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Tag: iot

Environment monitoring delivering benefits to farmers and suppliers across their value chain

Business and Enterprise

Posted on July 16, 2019

3 min read

Ensuring food availability for Australia’s future is a top national priority.  Making sure the country can feed itself well into the future is vital for our children and their children. When CSBP Fertilisers came to us with a desire to help their customers manage key resources in the growing of crops, we knew that our Internet of Things network could help.

Using more than 3.5 million square kilometres of coverage offered by our leading Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network, we’ve saved key water resources in Western Australia and helped keep costs down while freeing up time for patient care in Victorian hospitals. Bringing our leading IoT network and monitoring solutions to farmers for CSBP’s agricultural supply chain presented a fresh new challenge.

In partnership with Wesfarmers subsidiary CSBP Fertilisers, we wanted to apply the NB-IoT network and Telstra Environment Monitoring to remotely measure the volume of liquid fertiliser product, Flexi-N, stored in tanks on farms. CSBP was interested in finding a cost-effective way to implement this technology. We were able to work with them to develop a commercially viable approach.

Together we developed a solution that uses technology to collect data on the levels of fertiliser in the tanks and can alert CSBP when levels are low so the resupply process can commence automatically. More than 150 of our Telstra Captis Environment Monitoring IoT sensors were quickly deployed onto tanks around Western Australia, with 26 growers taking part in the pilot during the 2019 growing season.

Before the deployment of IoT sensors, CSBP’s challenge in managing its supply chain was the sporadic and manual nature of orders coming from farmers. They needed to be able to meet the demand for fertiliser and reduce lead times to supply the fertiliser during peak periods. In order to remain competitive, CSBP wanted to offer farmers an automated solution that removes the need for them to manually read fertiliser level readings on a tank gauge then telephone CSBP to order another load of fertiliser.

The company is now looking at a further deployment for this tank measuring solution to be used in water tanks, diesel tanks and weather stations across Western Australia.

The way we have adapted the standards of its NB-IoT network specifically for extended coverage for solutions in more regional areas is one of the reasons why we have just won a prestigious industry award.

Together with technology partner Ericsson, we are honoured to have been recognised at this year’s GSMA Asia Mobile Awards with its ‘Best IoT Innovation for Mobile Networks in Asia Award’ for this deployment. The Telstra IoT Network is one of the largest in the world and we are the only carrier in Australia to offer both Cat-M1 and Narrowband IoT technology. Our customers can now connect a range of IoT solutions in more places than ever before on Australia’s largest, most reliable and most secure ready-built LPWA Network. Our work with CSBP Fertilisers has proven NB-IoT network technology and devices are a modern and cost-effective way to optimise the efficiency of agriculture operations and supply chains.

A next-generation network to handle the data demands of the future

Network

Posted on July 1, 2019

3 min read

With the future at our fingertips, technologies like a completed NBN, the emergence of 5G, machine-to-machine communications, AI and IoT will all individually and collectively require data – enormous amounts of data, which we have seen increase five-fold as we head towards 2020.

Our fixed broadband needs in our homes are ever-increasing due to the rising demands of video streaming and online gaming. 5G brings with it many clear advantages in bandwidth, capacity and reliability over 4G and 3G, but there are also many potential use cases that we don’t yet know about.

We see that our small, medium, enterprise and government business partners are also demanding higher bandwidth as they start to transform the experiences of their own customers.

On top of this, what we know unequivocally is that any new and growing technology will require data, plenty of it so people can seamlessly give purpose to our technology and applications.

It’s at this point when you can really start to understand a clear and obvious need for our Next Generation Optical Transport Network.

In 2016, as part of our Networks of the Future program, we accelerated our journey to build the Next Generation Optical Transmission Network – a landmark upgrade to our long-haul, regional and metropolitan data transport infrastructure.

This was no simple exercise, given not only the size and complexity of our network but also the challenges we face in Australia when it comes to the enormous distance between cities, and unique environmental factors in building next generation technology throughout some of the most remote and hottest regions of Australia. 

We have now successfully connected all of our inter-capital paths and our 121 NBN point of interconnect locations across our transmission network. We can now support up to 11 times the capacity of our legacy network.

