Giving business the opportunity to get online for Christmas with a free website
By Anne Da CunhaOctober 12, 2020
With less than 90 days to Christmas, it’s fair to say this festive season will be like no other. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place around the country, many small and medium businesses are feeling the pinch in the lead up to what is normally a lively retail period. We want to help small businesses as much as possible during this difficult time and that’s why we we’re giving them a free website and Google listing to capture precious digital dollars.
We want to help you be found by your customers with a .com.au domain that reflects your business brand, and a website built from a template of designs you can have online in minutes. The websites we offer work brilliantly on mobile to capture customers on the go and allow you to also promote your social media at the same time. And it’s free for the next 12 months*.
It also includes a Google My Business listing, which allows users of the world’s largest search platform to find your outfit! This is critical due to the fact 1 in 5 consumers in our survey would bypass a small business they haven’t used before if no customer reviews are available.
And if you switch your business’ plan to us from 1 October to 15 November, we’ll include access to a dedicated nbn Connection Manager: a single point of contact during the connection process to ensure you get truly personalised service.
Gearing your business for growth
It’s no secret that this year has seen businesses of all sizes under enormous pressure. Unfortunately, that pressure has been felt particularly acutely by small and medium businesses (SMBs).
But despite the doom and gloom, we are still seeing Australians clocking up billions in online spending this year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Naturally, businesses that already had an online presence or quickly pivoted to e-commerce, have been at an advantage.
Biologi, a scientific-skincare brand based in Byron Bay is acutely aware of how a strong online presence can drive your business. Heather Earl is the skincare brand’s Senior Marketing Manager and told us that a website is instrumental to reaching a wider audience.
“I truly believe that having our brand so readily available to consumers has been instrumental in our rapid success in a short space of time.
“Your website is your number 1 marketing asset, most consumers won’t consider shopping from your business without a website, they expect your business to have an online presence giving them a sense of protection that you’re an established, professional and legitimate business,” Heather tells us, adding that it also helps to grow your brand beyond a simple business and into a community that can have an impact on the lives of your customers.
“A website is an incredible easy and accessible touchpoint for building brand awareness that can complete your brand story. We use ours not only for retail but also for giving customers an insight and support in customisable forms. We chose to have an online skin quiz developed by industry professionals so that customers near and far can have equal opportunity of receiving an expert opinion on how to build a skincare regime that will get results for them.
“No matter how unique your product or service is, comparison is an inevitable part of business management, online presence ensures that control the narrative on your branding so that customers get an accurate insight into the incredible work that goes into creating a revolutionary brand.”
SMBs have often told us that the time commitment to building and maintaining a web presence is too high. But now that COVID-19 has driven legions of shoppers online, driving a digital strategy for small business is not just important – it’s urgent. Especially considering we’re seeing Australian consumers actively looking to support local businesses in their area.
That’s why we want to help provide the digital tools they need to get their products and services online quickly ahead of the busiest online trading period of the year.
Things you need to know
* Your website with the Extra Small (XS) 1 Page website plan will be live for 12 months, however you can upgrade at any time to a paid Telstra Digital Marketing Services Small, Medium or Large website service. At the completion of the 12 month free subscription period, the subscription will terminate, the website and its contents will be deleted, and the associated domain will be released for you to renew with Telstra or a third party.
Anne Da Cunha is the Small Business Executive for Telstra. She is passionate about the Success of Australian Businesses and in developing ways that Telstra can partner with them, to ensure they get all the business and technology solutions they need to thrive and be the innovators of Australia.
Anne has a diverse commercial, channel and marketing leadership career, spanning many sectors including; Travel, Retail, Education and Telecommunications. Previous to Telstra, she was the Chief Marketing Officer for Laureate Australia, which operates Torrens University Australia and a number of innovative higher education colleges. Prior to that, Anne was General Manager of Cellarmasters, Australia’s leading direct and digital wine retailer, at Woolworths Liquor. She also has over a decade of experience in roles across multiple telecommunications organisations in the UK and Europe including; Carphone Warehouse and O2 Telefonica.
