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The weird, wacky and wonderful world of CES 2020

Tech and Innovation

Posted on January 15, 2020

7 min read

The world of the future is put on display at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020. But sprinkled amongst the life-changing apps, bots and gadgets is a smattering of the truly weird and wonderful. Here are our favourite oddities from the show floor this year.

The weird

A robot you can hug

It’s only a matter of time before the robotic future stops cleaning your floor and starts climbing onto your couch for a hug. The Lovot is that future.

This cute (???) little bot has eyes and expressions you can customise, and rolls around your house just being a friendly little companion. It has a soft body that makes it great for cuddles and arms that can be used to convey a range of expressions and actions. You can even put clothes on it, which isn’t at all creepy or weird.

The company that makes it says it should be nice to cuddle, given that its interior electronics creates a warmth similar to a puppy that has been sunning itself.

Wearables for your dog

If you’re not getting in enough steps per day, it’s a fair bet your dog isn’t either. That’s why Inupathy invented a wearable for your woofer.

It features a heart rate monitor and built-in LED display. More interestingly, it claims to be able to track your dog’s mood. The mood is inferred from the heart rate of your dog compared to its movement levels and is reflected via the built-in display for the owner to see. Could be good!

It’s not a huge surprise that this device exists, especially given that the pet tech market is now worth $565 million per year, according to research.

A breeze for your brain

I know that when I go running, my head feels like it’s on fire by kilometre number five. At that point, I’m racing just to get back into my air conditioning. But with Feher’s new concept, I might not have to suffer for much longer.

They showcased a concept at CES that puts air conditioning in a baseball cap. And unlike other AC units, it doesn’t rely on a refrigerant (like coolant) to lower your temp. Instead, they’re using thermoelectric energy to reduce your temperature by around 10-15 degrees C lower than the ambient. Nifty!

A smart cat litter box

A note to technology companies: not everything needs to be “smart” into the future. I’m looking at you, LuluPet. The company has made the world’s first smart cat litter box that can monitor your cat’s health via its…output.

If we’re making cat litter boxes smart, can we make one that empties itself, so I don’t have to deal with that?

Shared city skateboards

As if vandals didn’t have enough fun throwing shared e-bikes and e-scooters into local trees and rivers, soon they may be able to do the same to shared e-skateboards. A new company called Walnut Technology wants to put its Spectra X boards on the streets of the world for anyone and everyone to share.

Last time I checked, however, skating isn’t like riding a bike at all, is it?

The lazy future

Pixar’s Wall-E tried to show us the dangers of being idle drones that get carried through life, but that won’t stop the boffins at Segway from creating the future of city-based mobility.

The S-Pod is a self-balancing chair on wheels that lets you zip around the city at almost 40km/h at full-speed. At least you’ll be comfortable in-between your meetings?

Mercedes made a scaly Ava-car

James Cameron’s Avatar is a distant memory at this point, but that won’t stop Mercedes-Benz from creating a concept car inspired by the film.

It’s called the Vision AVTR, and on top of a wild design and an all-electric power plant, it has…scales. 33 “bionic flaps” to be precise, that Mercedes says will be used to “communicate to people outside the car”. What’s wrong with a wave or even a gentle toot of the horn?

The wonderful

The folding laptop is real

You might have seen folding phones in 2019, but 2020 might just be the year of the folding laptop.

Intel showed off its “horseshoe bend” concept at CES, and it’s everything you want from the laptop of the future: all killer folding OLED screen, no filler keyboards.

The (real?) keyless keyboard

Do you ever wish your phone keyboard could be less cramped? Don’t you just want to space out and let your hands run across the keys like mine are writing this? The Samsung SelfieType concept is here to save you.

Simply boot up the SelfieType app, turn your phone sideways and let your front-facing camera act as the virtual keyboard on the desk.

Sure, you might look weird using it, but it’s in our pick for wonderful gadgets.

A fingerprinted external SSD

Another entrant from Samsung is the T7 Touch SSD: an external hard drive that’s not only incredibly fast and portable, but also has security baked in thanks to an on-board fingerprint reader.

