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A new frontier of innovation with advanced remote operations

Business and Enterprise

Posted on October 4, 2019

3 min read

I’m always impressed at our team’s ability to solve problems using our networks in the pursuit of a better future for our customers, and for their customers. Today we’re unveiling a new frontier in remote operations.

Through our ongoing partnership with leading geospatial specialist Fugro, we’ve developed the ROC, or Remote Operations Centre. Based in Perth at our International Telecommunications Centre, the ROC is helping to service Fugro’s maritime operations off the coast of Western Australia in a whole new way thanks to satellites, automation and innovation.

Using our satellite network, we are working with skilled Fugro engineers to operate a fleet of maritime submersible robots. These drones beam high-definition video to remote operators in Perth from an incredible depth. Paired with the range of our satellite network, Fugro could deploy this remote drone capability to anywhere on Earth – from the coasts of Africa through to the shores of the Americas.

These robots will operate up to 4000 metres below the surface of some of the roughest oceans in the world, with duties including the remote inspection, repair and maintenance of Fugro infrastructure.

Prior to the deployment of the ROC and its fleet of subsea satellite drones, Fugro would need to deploy a manned vessel into the area to control the monitoring equipment. This presented a challenge, as crews would need to contend with rough conditions and harsh environments.

This use of satellite technology means greater efficiency for partners like Fugro, but also means greater levels of workplace safety, as it reduces the need for crewed boats to visit subsea infrastructure. Fugro can now maintain its subsea assets off the coast of Western Australia, including oil and gas resources, telecommunications cables and more.

This incredible application of our networks to the cutting-edge sector of remote robotics holds incredible potential for other industries. We’re already investigating future opportunities for the ROC in the wider market.

Industries like mining, agriculture and even those in the space sector could benefit from remote monitoring and maintenance. Any industry contending with a harsh or remote environment could benefit from the capabilities and applications we’ve created at the ROC.

We’re excited to share the work of our partnership with Fugro with other customers and industries, including the potential of using our Remote Operations Centre as a hub for innovation that can support the development of joint government and industry automation initiatives.

We truly believe we’ve uncovered a rich vein of economic opportunity for jobs and growth in the Western Australian and national economies.

My round-the-world journey to Telstra

Telstra Careers People

Posted on October 2, 2019

3 min read

At Telstra Vantage™ 2019, I was thrilled to be able to showcase some of the latest projects I’m working on that leverage emerging technologies to improve our lives.

Talking to people from a huge range of industries, I was reminded that knowledge-sharing is what helps turn big ideas into realities. I’m lucky to be able to say that part of my job is spreading the word about tomorrow’s capabilities.

Before joining Telstra, I had worked for tech companies in India, the Middle East, Italy, Finland, Mexico, Ecuador, San Francisco and China. I wanted to expand my global exposure, and, knowing that Australia is at the forefront of innovation, I set my sights on a job here. My brother lives here too, so moving to Australia was the perfect opportunity to find a good balance between work and family.

Working for the right employer is one of the biggest components of career progression, so choosing to join Telstra was a no-brainer. I knew working here would give me the chance to be at the heart of innovation, ensuring safety, security and adoption of new technologies at scale, to drive efficiency and performance.

My role as a Technology Solutions Senior Specialist

In my role at Telstra, innovation is my bread and butter. I work in Telstra Labs where our mission is to identify and recommend new technologies to the business that will help to drive growth.

This means I work with emerging technologies like VR, AR, AI, 5G and IoT to better understand how we can use these technologies to improve our products and enhance our customers’ experiences. No two days are the same, but every day is exciting.

One really cool project I’m working on at the moment is socially engaging immersive entertainment. In a nutshell, this takes VR technology – which has so far been a relatively isolated experience – and transforms it into a social and engaging activity.

For example, if I want to watch a sports game, I can invite my friends and family from anywhere in the world to watch it with me, synchronised frame-for-frame in real-time via virtual headsets. We can also use our digital avatars to make gestures like smiling, winking and high-fiving.

The possibilities for collaborative VR experiences extend beyond the consumer and into the enterprise business realm too. This is just one example of how emerging technologies like VR, 5G and 8K image resolution will reshape our everyday lives.

What makes Telstra different?

I can honestly say that the culture at Telstra is amazing, especially in Telstra Labs. I’m part of a very diverse team from all over the world with a wide skillset, spanning everything from coding and development to business strategy, implementation and partners’ management.

We’re continuously working together to improve our products and help each other solve problems. We complement and challenge each other in a positive way – and that’s an ideal culture to have in any department.

Above all, working at Telstra, I’m empowered to make good decisions. I’m valued, respected and invested in. I’m inspired to innovate and to lead – to try new things and be bold. Rather than being told what to do, I’m told: “Show us what you can do”.

