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Tag: sustainability

Give for our kids this Good Friday

Sustainability Business and Enterprise

Posted on March 28, 2018

2 min read

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) has played a critical role caring for some of the most vulnerable in our community – our children – for over 140 years, and the Good Friday Appeal helps continue this initiative. Get involved and give our children a brighter future.

Understanding the amazing professionalism and dedication of the staff at the RCH cannot really be appreciated until you have been personally touched.

Numbers only tell some of the story, and here are some that give an indication of the incredible work they do:

  • 85,991 emergency presentations
  • 322,291 specialist clinic appointments
  • 4,656 emergency surgeries
  • 437 children cared for on any given day

I’m proud that we are again the telecommunications sponsor for the RCH’s Good Friday Appeal which is happening this Friday, 30 March. This not-for-profit charity raises money to ensure the RCH can continue to care for our children and raised $17,605,662 last year. We are helping connect 200 phone lines for a 15-hour telethon, and you can also donate online.

A recent search of the archives has revealed that Telstra’s partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital goes back further than we had originally thought. News articles dating back to 1955 have been found that a one Mrs. Roy Walters from the Postmasters-General’s Department, who had already been volunteering as a telephonist for ten years at that time (meaning Telstra’s involvement goes back to at least 1945), posits Telstra’s involvement at 73 years. Like this connected legacy, our involvement continues this year.

This year, our sponsorship involves setting up the telethon room for the event with the 200 phone lines needed for the 15-hour event, using our Telstra Cloud Collaboration Cisco Powered product, which is an easy way to set up a flexible and adaptable call centre. Last year we connected over 17,000 calls and we hope this year there will be many more. Open your hearts and give to the Good Friday Appeal so our children can have the care they deserve.

Advice from charity award winners: propel your business digitally

Telstra Business Awards Advice

Posted on March 27, 2018

3 min read

In light of our refreshed Telstra Business Awards program, we speak to some of our past Charity Award winners to find out the doors that have opened for them since taking home their title – along with their advice for prospective charities and social enterprises considering entering this year.

Now in their 26th year, the Telstra Business Awards have evolved to provide greater value to the Australian business community. We’ve updated the Awards program to better reflect current business trends, including replacing our previous Charity Award with a new Social Change Maker category.

This new category will recognise outstanding organisations where a positive social impact is at the core of their purpose and will be open to not-for-profit, social enterprise and profit-for-purpose organisations.

Celebrating social enterprises

There are currently around 20,000 social enterprises in Australia. With the number growing steadily, we recognised the importance of celebrating these organisations.

Simon Rowe, CEO of the 2017 Telstra Victorian Charity Award winner sleepbus, comments that the evolving social enterprise space is an exciting one. “Social enterprises are a powerful movement,” he says. “Not only do they innovate, disrupt and inspire, they are also creating hope, passion, jobs and above all, they’re making our world better by helping those less fortunate.”

“Social enterprises demand recognition because of what they are able to achieve financially and the social impact they can have,” Simon adds.

For Scott Rankin, CEO of 2017 Telstra Tasmanian Charity Award winner Big hART, ‘social’, ‘change’ and ‘maker’ are the three most important words in the English language. “Imagine the world without them,” he says. “This new category is important because building a better world is fundamental to continuing to be able to do business. Social change making results in sustainability.”

“Doors are flying open”

Our Alumni credit their Awards wins with opening up new opportunities and experiences for their organisation – almost from the moment their names were announced. For 2017 Telstra Australian Charity Award winner, MS Research Australia, that resulted in approaches from many more donors and philanthropists interested in their cause.

“The digital media exposure that came off the back of winning an Award has provided additional assurance to those affected by MS regarding our transparency, innovation, and our progressive focus,” says CEO Dr. Matthew Miles.

Similarly, Scott Rankin says since winning, doors have been flying open for Big hART. “From speaking to the Tasmanian State Cabinet about digital inclusion and prevention strategies for family violence, through to pitching our business to forward-thinking philanthropic bodies, we are continually searching for transformative projects that work,” Scott says.