For too long, external hard drives have relied on software to push security to these devices, but with the T7 Touch, the security paranoid (read: me) might now have a reason to breathe easier.

A robot vacuum, but with arms

iRobot – makers of the Roomba – want to put arms on a cleaning robot in the future. It’s that simple. Using machine learning and pattern identification, the new Roomba could do things like clean your dishes or fold your washing. It’d probably do a better job than I would at both.

Headphones that track your blood pressure

Smart devices that track your steps or your workouts are good, but the number of people who have already had their lives saved by smartwatches that can read irregular heart rates make them truly worth having. That’s why I’m all for any gadget – like Valencell’s new wireless headphone concept – that can measure your blood pressure. Just don’t tell me about spikes while I’m listening to Rage Against The Machine.

A mirror that lets you try on a new ‘do

This isn’t one for your home, it’s for your local salon. CareOS wants to make your local barber’s mirror smarter, giving it the ability for you to try on new hairstyles before you get the chop. Anything to stop me from getting a hideous cut is something I’m behind.

And everything in-between

We went to CES this year and showed off not only a new world-exclusive tough phone, but also shared our plans and progress for 5G in 2020 and the future of our home entertainment offerings.

Tech of the decade: looking forward, looking back

Tech and Innovation

Posted on December 24, 2019

9 min read

We’ve come a long way in 10 years. We’ve seen networks come and others go, celebrating our connectivity milestones along the way. Here’s our highlight reel from our decade in tech.

This piece is part one of a three-part series on how technology shaped the last decade of our lives. You can read more about the tech of the decade here.

Data hungry

At the beginning of the decade, we couldn’t predict the explosive demand for data, and how we’d always be able to keep up with new and incredible technologies. But in the first 12 months of our 4G network, we connected a massive 500,000 devices, and were more than up to the task of servicing them with all the data they needed!

When we launched our AMPS (or 1G) network in April 1987 it took until late 1992 before we reached the half a million customer milestone. When we launched our GSM (or 2G) network in 1993 it took us two years to reach the 100,000 customer milestone – so the pace has certainly picked up!

This year we wanted to make life even easier for our data-hungry customers, by eliminating excess data charges on all of our new plans. It’s a bright future for mobile data in the years to come!

Need for speed

We’re currently celebrating the incredible speeds we’re getting on the first consumer 5G devices to land in Australia, but the journey to such raw power came in leaps and bounds over the last decade.

In 2010, it was common for Australians to be connected to a theoretical maximum speed of 1.5Mbps on their home internet connections, with little to no need for big data caps on the go unless they were serious business users.

But as we released our billion-dollar NextG network, we realised that this was all about to change. The convergent smartphones of the early 2010s meant that more could be done on the go, and we knew we had the network for the job.

In 2015, we crossed an incredible milestone that still feels shocking to read: we crossed 1Gbps of theoretical maximum speed over 4G, pushing the limits of LTE further than ever before. We successfully tested 1Gbps speed capability by aggregating together 100MHz of Telstra’s spectrum holdings across five separate 4G channels integrated on our commercial end to end network.

The changing face of usage

In 2007, if you told someone you could beam high-definition, live sport from the other side of the world to a supercomputer in your pocket, they’d tell you to dream on. 10 years later, in 2017, the biggest spike on our network came from the Floyd Mayweather – Conor McGregor bout!

In 2017 Australians used around 40 per cent more data on the Telstra mobile network than the previous year, with the day of the Mayweather-McGregor bout topping the list for data usage in a 24-hour period.

What we have seen is that data usage has been growing consistently and rapidly throughout the year.  All our top data days were in the second half of the year and the biggest data day in the first few months of the year is just an average day now.

And in 2019, the records kept tumbling. Gaming smash hit Fortnite redefined how people used our network this year. Read more about our big data spikes of the year here.

A wild, connected future: predictions for 2030

10 years ago, we had no idea that video would be the biggest driver of internet traffic. We didn’t know that connected devices would number in the billions. We didn’t know that we’d all be working from home. And we definitely didn’t know that we’d be five-minutes-to-midnight when it came to global climate change.