That’s not only great for personal career progression – it also inspires me to help build a better world.

Are you fascinated by emerging technology? Great news – we’re looking for talented people to join our team. You can search and apply for jobs on the Telstra Careers website.

How regional teens are embracing technology for change at Telstra Vantage 2019

Telstra Vantage™

Posted on September 16, 2019

4 min read

At Telstra Vantage 2019, we invited high school students from regional Australia to take the stage and present their tech solutions to the real-world problems facing their communities.

Bringing together leaders from the technology industry, ‘Tomorrow’s leaders embracing technology for change’ at Telstra Vantage 2019 was designed to help attendees draw inspiration from young minds.

In collaboration with Telstra Foundation partner Young Change Agents, high school students showcased innovative ideas and helped Telstra Enterprise partners gain a fresh perspective on technology.

Young Change Agents is a design-thinking based social entrepreneurship program for 10 to 18-year-olds that provides students with the tools to think creatively, build skills in critical thinking and communication, and empowers them to become entrepreneurs, leaders and world-changers.

Over three days, the four teams of students completed a design thinking process with Young Change Agents to identify real-world issues facing their community. They ideated potential solutions, developed a business model, and then validated, prototyped and pitched their ideas to our panel of judges – Mike Ebeid, Telstra Enterprise Group Executive, Jackie Coates, Head of Telstra Foundation, Kate Stewart, Telstra Head of Education Partnerships, and Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne.

The students pitched some inspiring innovation ideas:

Farm Watch: health tracking data for farm animals

Narromine High School, Narromine (West of Dubbo)

This team’s idea comes from using existing tracking systems (wearable tech bands for livestock) to an app that extracts research from data sets collected from the tracking systems. The data collected can be sold or donated to science or research and help educate schools and the public.

Mike Ebeid said, “This idea certainly speaks to everything that we do here at Telstra. Keeping a track of livestock is really important for farmers and helping to solve that is great because most farmers I know care a lot about their animals. It will also help people to see and appreciate the work of farmers. It’s a really good idea.”

Link Lamp: connecting people through light to relieve loneliness

Keira High School, Wollongong

How might we make people who are lonely feel more connected to others? This team came up with smart connected lamps that are paired so when one person touches their lamp, it sends a signal to the other one resulting in light appearing. This shows that the other person is thinking of them and they are not alone.

Sally Capp said, “This idea pulled at my heartstrings.  I’ve got a son in the United States at the moment and I think if I had this lamp (and I would love one), I would’ve been pushing that button every moment of today so that he knows I’m thinking of him.

There’s no doubt that even though we are more connected than ever, the mental health surveys tell us…that people are suffering from social isolation more than ever before. It’s just little ideas like this that can make such a big difference and a big impact.”

Travel on the Gravel: VR learning experiences for long bus rides to school

Trangie High School, Trangie (West of Dubbo)

Bus companies find that students get up to mischief on long bus rides. Students find bus travel boring and parents want their kids to productively use their time on long bus rides. If local buses have virtual reality headsets, bus trips could educate and entertain youth and allow the students to virtually experience situations they wouldn’t normally be exposed to.

Jackie Coates said, “No one knows the tyranny of distance more than a regional student who travels hours a day to and from school on the same long and winding road. 

I love how this idea uses virtual reality to solve a real problem and the students did some excellent work scoping their business plan and hustling a local bus company to run their prototype.”

Happy Patch Packs: veggie garden packs using sensors connected to an app

Trangie High School, Trangie (West of Dubbo)

How might we help local families grow fresh produce without using too much available water resources? This team wants to create a self-watering/data measuring fresh fruit and vegetable garden growing kit helping people in remote or drought-affected communities to gain access to fresh food.

Kate Stewart, “Hearing from the students how tough it is in regional communities when it comes to accessing fresh veggies and water and the costs for families, I think this idea is fantastic. I love how the team has incorporated a tech solution in what is a very sustainable and clever idea and how you’ve solved a local community challenge.”  

Thanks to the Young Change Agents team and the amazing high school students involved who helped us to deliver a great event at Telstra Vantage 2019.

Meet the new enterprise: better together with Telstra Purple

Telstra Vantage™ Business and Enterprise

Posted on September 4, 2019

4 min read

Telstra Purple

Over the last six and a half years we’ve been growing our capabilities and strengths with eight acquisitions. Today, we are bringing these acquisitions together to form Telstra Purple.

What is Telstra Purple?

Customers are increasingly looking to us to help transform their businesses, technology and operational processes, building on the connectivity backbone we are well known for both here in Australia and internationally.

