Continuous Innovation at Delmec: The TiMS Equipment Module

At Delmec, a major part of our work involves advising clients on overseeing their portfolios and optimising their assets. One of the key issues that we see time and time again is a lack of data management. As all our clients know, data accuracy is vital when operating a successful towerco business, particularly across numerous sites and geographical locations. Delmec is here to help, with a range of technical resources.

Inventory Data Management

The relatively simplistic business model of ‘renting space’ can become complicated when it’s coupled with elaborate rental agreements and a network of sites. This added complexity requires robust data management. As these rental agreements are the backbone of the business, it’s crucial that their clauses are adhered to and the towerco has a firm grasp on what is currently being utilised.

This is where the difficulties can occur when portfolios are large and spread over a number of regions and countries. Here at Delmec, we’ve spent many years developing ways to manage this challenge by creating combined scopes and integrated systems to capture and flag any discrepancies between what’s on site and what’s in the operator agreements.

Simplifying and Streamlining

Our TiMS (Telecoms Infrastructure Management System) is a bespoke application and platform where clients can log in to see and manage their site selections, dashboard and reporting suite.

As part of our constant technical innovation, we’ve just rolled out its newest enhancement – the equipment module. This latest addition focuses on simplifying inventory capture during our site visits. It integrates with our TiMS equipment inventory, building a foundation for our digital twin offering. The new development has further streamlined our surveying process by instantly and fully populating our database once the job is completed, with our engineers receiving the data before our teams have even left the site.

Building for the Future

This advanced module will give our clients more visibility of their tower assets, assisting with our overall aim to reduce unclaimed revenue on site. Enhancing our TiMS inventory system has allowed both Delmec and tower owners to access their data easily, helping them to align their current revenue streams.

We’re currently incorporating the new equipment module into projects in Ireland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Malta. Each site is already reporting favourable results for time and accuracy, with the promise of increased benefits in the future. Ever since Delmec was first founded in 1975, we’ve worked to be at the forefront of every technical and manufacturing progression in our industry. Whether it’s the use of drones or the development of software apps, our qualified engineers are dedicated to finding the best services and solutions for our clients and customers – even if we have to build it ourselves, like this game-changing new TiMS equipment module.


Delmec in the Spotlight: TowerXChange Meetup Africa 2021 Team Reveal New Insights

One of the best things about our return to the ‘new normal’ is the chance to meet with international colleagues again – to share knowledge, learn from each other, and collaborate on key concerns for the tower industry.

This year’s TowerXchange Meetup Africa 2021 – held both online and in Dubai – offered just such an opportunity. The event attracted the world’s leading tower operators, towercos, investors and suppliers, including our own contingent of expert speakers from Delmec.

Delmec Stand at TowerXchange Meetup Africa 2021

Powering the Industry’s Future

“Meetup Africa 2021 is one of the most important events in our calendar,” says Delmec’s CEO Kealan Delaney. “It’s where we demonstrate our expertise, track the trajectory of the market and identify the key pain points of our client base.”

Our team found, through ongoing discussions and debates at the event, that the biggest pain points for towercos and MNOs in Africa are power and the need for rural sites. Sustainable sources and renewable technologies were much discussed, proving that investment in wind, solar and improved battery technology is needed. “We’ll use this knowledge to develop our strategies to assist infrastructure owners,” Kealan says. “We can help them to access, develop and manage rural sites and ensure they’re linked to dependable power sources.”

Upgrading and Upskilling

Damien Kelly, our Head of Engineering and Innovation moderated a panel discussion with Allan Fairbairn (Helios Towers), Mohammed Almuqbil (TAWAL), Salah Medawar (i-eng Group) and Spencer Crawford-White (NETIS) on technology upgrades, antenna evolution and tower loading and power draw. The panel contributed some interesting ideas about the future of rural towers, including an innovative tower design that would improve transport costs and can easily expand into a strong structure.

Delmec’s Damien Kelly with Mohammed Almuqbil (TAWAL), Salah Medawar (i-eng Group), Spencer Crawford-White (NETIS) and Allan Fairbairn (Helios Towers)

It’s clear that fibre is still a long way off in terms of rural Africa, with towercos still heavily focused on large macrocell sites, but Damien believes that “the future could see an active sharing network emerge, with the change from towerco to netco very likely.” Further partnerships on antenna design are predicted too, as the panel’s findings made it clear that vendors, operators and tower owners need to collaborate on future developments.

“This leads to people and talent development, with evolving technologies in an ever-changing industry,” Damien notes. “Recruitment and training will help us gain competitive advantage.”

