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Tag: innovation

Making our roads safer with connected vehicles

5G

Posted on June 24, 2019

3 min read

Ever since we began planning for the roll out of 5G in Australia, we’ve been talking about the potential impact it would have on the future of autonomous vehicles. Today we’re bringing a little bit of that future to our Cellular V2X project in partnership with VicRoads and Lexus. 

Making our roads safer in Australia is more than just a goal – it’s a necessity. Victoria’s Towards Zero plan is designed to ensure that the state’s road toll is constantly pushed towards the vision of zero deaths and serious injuries. That’s why we’re proud to put our tech towards saving lives on the road working with Lexus on the Advanced Connected Vehicles Victoria (or ACV2) project.

We have just demonstrated this technology to the public for the first time today, and on-road testing of these connected vehicles will now commence in Victoria – so keep an eye out!

By optimising our network, we’re able to create a system that goes beyond simply connecting vehicles to each other – instead also connecting them to existing road network infrastructure. We’re able to use the fast, low-latency cellular ‘vehicle-to-everything’ (or V2X) infrastructure we have built over 4G to make drivers more aware of potential risks and dangers on the road before they’re able to see it themselves. 

In a connected test vehicle, for example, hard braking could send out an alert of this behaviour to alert nearby vehicles to the danger before existing in-vehicle sensors could detect the problem. Vehicles could also detect red light violations, which are received from vehicles that might be about to enter an active intersection against the light. Cameras mounted on the dashboard of test vehicles could also be connected, and configured to detect pedestrians in intersections, alerting drivers to give way.  

We’ve brought a bit of 5G performance, low latency, into our 4G network for this trial. For the moment, our 4G network has wide area coverage, and so the first hundreds or thousands of cars that use this technology will certainly do that on 4G. What 5G brings is the ability to do this at scale, with many cars on the road all communicating at the same time. What’s great is that uptake of this technology will go hand in hand with the way we’re building 5G coverage, so by the time it’s needed, we’ll have the network built out.

Crucially, we are investing in this project to develop cellular V2X for connected vehicles well before automated vehicles are readily available – making driver safer, easier, more economic and more enjoyable.

This technology is proof that mobile and automotive connectivity developed here in Australia has the ability to help prevent accidents on our roads and to potentially save lives. The strength and speed of our mobile network means Telstra is well placed to support a future where this technology can become a reality.

Our purpose is connecting Australia and building a future where everyone can thrive – and we’re especially proud to work with VicRoads and Lexus in this spirit to make our roads safer.

Growing the entrepreneurial spirit, in Australia and worldwide

Tech and Innovation

Posted on March 28, 2019

3 min read

I’m sure I won’t have a hard time convincing you of the value of entrepreneurialism. This spirit is what drives people to open a new business, to innovate and invent new technology, and invest in those willing to try.

But while we might agree on the incredibly high value of this spirit, we might disagree on the current state of things in Australia and what, if anything, we should do about it.

One of the measures of the future health of our business environment is the quantity and quality of new businesses started each year. On this front, Australia is performing well. When it comes to the rate of technology innovation, though, Australia is not performing nearly as well as it could. According to the 2018 Global Innovation Index, we rank 20th in the world – not a bad result, but we are not as successful as we could be.

What is really interesting is that this report shows we rank 11th in the world when looking at the inputs for innovation – such as the average number of years young people receive formal education, easy access to credit, and a high level of government services being available online – but we rank 31st when looking at outputs like the value of our patents, creation of new goods and services, and our foreign investment outflow.

Clearly something is not working the way it should.

Where were you when the dot-com bubble burst?

It’s almost 20 years since that rise and fall of many companies and the entrepreneurs behind them. While a very small number of people who invested heavily in tech stocks managed to get through that period with their finances intact, the most common outcome was lots of money burned.

Twenty years later the NASDAQ has climbed to all-time highs and is now at over 7,500. Sure the bubble burst, but many technology firms in the US have grown and many new ones have been established. In fact, many of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time were made better by the experience.

For example, Jeff Bezos opened an online bookstore in 1994. It was a disruptive move to take on a saturated market. His often-repeated mantra about being obsessed with providing the best possible customer experience, irrespective of what Amazon was selling and where it was selling it, enabled him to ride out the dot-com bust and build a company that, in 2018, had more than US$232 billion in revenue.

In Australia, the dot com boom gave rise to some serious success stories. REA Group listed on the ASX in December 1999 at $1.11 per share. Today you’d be paying close to $80 per share. Carsales.com was founded in 1997. It listed on the ASX twelve years later and today has a market cap of over $3 billion. And other businesses like Wotif, Lastminute.com, Seek and others have achieved sustainable long-term growth. However, their success has had nowhere near the impact on the Australian economy as technology companies have had in the US.

Tags: 5g, innovation, IoT,

Our commitment to modernising payphones in Australia

Telstra News

Posted on March 27, 2019

3 min read

Telstra provides over 16,000 public payphones across the country to serve the needs of all Australians. Payphones in Australian regional and metro areas provide a vital civic utility, with 13 million calls made last year, 200,000 of which were emergency calls to ‘000’.

With payphone technology evolving, and Australians using mobile devices more than ever before, we recently began a payphone upgrade project across Australian metropolitan areas to enhance the services that can be accessed from around 1,800 of our payphones.