The future of the workplace post-COVID-19 – the new normal isn’t coming, it’s here now
By Andrew PennAugust 31, 2020
It is business, but it’s far from usual. COVID-19 has transformed our ideas about how and where we work and put flexibility, adaptability and technology at the heart of the workplace. The way we work and how successful businesses in the future will be defined has changed forever – here are three thoughts on how.
Firstly, there is no “normal” when it comes to the workplace, what matters is maximum flexibility.
We’re all different. Some people are more introverted, some are more extroverted. We all have different personal circumstances and the organisations that will be successful in attracting and retaining talent will be those that can offer their employees maximum flexibility. In developing our thinking around flexible working Telstra is developing six personas based broadly around our people’s different role types, their technology needs, communication preferences along with individual considerations, challenges and expectations. This is about identifying the right solution for each person in our workplace, not a one size fits all, so our people can choose to work in a way that best suits them. Managing across personas increases complexity and adds more challenge to how leaders must manage but when you get it right, the payoff is so much higher.
Second, the humanity of our people will re-shape our culture.
Workplace culture has changed enormously during COVID and all for the better. The usual shields of business – the clothes, the offices, the hierarchies that we sometimes hide behind – have been stripped away and we have all got a better glimpse into each other’s real lives. It has certainly been a great equaliser as we all get to see each other’s partners, kids, pets and homes. The connections are real, the links genuine. The businesses that will be successful in the future will embrace their humanity and make it the foundation of their culture.
And third, our technology, tools and property plans need to supercharge our ability to do our best work.
Operationalising the workplace of the future means drawing together the threads of flexibility, adaptability and technology. It is a cross-functional, cross-company task and Telstra’s leaders from property, networks, IT and HR are considering our infrastructure, technology, tool and skills requirements through the lens of our employees’ experience, needs and expectations. The businesses that will be successful in the future will be able to think through flexible working in all its dimensions, and bring it to life through technology.
A new normal
Not long ago the biggest catalyst for workplace change was advances in digital technologies and connectivity. Many were alarmed jobs would be replaced by artificial intelligence, automation or robots. Those things have not gone away but COVID-19 has taken the future of work in a totally new direction, a direction that is increasingly virtual and remote rather than physical and centralised, a direction where a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday workday (physically at the office, for many of us) is suddenly hard to imagine.
The “new normal” for work will be flexible, geographically dispersed, and offer a choice of a hybrid of digital and physical tools and spaces that are tailored to your role and your technology needs, preferences and expectations. Work will be something you do, not somewhere you go.
At Telstra, this concept of flexibility will include our office-based staff but also extend to the many thousands of Telstra people who work in stores, install or repair connections at homes or businesses, take E000 calls or provide other critical services at secure facilities.
When COVID first hit, we moved our 25,000 Australian-based office employees to work-from-home to get ahead of things. We did that in a single weekend, more or less without a hitch. That was nearly six months ago and most – myself included – have not been in the office since.
Video meetings are now standard at Telstra. In July, as just one example, we ran more than 8 million Microsoft Teams calls. Management meetings, Board meetings, team meetings are now virtual including this year’s Annual General Meeting – a first in our 160 year history.
It is hard to imagine a bigger disruption to traditional work practices and yet the appetite for this type of flexibility is extraordinary. A recent employee survey showed more than 60% of our people believe they are more productive working from home and, on average, they would prefer to work from home around 3 days per week, compared to an average of 1.7 days prior to COVID.
We introduced All Roles Flex in 2014 but it has taken this pandemic to fundamentally shift us from a workforce that sees home working as a nice-to-do to a permanent fixture in the work-life juggle.
The top reasons our people cite for embracing this change are no commute time, greater flexibility on working hours and more time for exercise and family. There are still challenges (issues like mental health and domestic violence are very real) and we recognise that some people will want to return to the office as soon as they can while others do not have the choice such as those serving customers in-store.
Before COVID we trialled an agent@home model for Australian-based sales and service consultants from our call centres. Now all consultants can potentially work from home, shifting the conventional thinking on customer service roles.
There is no way to know exactly what the world will look like a year from now so we must accept this is our new normal and prepare for it.
