By 2020, there will be more than 18 billion connected devices talking to each other and to us, encompassing everything from smartphones to home appliances, humidity sensors used in farms to factory machinery. Nearly 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every human in the world and total digital data is forecasted to exceed 44 zettabytes, about 10 times of that today.

2020 is next year.

In the past, the world’s data doubled every century. Now it doubles on average every two years. The challenge facing consumers, business, industry and government is with so much data being generated, how do they harness it to drive meaning, innovation and productivity?

Today, 99% of all data generated remains unused. This means less than 1% of all data is used, shared and analysed.

Customers have told us seamless data collaboration is one of the most important ways they want to help drive productivity and innovation. However, there are several barriers to this, including:

  • A reluctance to share data for fear of losing control of it;
  • High costs in sharing data and the initial setup costs;
  • A lack of data standardisation; and
  • Technology challenges of integrating across different systems.

We have given a lot of thought into how we can address this growing global challenge.

The Telstra Data Hub is being collaboratively developed using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, and allows companies to better use, analyse and solve problems using the data they generate.

The modular, cloud-based platform is designed to reduce the friction and cost of organisations using and sharing data. For the first time ever, companies will be able to securely share, view and exchange data that can deliver real benefits to their productivity.

We are initially focusing on three industries whereby creating the infrastructure and incentives to drive collaboration with data, we can help to solve industry-wide problems and thus create new products.

These three areas include Connected Supply Chain, water management, and agribusiness. By focussing on these three sectors, Telstra Data Hub can lay the foundations to help Australia rapidly digitise its economy.

We also think these three sectors play an important role in our national economy, has significant opportunities to expand via digitisation and use of data, and has substantial environmental imperatives to optimise use.

In Connected Supply Chain, we are already seeing real benefits in partnering with one of Australia’s largest supermarket brands to improve its ability to track and monitor its shipping containers to improve productivity and visibility of shipments to reduce the cost of missing cargo.

The customer and its partners can now look forward in time to proactively respond to operational issues. They are also able to look back in time, to understand systemic chokepoints, improve efficiencies and make better strategic supply chain decisions.

In the water management sector, we have partnered with an Australian State Government that wanted to improve water quality measurement along its extensive waterways and groundwater bores in the state. In a trial, we prototyped new water quality sensors along a major river connected via Telstra’s NB-IoT network, with data visualised, shared and permissioned across multiple government agencies and related entities through the Telstra Data Hub.

Our heritage is in building national infrastructure that benefits generations. We see more than $100 billion in incremental value to customers and the economy through digitisation and data-driven collaboration.

We are excited to be partnering with Microsoft and unveiling this new innovation today at Telstra Vantage and we look forward to sharing further news as we continue to develop this exciting product.