The new infrastructure provides enormous improvements to the reliability of our networks; for example, we recently introduced a capability into our optical network which now automates the rebuild and migration of services to another path when we experience a network fault such as a fiber break.

With the meshed nature of the new optical network, we are able to quickly reconfigure the network to stand up new routing paths within hours to reduce the overall risk of faults – this is something that previously would have taken days. In the future, we will be able to reconfigure the network within minutes in the event of a service disruption, providing our customers unprecedented connectivity.

Our new optical transport network will also see the introduction of software-defined network orchestration, which will enable the fast turn-up of optic wave services for our enterprise customers through the digital stack. Where we have the infrastructure in place, customers will be able to activate new services within hours rather than days or weeks.

The Next Generation Optical Transport Network is a significant and fundamental upgrade to the hidden infrastructure that powers our business across Australia. Along with our other upgrades as a part of our Network Evolution 2020 program as part of our T22 strategy, this milestone speeds up the delivery of products for our customers, as well as making it easier and faster for our partners to connect to our network and develop their own offerings.

Tags: 5g, AI, IoT, networks,

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.

Winning at smarter healthcare with Track and Monitor

Business and Enterprise

Posted on June 19, 2019

4 min read

We’re on a mission to make life better for every Australian through amazing technology and connectivity. That’s why we’re proud of our indoor equipment tracking proof of concept using Track and Monitor, which has just won the 2019 IoT Festival Award for best healthcare project.

Ballarat Health Services and Coregas, a division of the Wesfarmers Group, encountered a complex problem that we thought we could offer some valuable expertise to: how do you stop vital healthcare equipment from going missing? Together with our partners, we worked to ensure that valuable and specialised equipment was never out of reach, so that caregivers could spend more time doing exactly that: giving care.

Any hospital is a big place, where gear is constantly moved around to support the care and healing of different patients. Knowing where that equipment is – such as wheelchairs and bariatric care beds – is vital to not only providing care, but it’s also incredibly important from an accounting perspective. If a hospital can’t provide a clear chain of custody for this crucial equipment, it may need to be replaced before its serviceable life is over – especially if it is lost altogether!

We knew we could help make life easier for healthcare providers and their patients with our technology solutions, and got to work putting the power of our low-cost, scalable Track and Monitor platform to the problem.

Track and Monitor, the system powering our Wi-Fi-enabled location monitoring devices, was customised and attached to 20 pieces of various medical equipment, including specialist bariatric care beds and patient telemetry devices.

Working together with BHS and Coregas, our implementation used the hospital’s existing Wi-Fi infrastructure and layout to build a tracking system that would allow healthcare professionals to discover the location of any key equipment down to a range of 10 metres (line-of-sight). The trial tracking device – about the size of a 50-cent coin – is powered by a rechargeable battery, and sends a signal when it moves.

This can easily be traced wherever the Ballarat Health Services base hospital has Wi-Fi coverage. The tag uploads information on its whereabouts when it can connect to the BHS Wi-Fi SSID, calling every 10 minutes when in motion and every 12 hours when stationary to conserve battery life.

The Track and Monitor platform estimates each tag’s location (including which floor of the hospital) based on the data the tags send and stores it. The web portal, featuring a schematic map of the hospital, makes it possible to visualise and pinpoint the equipment’s whereabouts whenever queried by a user. The portal displays the last known location of the tag through intuitive tag-based search functionality.

Medical and asset tracking systems already exist for such requirements, but what made our deployment special was the ease of installation and the relative low cost of deployment. Typically, asset tracking systems can be expensive for technology that’s difficult to install and hard to keep operating long-term due to inefficient batteries.

Telstra Track and Monitor has delivered the potential to not only save the hospital money, but also save it precious time that could be spent treating patients instead. By ensuring essential equipment was in the right place at the right time, BHS found significant benefits in the product and potential to not only save dollars, but thousands of hours in lost time searching for equipment.

Looking to the future, BHS can also use the capabilities of Telstra’s wider finding network to track items outside the hospital. This means they’ll know when emergency equipment is taken in an ambulance to another hospital or a wheelchair is in use offsite. We’re honoured that our partnership with BHS and Coregas has been recognised at the IoT Festival. We know that there is huge potential for technology to enrich the lives of patients and their carers in Australia’s healthcare industry. We look forward to developing this technology with our partners more in the future.

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,