That’s why Purple brings together the combined might of a number of Telstra Enterprise’s recent acquisitions and our existing technology services arms into one unified organisation.

We’re combining VMTech, MSC, Readify, Kloud, Bridgepoint, O2, NSC, and Company85 to deliver new and innovative technology to businesses in Australia, the region and the world.

Telstra Purple includes capabilities such as network, data centre, security, cloud, augmented reality, workplace & mobility, data and analytics and design services and brings together more than 1500 people working on over 8000 projects per year around the world.

Through Telstra Purple, we will be able to provide more services and solutions than ever. We’re operating in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK to deliver our services to every corner of the globe.

Some of the customers we’re working on include a network solution for QANTAS; an augmented reality initiative to support Indigenous culture with Indigital; IoT solutions for Kennards; network automation and security for a major bank, and mixed reality projects designed to increase student engagement levels at the University of Queensland.

Why Purple?

Our ambition is to build a connected future that allows everyone to thrive, because we believe it is people who give purpose to our technology.

Through Telstra Purple, we want to better address the needs of our customers by bringing our numerous acquisitions and technology services capabilities together under the one banner, while still maintaining the unique spirit and culture of each.

We’re not about to unpick what has made each of them so successful in the past just so we can integrate them into the Telstra brand. It’s these differences that make each of our acquired entities so powerful. Building on their differences and strengths allows us to move forward as one agile team.

We’re better together, and we’re excited for our customers to see us in action.

Message sticks meet mixed reality with Indigital, Telstra Purple and Microsoft

Telstra Purple and Microsoft recently partnered to support Indigital to preserve the Indigenous culture of Australia through the Indigital Mixed Reality platform.

Indigital is a start-up dedicated to preserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture by creating culturally-led digital skills and language learning programs for students.

2019 is the year of Indigenous languages and with many aspects of Indigenous culture and history including language at risk of loss there is a responsibility to preserve and protect this heritage for future generations.

Telstra Purple and Microsoft worked with Indigital to re-platform the Indigital Mixed Reality application to make it more broadly applicable for Indigenous students (K-12) across Australia.

Together, we worked with Indigital to re-platform the Indigital App to modern augmented reality (AR) infrastructure technology, being cross platform, using Azure-based content workflow process along with AI services for data identification (image classification and identification) and in the AR detection to recognise the image of a student’s hand (so the animal or object can be rendered there).

This platform has been automated through custom APIs – when students upload Paint3D, Minecraft: Education Edition and Powerpoint creations, the content is transformed into Mixed Reality.

The platform was launched on 2019’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People at the UN in New York with a special Mixed Reality message from two Aunties of the Darug people from the Darug Nation.

Using a traditional message stick as the Mixed Reality experience trigger, the Aunties were recreated in 3D by Indigenous Virtual Reality Artist Brett Leavy and then AI-enabled so the public could ask them questions about their culture. Message sticks have played an important part in communication between Indigenous groups across Australia for thousands of years.

Mikeala and Tatham Oddie attended the UN event in New York and showcased the new Indigital Mixed Reality platform and spoke about the need to use technology to preserve language and culture.

Tags: AI, AR, Telstra Purple,

Exploring the Future of Footy with Telstra 5G


Posted on August 29, 2019

7 min read

The Future of Footy on 5G

Ahead of this year’s footy finals season, we’ve been speaking to AFL players, clubs, and fans to see how they imagine our 5G technology changing the future of the game. Thousands of fans from all around the country came forward with their ideas – everything from artificial intelligence for umpires to augmented reality goggles for players.

We already know that 5G is ushering in a new era of connectivity – it’s not just smartphones and tablets anymore, but thousands of ‘things’ using the latest technology to transmit data.

Here are 10 of the most popular and our own favourite suggestions that we’ve received.

1. Goal line tech

The most popular suggestion we received – by far – was 5G-enhanced goal line technology. You’ve dreamed up a variety of different approaches to fixing the drama of the goal line, from posts that light up if touched by the ball, goal posts using lasers and reflectors, or the application of ultra high definition, high-speed cameras for umpires to review. Debbleswat told us it would be “Hawkeye for footy – just like tennis”.

Crazier still is the fact that we’ve already been testing this out. We recently teamed up with the Sydney Swans to test some high definition and high frame rate goal line cameras – at 16K resolution and 1000 frames per second, that’s a lot of data. A lot of this technology already exists, but 5G will allow us to get those images to the people who see them quicker than ever – and so minimise disruption to the game.

2. A broadcast revolution

More of the most popular suggestions centred around taking the sports broadcasting media experience to the next level – like multi-camera streams where fans at the games broadcast from their own phones, giving fans at home the same stadium experience. Jackbrophyy said, “Imagine having multiple cameras set up around the ground, and you can change camera angle from your tablet live”.