As we look forward into the next decade, we boldly predict where we’ll be 10 years from now.

Plugging In

While many futurists predict the literal rise of flying cars by 2030, the more significant change will be how the four-wheeled future is powered.

A number of countries have already announced plans to ban the purchase of new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) by the year 2030. Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands and Sweden will all ban the sale of new gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles from 2030, while Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Hainan, Heidelberg, London and Los Angeles have all announced similar plans. Other countries have announced de-ICEing plans including Costa Rica, France, Norway, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom within the next two decades.

2019-20 was the year the electric car went from being a pipe dream to a reality, and already in 2020 we’re staring down the headlights of major manufacturers jumping on board to create more affordable models. Some of the largest manufacturers even want up to 40% of their sales to be made up by EVs by 2030.

No matter what the new cars of the future look like, it’s going to be an electrified ride.

The New Colony

Since we crawled out of the caves, we’ve been developing new ways to build our homes to shelter us from the elements. As the cost of labour and materials continues to rise throughout the 2020s, we’ll be harnessing new ways to construct environmentally sound homes by 2030. This means harnessing the power of robotics and 3D printing to quickly “print” homes in as little as 24 hours.

The world’s first community of 3D printed homes has been unveiled in Mexico this year which allows families to live in high-quality, low-cost housing faster than ever before. The printer that made the homes is 10 metres in length and extrudes a quick-dry concrete mixture. Currently it can’t work in adverse conditions, but as the technology improves and becomes more reliable over the next 10 years, it’s set to revolutionise everything from low-cost housing through to disaster relief efforts.

And as NASA and the European Space Agency prepare to launch a moon colony in the second-half of the coming decade, they’re looking to take 3D printed structures to an extraterrestrial level. Next stop, Mars?

Automation nation

Automation is the process of replacing human workers for advanced robotics in the global workforce. It’s something that has already put millions of humans out of work, and it’s not slowing down.

CEDA research shows that more than five million jobs – representing almost 40 per cent of the jobs that exist today – will likely be disrupted by technology in the next decade.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Research from McKinsey and Company indicates that the number of jobs that the internet has disrupted and disappeared is lower than the number of jobs that the rise of the internet has created from new innovations and new industries. It’s around 2.6 jobs created for everyone that was rendered obsolete.

As new industries emerge throughout the 2020s, old industries will evolve and reengineer themselves to create a connected workforce of the future. Furthermore, we see a future whereby automated robots will work alongside human operators to create greater efficiencies in the workforce.

Research from PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows that the connected workforce of 2030 will look vastly different to the workforce of today thanks to technology. These changes will fundamentally reshape the way we engage with work and how we interact with our cities. Connectivity and environmental concerns will drive future workers to stay home rather than commute to an office. 5G will allow for near-instant communication, making high-resolution video chat more pervasive and useful than ever.

Employers may even implement rewards for workers who choose to work flexibly instead of commuting, as it falls in line with a broader organisational environmental policy.

Absolute connectivity

At the end of 2018, it was estimated that over seven billion devices were connected to the internet. When you think of the word “devices”, it’s easy to get caught up and think that we’re just talking about smartphones, tablets and laptops. The reality is, in fact, more pervasive than you think.

When we talk about devices, we’re talking about solar-powered sensors, automated terminals and even vending machines that can tell a company when it needs to be refilled. The machine-to-machine internet is alive and well already, and by 2030 it’s going to be absolutely everywhere.

Research predicts that by 2030, over 100 billion devices – including consumer smartphones, sensors and smart machines – will be hooked up to the modern internet.

Think of everything in your life right now, right down to the clothes you’re wearing. It’s more than likely that by 2030, there will be an internet-connected version on the shelves, waiting for you to use.

Think about a coat that was connected to the internet that could ventilate itself based on changing weather conditions, all the while playing your favourite music through bone-conduction audio in the collar. Think about how businesses will be able to streamline their workflow once every device on their network is reporting its status for effective workforce management. The possibilities are endless, and some haven’t even been discovered yet.

