LightSett Sends 20-30x More Engineered Miles to Permit Each Month Using LiDAR and AirWorks
LightSett is a full-service telecommunications engineering firm dedicated to helping providers develop and expand their networks. They take pride in truly partnering with their clients to provide top-tier services spanning from field data collection and preliminary planning through permitting, installation, and activation. With over 40 years in the industry, LightSett has built their reputation around delivering quality projects on time and under budget.
Their secret? Embracing innovation.
While some service providers still rely on data from manual walkouts or Google Earth, LightSett is bringing their customers cutting-edge solutions. When LightSett President Scott Biron and his team ran into significant delays capturing existing conditions and creating design and permitting deliverables, they weren’t afraid to explore new technology to keep clients’ projects on track. Now, LightSett is able to consistently meet demand by kicking off projects with a winning combination of mobile or aerial LiDAR and AirWorks' AI drafting – which, incidentally, are also the key features driving the streamlined services and GIS-enriched final deliverables drawing the attention and business of more and more service providers.
Manual walkouts have historically served as a reliable industry standard. However, experienced field techs are retiring, leaving a green workforce under pressure to turn around an increasingly higher volume of projects. In order to maintain quality while boosting efficiency, LightSett realized something had to change.
Recognizing that LiDAR could be a valuable alternative to manual walkouts, they sought out a third party for 3D site scans and data processing. While outsourcing reduced reliance on field techs and returned accurate base files, this particular process was expensive with limited potential for scaling up. Additionally, slow turnaround times were bringing work to a standstill.
"We went from walking projects out, which was a problem, but we would get field production every day of the week and keep the CAD/design teams working weekly …to using a LiDAR application, where we would not get production for up to 30 days, which created a big backlog,” said Biron
LightSett decided it was time to take back control by investing in its own LiDAR unit. However, data collection was only half the battle. Instead of being able to focus on solving permit challenges, team members were now tied up processing data and manually tracing features to create site plans. Additionally, outsourcing yielded disappointing results in quality, efficiency, and cost.
That's when Biron came across AirWorks. After learning more about its AI feature extraction capabilities, he was ready to see if autonomous drafting could be the key to alleviating their early-stage bottlenecks.
LightSett now combines LiDAR data with AirWorks’ AI platform to create fast, actionable GIS-enabled permit and construction documents. Their typical workflow includes gathering point cloud data via drone, extracting features through AirWorks, and field-verifying output. Then, their designers seamlessly integrate the data into accurate, interactive GIS designs, providing clients with insights and versatility far beyond typical 2D plans.
Exploring and capitalizing on new technology is not only yielding high-value GIS deliverables but also massive productivity gains for LightSett and their clients. Previously, manual walkouts allowed LightSett to complete approximately 3 miles of fieldwork per day per person or team, leading to around 10 engineered miles each month. With internal mobile or drone LiDAR data collection and AirWorks' processing software, LightSett is now sending 200-300 miles of completed projects to permit per month.
For LightSett, the benefits of AirWorks extend far beyond output. In such a relationship-driven industry, Biron is always conscious of personalization in the services they give and receive. AirWorks brings new levels of customization and flexibility to LightSett’s business while also contributing to their ability to produce higher turnkey GIS deliverables. It’s no surprise that previous clients keep coming back, while new ones keep seeking them out.
1) Expediting installations
Delivering 200-300 miles per month creates wins all around. LightSett’s streamlined workflow is catching the eye of more and more providers intrigued by the prospect of compressed timelines and expedited fiber installations. As a result, Lightsett is steadily growing business, providers are seeing a quicker return on investment, and end users are enjoying accelerated access to a valuable service.
2) Freeing up focus for permit customization
Like most telecommunication companies, LightSett faces stiff obstacles in getting projects to permit. Installations may need to access right-of-ways in various city, county, or state jurisdictions, calling for customized communication and multiple sets of unique permit documents. By collecting site data via Lidar and replacing manual drafting with AirWorks, LightSett can start projects sooner, design with confidence, and get more projects into the array of permit phases faster. Meanwhile, managers have more time and energy to devote to fostering relationships and tailoring deliverables to meet individual jurisdiction needs.
3) Providing long-lasting value
Biron and his team pride themselves on providing their clients the highest quality deliverables and services. For Biron, that means turning over actionable GIS data ‒ not just 2D plans.
"I want to have a GIS product that people can take when we’re done and use it still. It’s not just a piece of paper that gets thrown away," explained Biron. "Now, they can actually take our [GIS] data and use it in the sales and management of their product forever, it’s always there."
As an ESRI silver partner, AirWorks’ platform easily integrates with ArcGIS and other design software, making it an easy choice to speed up processes while also delivering more value to the client.
4) Building a partnership beyond the contract
What makes LightSett and AirWorks' collaboration so successful is that it's more than just a contract. Biron values the partnership and personal relationships he's built with the AirWorks team and appreciates the courtesies AirWorks has extended, such as flexibility on a custom pricing plan. He's confident that he can trust AirWorks to meet and exceed contractual expectations, just like AirWorks can trust him and his team to do the same. At the end of the day, both parties recognize the value of a handshake over a signature.
Speed. Efficiency. Value. Comradery. For LightSett, the proven benefits of working with AirWorks are opening doors to endless potential in the telecom industry.
Already doing national work, Biron has his sights set on increasing project sizes from a few hundred miles to several thousand miles. He believes international work could also be within reach.
"Now that we’re honed in, there's no stopping what we can do as a team."
AirWorks empowers project managers to deliver more projects, faster. Our geospatial intelligence solution quickly produces line work you can trust. By putting reliable data in your hands, we give you the tools to make the best decisions, reduce risks, and be more efficient. You can depend on our accuracy and quality to keep your team and clients happy, making it easier to grow your business as the market leader. Win more bids with AirWorks.