Winning advice

For charities and social enterprises considering entering this year’s Awards, Dr. Miles says to use the opportunity for your own advancement: “My advice would be to enjoy the opportunity and meet as many people as you can. It’s a great chance to think differently about how you work.”

As for Simon Rowe, his advice is to ‘just do it’. “You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s a fantastic opportunity to benchmark what you’re doing, engage with others and to learn from each other.”

To make this year ‘that’ year for your not-for-profit, social enterprise or profit-for-purpose organisation, be sure to submit your entry before 28 of March and enter by the 9 of April.

Anyone can nominate, so if you know a deserving charity or social enterprise, nominate them for a Telstra Business Award today.

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.

Indigenous Digital Excellence is everywhere, you just have to look


Posted on October 4, 2017

4 min read

There’s no denying technological and digital innovations have transformed the global economy and the way people live their lives in communities across Australia.

But what happens when digital technology is embraced by the world’s oldest living culture?

On Friday night over 300 people gathered on Gadigal land at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Sydney for the inaugural National Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Awards.

The first of their kind in Australia, the awards shine a light on the intersection of digital technology and the world’s oldest living culture, and showcase the digital excellence and innovation that is happening right now, across our nation.

From robotics, 3D printing, using drones to capture imagery of country, to coding and developing apps to preserve language and culture for future generations, IDX is happening everywhere. It’s just a matter of looking for it.

The centerpiece of the IDX Initiative, the partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Telstra Foundation, the awards celebrate some of our brightest minds and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. The Telstra Foundation hosted several tables at the event and we were joined by luminaries from Indigenous culture, the media and the arts as we celebrated Indigenous innovation and ingenuity.

Under big lights and on the black carpet, 14 finalists from across Australia were recognised for their work in the innovation space, and Indigenous app developers, digital designers, entrepreneurs, online educators and virtual reality artists were selected as winners across seven award categories.

Let me introduce you to the 2017 National IDX Award winners.

Learnings and Education Award recipient Wayne Denning is a Birra Gubba man from Blackwater, Central Queensland and the owner and managing director of Carbon Media. Wayne conceived the STEM.I.AM program, designed to promote the study of STEM with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth around Australia.

Culture and Country Award recipient Victor Steffenson is based in North Queensland and the creator of the Living Knowledge Place, a community driven education site. Developed in collaboration with Elders from across Australia, the site addresses the need to make traditional and cultural knowledge practices accessible to the next generation by using modern technology.

Head to the centre of Australia where NT, SA and WA intersect and you will meet the women that form the NPY Women’s Council, and recipients of the Wellbeing Award. The women have developed a customisable language dictionary app that enables communication by providing words in Pitjatjantjara and Ngaanyatjarra and English translations to create a shared understanding of the language used to talk about feelings to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their people.

In Darwin, Young Innovator of the Year Brooke Ottley works as a digital designer. A Gunggari, Wuthathi and Torres Strait Islander woman, Brooke is a talented graphic designer who after almost 10 years’ in her field and a study tour in New York, has become Darwin’s most popular Airbnb host, hosting over 380 travellers in her own home.

Keep heading North, off the coast of Arnhem Land, NT and you will reach Galiwinku, Elcho Island and the home of Digital Elder of the Year Ernest Gondarra. Ernest learnt how to use a computer for the first time only in the last few years through the Arnhem Land Progress Association’s (ALPA) Plastic Fantastic program. Plastic Fantastic is an innovative recycling program that allows Elders and young people to learn skills in technology, while sharing the importance of caring for country. Ernest has used his new found skills in design and 3D printing, to create culturally significant objects for the Gatjirrk Cultural Festival.

In Sydney, Luke Briscoe, a proud Kuku-Yalanji man from Far North Queensland is the recipient of the Pathways and Employment Award. Luke founded the Indigenous owned and operated business INDIGI LAB to create innovative projects for social and environmental change through digital culture. Luke’s goal is to establish national Indigenous ethical guidelines in science and digital technology to support a better understanding, value and respect for Indigenous knowledge in these fields.