Thankfully, we’ll already have widespread 5G coverage by 2030 with more latency and capacity available on the network than ever before. We’ll also have a more mature dedicated Internet of Things network to compliment the leading one we already have.

The Sinkernet

On our current climate trajectories, the world will experience an ocean level rise of 15cm by 2030 – potentially higher if our behaviour gets worse. Technology built from the 1990s and into the 2010s was constructed on existing coastlines and often without thought to how it would be future-proofed against catastrophic climate shift.

We boast the largest undersea cable network in all of Asia, and we’re proud to maintain it into the future. Scientists warn, however, that land-based cable networks aren’t built to withstand the same kind of conditions as their underwater cohorts. If left unchecked, internet landing stations that connect oceanic cables into countries could be under threat due to climate change. And it’s not just connectivity that would be threatened. Research shows that facilities currently on dry land – including data centres, points of presence and other landing stations – run the risk of being underwater by 2030.

We’re already planning to make our network more resilient to climate threats, and calling on our leaders to heed the warnings from scientists about the potentially devastating impacts of climate change in the next 10 years.

How to set up parental controls for safer Xbox gaming

Tech and Innovation Entertainment

Posted on December 17, 2019

9 min read

We’ve recently partnered exclusively with Microsoft to offer Xbox All Access to our customers, and we’re thrilled to be able to have gaming available as an add-on to our plans for the first time. Here we round up some tips on how you can ensure your family has a safe and fun gaming experience with Xbox with Parental Controls.

We spoke to Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Xbox Operations, Dave McCarthy, to find out how you can create a dialogue with your kids about their online habits, and how you can ensure safe guardrails are in place on your household Xbox.

Gaming for all

Microsoft’s Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, recently penned his thoughts on what gaming should be as more and more families take up controllers everywhere. He recognised that gaming as a subculture shouldn’t belong to one particularly vocal group. Instead, communities like Xbox should strive to create a safe space where all players can come together harmoniously.

As part of this “gaming for all” mission, Spencer outlined that Xbox would work to be “vigilant, proactive and swift” in combating abuse on their platform. Furthermore, he committed Xbox and Microsoft to work across the gaming industry on safety measures such as robust parental controls and AI-backed applications.

We’re a huge advocate of this mission. Together, our values align perfectly with Microsoft’s around gaming, especially when it comes to keeping families safe online to create spaces where everyone can thrive.

Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to set up your new Xbox to be a safe and inclusive space with flexible and friendly parental controls.

Activate Smart Content Filtering (now with smart AI)

Learn how to enable new Message Safety Settings on your Xbox One All Access console

Dave McCarthy told us he understands that “competitive banter” is the by-product of online gaming, and filtering out potentially offensive messages is one step that the product team could take immediately to keep kids safer online.

“We’ve been moderating on Xbox Live now for almost 20 years. The way it has worked up until now is that you could retroactively go and report a user to our moderation team that works 24/7 around the globe to investigate,” McCarthy explains.

“What we’ve realised now is that in order to really be effective at size and scale, we need to augment our human intelligence and our moderators with artificial intelligence and machine learning models that run in the background.”

Microsoft has taken clever AI techniques and implemented them to work alongside human moderators, helping to create safe spaces online for all, starting with automated filtering of potentially offensive messages and Gamertag pictures.

Smart Content Filtering enforces these guidelines by helping to automatically filter out potentially offensive messages before their damage can be done. The AI-powered, human moderator-backed feature can be customised based on four levels of filtration: Friendly, Medium, Mature and Unfiltered. These filtration levels work across all aspects of the Xbox ecosystem, starting with private messages and expanding over time to tools that help players find other likeminded gamers. That includes LFG, Clubs and the Xbox Activity Feed.

On your console, you can configure your message safety by going to Settings > General > Online safety & family > Message safety. Whenever you receive a message that’s beyond your safety setting, it’ll be replaced with a [Potentially offensive message hidden] placeholder. You can click on that placeholder to learn more about the settings, and there’s a handy shortcut to change those settings. Adult accounts will have the ability to choose whether to see what content has been filtered based on the filter they choose.

