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2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners: tech solutions for a healthier tomorrow

Tech and Innovation IoT

Posted on May 29, 2018

3 min read

Together with our industry partner Bupa, we challenged teams from across Australia to build Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions for some of the most interesting challenges in the health and wellness industry.

Wearable devices and diagnostic systems dominated the field at this year’s Telstra Innovation Challenge as teams showed how IoT technologies could be used to improve the lives of patients and assist those who work in the healthcare industry in providing the best care.

The teams across both Challenge streams worked hard designing, building and coding hardware devices that leveraged our Cat M1 IoT network capability and Bupa’s insights as a leader in the health and wellness industry.

Congratulations to our winners!

Our 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners



Public Stream Winner – Lynxx

“Sitting is the new smoking” – Ergorithm is a wearable device that strives to promote a desirable posture for its users. The team produced a belt using the Cat M1 board and a sensor, which can be calibrated based on the specific user, to monitor the user’s lower back posture and give real time feedback (i.e. alert if bad posture). In the future the design could be extended to also cover neck posture.




University Stream Winner – Team Laika (RMIT)

The Me-MG, a wearable EMG biofeedback unit, empowers users to exercise during home based rehabilitation by giving them real time feedback on their level of muscle activation and movement extension through a number of on-body lights and a display screen. One light will indicate the degree of flex in the knee and the other the muscle activation; together they will be an accurate measure of how well the patient is performing the exercise. The device must be calibrated to the individual by their physio based on custom thresholds that can be updated remotely over our dashboard. The dashboard is accessible to both the patients and the physios, and is a platform where they can access the muscle activity and flex data directly, review analytics, data tends, and set themselves or their patient’s goal for their rehabilitation over all.

Innovation Winner – Health is Wealth

A Point of Care (PoC) diagnostic system to detect presence and severity of Xerostomia (a.k.a Dry Mouth condition). One of the sensors measures the salivary flow rate implanted or by the way of removable prosthetics inserted in the mouth by a dentist. The other custom-built sensor measures volatile organic compounds (gases) coming out of the mouth. These sensors are connected to the IoT development board and the data from these sensors will be analysed using machine learning to improve the quality of condition detection.

The 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge finalist pitching awards event was held at Telstra Labs in Melbourne on 26 May.

Thanks to all of our sponsors who helped us deliver another great event in 2018.

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

Skygrow’s blue-sky vision: using tree-planting robots to fight climate change

muru-D

Posted on May 18, 2018

3 min read

Planting a tree is a considerable task, even for someone who knows what they’re doing. Multiply that task a hundredfold and it’s even more daunting – except if you’re using a team of highly specialised tree-planting robots to lay the groundwork for you. SkyGrow, one of our muru-D #SYD5 startups, has a high-tech solution that will be part of the future of fighting climate change and sustaining biodiversity and ecosystems.

SkyGrow founder and CEO Mark Stewart believes that this, more than anything else he’s done before, has the potential to address climate change and environmental issues on a massive scale. Mark has a background in environmental regulation, and has a longstanding passion for trees and addressing the growing problem of deforestation in countries around the world.

It’s a grand vision: creating a sustainable world for future generations. But to get there, SkyGrow’s mission is deceptively simple. It’s a mission of scale: planting trees faster than the rate at which they’re being cleared by development and deforestation. For that, SkyGrow and Mark Stewart are turning to technology. Stewart isn’t shy about the potential: “Everything we’re doing is breaking new ground – quite literally, in some cases.”

“…our vision is to be out there – planting trees, making a more sustainable environment for humanity.”

With the economic cost of land degradation to communities and governments pegged at $US231 billion per year and rising[1], it’s clear that we need to do more to address the growing lack of established trees and vegetation – and that’s before you consider the overall impact of climate change. Tree planting is the obvious solution, but it’s not so simple. And it’s a worldwide problem, one that Stewart says you can see if you go for a drive, not just one restricted to faraway places like the Amazon.

