of the telecom tower infrastructure business and ability to understand their business processes and convert them into efficient workflows for automation. We have been doing this with our proven software modules, customisation capabilities, services and consultancy, in this domain for the last 22 years.


We have been empowering telecommunication and tower infrastructure operators to improve their financial performance and enhance their end-customer experience. Our key focus is on optimising and reducing the cost of operations and maintenance, energy and automating end-to end-businesses processes. We utilise our deep understanding of their current and future needs and satisfy them based on our profound expertise of the infrastructure, customisable modules of our module suite and integrate them with their existing embedded IT systems and hardware. We accelerate information flow, that provides meaningful insights for smart, actionable decisions. Our business solutions are customised in accordance to the customer’s core business functions using latest technologies, library of validated domain specific system/modules, operational procedures and process flows.  


TowerXchange: With 5G rollout and new site, there is an extensive asset list to be managed. How does Infozech’s solution help in enhancing asset visibility?


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


At Infozech, we understand how valuable assets are and how important it is to store real-time information about asset data to avoid costly downtime. Tracking and monitoring assets is a cumbersome process and not having a centralised solution that allows more control on the process significantly affects efficiency and productivity. We dedicated a webinar to addressing challenges related to asset visibility as well as the viable solutions companies can implement to achieve capex and opex goals. Towercos and telcos are still relying on old-school techniques of email and SMS based approvals and escalations to manage equipment repair, replacement and deployment. We saw how asset data is managed and stored in silos across ERPs and excel spreadsheets, increasing the chances of errors. Asset visibility is impacted and so is optimal capital planning and decision making. The static reports shared by the legacy tools are difficult to analyse and customise; thus, no meaningful insights are derived from them either.


It is only after organising this data through validations and predictive intelligence companies can visualise critical insights and gain asset intelligence through analytics. In one of our webinars, we addressed challenges related to asset visibility and the viable solutions companies can implement to achieve capex and opex goals.


iAsset from Infozech is customised based on our customers’ needs to help with the due diligence process giving tower and telecommunication companies visibility on what they own and how they can get the most value out of it. Our solution empowers the field force by helping them seamlessly record all data like snapshots, location details, timestamps on the mobile application and even lets them capture data offline.


TowerXchange: How is Infozech helping Tower and Telecommunication companies with data reliability and thus in improving their data management strategy with data analytics?  


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


Over the years we have seen a lot of enhancements of RMS devices being deployed at sites as well as an increased use of IoT and cloud-based technologies by the tower and telecommunication companies that have embarked on their journey towards automation.


In our interactions with multiple telecommunication and tower company CXOs, we derived that the biggest challenge is not the availability of data, but the data quality, the ability to assimilate that data, clean and store it to derive meaningful insights through applied analytics. The lack of inhouse data expertise and the inadequacy of solution providers in breaking down data into consumable chunks is stopping towercos and telcos from taking the best business decisions.


Telcos and towercos today need a holistic approach from collection to consumption of data to maximise revenue and cut expenses. We hosted a webinar in June 2020 sharing insights on the ways to unlock the value of the data organisations are collecting. To achieve optimum results through data analytics, companies will have to understand the core of their data, that determines the quality of output (data-based decisions). Setting up multiple rules in hi-tech IoT solutions at the time of data collection ensures that data collected is accurate, well verified and processed before it is fed into the system for data modelling and analytics.


To get the desired ROI companies must look at translating verified data into common formats. They need a cognitive system based on algorithms to identify and flag data anomalies and use it to fine-tune the discrepancies which arise in the data set. With proper data analysis organisations can improve the predictability and maintenance of sites and assets. Our advanced iAnalytics platform is able to collect, organise and analyse reliable and relevant data and help decision makers utilise these insights


TowerXchange: What advantages does digital twin technology deliver for Tower companies and Tower asset owners?


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


We are seeing a mega digital disruption of digital twin technology adoption being approached by the towercos and telcos. Undoubtedly, this will help them gain better control on their operations and stay ahead of the curve. Through a virtual model created in the central repository they can now monitor, diagnose and predict the status of assets on sites to detect possible dysfunctions; not only improving predictability but also better maintenance. This technology is going to simplify asset management especially in remote areas and improve the response time for addressing asset-related issues.


As the list of deployed or stored assets for these companies is exhaustive and they are spread out across huge geographical areas, keeping track of assets and their condition is extremely challenging. The advanced modelling and prototyping with digital twin and the total inventory control gained helps organisations to digitally visualise and come up with a robust asset optimisation strategy. The towercos and tower asset owners will benefit by getting more control on visibility on the cost of repairs and replacement and see a significant decrease in operational overhead.


