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Inspiring ideas with our 2018 Innovation Challenge

Tech and Innovation

Posted on April 23, 2018

2 min read

We’re continuing to see great innovation and breakthroughs in technology thanks to the connectivity offered by the Internet of Things (IoT). As more devices are connected, the benefits are being seen across every industry in Australia.

Each year as part of Telstra’s Innovation Challenge (TIC), we invite future and current leaders in innovation and technology to create brilliant connected solutions for real-life problems. We challenge the innovation community – universities and the general public – to form teams and develop IoT solutions that could improve our lives.

Teams will be able to leverage Telstra’s Cat M1 technology, which includes three million square kilometres of IoT coverage, combined with some of the newer moving devices to create tech solutions focused on the health and wellbeing industry.

Together with Bupa as our industry partner, we’re challenging teams to solve some of the most interesting issues facing the health and wellness industry. Teams can choose what specific areas they focus on, which could range from preventative healthcare devices, to developing on-the-job tech improvements for healthcare workers.

We provide qualifying teams with everything they’ll need to get their ideas up and running, including a development kit designed specifically for Australian innovators and developers.

The TIC has two streams of participants: one for university teams and one for the general public. The university stream has already kicked off, but it’s not too late to register for the public stream by heading 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 26 May at Telstra Labs in Melbourne, to be in the running for a range of great prizes.

With thanks to the Telstra Innovation Challenge 2018 sponsors:

  • Gold sponsors: Cisco Jasper, Ericsson, Telstra Health, Microsoft
  • Silver sponsors: muru-D, Qualcomm, Tekt Industries, Little Bird Electronics

Tags: IoT, technology,

Say hello to the Verti-plane: the future of human mobility

Tech and Innovation IoT

Posted on April 10, 2018

3 min read

We took to the skies in Canberra in partnership with one of our muru-D SYD5 startups, AMSL Aero, to demonstrate its world-leading autonomous aircraft technology.

Imagine a morning commute with no traffic. Take that another step and imagine a morning commute where you can travel all over the city with no delays, producing no emissions, and without you needing to drive. That future may be closer than you might think, and the tech is being built right here in Australia.

Autonomous air flight

A member of our muru-D SYD5 cohort, AMSL Aero was founded in June 2017 by Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon with the mission to change the way the world travels by providing airborne transport that is safe, fast, affordable, easy to use and good for the environment.

They are doing this by building a world-leading Verti-plane, which is an aircraft that takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter but flies fast and efficiently like a plane. The team visited Canberra today to demonstrate a 1/5 scale prototype of their aircraft.

The Verti-plane uses patented technology that tilts the two wings to enable vertical flight for take-off and landing, and horizontal flight for fast (300km/hr) cruising flight. It flies autonomously and is electric, which means it is far safer than helicopters and is also quiet and emissions-free.

The electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft market is forecasted by some to exceed the value of the current USD $27 billion global helicopter market by 2032[1].

AMSL Aero co-founder Andrew Moore started out his career as an aeronautical engineer in the Australian Navy. He has over 20 years of experience in leading the design and build of helicopters and aircraft, and is an avid pilot himself following in the footsteps of his father who was also a naval pilot.

5G and IoT

5G will be essential to support the increase in IoT connected devices over the next decade, bringing greater bandwidth and also greater security and reliability with features designed for communications and control. Telstra will be able to offer the capability to support the command and control of autonomous vehicles so that the low altitude airspace can be more safely managed for aerial people carriers such as the Verti-plane.

Telstra’s muru-D Program

Telstra’s startup accelerator muru-D offers a six-month program for exceptional founders who are solving high impact, global problems. As part of the program, they receive seed capital investment and gain access to a global network of mentors, alumni, investors, and partners. Over 100 companies have graduated from one of muru-D’s five programs, and more than 15 of these having raised $1 million or more in funding so far.

[1] Source: IDTechEx Manned Electric Aircraft 2018-2028

Tags: 5g, innovation, IoT, Muru-D,

Powering Australia’s agricultural future


Posted on March 23, 2018

2 min read

Today we announced details of a new strategic partnership with Australia’s peak farm body the National Farmers Federation (NFF), to help unlock digital opportunities for Australian farmers, support thought leadership and build advocacy on behalf of regional Australia.

Together with the NFF, we see an amazing opportunity to grow Australia’s agricultural industry from $60 billion per year to a $100 billion per year industry by 2030 – and we believe technology and innovation has a key role to play in achieving this goal.

Our CEO Andy Penn announcing our partnership with the NFF at the 2018 Royal Easter Show.

From IoT to 5G, to our involvement in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program and our extensive regional mobile network investment, we’ve been busy laying the foundations for a brilliant connected world that supports our Australian way of life.

Below, Sami Makelainen from our Chief Technology Office shares his view for how technology and innovation can help tackle challenges faced by Australian farmers, drive productivity and create efficiencies in the short term:

  1. Even at the simplest end of the scale, IoT is making a major impression with water tank sensors for water level monitoring and leak detection enabling farmers to save significant quantities of water – a precious resource in Australia.
  2. Through ingestible sensors, farmers will be able to monitor and track livestock health and fertility across a range of breeds in real time.
  3. Sensors embedded in soil will soon be able to track moisture and soil health, making it easier for farmers to efficiently distribute water and fertilisers. At the other end for the logistics chain, sensors that can detect the ripeness of food will be integrated into packaging and storage units, optimising the delivery chain for freshness and reduced wastage.
  4. Farm-wide dashboards will provide an integrated view of livestock and crop health, enable precision planting and other cropping activities as well as tracking and forecasting business health and productivity.
  5. The use of drones will become more widespread and will be able to help diagnose crop related diseases, livestock mustering and measure water and nitrogen levels through hyperspectral sensors.

