Can you get an immediate ROI with Digital Assets and drone data?
This year we have seen a significant focus on “digital assets” or “reality modelling” within asset management.
The question is, “if a business neglects or is slow to embrace digital technology, are they losing their competitive advantage to a competitor who has accelerated their data pursuit?”
Ultimately, collecting asset data empowers a business with knowledge, resulting in better decision making, Capex & Opex savings, increased asset lifespan and better asset reliability.
However, businesses have also demonstrated the ability to achieve an immediate return on their investment. Time-spend reductions of up to 80%, operational cost-savings exceeding 70%, and data fidelity increases of over 1000% are all typical. All this leads to indicative savings in the millions.
The most common misconception is that investing in digital assets is an additional cost on the business. On the contrary, accurate data is the most valuable asset within the business. It decreases or even eradicates inefficient costs while providing the knowledge to create more informed management strategies going forward.
While some of the most significant returns come from repeat data and trend/change analysis, understandably many businesses look for immediate returns.
So what types of returns are businesses seeing in the short term?
The feedback from business across facilities management, telecommunications, infrastructure and oil & gas have highlighted a few common trends when it comes to immediate returns.
First, businesses are saving significant amounts of time throughout the whole management workflow.
Consider the time it takes to conduct a routine manual inspection. The most obvious advantage is that using an accurate and complete digital model means you don’t even need to attend the site.
Now consider other inefficient time-consuming tasks associated with traditional inspections:
- The time required to prepare for manual inspections can be weeks of work. There are approvals, certifications, and safety cases when working at heights.
- There is the time required to prepare equipment including rope access, EWPs along with safety equipment and staff.
- Many assets require a shutdown to allow manual inspections to take place, which takes valuable assets offline for significant periods.
- Reports are often PDF reports and photos without context, meaning a significant waste of time trying to interpret the data.
- Collaboration between stakeholders is often challenging and therefore rare, delaying action.
Many of these can be reduced or replaced by drone technology and digital asset creation. The time taken to simply complete inspections can be reduced by over 75%, which means more time to analyse asset condition to make value-based maintenance decisions.
For example, take a simple cell tower which requires an infield crew of 2 people up to a day to inspect. The data collected is often a “tick” in the box, a few “selective” photos and some inspection notes. Compare that to a digital model. A drone can capture the tower in as little as 30 minutes, keeping staff safely on the ground. Now multiply that by thousands of towers within a portfolio.