Humanity in all its colour
If work is like the blood that flows through our veins then technology and collaboration tools are the connective tissue. However, as vital as they are it is the purpose, values and culture of a company that defines who we are. Through COVID this has been enriched by the humanity which we are now seeing on high-beam.
In two weeks’ time it will be six months since I set foot in the office. I certainly miss all those informal interactions – the opportunities to bump into people in the coffee shop or the side conversation before or after a meeting. Their absence cannot be replaced by technology alone. We all have our own small rituals and COVID has enabled us to better understand their bigger role in our psyche. In uncertain times, rituals give us comfort and confidence.
Working from home has truly broken down hierarchies in a way we could never have imagined previously. Teleconferencing means we are bringing people into our homes every day and they are seeing us in a way they never have before – with all of our issues, challenges and vulnerabilities.
In our efforts to keep connected, we are also asking each other how we are in meetings – and actually stopping and listening to the answer. The simple question “How are you” during a health pandemic is no longer a polite refrain but a symbol central to connecting us and looking out for each other.
From these simple acts of humanity, mental health, safety and wellbeing are now a foremost concern in how we manage our workplace and evolve our culture. Providing a safe work environment has always been fundamental but the increased focus on mental health is rightly pervading our outlook and is a key component of our new normal.
We need to be part of a tribe, to feel connected to each other and something bigger, with a purpose. The opening of the window into our humanity during COVID only enriches this.
Supercharging our best work with technology
Telecommunications networks and digital technology have been critical during the lockdown period, and the acceleration of the digital economy is now not only crucial to a fast economic recovery but is supercharging our people’s ability to do their best work.
The basics are obvious: what are the connectivity, applications and tool requirements – in the office, at home and on the move, for voice, for video and online collaboration?
Others are more complex and can involve anything from identity management to cyber security and our property portfolios. These are all important considerations with critical consequences if not managed well.
Like other large organisations, we operate large office buildings in CBDs around the country, many of which are now either largely empty or much-reconfigured to accommodate social distancing measures.
Our employees have told us they no longer want to be there Monday to Friday, that they see themselves coming in around two days a week to collaborate, see customers, socialise and build relationships with colleagues and to learn. There are many ideas around how this might work, from modifying existing facilities to cater for collaboration to a “hub and spoke model” that puts more office facilities closer to where employees live, including in suburban or regional areas rather than centralised in the CBD.
But in the new normal, more deeply understanding our people means we can enable them with technology, connectivity and physical space options to do their best work where and how it suits them.
This is the new normal
I have been in the workforce for more than 40 years and I have seen how work and the workplace has evolved. I have seen how roles change, how some have disappeared and how new technologies have brought forward new thinking around productivity, flexibility and engagement. I have also seen many changes in the nature of what constitutes a successful company.
Even before COVID it would have been naive to think technology was not going to continue to drive changes in our lives and in our workplaces – the real issue then is how do we respond and how we prepare ourselves for the future.
What COVID is showing us is that we are at our best when our workplaces offer maximum flexibility, when they enable us to let our humanity into our culture and when they combine the power of technology and connectivity. When they do that we will create a workplace that not only survives the new normal but thrives.
Andy Penn became the CEO and Managing Director of Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, on 1 May 2015. At Telstra, Andy is leading an ambitious change program transforming the business to be positioned to compete in the radically changing technology world of the future with 5G at its core. Andy has had an extensive career spanning 40 years across 3 different industries - telecommunications, financial services and shipping. He joined Telstra in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer. In 2014 he took on the additional responsibilities as Group Executive International.
Prior to Telstra, Andy spent 23 years with the AXA Group, one of the world’s largest insurance and investment groups. His time at AXA included the roles of Chief Executive Officer 2006-2011 AXA Asia Pacific Holdings, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Asia and Chief Executive Australia and New Zealand. At AXA, Andy was instrumental in building one of the most successful Asian businesses by an Australian company that was sold to its parent in 2011 for more than A$10bn.
Other directorships & appointments: Member of the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria; Board Director of the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA); Chairman of the Australian Government’s Cyber Industry Advisory Panel, created to guide development of Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy; Patron, on behalf of Telstra, of the National and Torres Straights Islanders Arts Awards (NATSIAA); Life Governor of Very Special Kids and an Ambassador for the Amy Gillett Foundation. He serves on the advisory boards of both The Big Issue Home for Homes and JDRF.
