Revolutionizing Underground Utility Asset Monitoring with Fiber Optic Sensing Technology

Advancements in technology have significantly improved the way utility operators prevent damage and outages in underground networks. With the increasing growth of economies and populations worldwide, it is crucial to enhance the reliability, resilience, and performance of utility networks.

This article explores a game-changing solution that leverages fiber optic cable infrastructure to provide real-time situational awareness and protect underground assets.

By adopting this proactive approach to utility asset monitoring, operators can reduce downtime, enhance operational metrics, and meet the service expectations of customers and regulators.

A Brief History of Utility Breaks and Prevention Efforts

Over the past 50 years, there has been a shift from overhead utilities to underground networks in cities. While this offers advantages, it also exposes underground utilities to potential damage from mechanical digging, posing safety risks for both civilians and utility workers.

Many cities and operators rely on reactive approaches, locating and repairing breaks after they occur. Despite investing in prevention methods and “Call Before You Dig” services, rogue intrusions still account for more than 50% of network dig-ins.

Furthermore, water utilities face challenges in detecting and repairing leaks, often relying on inefficient acoustic-based sensors or costly satellite-based studies that provide limited information.

The Proactive Way of Improving Utility Asset Monitoring

Rather than building new infrastructure, there is an existing solution that revolutionizes utility asset monitoring—fiber optic cable.

Already buried in cities, fiber optic cable can be utilized to provide continuous situational awareness and detect potential problems in underground networks.

By employing this technology in conjunction with advanced computing, AI, and machine learning, operators can gain valuable insights and prevent network breakdowns in noisy urban environments.

The Power of Fiber Optic Cable

FiberSense, a leader in the field, offers Sensing-as-a-Service by leveraging existing fiber optic networks. This approach eliminates the need for costly capital and maintenance investments, providing real-time monitoring and detection capabilities.

FiberSense’s DigitalAsset™️ solution utilizes the fiber optic cables to sense vibrations, detect excavation locations accurately, dispatch field resources, and identify potential issues in the system.

By combining the power of fiber optic cable with advanced technology, FiberSense provides actionable intelligence and unparalleled insight into network operations.

Continuous Situational Awareness and Actionable Intelligence

FiberSense processes the vast amount of data captured by fiber optic cables, extracting important information and separating it from background noise. With industry-leading accuracy, FiberSense identifies critical threats to utility networks, minimizing false positives and false negatives.

The system offers continuous situational awareness, enabling operators to focus on what’s essential for protecting and managing their networks effectively.

Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings

By utilizing fiber optic cable as a sensing fabric, operators can achieve significant efficiency gains. FiberSense’s centralized approach to improvements, upgrades, and continuous learning eliminates the need to replace infrastructure in the field. Instead of deploying and maintaining sensors in various locations, operators can rely on existing fiber optic network for real-time monitoring, reducing operational costs.

Enhanced Safety and Timely Response

With FiberSense DigitalAsset, operators gain instant alerts when the ground is disturbed around valuable assets. This capability enables rapid response, allowing in-field resources to halt digging, tunneling, and drilling before any significant damage occurs. By proactively addressing potential issues, operators can prevent network disruptions, protect personnel, and ensure public safety.

Customized Customer Portal

FiberSense offers a customized customer portal that provides operators with a user-friendly interface to monitor and manage their underground networks. The portal offers real-time insights, performance metrics, and comprehensive reporting, empowering operators to make data-driven decisions and optimize their asset management strategies.

By harnessing the power of Distributed Fiber Sensing, utility operators can revolutionize their approach to underground asset monitoring. With continuous situational awareness, actionable intelligence, and increased operational efficiency, operators can detect events that may lead to damage, and address potential issues proactively.

FiberSense’s innovative DigitalAsset™️ solution offers a cost-effective and reliable way to protect and manage underground networks, ensuring uninterrupted utility services while meeting customer expectations and regulatory requirements.

Contact us today to learn more about FiberSense and its mission to monitor expensive assets and protect critical infrastructure around the world.

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