This is definitely something that 5G could enable in the future. Samsung has already successfully demonstrated this technology earlier in the year, and we’ve run a similar test with the West Coast Eagles.

3. Snicko and hotspot

Another fan favourite, those cricket-inspired ‘snicko’ and hotspot technologies – which let referees examine video using thermal imaging to check for touches and touch behinds – could use 5G technology to give this feedback to umpires nearly instantly.

4. A 360-degree experience

Plenty of fans put forward their ideas for a 360-degree video experience, designed to replicate the in-your-seat stadium feeling, through virtual reality. There were also suggestions – a little more wild – to turn these 360-degree images into holograms for your kitchen table!

In reality, virtual reality and 360-degree video broadcasts both benefit hugely from the low latency of 5G – the ‘lag’ between an action happening and it being reproduced on video – as well as 5G’s high capacity for data-heavy broadcasts. While those holograms might still be a little way off, we recently created some training videos for Port Adelaide using virtual reality, so a new dimension of footy broadcasts is not that far-fetched.

5. A ‘smart Sherrin’

_a_bay suggested “chips/sensors in the ball so you can determine whether the boot was the last thing to make contact” – and they were not alone. There were several suggestions for a smart ball that could alert umpires to when it has gone out of play, could provide stats for fans – or could even give advice to players.

We already have smart refrigerators and smart bulbs, so surely a smart Sherrin can’t be far off. Part of what 5G enables is the ‘internet of things’ where thousands of devices are interconnected and communicating, so it’s easy to imagine a future of footy where even more data is produced.

6. Smart player tracking

_mister_b_910_ was among a number of fans who were suggesting sensors or biometric clothing that continually monitor players’ vital signs, fluid levels and general wellbeing. said, “I’d love to see sensors on the player’s main muscles to prevent injuries, and to help teams with knowing who can stay out there the longest…”

Tracking player data is something that we can do right now. Look up the Telstra Tracker online and you can see some of the data that players, clubs and fans already have access to. What 5G means is that those trackers will have the potential to communicate even more data in even more detail – and that can absolutely contribute towards the game’s already excellent approach to player welfare.

7. Camera in your footy

A very popular, if somewhat surprising, choice from our fan suggestions is a camera mounted inside the footy. Michael.smithy15 wanted a different perspective “live from the Sherrin!”, annie.ireland thought that a camera in the ball would help “determine if a free kick or a goal should be paid”, and tom-rendle wanted it “so every time it’s kicked, we have the opportunity to see it clunked by big Ben King.” We can’t argue with that!

Part of the appeal of 5G is its big jump in capacity, meaning more devices can be connected simultaneously and transmitting large quantities of data. And that means that along with all the other experiences we’ve imagined, a footy’s-eye view of the game would definitely be possible.

8. AI-powered umpires

Umpires made it to number eight on our list, with suggestions such as: “AI umpires” (nicholasalexanderfrancis), and virtual umpiring to be carried out by a team behind the scenes using an increased amount of camera angles (sam.raff) – a further development of the TV umpires we’re already used to in other sports.

Cgibbs even told us that “it would love to see the umpires as drones instead of people as people get in the way of the play, would be cool in ball-ups to see them swoop in, pick up the ball, and drop it into play so every ruck contest was fair.” (Cgibb)

9. Instant stats on your favourite players

It seems like there are a lot of fantasy football fans out there with ideas for the future because late on our list of top ten suggestions was one fan’s idea of instant stats appearing through our sporting apps, or a “stat bar floating at the top of their head” during the broadcast. (maxy_harris)

Well, Telstra Tracker already has the data – we just need to find an AR app to show it off. 5G will help with that, so… watch this space!

10. Player-coach communication

Rounding out our top ten, Max_Cowburn suggested that we make earpieces for the players, so coaches can get their messages across faster and clearer than a runner. He was not alone as ear-pieces, augmented reality goggles and contact lenses, as well as other player-worn, tech rounds out our most popular top ten.

The influence of technology on our sport has come a long way in the last ten years – from the way teams train to the way fans engage with the sport – and we are constantly looking to the future. So while you probably won’t see drone delivered pies at your ground next matchday, some of the future of footy ideas we’ve dreamed up together may not be all that far away.

These ideas for the future of footy are just a bit of fun for now, but there is a very real technological innovation that exists behind these ideas. 5G has the potential to revolutionise many aspects of our day-to-day lives, and footy is no exception.

We are already partnered with a host of different companies and organisations to look at how 5G can contribute to areas like player welfare, your own in-stadium experience as a fan, and all new broadcast techniques to bring you more footy every minute.