Recognition and qualifications: MBA (Kingston), AMP (Harvard), FCCA, HFAIPM. Andy has a national diploma in business studies (with distinction), is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, holds an MBA from Kingston University and is a graduate of Harvard’s Advanced Management Program. In 2008 Andy was recognised as Insurance Executive of the year in the Australian Banking and Finance Awards and in 2016 he was made an honorary fellow of the Australian Institute of Project Management. In 2018 Andy was named by the Financial Times among the top 10 male leaders globally HERoes list supporting women in business. In 2019 he was named by the Australian Financial Review as among the top 10 most powerful people in business.
Innovation and technology are the foundation of Australia’s new normal
By Kim Krogh AndersenAugust 24, 2020
There’s no doubt technology has helped Australians address the changes that COVID-19 has brought on. From working, learning, socialising, shopping, eating, being informed and entertained, technology has been the foundation as we attempt to continue with our lives as much as possible. COVID-19 has swiftly forced the uptake of digitisation and changed our behaviour forever.
As a nation, we have collectively invested time and resources into learning how technology can help improve our lives in 2020, and we expect it to continue to play a vital role in the years to come.
Looking forward, COVID-19 will change the way we live and work forever. Just like other times of significant change and disruption, we need to learn the lessons, adapt to a new norm, and come out of it stronger. We cannot miss this chance to ensure the pandemic becomes a catalyst for innovation and growthin order of a better future.
Outside of the home, innovation was also being developed and deployed to keep us safe when we leave the front door.
The Government encouraged Australians to download and use the COVIDSafe app in order to provide an easier way to automate contact tracing to reduce further infections.
Telstra’s Track and Monitor asset-tracking platform was used by a healthcare industry customer as they swiftly deployed COVID-19 triage clinics across the east coast of Australia. This helped ensure there were no misplaced expensive and in-demand equipment, especially during a time of constant change.
We also saw the fragility and our dependency on delivery and supply chain systems, exposing the lack of end-to-end visibility. As an example, we are working with major suppliers to accelerate the development of Telstra’s Connected Supply Chain product and are also negotiating with transport companies to help increase supply chain visibility with domestic deliveries.
It is more imperative than ever to ensure the country does not encounter a second wave of nation-wide infections and the respective lockdown as a result. If it were to happen, the OECD has said the Australian economy could decline by 6.3 per cent this year, which would take us back to where it was in 2016.
The technology pioneered to help manage the pandemic will continue to help us live in the ‘new normal’.
Travellers passing through Canberra Airport may notice new Temperature Screening solutions at the security check-in. This allows the airport to increase its protection against COVID-19 and includes thermal cameras to detect travellers with high temperatures. The key goal is to help reassure passengers transiting through public spaces like airports. We may see more of this type of technology installed at other public spaces like train stations, shopping centres, and maybe even at some workplaces where thousands of people pass through daily.
Traditional offices will also evolve as a result of COVID-19. Employees will demand to be allowed to continue working from home after the forced experiment pressured companies to change their flexible-working mindset and accelerate the required digitisation. This also meant the need to evolve the cyber security, technology processes, and communication and collaboration tools to enable successful remote working. The pandemic has pushed CIOs and IT departments (no matter what size) to finally modernise various procedures and systems.
Telstra’s Smart Building product already measures people’s movement through infrared sensor data to deliver insights on desk usage, meeting room usage and general occupancy levels. The product is now being expanded to measure social distancing and hygiene compliance, and will be highly relevant to all industries, especially retail, transport, health, and commercial offices.
Elsewhere, video analytics will be deployed to assist critical industries with real-time thermal scanning to ensure the ongoing safety of staff and the public. AI will help deliver insights such as people flow and count, movement analysis, alerts, and more.
There is also set to be a widespread acceleration of automation (as robots can’t contract COVID-19) which has several drivers. One of the interesting opportunities I’ve seen is robots that can clean, disinfect, help detect fever symptoms, and monitor mask and social distancing compliance.
I have no doubt these examples of technology and innovation will be scaled even further.