M&A in the Region

Francois Pretorius, Delmec’s Regional Business Manager led a panel discussion on ‘the new South African towerco landscape’. The lively chat revealed new insights and confirmed that South Africa (SA) is still a key market for M&A. “It’s one of the biggest markets in terms of tower count,” Francois says. “It’s estimated that there are around 27 towercos in SA, with pension funds and investment companies actively investing with the intention of selling off the assets.” It’s been said that almost 75% of South Africa’s 25,000 tower network is set for offloading.

Damien Kelly agrees, noting that M&A frees up capital and changes the evaluation recognition by separating the MNO and tower element of an MNO’s business. “From conversations I had at the event, there’s a lot of finance available for African Towercos right now,” he says.

Delmec’s Experience and Expertise

Towerco attendee SBA, affirmed that the standard of a ‘good site’ still boils down to the same unchanged factors: unique locations, good contracts, multiple tenants and rational OpEx. It’s a simple formula, but one that needs to be managed carefully, given the investment involved.

This is where Delmec can add real value, Francois Pretorius points out, by providing engineering advice, technical recommendations and hard-earned experience in the region. “Our on-the-ground presence and cutting-edge expertise means that we’re well equipped to find innovative solutions to the region’s most commonly-cited challenges,” he says.

Delmec’s CEO Kealan Delaney is reassured that the African landscape is bright for the towerco industry. “TowerXchange Meetup Africa 2021 made it clear that growth on the continent hasn’t faltered, with increased M&A activity and rapid site development.”  The event also proved that Delmec has much to offer in this fast-moving environment. “I’m proud of my team, who shared their expertise and experience in the African market by leading panels, participating in roundtables and engaging in conversations with key stakeholders from all over the world”, Kealan says. “We’ve been operating in Africa for more than ten years, and look forward to growing our presence in the region for decades more.”


Technology in Motion at Delmec: Quality Management

Since 1975, Delmec has been focused on providing our clientele and partners with a level of quality that has become renowned throughout the industry. Maintaining this in each of our regions is one of the main challenges Delmec is faced with. From tower audits to design teams, Delmec has invested in tools to assist our employees in preserving the required level of quality so that we can focus on our customers, providing them with data they can trust.

TiMS (Telecommunication Information Management System)

Delmec’s in-house management system – known as TiMS – is a portfolio management tool that is one of the keys to maintaining the Delmec standard of quality globally. TiMS is a continually-growing application which comes equipped with numerous individual tools to assist employees on the ground and in the back office. Recent innovations have improved this functionality even further: our new inventory module allows the on-site surveyor to directly upload all equipment and photographs directly onto TiMS, simplifying the QA process and removing the need for endless paperwork.

Additionally, similar functionality is in place for all types of site audits (structural climbdowns, maintenance, power, etc.). This means that the on-site surveyor can upload a full audit onto the database without requiring paperwork. It also allows for a set selection method for each audit, thereby limiting the options and ensuring information that’s captured is of the required quality from the outset.

QA Process and Governance

As mentioned, TiMS plays a vital role in quality governance across Delmec. The QA process varies from task to task. Within design, each analysis is certified by a senior engineer for publication onto TiMS. For on-site works, the QA process is twofold: firstly, a review takes place of the information once it’s all uploaded to the database, cross-checking photographs against the input data to ensure accuracy. Secondly, an on-the-ground senior resource will periodically inspect on-site works as they’re ongoing, including builds, enhancement works and all surveys. Any enhancement or build works are QA-inspected during and after completion; then a full review of the work takes place and a certification will be issued against the site on TiMS to confirm works are completed and up to the required standards.

Local Contractors

In each of our regions, Delmec sets out to establish a local entity by building a team of in-country employees and using local contractors to carry out required works. This process ensures Delmec taps into the knowledge and expertise in the region from the start, using this as a foundation to build a local team, trained in the Delmec ideology. Each member of the Delmec team is taught to use the tools designed from the ground up for their required task. Local survey teams will use the TiMS and mobile app to carry out all types of site visit – whether it be a full climbdown, maintenance or power audit. Each has a direct section within TiMS, guiding the employee/contractor to provide the necessary information in a drop-down or tick-box exercise.

We’ve designed all of these systems, tools and resources to ensure that quality management is at the heart of everything we do, wherever we are in the world. Our clients, customers and communities know that they can rely on us to provide the highest level of service – at Delmec synergy shapes success, and that starts with an unrivalled commitment to quality.