Iot podcast: Smart City Innovation – how IoT is helping to build our cities of the future
Business and Enterprise | IoT |

Smart city innovation: how IoT is helping to build our cities of the future

By Michelle Bendschneider July 4, 2018

Driven by maturing Internet of Things (IoT) technology and infrastructure, Smart Cities are becoming more than a future concept; it’s now a reality. Whether it’s in the private sector with smart cabs and smart parking or in public infrastructure with traffic and waste management, there’s a big push to embrace smart city connectivity and the innovation it can enable.

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Connected infrastructure

With Australia’s population projected to double by 2075 and the average home predicted to climb from 13.7 to 30.7 connected devices by 2021, it’s critical that we build the infrastructure necessary to allow businesses, residents and tourists to seamlessly and securely connect what they want and need, as and when they want it.

Tasmania’s second-largest city, Launceston, aims to become one of Australia’s most innovative cities. In a partnership between Telstra, the University of Tasmania and Federal, State and Local government, the city has been chosen as the vanguard in Australia’s move into a connected future. To achieve its vision, it’s currently conducting trials to scope and define the future of city planning, healthcare, education and emergency management.

The backbone of these plans is the IoT infrastructure necessary to enable a smart city transformation: it’s gained access to Telstra’s Narrowband and Cat M1 IoT networks which integrate with connected devices used by homes and businesses.

Smart Services

Much of the current IoT infrastructure development is about preparing for future technology that capitalises on these specialised networks, but some of it can have a more immediate effect.

Telstra and Smart Parking have installed thousands of IoT ground sensors across several Australian council regions, including the City of Casey in Melbourne and the City of Joondalup in Perth, that monitor the use of parking spaces. This data feeds into a smartphone app that can offer precise directions to the nearest vacant spot so that drivers can stop circling around hoping to see an empty space.

There’s been an increasing rollout of smart bins, too, that notify maintenance crews when they need emptying, which allows for more efficient scheduling, a better citizen experience and fewer trucks on the road. Sensors have also been installed in parks and other places to monitor air quality, vehicle traffic flows and more. As an added bonus, the City of Joondalup has found that since its smart park technology trial the council’s internal culture has improved — with people now actively looking for digital solutions.

Data-driven planning and innovation

All this IoT infrastructure opens the door to technological innovation from the private sector. Take Cab Digital’s TaxiLive digital billboard system, for instance, which is expected to be fitted into 945 taxis Australia-wide by November 2018.

TaxiLive integrates a 32-inch digital screen into a custom-built boot, with on-board GPS data and mobile connectivity used to not only run tailored advertisements but to provide other road users with location, time and place-specific accident, traffic, weather or other alerts.

Better yet, there are future plans to share the data generated by TaxiLive-equipped cabs with roadside authorities to help with future transport and infrastructure planning. When a critical mass of taxis is reached, each generating real-time location data, we could see insights emerge about which areas of a city are under- or over-serviced by taxis at different times of the day.

The better the data gathered by sensors spread across connected cities, the better the potential optimisations and refinements to city infrastructure and services. Imagine AI-assisted reactive traffic management systems that automatically control lane openings and traffic light sequences to create the best flow of vehicles not in just one intersection but across the whole city. Or zoning regulations and urban planning decisions — not to mention local business investments — made according to insights identified in detailed real-world and predictive data analytics.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest benefit for IoT in our cities and their surrounding regions is likely still unknown as most successful initiatives so far have focused on small and well-defined business challenges.

The connected city’s greatest potential lies in the opportunities the technology creates for businesses to innovate, to dream up exciting use cases and new solutions to problems we might not even realise exist – and to actually make them a reality.

Green cities are smart cities
Business and Enterprise |

Why green cities are smart cities

By Merrick Spain March 19, 2018

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.

Business and Enterprise |

Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s opportunities

By Brendon Riley January 15, 2018

Today the world is characterised by intense disruption and change, but it’s not necessarily all about what’s around the corner.

When I speak with customers, regardless of what industry they are in, they, like us at Telstra, are all facing the same challenge – or opportunity depending on how you look at it.

It’s about deciding how to capture the opportunity of today – the new technologies, new capabilities and skills to invest in – and how that will shape a tomorrow where everything that can be connected will be connected and automated.

Switching on IoT

One of the most remarkable examples of this is in the deployment of new tech in mining. Autonomous mine sites, transportation links, port logistics is an area of massive investment, and we are heavily involved with a number of the leading mining companies here in Australia on that transformation. Combined with the IoT network we’ve lit up – the Telstra IoT Network – the next set of opportunities for this sector is already apparent.

We already have more than two million IoT services in place. With the Telstra IoT Network now one of the only in the world to offer both Cat M1 and Narrowband – specially designed IoT technologies that can support devices like sensors, trackers and monitors operating at very lower data rates and with extended battery life – we are working with customers on IoT solutions for a number of industries.

Another great example of IoT in action is that of Peloris Global Sourcing, a company that delivers Australian fresh food onto the shelves of Chinese supermarkets. They took on a challenge of shipping fresh milk to China – a challenge that was impossible just three years ago.

