Today I spent time with Chad Tuttle of B+T Group who has really grown over the year. It is an interesting story for several reasons. Chad’s family was in the tower industry since the 1950s, in fact, they built out some of the AT&T towers, you know, the big towers with the “ice cream cone” looking dishes at the top. That is so cool that his family was part of that history.
I highly recommend listening to what Chad has to say, he is really an interesting guy who knows the tower industry better than most people. He is a really smart guy that understands how the industry works and what they should be doing. I want to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to spend an hour with me, I really appreciate it.
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Anyway, while Chad does talk about B+T Group, and all that they offer, he gives us the history of how the tower industry grown, about co-location of carriers, and the evolution of how the carriers started sharing towers. When he started his business it was more common for companies to build their own towers and not share. Well, then wireless growth happened and soon, there were not enough towers, and people had to share. Then the structural integrity of the tower really mattered. This is where his business really started to take off. If the towers could not hold the load, then they would fall! If you want to learn more about the history of how the tower business
initially began to grow, then listen to Chad tell us about it.
He talks about how B+T Group, started with Chad and his partner, Dinesh Bhat, who grew the business from the 2 of them to over 150 people, wow! Chad is a very hands-on guy, who has a great entrepreneurial spirit. He started this company in 2000 and took it to amazing heights, (get it, new heights). He is constantly looking for ways to improve the tower structural and maintenance business. He mentions his new ideas and the deliverables for site inspections and surveys. The reason they expanded was because their customers asked them to add services, like tower mapping and maintenance. When you do good work your customers ask you for more services. They do more tower modifications services than ever.
Who is Chad? Chad is a licensed engineer in 42 states, serves on the board for Arkansas/Oklahoma Wireless Association, Association of Civil Engineers and TIA committee for structural analyses. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1994, Chad began his career at National Steel Erectors, Inc., building telecommunications tower sites throughout the United States. In addition to spending three years as a structural engineer for BSW International, Chad managed and served on the board of directors of a private contracting company. In other words, he is a smart guy who knows the tower industry.
B+T Group covers 42 states, but they are based out of Tulsa, Ok. They offer structural services as well as other tower and maintenance services. However, the thing that really caught my eye was the Site 360. Now remember that they are still a tower mod company, that is their main business.
By the way, I know we talk a lot about the tower side of things but they have quite a presence in DAS and small cell deployment. It has been something that their customers asked for and they responded with solutions. They actually found a great way to do surveys quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. Chad believes that the small cell business will boom, that we only scratched the surface of small cell deployment. I could see the scans that they use with new technology being useful for not only carriers for deployment, but what about the fiber companies that need the exact dimensions of the streets, the distance from to each pole, they have the technology to do this, and keep it online and on record. I am getting ahead of myself, sorry, it’s just a game changer for anyone who would normally send someone out to do exact measurements and hope they did it right. Read on wireless fans, or better yet, listen to the podcast!
They have a new service that aligns with Site 360, it is really cool. B+T Group will take detailed pictures of the tower, 360-degree digital images of the tower with all the information about what is on the tower with exact heights that are within 1 cm of accuracy. If you click on the picture and zoom in you can click on an antenna and get the model number or the cut sheet of the antenna. You can get the leasing information, it’s all there. Remember when you used a drawing and you really hoped it was accurate? This is a new deliverable that B+T Group is providing with Site 360.
This new technology allows them to take a picture of a street, tower, poles, anything and build up the database and drawings so that you can have a reference that will give you all the dimensions and measurements within 1cm of the tower, shelters, poles, street width, and everything mounted on the structures. Is that cool or what? I think it’s awesome!
Chad tells us how he was at the site and he could find that 3 new antennas added in 2 minutes by using his smart phone, all on the ground. One more thing, once they have the tower in their database they can give you all kinds of information you may want in the future, like down tilt, antenna size, mount size, how far the antenna is from the tower, details that you might have sent a crew back out to look at, so if you scan it in once, you have data for a lifetime!
To give you an overview of what Site 360 covers, let’s look at what you would want to audit the tower. You want to know exactly what is on the tower, what height, and who owns it. All this can be done from an interactive drawing. Look at the site and click down, you get more detail, from down tilt to what type of mount is being used, all by pointing and clicking!
Think about what you really want from a site audit, whether it’s a tower or a small cell pole. Also, what could you need in the future? Maybe someday you want to look at the down tilt of specific antennas. If you do the complete audit once, then you will have information for the future. What are you looking for? It’s a deliverable that you need now and you can use in the future! In this case the deliverable is not a 3-hour movie to watch, but rather online documents, could be interactive, that could include any of the following.
• Site Plan drawing
• Tower elevation drawing
• Feedline plan drawing
• Compound PhotoSynth
• Tower PhotoSynth
• 3-D Viewable Model
• Drone Video
• Appurtenance Audit
• Rear antenna PhotoSynth
• Antenna Level Drawing
• Mount Mapping and Drawing
How do they do it? One or all of these options:
1. Ground-based Audits.
2. Climbed Audits.
3. Preconstruction Inspections and Mapping.
4. Using new technology using pictures to capture all of the data.
5. Putting all of this onto a server for full access.
6. Creating the deliverables.
If you want to build a database for your tower sites, this is a great investment. Go to www.btgrp.com or call them at 918-587-4630 if you’re interested in any of their services and see what Site 360 can do.