Finally head to Queensland’s capital and meet Dean Foley, this year’s recipient of the Entrepreneurship Award. A young Kamilaroi man from Brisbane, Dean is the founder of Australia’s first Indigenous Start-up Weekend and Bayaramal, Australia’s first Indigenous run accelerator for Indigenous businesses. The start-up event and incubator offer a platform for Indigenous entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and skills, to learn and develop businesses that benefit them and their community.

The Telstra Foundation has committed $5 million over five years to the national IDX initiative, a partnership with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. This initiative supports Indigenous participation in the digital landscape and assists young Indigenous people to build careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering, maths – and arts.

Remarkable startups: How Huy’s changing the game


Posted on August 22, 2017

4 min read

There’s a reason why the Remarkable Accelerator has such a bold name. In part it’s the Remarkable ideas behind each of the inclusive startups who are part of the program. But mostly it’s because of the Remarkable people involved. We want to share their Remarkable Stories. Here’s Huy’s story.

Two things changed Huy Nguyen’s fate in the earliest years of his life. Born in Vietnam, at 18-months-old Huy contracted polio. It invaded his nervous system causing irreversible paralysis to his legs. This was only part of the catalyst for the second significant change just three years later, when the Nguyen family made the 12,000km journey to Australia to start a new life.

Today, the 32-year-old humanitarian engineer and technology entrepreneur, often reflects on what could have been his ‘alternate life’. As a person with a physical disability he is acutely aware that had his family stayed in Vietnam, he would not have had the same opportunities afforded to him in Australia.

It’s perhaps for this reason meeting a young man in East Timor six years ago had such an impact.

Huy travelled to Timor in 2011 to work with the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) agencies, focusing on the needs of people with disabilities. It’s a trip he describes with one word: enlightening. In Timor even the topic of disability is taboo – to have a disability is seen to be living with a curse. That’s the environment Joel, a bright young East Timorese man who lost the use of his legs in a car accident, lived in.

“Joel is just like me, but because of where he lives, he has no opportunity for employment or even for education – and a different level of care and support available,” Huy explains. “While I was there I started to think about the power of technology and how we could use it to amplify education and training surrounding disabilities.”

And the idea of Enabler was born.

Huy explains that Enabler is a new way to train disability support workers. Instead of broad-ranging, theory-based courses and death-by-PowerPoint, Enabler uses a mobile 3D platform to put learners into real-life situations.

“It’s scenario-based and immersive training – putting people into real life simulated environments. By using 3D animated scenarios, support workers are able to practice real-life and emergency scenarios,” Huy explains.

And it can be accessed anywhere, any time – creating easy-to-access, bespoke training for people in regional and remote areas. What’s more, there’s a desperate need for Enabler.

“Did you know that Australia needs to double the amount of well trained disability support and aged care workers by 2020?” Huy says. “That’s 600,000 we need to train. Enabler is going to help achieve that.”

Angela Li is Huy’s partner in life and co-founder of Enabler; she is also his carer. The pair met at university and have never looked back. Angela’s understanding of the role of a carer, and the physical impacts of Huy’s polio, bring the depth of knowledge that only the lived experience can bring.

“Enabler was born out of my personal need,” Huy says. “But this is not just about me. It’s about the one in five Australians who have a disability, it’s about our fast-aging population. These people need disability support services to be able to fully participate in society.”

And through the Remarkable Accelerator its training they will be delivered sooner than they had hoped. Huy and Angela were one of eight businesses to be part of this year’s 16-week Remarkable program – an accelerator for early stage startups using technology to change the lives of people with disabilities. A partnership between the Telstra Foundation and Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Remarkable is Australia’s first inclusive startup accelerator and provides funding, masterclasses and world-class mentoring through a 16-week program.

“To me, Remarkable is about starting an important cultural shift in business innovation,” Huy says.  “For too long the disability movement has been seen as a charity and hand-out cause. It’s anything but that. Remarkable is about showing the value that accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities brings to our community – both socially and economically. We’re thrilled to have been part of this Remarkable program and growing our business with like-minded startups who are on the same journey.”

Find out more about Enabler here.