It is true that the face of massive forests like the Amazon have changed in recent decades; in fact, Russia now has the world’s largest forest area[2]. Deforestation due to industrial logging continues and the solution is simply planting more trees. The problem with current tree planting methods is that they’re highly manual, requiring lots of physically fit planters who have to be trained and traditional planting methods are just far too slow to counter the rate of deforestation. Other robotic techniques use flying drones to disperse seeds, but this method is not suitable for native plants that don’t grow well from seeds and it is also not effective where hard soils exist.

With the help of our muru-D startup accelerator, SkyGrow is getting the resources it needs to succeed. From laying out business plans to refining the way the founders make decisions, along with startup funding, the #SYD5 cohort entrant appreciates the help. “It’s been both challenging and rewarding; it’s really busy, but we’re covering a lot. There are components of the accelerator that have driven me to critique certain aspects of our business and this has helped us become stronger and more resilient.”

Tags: Muru-D, startups,

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,

Meet the muru-D startups that want to change the world

muru-D

Posted on February 16, 2018

4 min read

The future of airborne human mobility, VR being used to rehabilitate stroke victims, and autonomous tree-planting robots are among the technologies being developed by the 10 startups accepted into muru-D’s SYD5 program, making up a cohort of companies focused on solving challenging global problems.

This cohort is our most diverse and ambitious yet.

It was important to us to select teams that have a social purpose element, using technology in innovative ways to solve real problems and create solutions for societies today and into the future.

We are focused on working with exceptional founders who are solving high impact, global problems. As part of the six-month program, they gain access to a purpose-built co-working space, a global network of mentors, alumni, investors and partners, an international trip to a startup hub, and many more perks.

I’m proud that muru-D continues to grow stronger each year and to have many of our alumni companies still actively involved in the program mentoring the next generation. With over 100 companies now in our portfolio, and 15 of these having raised $1 million or more in funding, we’re committed to continuing our support of the startup ecosystem throughout Australasia.

The SYD5 program commenced on 29 January, with each of the ten successful startups receiving $75,000 in seed capital investment.

The 10 successful companies accepted into SYD5 are:

  • AMSL Aero are developing an autonomous two-seat aircraft that can take off and land vertically and fly horizontally at 300km/h, an innovation paving the way for the future of human mobility. It is safer, faster, quieter and less expensive than helicopters.
  • Catalyser’s software and services provide customised business solutions for employers of all sizes to manage and grow their employee giving. In the two years since launching, Catalyser has facilitated over $2 million in donations for charities and has over 15,000 employee users in Australia, Asia, and the UK.
  • Cookitoo is a platform for cafes, restaurants and caterers to rent out their unused commercial kitchen space. From commercial cafes in Collingwood to revolutionary restaurants in Redfern, Cookitoo is changing the way food is made and consumed.
  • iCRM is a flexible cloud software platform that integrates with existing health and medical devices to deliver tailor-made care and support plans. iCRM has a mission to improve quality in-home care to the elderly and is already used in over one hundred aged care organisations in Australia.
  • Kiddsbay is the world’s first kid-friendly platform that provides every child the opportunity to achieve their dreams by unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit. Kiddsbay provides the platform for kids to launch their on-line business in a safe, fun, educational, global environment that connects communities and allows kids to take charge of their financial wellbeing.
  • Life Skills Group educate and empower children, teachers, schools and families to build a more compassionate, kinder and connected world. They are building a scalable and easily-distributed digital model to deliver wellbeing programs for primary and secondary students, as well as professional development programs for teachers and staff.
  • Neuromersiv are using Virtual Reality to make neuro rehab therapy fun and improve the quality of life for their users. Having a stroke or brain trauma can be life-changing for victims and their families. Neuromersiv offers a genuinely innovative solution to get people back on their feet as quickly as possible and lead normal, fulfilling lives again.
  • Share with Oscar is an on-demand platform for sharing private parking spaces. Founded by two female entrepreneurs passionate about finding a sustainable solution to the scarcity issues in our growing urban cities, Share with Oscar’s mobile platform allows the community to better utilise existing assets such as parking spaces through sharing.
  • SkyGrow are combatting the world’s deforestation problem by developing autonomous tree-planting robots (Growbots) that can rapidly plant billions of trees every year on behalf of communities, governments and industry. SkyGrow’s tree planting system is ten times faster and 15% cheaper than current methods.
  • vetchat is an online platform connecting pet owners with vets to help their pets in times of need. They deliver easy access to affordable, expert vet advice via one-on-one video consultations and on-demand chat. They have already helped thousands of Aussie pets and their parents.