Peloris is now responsible for about 40 per cent of all fresh milk exports into China. This was made possible through the introduction of the Internet of Things technology into their supply chain.

The team from Peloris can access data in real time to assure the quality of the milk, monitoring its temperature all the way from the farm to when it arrives in China.

This visibility and transparency at all stages of the supply chain has helped improve overall efficiency and has been endorsed by China Inspection and Quarantine Bureau for rapid border clearance for China food imports. What used to take two to three weeks can now happen in just 36 hours.

What is even more exciting are the opportunities IoT technology has opened up for Peloris. The company is already developing channels to market for other short shelf life products into China and new markets across Asia. They have opened a new office in Malaysia which has potential to be a hub for the distribution of dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables and chilled seafood from Australia into the ASEAN region including Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Delivering smarter transportation

Recently, on a trip to Europe a number of Telstra’s leaders met with Scania, one of the world’s leading transportation companies.

They talked to us about how they are increasing vehicle connectivity that is allowing Scania to gather a huge amount of valuable information in real time and then use that data to increase productivity, improve maintenance and deliver services tailored to the specific needs of customers.

They also talked about their work in pioneering the concept of platooning, which will be reliant on increased connectivity across their fleet – they are already, working on the first full-scale autonomous truck platooning operation in Singapore.

Platooning involves the configuration of truck and trailer combinations driving in close formation, to reduce air drag and fuel consumption.

Currently, trucks drive at a safe distance from each other using common in-vehicle features such as radar and cruise control.

With the addition of vehicle-to-vehicle communications and interconnected control systems an even narrower distance between trucks would increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption by as much as 12 per cent.

Recently, Tesla, a well-known player in the autonomous driving space, debuted its electric semi-truck. Available in two years’ time – they will feature an enhanced autopilot, the company’s newest semi-autonomous driving technology used in its passenger cars, and will have a range of up to 800km.

Like Scania and Tesla, Telstra Enterprise sees IoT and smarter transportation as a major opportunity. In November, we acquired GPS and fleet management solutions provider MTData. This investment fast tracks our enterprise connected vehicle offering capitalising on our business ready IoT capability.

The future with 5G

As we enter a new era of disruption fuelled by the advent of 5G we will see more and more industries and companies exploring what that future could look like.

In addition to the big enterprise use cases for IoT, 5G technology will also enable opportunities around the edges of the network. This will put computing capacity closer to the home or the user changing the way we access information, delivering benefits such as dramatically decreased battery use.

We will discover new ways to address old problems, new opportunities to pursue and new skills to develop.

During our time in Europe, the discussions we had and the technology innovation we saw confirmed that the strategic path of Telstra Enterprise and Telstra as a whole is aligned to both the market opportunity and the way many other tech companies see the world.

As we purposefully invest to address the challenges of today and support Telstra’s shift to become a world-class tech company of tomorrow, Australia must also invest now to become more of a tech country and that is where we all have a role to play.

Business and Enterprise |

CES 2018: Consumer trends that will shape the enterprise industry

By Michelle Bendschneider January 12, 2018

At CES this week, more than 180,000 visitors will flood through Las Vegas to check out the 4000 exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest technology of 2018.

Whilst typically CES has been a consumer show, we can’t ignore the tech trends demonstrated on the floor ground that will inevitably shape the enterprise year ahead.

As we’ve seen time and time again, it is the consumer trends that influence enterprise software – experiences in mobile, social, cloud, analytics and video have all started in the consumer world but ultimately transformed how businesses operate and employees interact.

Here are three technologies at CES 2018 that are already making a mark on the enterprise industry:

Smart cities

The term ‘smart cities’ is used to describe how the use of information and communication technologies can transform the social, cultural and urban development in cities. Smart cities have rapidly evolved in numerous ways over the last few years, and with this evolution there has been a shift from a technology focus to a smart city that puts the focus back on the citizen.

This year, CES will deliver this concept, including a comprehensive program with key thought leaders in the industry and a dedicated exhibit area. The marketplace will showcase technologies that will shape smart cities, featuring artificial intelligence systems, sensors, transportation and other devices.

We’ve already seen progressive examples of Australian smart cities. More and more, local governments and councils are innovating and embracing technology to create better cities for the next generation.

Augmented and virtual reality

Pokémon Go was a game changer, and it was inevitable that the explosion of AR and VR in the consumer world would shift the way businesses interact with the technology. This year, we will see AR and VR continue to become more mainstream. Everyone from brand marketers, content producers, sports technologists and healthcare professionals are using AR and VR to create immersive experiences.

Companies like Microsoft and Readify are already using mixed reality devices to transform customer experience, for example with construction company Laing O’Rourke.

Digital team collaboration

Our culture has shifted. Social networks are often the first and most trusted source of information. Whilst social networks have traditionally been consumer facing technology, businesses too are embracing intuitive collaborative tools.

Alternatives to email have been created by eager start-ups and are now becoming entrenched in enterprises, for example with Microsoft Skype for Business and Teams, or’s Chatter. All of these enable teams within an enterprise to send messages to other team members in ways that overcome issues with email, and are particularly suited to desk-based workers like software developers.