McCarthy referenced Microsoft’s extremely rigorous Community Standards document that acts as the North Star for all things moderation on Xbox Live, saying that “they were really an effort to make sure people understood in plain words what our value system is”.

“It gives players specific examples of what good looks like and what crossing the line is overall,” he added.

Dave McCarthy’s team is now working hard to expand the AI moderation and auto-filtration features across other aspects of the ecosystem.

“Ultimately…we want to try and make sure that we’re getting into all areas of content and communication types on Xbox Live. We’re starting with text because it is one of the biggest communication formats on Xbox Live and there’s a lot that we can learn from that,” says McCarthy.

McCarthy adds that the human Moderation Team is also constantly working to ensure that it sticks with the times. “We’re constantly updating, and our model is trainable as well. Say all of a sudden we wanted to ban the word ‘Luke’ from friendly conversations because it’s now sensitive and offensive. We could put that in our tool and within 10 seconds around the world, ‘Luke’ would be a word filtered out of our Friendly message settings in 21 languages around the world,” McCarthy explains.

Enable Smart Parental Controls

App and game limits to cap how much time your children can use specific apps or games.

Smart filtration automates the process of removing potentially harmful messages from being sent to your kids before they have a chance to see them. For everything else, there’s parental controls that can allow you to manage healthy habits in the home as a parent.

Making sure kids spend the right amount of time on the Xbox is also important, and with the most recent update, Microsoft allows you to filter play time on a per game or app basis. That means you can give your child 1 hour on Minecraft, for example, while allowing 2 hours of Netflix streaming on their Kids profile.

All this data is also recorded into a dashboard you can view, digest and edit from anywhere in the world via an iOS or Android smartphone or Windows computer.

And the Family Group settings for the Xbox One include the essentials, like controlling access to content based on its rating; web filtering and whitelisting, as well as cross-platform privacy and matchmaking safety.

By creating a Family Group with your Microsoft account, you can add your children’s Xbox Accounts and set effective boundaries for their use of your new Xbox One.

Family settings on Xbox empowers parents and guardians to enable or block their child’s access to play or communicate with players on other networks.

Creating a Family Group allows you to first and foremost control the games and apps that your children are purchasing for use on the console. Instead of allowing them free reign to purchase potentially inappropriate material, this control sends you an email when your kids want to buy a game or an app so you can have a discussion on whether it’s appropriate.

Having the talk

It used to be that you could sit your kids in front of prescribed, child-friendly programming for the hours between when school ended and bedtime. But with the advent of smart devices and kids who are highly technically literate, parents can no longer be laissez-faire about their digital habits.

With almost every device in the home now connected to the Internet, along with the breadth and depth of potentially inappropriate content now accessible, parental controls are essential to helping you to make sure that kids are being kept safe online.

With a Microsoft Family Account, you can receive a report each week of how your child used the Xbox One, providing you with transparency on how it was used. This report can be sent to just the parent/s or the parent/s and the child/ren.

Dave McCarthy believes that – while parental control systems are vital for protecting kids online – being able to have a conversation with your kids about their habits is essential.

“[These features are] a conversation starter for our family. It’s not about saying to your kids, ‘Hey, did you follow the hard and fast rules or not?’ It’s: ‘Hey, we talked about not going onto YouTube and you still tried to do it. Can I assume you have a good reason? What was it?’. And then you get into the conversation on why they needed YouTube for that school project. Awesome! Cool. Let’s go change that setting specifically and go there together.

“It’s about having these conversations with your kids. I think, honestly, we need involvement on both sides. We need parents to lean in and understand what the digital activities of their kids look like, and we need kids to be able to be comfortable with all of these different tools and to have a conversation with you as a parent about how you’re using it,” McCarthy says.

Xbox gaming and 5G low latency

Before setting up a console with parental control features, it’s important to sit down with your kids and talk about what they want to use the device for, why and for how long. That way you can come to a compromise with your kids about how long they should spend gaming and watching other content.

It’s also a good opportunity to educate children about engaging with the potentially harmful discourse they may encounter online and arming the whole family with tools to identify and filter it.