COVID-19 has reinforced how critical technology is for our daily lives, specifically dependable and fast connectivity. The swift need for network reliability and resiliency when we first moved to working from home, was an early indication of how vital connectivity will be in the future.
The world is slowly exploring ultra-reliable low latency use cases like autonomous driving, remote surgery, robotics, smart cities and smart homes. 5G, Edge Computing, IoT and AI are critical technologies for us to enable these advanced scenarios, but we can’t forget security, privacy, customer experience, and operational excellence are equally as important when we embark on this journey. Because it’s people that will give purpose to technology.
COVID-19 has meant new cultural and workforce transformation for the better. We strongly believe technology plays a central role in these shifting and accelerating trends and will be the foundation in what the new normal looks like for Australians – in the home, at the office, and anywhere in between.
Kim Krogh Andersen joined Telstra in January 2020 as Group Executive, Product & Technology.
In this role, he leads Telstra’s Product & Technology function, responsible for delivering Telstra’s product and technology roadmap, including creating and delivering products and solutions for all of Telstra’s customers, as well as driving profitable growth. He has accountability for Telstra’s product strategy and lifecycle, and technology and innovation where products are incubated and brought to scale.
Before joining Telstra, Kim was Senior Vice President, Head of Global Technology Strategy with the Telenor Group, a leading telecommunications company with operations across Scandinavia and Asia. He had responsibility for defining global technology roadmaps as well as leading Telenor’s Global 5G Execution Program as it prepares for the launch of 5G across all of Telenor’s markets. Previous to this role, Mr Krogh Andersen held a very broad range of roles with Telenor including Director Customer Services Denmark with end to end responsibility for customer service and Chief Marketing Officer for Telenor Global Services with responsibility for product development and management.
Prior to joining Telenor in 2008, Mr Krogh Andersen served as an officer in the Danish Army for 13 years.
Kim is a father of three and is living in the beautiful city of Sydney with his wife and children.
Why the digitisation of Small Business is now urgent – not just important
By Michael AcklandJuly 31, 2020
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it has been how to rapidly respond to change. With online spending skyrocketing in recent months, Australia’s small-to-medium businesses must respond to this change in customer behaviour in order to take advantage of the ‘new normal’.
The COVID inflection point for digitisation
Make no mistake: Australian businesses in all shapes and sizes are at an inflection point, with the data telling a truly remarkable story. Unemployment has risen rapidly, and 1 in 10 small to medium businesses are no longer trading due to COVID-19. Those that have survived are reporting serious concerns, with 80 per cent of small to medium businesses expecting adverse impacts to their operations in the next two months.
Small business owners have always told us that one of the biggest barriers to getting their operations online was the time required. Owner-operators are typically so invested in doing the day to day that they don’t have the time to digitise their business. But now that COVID-19 has driven legions of shoppers online, driving a digital strategy for small business is not just important – it’s urgent. Especially considering we’re seeing Australian consumers actively looking to support local businesses in their area.
New data from Venture Insights indicates that 70 per cent of Australian consumers now consciously support local businesses, but many indicate that they are hamstrung by a lack of online presence. Businesses that go digital also reap near-immediate rewards, with our research showing that boosted technology spending leads to revenue that is three times faster than those who don’t invest in technology.
There are clearly huge opportunities for small to medium businesses in Australia to go digital during this time.
To capture these post-COVID consumer dollars, businesses must seize the opportunity of e-commerce as much as possible because those that have adapted well have put technology right at the centre of their business.
Businesses that have managed to rapidly digitise during lockdown have told us that tech and telecom services are now more important than they had been in a pre-COVID world. Connected, always-on tech is now being used by small businesses to create new experiences for customers and new ways of doing business.
There’s no doubt that it’s going to continue to be hard for many to adapt. Previous barriers to adoption such as time pressure or complexity are still as relevant as ever, but the urgency has increased. Video, remote connectivity and e-commerce must now be the watchwords of the successful post-COVID SMB.
One such business adapting successfully is Kalleske Wines. Situated in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Kalleske relied heavily on physical presence at its winery, restaurant and cellar door to do business. When COVID-19 hit, Kalleske had the radical idea to take the fundamental features of a winery and put it online, adapting and digitising its operation rapidly to stay open.