Sami Makelainen is one of 35 contributors to the National Farmers Federation’s Talking 2030 discussion paper, which looks at the long-term policies, ideas, technologies and innovation required to power Australia’s agricultural sector towards our shared 2030 ambitions.

Why green cities are smart cities

Business and Enterprise

Posted on March 19, 2018

3 min read

The opportunity to transform communities, suburbs and cities into smart spaces can result in less carbon and higher levels of amenity, productivity and social benefit. In simple terms, more cloud means less carbon.

Companies recognise sustainability as an essential factor for long-term success, and finding solutions to pressing environmental challenges is business critical. But do the latest digital solutions and advancements in IT infrastructure, networking and cloud offer businesses a solution to reduce their environmental impacts?

At a very practical level, technology has much to offer cities, suburbs and local communities – and this means that the cloud has a key role to play in providing innovative services and applications that meet growing demand from business, residents and tourists alike.

More broadly, smart cities are being conceived in a way that address real-world issues such as public safety and collision avoidance capabilities, emergency services, traffic congestion and environmental monitoring.

In short, our digital future comprises much more than internet-connected fridges and streaming video.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and its ability to support billions of connected devices worldwide is likely to positively transform industries, sectors and communities. IoT is a key element of smart cities and feeds into the total mix of activities which shape a community’s digital aspirations and demands.

The benefits of switching to cloud technology within a green cities context are multifaceted for enterprises. Cloud can help a business, tenant or landlord to enhance their competitive advantage, by enabling global connectivity, improving efficiency, and reducing networking costs.

What many organisations aren’t aware of is the benefits of cloud for reducing energy-related costs and carbon emissions. Our latest research study and whitepaper called Connecting With The Cloud – A Low-Carbon Future Is Ahead focuses on the potential of cloud to drive operational and cost efficiencies, while cutting carbon emissions.

Interestingly, the study found that if all Australian organisations moved to cloud technology, we could potentially reduce carbon emissions by 4.5 million tonnes a year. This would translate into approximately $1 billion savings in energy costs annually.

And these energy savings extend across the board, from small organisations to large multinationals. The study found that a small business with 1 to 19 employees can reduce carbon emissions by 78 per cent when moving their on-premises IT to shared cloud computing. For large organisations of over 500 employees, this can extend to a savings of as much as 80 per cent in carbon emissions.

Technology is a powerful force in creating positive environments and spaces. It’s also an opportunity to transform how we develop services and applications that are highly connected and deliver meaningful outcomes for communities. These are increasingly critical requirements as we move toward the creation and management of green cities.

We know that smart cities and IoT applications will be built on the foundations of state-of-the-art, superfast connectivity and cloud infrastructure, and this translates directly in high performance green cities.

Calculating what you can save by moving to the cloud is straightforward. Our Cloud Footprint Calculator is a business-friendly tool that can help you make smart decisions that are commercially sensible and customer-centric.

Find out what you could save by moving to Telstra’s cloud.

From Melbourne to California in 140ms: the company that controls drones over the internet


Posted on March 19, 2018

2 min read

Following Telstra Ventures’ recent investment, Cape CEO Chris Rittler reflects on the company’s journey to date and the opportunities presented by the commercial applications of drones.

In 2014 the founding of Cape Productions was met with great excitement from consumers, enterprises, analysts and, most importantly, snow enthusiasts.

We developed software that allowed for the safe production of ski videos via automated flight of off-the-shelf drones. If you skied at some of the top resorts in North America, you could pay between $US50 and $US150 to have a custom ski video made of you or your family.

For an encore, we enhanced our technology and created a public flying portal. Using this portal, any consumer could register to fly a drone equipped with Cape software over the internet via a web browser from their personal computer in the comfort of their own home to have a personal video experience like none other.

We went further and integrated our drone video technology with the Facebook Live API to live stream high-quality aerial video directly to Facebook, which was demonstrated during the lead-up to Mark Zuckerberg’s opening keynote address at the Facebook F8 summit in 2016.

Tens of thousands of users registered to fly drones and over 100,000 flights were successfully executed. Safe drone flight and usability of drones had enabled a mass market. We have continued to develop our innovative system since that point.

Customers are now using off-the-shelf drones connected to the Cape Cloud via the Cape App to fly drones remotely over the internet, increasing the effectiveness of their teams by utilising the safety features and ease-of-use offered by Cape Aerial TelepresenceTM. Use cases include construction, asset inspection, and public safety, with more being added every day.

Our investors believe that the commercial adoption of drones will increase dramatically with the usage of Cape software. Telstra Ventures invested in Cape’s Series A financing alongside two other investors, Google’s Gradient Ventures and Mitsui & Co.

We have identified Australia as a country that would benefit from the use of drones across a number of industrial and government verticals. Telstra Ventures has closely followed developments in drone technology based on feedback from customers regarding their desire to use drones, as well as our own drones program – including using drone technology to inspect some of Telstra’s many cell towers and structures.