It is envisaged that over time the new payphones will provide a number of additional services for the community, including mobile phone charging, Wi-Fi access, as well as providing a space for communicating everything from emergency alerts to a range of content services such as public transport information to city maps, weather, tourist advice, information on nearby cultural attractions and the ability to promote the work of charitable organisations.

Telstra has partnered with JCDecaux on this upgrade programme.  JCDecaux has worked closely with us on the design and delivery of the new payphone booths and in addition to the information outlined above the screens on the booths may be used to display commercial advertising.  In order to display commercial advertising on street furniture, JCDecaux follows the required council planning approvals process, separate to Telstra’s rights to install the payphone booth under relevant legislation.

In Melbourne we have already installed 34 new payphones, the design of which we altered after consultation with the City of Melbourne. JCDecaux also received the relevant planning approvals from the City of Melbourne for commercial advertising. A more advanced payphone booth is due to be rolled out in 2020.

A concern has been raised about the size and location of our new payphones. We acknowledge there has been a small increase in size, mainly to accommodate the fibre connections and other equipment required in a modern smart city, all collocated within a considered design to minimise street clutter.

The new payphone booths have also been designed to reduce pedestrian impact by adding height over width. The newly installed booths in Melbourne are only 15cm wider than the cabinets they replaced, which have been in use for over 35 years. In most cases the new payphones will be installed in non-pedestrian thoroughfares and within the lines of other existing street furniture like seats, trees and bins, and motorbike parking to reduce pedestrian impact.

This is the first major redesign of the payphone booth since 1983, and we believe the small increase in size and new design will result in minimal impact on the streetscape, with the additional services the phones will offer bringing real benefits to the community and passers-by.

We will continue to engage and work with all stakeholders, including local governments and other associations on this project.

The Telstra Innovation Challenge is back

Telstra News

Posted on March 14, 2019

2 min read

The Telstra Innovation Challenge is back, this time to bring new, innovative IoT ideas to the Transport and Logistics industry.

Each year, we run the Telstra Innovation Challenge (TIC) to bring out the innovative, inventive and technical potential of the members of the Australian public and universities. This year, we are focusing this collective talent towards Internet of Things (IoT) for the transport and logistics industry.

Participating teams will be given the opportunity to express their creative talent and technical skills by designing and prototyping a real world application utilising Telstra’s CAT-M1 and Narrowband-IoT networks. These IoT networks cover over three million square kilometres of Australia and cater for use cases where devices only need to be sending relatively small amounts of data relatively infrequently.

Together with Linfox as our industry partner, we’re challenging teams to solve some of the most interesting issues facing the transport and logistics industry. Teams can choose what specific areas they focus on, which could range from improving the field staff and operational experience, to developing brand new services for the industry.

Teams participating in the challenge will be provided with a development board, the easy to use Arduino Mkr NB 1500. Compatible with Microsoft Azure and Telstra’s Narrowband IoT Network, this device provides participants with a fantastic platform to prototype and develop new IoT solutions for the industry that keeps Australia moving.

The TIC has two streams of participants: one for university teams and one for the general public. Registrations are now open but will close soon – head over to the Telstra Innovation Challenge website for more details.

The finalists for both streams will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges on 1 June 2019 at Telstra Labs in Melbourne and be in the running for a range of great prizes.

We look forward to seeing all of your fantastic submissions.

Bringing businesses the technology they need to succeed

Small Business

Posted on March 4, 2019

3 min read

We’re opening the first of our 28 brand new Business Technology Centres around Australia in Townsville, the economic gateway to North Queensland. Our new Business Technology Centres will cater to small and medium business operators, giving them guidance and advice on the best technology solutions for their specific needs.

In 2019, a small business needs more than just a mobile phone plan and a website if it wants to excel. These days, it’s all about cloud storage and software as a service, data networks and IP phones, and high-quality hardware and software built for business.

We’re making these specialised services available to a wider range of businesses with the launch of our Telstra Business Technology Centres across Australia. We’re introducing a new way of interacting with our small business customers, too – we’re here to offer our advice and expertise in business, not just to sell you more, and to help you build relationships with our own partners in world-class technology – providers like Microsoft and Cisco.

A Telstra Business Technology Centre is set up to be a one-stop shop for our small and medium business customers – bringing together a team of highly trained staff with expertise in small business and our leading range of small business technology solutions – everything from website and e-commerce platforms to fixed broadband, nbn and mobile services. More complex technology needs require more complex service and support, and we understand that in an increasingly digital world your business’s connectivity and reliability are paramount.

We chose Townsville as the home of our first Business Technology Centre in recognition of its importance as a major economic gateway for the North Queensland region. It has varied industries and more than 2000 businesses of all sizes – but despite being a major regional centre, there are limited choices for small and medium businesses when it comes to accessing new technology. We’ll now be making the most advanced software and technology business solutions available to businesses of all sizes as we open new Business Technology Centres across the country.

The rollout of Telstra Business Technology Centres across the country is part of our T22 strategy to simplify our offerings for customers and to reduce unnecessary complexity. Recently, we announced a major revamp to our plans for businesses bringing many much-demanded features like dedicated service and support for business customers, unlimited data on selected Business Bundle mobile plans, and Platinum for Business 24/7 tech support.