It started to offer mixed six- and 12-packs of wine with accompanying videos and downloadable resources for customers to learn more about the wine. Furthermore, it replaced its Cellar Door experience with Facebook Live sessions in conjunction with a local industry group to continue tour and information sessions. Private tastings were held via video conference, with customers being sent new 100mL sample sizes to try the wine during the session.
Kalleske has told us that they’ll almost certainly continue all of these initiatives in the future to ensure that customers who would rather not travel can still take advantage of what their business has to offer.
It’s not an easy road out of COVID-19, but with resilience and ingenuity, many SMBs will be able to adapt to changing consumer behaviour and provide more remote working opportunities for their employees. Ultimately though, there is no going back.
COVID-19 represents a fundamental opportunity to capture not only a new wave of online shoppers, but also for SMBs to digitise their operations.
As the backbone of the Australian economy it is now incumbent upon all of us to get behind small business and help them grow. However, moving past these challenges (toward a new normal) and moving back into growth requires time and support, which many SMBs don’t currently have.
So we have made some small but significant changes to help them thrive:
To give you peace of mind about staying connected to your business operations over the coming months, we’re providing unlimited data allowances on fixed broadband free of charge for our small business customers until 30 September.
We’re offering small business customers a $50 credit for 6 months when connecting a new fixed internet service on the $100 Business Internet Unlimited plan with a $25 Business Calling Pack, until 31 August. This is a great offer providing more value to our Business Internet Plans to help small business to thrive again.
We’re offering small businesses access to our new Digital Marketing Serviceswebsite plans at half the regular cost, until 31 August. We’ll help you create or update your website and if needed, open an online store.
We’ll be on hand to assist you in creating business listings for Google My Business, Apple Maps and Facebook Business. For our existing customers, we will automatically apply 50 per cent off your Telstra Digital Marketing or Telstra Online Essentials website subscription charge.
If you’re missing any equipment to work from home, Telstra’s Mobile Worksuitegives you the data, software, devices and support you need to get you and your team workingremotely smoothly.
We continue to monitor the situation closely while working closely with regulators and the government. Our absolute focus remains on team wellbeing, supporting our customers and playing our part in the national response.
Group Executive, Consumer & Small Business -
Michael is responsible for all our Consumer & Small Business sales and service channels. He joined Telstra in 2016 as Executive Director of Telstra Country Wide, with responsibility for over 350 retail stores and over 16,000 partners nationally.
Michael joined Telstra from GE, where held the role of CEO GE Healthcare, Australia and New Zealand. In his 12 years at GE, Michael held various executive leadership roles across GE’s Australia and New Zealand business, including financial services, corporate and healthcare divisions. Prior to GE, Michael was Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked for eight years.
How we’re bolstering our digital economy with stronger fixed and mobile connectivity
By Nikos KatinakisJuly 17, 2020
The past few months of social restrictions have shown just how important connectivity is to keep the nation moving. As we emerge into a brave new world, ensuring fast, resilient and available connectivity is vital for economic momentum. We’re now thinking differently about how and where technology supports Australia’s incredible digital economy.
COVID-19 represents not only an unprecedented public safety event, but an unprecedented network event.
Our fixed and mobile networks, which stretch to more corners of our country and cover more Australians than any other, are massive and complex. On a normal week, we manage the capacity of our networks through various measures to ensure the best connectivity and reliability for our millions of customers. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’re proud of how well we do it.
Our team is working hard during the pandemic to ensure our network stays resilient, fast and available for our fixed and mobile customers.
Through COVID-19, voice calls on our national network have increased by as much as 40 percent and the number of mobile network text messages sent has risen by 21 percent.
We normally see a 30 to 40 percent increase in data traffic on our fixed network year-on-year. While we have seen daytime peak traffic on our fixed network increase by as much as 70 percent when compared with pre-COVID traffic, this increase is easily carried.
This increase – mainly in our uplink traffic – can be attributed largely to an increase in video calls used for meetings and schooling. Even still, this represents a small portion of the total traffic on our network.