I’m really excited to see how each and every one of these exciting new companies push themselves to grow and excel in their chosen field.

For more information head to muru-D.

How AI and voice technology are redefining SME-customer interactions

muru-D

Posted on November 29, 2017

4 min read

The booming Asia startup ecosystem has presented a lot of opportunities for technology startups in the region. With its startup accelerator muru-D in Singapore and venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures, Telstra has been fuelling this ecosystem and supporting companies as they establish themselves and expand their reach. In the second of a five-part series, hear from See Chat on how Telstra is helping it win the game.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) mean a lot to governments and policy makers, as well as infrastructure providers and multinational corporations (MNCs). Across nations, SMEs make up more than 30 percent (sometimes up to 60 percent) of the GDP, employ half to two-thirds of the population, and represent about 90 percent of all businesses. These numbers are staggering!

When you think of SMEs, what is the first thing that comes to mind? My team and I conducted a quick census and got some interesting answers – mom-and-pop shops, local cafés, hairstylists, neighbourhood grocery stores, plumbers, etc…

For most parts in our everyday lives, we rely on SMEs for goods and services.

There is, however, a disconnect.

Despite consumers’ willingness to engage through digital channels and devices, our research revealed that cost-consciousness, lack of technological know-how and high employee attrition is making it hard for SMEs to facilitate effective customer interaction and capture business leads.

I am passionate about helping businesses adopt technology that connects them with customers who want their daily needs addressed as soon as possible.

In 2015, I founded See Chat to transform this vision into a reality.

We have built a conversational communication and commerce platform that uses AI to connect SMEs with everyday consumers. This includes a customisable digital portal from which a listed SME can handle all forms of chat. The business can then interact in real-time through automated response and calendaring, as well as voice-assistant interaction and conversational search engine optimisation (SEO).

This makes it easy for businesses to say hello to consumers wherever they come from! Imagine if all your customer queries from directories, search engines, your website and social media pages or voice assistants could be captured on a single platform, with AI responding on your behalf. By 2020, 30 percent of all searches for products and services is expected to happen via voice assistants – this capability is becoming increasingly crucial.

I also strongly believe in knowing that you’re building the right ‘it’, before building ‘it’ right. For this reason, we joined muru-D Singapore.

The muru-D team was a crucial sounding board when we were thinking about our go-to-market strategy, pricing and product-market fit. We also got strong support from Telstra’s Chief Technology Office, which supported our research and development around AI-bots and machine learning modules.

I’m proud to share that See Chat’s solutions have received market validation. With two major enterprise customers – directory provider services – on board, we are connecting 900,000 SMEs with consumers across Asia and the Middle East. We are also expanding to support hotel and retail chains. Today, we power one of the first Smart Hotels in Singapore, enabling seamless in-app communication between hotel guests and staff.

The ‘digital divide’ refers to the gap between those who have access to technology and those who don’t. Globally, there are more than 100 million SMEs that have yet to go digital. They are currently missing out on a US$36 billion consumer engagement and sales opportunity.

See Chat aims to be the digital ‘voice’ for SMEs in the present and future. We are bridging the digital divide, to create value in economies and convenience for people at large.

 

See Chat is an alumnus from muru-D’s second cohort in Singapore. The program, currently in its third cohort, is supporting 11 Singapore-based startups.

Tags: Muru-D, technology,