“You know what’s best for your family; no technology can ever replace that. The right tools can help make parenting easier and family settings on Xbox does this by putting parents in control of what your children can access across the platform,” McCarthy adds.

We’re excited to bring gaming to our customers via Xbox All Access, and we’re confident that with the right tools available on the console via Microsoft that all parents and kids can game together safely.

To learn more about enabling safety features on your new Xbox All Access device, learn about the core safety features here.

Our commitment to open source

Tech and Innovation Network

Posted on December 16, 2019

5 min read

As our world shifts from “big project” vendors and standards bodies towards open communities focussed on driving deep technology development expertise, we see an increasing need to support the open source software movement. Here’s what open source means to us, and how we’re already using it to drive efficiency gains in our business.

What is open source?

Open source allows for software and its associated source code to be studied, changed and redistributed to anyone and for any purpose. Open source software allows for diverse perspectives and use cases as it’s developed in an open and collaborative fashion.

This open development community is often where new standards and innovation emerge. In fact, the open source ‘revolution’ is happening – and has happened – in other industries such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automotive sectors, all keen to capitalise upon faster innovation, to better serve customers and differentiate in their market.

Globally, telcos in general are adopting open source to drive value and consistency. We’re no different through our use of numerous programming languages and libraries for applications and the web. It is crucial that we play a part in and take advantage of this approach to thrive and lead in an increasingly competitive market.

To show support for these communities, we recently hosted 120+ attendees from the local and international industry to knowledge share on the Open Source evolution in partnership with Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) and Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

The event featured plenaries, breakout sessions and tutorials on Next Generation Software Defined Network, Automation, and Edge Computing. With the advent of software-based transformation of our network, this event assisted our engineering teams to connect with the industry, understand the impact of open source software for us, and gather new skills.

Following the success of the collaborative event, we wanted to share what open source means to us and why we’re backing it.

Why open source for Telstra?

Open Source allows us to:

  • Share development effort for enabling technologies, lowering research and development costs whilst keeping pace with faster innovation cycles, leveraging from open communities and relying less on vendor product roadmap cycles;
  • Help accelerate product development by leveraging the collective development efforts, whilst maintaining a strong influence in open technologies that we rely on for our products;
  • Independently update and extend capacities in-house whenever we need to, while still retaining differentiating intellectual property, and
  • Become an attractive employer for talent looking to work on open technologies

Now that our network is becoming software centric, Open Source is being used in our engineering and operational groups for monitoring, network management and analytics with a focus on avoiding inflexible vendor roadmaps.

Game changer: We’re benefiting from this Open Source approach to deliver standard services in a standard way, crucially in a ‘language’ that the world understands and can interact with. This is essential as we transform our network into software and keep aligned with the global community.

Getting this functionality delivered into production to drive value for our business has required network integration and hardening – up to a year of effort to achieve component reusability, ongoing support and software currency.

The result has been through a collaborative effort with our partners – Arris, Infosys, TMF (Open API), Amdocs, Sea Street and others. In the future, we will expand this partnership approach to drive the initial innovation to build our business capability, then offload to others to harden, integrate and provide ongoing support.

Benefits and challenges

Not only does open source present a significant development opportunity, but it also offers cost savings in line with our company strategy.

It’s important to understand that open source software is not free, but by using it we should expect a significant reduction in software licensing fees, while being offered fewer restrictions in terms of scalability and distribution.

Simultaneously, we expect reduced hardware costs based on open software – as it runs on lower-cost, more commoditised “white box” setups. As we leverage open source for our data and analytics needs, we anticipate further cost savings in network automation and optimisation.

Cost reductions are great, but we need to be mindful of how we select our technology areas and delivery methods based on our own technology as well as our culture, capability and skills. Taking ownership of the software life cycle in-house brings with it a range of challenges, including the development, deployment and operational costs associated.

Of course, challenges such as these do not outweigh the benefits of leveraging open source technologies in our business and the associated community benefits of sharing our successes. We know using and contributing to open source software helps the broader community as well as our own goals.

We’re excited to take a leadership role in open source, and hope to share the journey with our colleagues in the tech sector.

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.