The industry-wide collaboration between Retail Service Providers, nbn co and various content providers has played a key role in allowing these traffic increases to be absorbed painlessly. Given many people will continue to work and study from home for the foreseeable future, we think it makes sense to extend the 40 percent free allocation of CVCs (the separate volume-based pricing charge) for the locked down geographies for the time being or, as we and others in the industry have called for previously, for nbn co to look at removing the CVC pricing structure altogether.
Changing for the ‘new normal’
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way our country works. A seemingly simple task like returning to the office is littered with new concerns that need to be accounted for. From social distancing in lifts to reconfiguring collaborative working spaces, we need to think differently about everything.
At the height of the pandemic, we announced that we would bring forward $500 million of capital expenditure planned for the second half of FY21 into calendar year 2020. This investment will increase capacity in our network and accelerate our rollout of 5G.
It will inject much needed investment into our economy at this time by allowing Australians to work, learn and create remotely, while connecting face-to-face at a COVID-safe distance.
Our 5G rollout started in 2018. With technology designed to provide high-speed, low-latency, high-capacity connectivity, we focussed on deploying 5G in densely populated areas like CBDs, airports and train stations.
A global pandemic, however, means that fewer people can be in those locations. We’re now refocussing some of our 5G investments to deploy into areas that need more network capacity as a priority such as suburbs and regional areas.
This also goes beyond our mobile network. We need to reconsider how Australians work remotely via fixed networks to provide the right technology, the right product, and the right price.
Securing the home-enterprise
The work from home regime will become permanent in some way for many of us and we are working to create the right technology conditions for this permanent setting to be successful.
As enterprises keep their employees working from home for a protracted period, we must consider how that traffic is treated on our network from a security and authentication perspective. This must be tackled at both the enterprise and the home front.
In an age where there are more cyber attacks over home Wi-Fi networks than ever, we need to consider ways to make the burgeoning “home-enterprise user” rapidly more secure through new types of security services.
As we continue to answer these security questions, we’re already rolling out smart security solutions to protect everyone. Our Cleaner Pipes initiative works to actively block cyber threats on our network that would compromise the safety of our customers’ personal information, for example.
This not only helps our consumer-grade customers to stay safe, but also works to keep the new “home-enterprise” customer safe as they work to remotely staff virtual facilities like contact centres and helpdesks.
Pushing to the edge
This fundamental shift in how Australians are working and connecting means we need to radically rethink how network applications are consumed. Thankfully, we’ve been thinking about this for a while with our work on edge-computing: an emerging area of how networks and applications will work in the future.
When you use an application (like a CRM or virtual computer), you can often be limited by the time it takes the network to communicate and action commands. By putting these new applications closer to where they are consumed by users, they will become a lot faster and more distributed than they are today for better performance over ultra-low latency networks like our 5G network. COVID-19 has accelerated the interest in such technology.
Distributing the network capabilities increases speed, security and reliability of an application. Distributing the network applications closer to the edge in multiple locations also cuts down the amount of time someone is disrupted in the event of a network outage.
That’s why our investment to bring better, faster and more reliable network experiences to our customers is an important foundation for the wider digital economy as we all work together to come through the COVID-19 situation as strongly as we can.
Relocating from Toronto, Nikos Katinakis joined Telstra on 15 October 2018 as Group Executive Networks & IT. In this critical role Nikos is responsible for ensuring Telstra delivers next generation network technologies to create the largest, smartest, safest and most reliable networks in the world. This includes rolling out new technology developments, such as those related to 5G, as well as maintaining and enhancing Telstra’s IT platforms.
Nikos was previously Executive Vice President Networks for Reliance Jio in India where he was responsible for rolling out the first pan-India 4G LTE Network, with a focus on data management, and enhancing and stabilising the various operating platforms. In his second Jio assignment, Nikos led their wireline/fixed consumer business with the objective to launch full commercial services across major cities in India, while fully automating and simplifying workflows and the customer experience. Prior to this, Nikos was SVP of Architecture and Technology Development for Network and IT at Canada’s Rogers Communications, as well as Chief Information Security Officer, where he was responsible for the technology strategy, selection, and roadmap that guided Rogers’ deployment of next generation capabilities across all access networks and services.