TowerXchange: A key stage for a telco and towerco is doing due diligence on towers which have been acquired, or which have been inherited in a carve-out, how is Infozech helping these organisations? Can you also share any success story to prove the delivered ROI?


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


Absolutely it is essential because the process gives a real view of the condition of sites and assets and their maintenance. It is necessary to ensure that the data captured and stored is accurate.


Generally, it’s the responsibility of a highly skilled team to carry out this activity and our platform empowers them by helping them capture data smoothly and pay attention to details. Our highly customisable iAsset application for due diligence activity enables the field personnel to capture asset data, scan and store tagged assets along with capturing geo-tagged photos. Through this application the back-office team successfully verifies the collected asset data during each site audit. Even the Finance team benefits with this data verification as they could reconcile the same against the fixed asset register (FAR) making the entire process transparent and reliable.


We empowered one of our customers in the MENA region to lead the way for the tower industry by deploying due diligence processes and helping them with digital handover. It covered structural, technical, operational, and asset audits with infra tagging for all assets available at sites taken over by our customer. The mutual goal was to analyse site condition and maintain a central repository of sites in their Digital Twin.


Now they are reaping the benefits of the process and have gained a real time control over site inventory. They are able to plan better for scope for additional tenancies and additional revenue streams. The data available to them for advanced modelling and prototyping is highly reliable and they are now conducting improved predictive maintenance of sites and assets.


Through the digital handover process they could make audits and track asset movement effortlessly. Today the organisation is deriving more intelligence about the condition of assets and have seen improvement in decision making and capex planning. By creating a central asset repository they have observed 10% more asset utilization, 15-20% improvement in site asset visibility as well as a 5-8% decrease in unplanned downtime of sites due to identification of faulty assets in advance


TowerXchange: A lot of tower and telecommunication companies are concerned about Grid energy optimization. Is Infozech capable of enabling companies to reduce operational leakages by monitoring grid energy?


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


Tower and telecommunication companies often lack sufficient information on how and where to reduce energy consumption and manage grid energy. Challenges of grid theft, voltage fluctuations, lack of consistent power from the electrical grids and delays in grid bill payments result in substantial operational leakages.


We recommend deployment of smart solutions which can empower telcos and towerco operators to stay updated with grid related information from any location. A centralised energy management solution benefits the companies by ensuring uninterrupted power supply for avoiding downtime and improves the reliability and efficiency of grids along with lowering opex. Real-time energy tracking and monitoring solutions enable tower operators to assess anomalies and instant rectification. Based on collected data, energy audits are conducted and differences are settled. The turnaround time for bill approvals and payments also improves significantly.


Infozech’s smart grid energy management solution is capable of efficiently tackling the challenges of higher turnaround time on grid bill generation, approval and payment by automating the entire process. The companies adopting green power can effortlessly track and monitor green energy through our energy tracking solution – iETS.


The periodically generated analytical reports provide customers with actionable insights like determining budget and consumption forecasts, detect grid theft, maintain precise energy records and streamline grid operations. Infozech digitises and automates the entire process of grid billing thereby reducing the chances of manual error. It ensures that bills are tracked, reconciled, payments are made timely and data is stored in a single repository therefore, eliminating the need for paperwork.


TowerXchange: What makes Infozech a valuable partner for any Towercos which are establishing a presence in MENA?


Ankur Lal, CEO, Infozech:


Infozech comes with an expertise of more than 22 years in providing efficient tower management solutions. We understand that installing, operating, managing, and maintaining telecommunication infrastructure is not easy especially when thousands of sites spread across multiple geographies including remote locations are in question. Our solutions are designed and developed to help telecommunication and tower companies get the most value by capturing all the adequate data and analysing the collected data for anomaly detection in the ongoing operations proactively. Besides, our tower and telecommunication management solution’s flexibility, user-friendliness, ability to integrate with multiple hardware has garnered appreciation from most of our customers.


The strong local presence in MENA with offices and subsidiaries in Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia helps us understand the challenges of tower and telecommunication companies of these regions better. We are mindful of the work culture and the commitments and better understand the solutions and the technology which will benefit our potential customers in the region.


I am convinced that our experience in improving telecommunication and tower companies’ responsiveness, agility and ability to scale through any challenges despite the curveballs to ensure customer delight sets us apart from our competition. Our ability to deliver and show value in terms of operational cost savings in a very short span of time after deployment, makes us a preferred partner. We strongly believe that building enduring relationships based on trust makes us a valuable partner for any tower or telecommunications company in the MENA region as well as globally.