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Tag: sustainability

New tech to help homeless youth connect to services

Telstra Foundation Tech4Good

Posted on August 6, 2019

3 min read

In line with Homelessness Week – an annual awareness-raising week to highlight the 116,000 Australians who are homeless on any given night – Infoxchange announces the development of its new technology to help vulnerable Australians better connect to support and services.

Powered by the Telstra Foundation’s Tech4Good Challenge, Infoxchange is working to develop its award-winning mobile website, Ask Izzy, with the aim of providing a more conversational, personalised and supportive way to connect young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to services.

Launched in 2016, Ask Izzy connects people in need with housing, meals, money help, family violence support, counselling and much more. It is free and anonymous, with over 370,000 services listed across Australia.

With the 2016 Census of Population and Housing revealing that nearly 60% of homeless people were aged under 35 years, Infoxchange is now working on the next evolution of Ask Izzy, to better help homeless youth connect to the services they need.

Originally pitched as a voice assistant, the next iteration of Ask Izzy is being developed based on insights, research and design testing, which found young people are more likely to use a chatbot. Through in-depth interviews and co-design workshops, Infoxchange is working closely with service providers and over 35 young people with lived experience of homelessness to co-design chatbot functionality that best meets the needs of homeless youth.

Set to roll out in March 2020, the chatbot is currently in testing and is the biggest change to the Ask Izzy platform since 2016. Through the chatbot functionality, Ask Izzy will better help connect people to the support they need while maintaining human connection and integrity for its users.

Telstra has been a long-standing supporting partner in the development of Ask Izzy and we’re thrilled to be part of the next phase of the journey with Infoxchange, to ensure we’re developing technology that will help disrupt the cycle of youth homelessness.

Ask Izzy is free to use on the Telstra mobile network, meaning that people don’t need to rely on credit or access to Wi-Fi in order to use the site. With more than 2.5 million searches on the site since it was first launched in 2016, Ask Izzy connects tens of thousands of people to the help they need every month.

Also just launched is the Telstra Top-up program, which provides a complimentary $30 recharge to those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and or/family violence. The program is available to specialist housing providers via Infoxchange across Australia and eligible services have already been sent an invitation to opt-in.

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, we are encouraging people to make a $15 donation to purchase an Ask Izzy mobile power card. Up to four hours of power can be just enough to find a meal, health services, a blanket or even a bed for the night. The cards are rechargeable and will be distributed through homeless service providers around the country.

National Reconciliation Week 2019: honesty for the journey ahead

Telstra News

Posted on May 30, 2019

3 min read

The journey towards reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians is ongoing, and as Chair of Telstra’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, I’m proud Telstra recognises the need to be honest about its history as a company in order to build and strengthen connections moving forward.

With this always in mind, we recognise the importance of National Reconciliation Week, to foster a better relationship between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. National Reconciliation Week is book-ended by the same dates every year, 27 May and 3 June, to commemorate two historical milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court’s Mabo decision.

Recent research commissioned by Reconciliation Australia shows that 80 per cent of Australians in the general community and 91 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples believe it’s important to undertake formal truth-telling processes. Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.

Australia’s history is marred by the struggles of our First Nations’ people. In order to move forward to reconciliation, we must acknowledge the truths of our difficult history to move on and create a bright future for all Australians – one where everyone can thrive. That’s what this year’s National Reconciliation Week is all about.

The theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week is Grounded in Truth: Walk Together With Courage. It’s a simple yet powerful message, one that carries with it a charge for all Australians. In order to achieve meaningful reconciliation, we must build our relationship and grow trust with truth-telling. By grounding our bonds in these truths, we will walk together with courage to fulfill the promise of our future.

Telstra understands its role in the nation’s past, which is why it is committed to help shape the future. CEO Andrew Penn says that this recognition is key to participating in reconciliation.

“Telstra in one form or another can, in fact, trace its technology origins back to the advent of the Overland Telegraph Line in the 1870s.

“Its construction was not without incident and impact on Aboriginal peoples. For some, it was the start of an irreversible disruption to the traditional way of life. It is important to acknowledge this history.”

“We have a compelling responsibility and an important role to play as a facilitator for economic development and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, no matter where they are across the nation.”

The Telstra 2018-2021 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) helps facilitate the organisation’s reconciliation journey. It commits to the development of respectful relationships and creating meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Telstra’s vision will be achieved by harnessing the strengths of the organisation to build digital futures, providing employment and opportunities to lift economic participation, and creating a culturally responsive and engaged organisation that is imbued with the values and history of First Nations peoples.

This National Reconciliation Week, let’s walk together with courage for the future.

For more information, visit Reconciliation Australia.

Industry associations and the valuable role they play


Posted on April 26, 2019

4 min read

Over the last 12 months or so there has been increasing stakeholder and community interest in the role of industry associations, particularly their contributions to public policy development and the setting of industry regulations and standards.

Why we value membership in industry associations

Telstra maintains memberships with a number of industry and broader business associations that we believe provide value to our business, industry and the wider economy.

The value and scope of the services provided varies across associations, but in general they have an important role to play through activities like sharing of global best practice and contributing to the development of effective policy, regulation and industry standards, all things that ultimately benefit our industry, the economy, and society as a whole.

Depending on the circumstances, association memberships can also bring access to the latest industry thinking and insights around important issues like health and safety, the environment, indigenous reconciliation, regional communities and community engagement.

They also provide the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with other members, including those who may hold views different to ours. That diversity of thought is something we see as a positive; an opportunity for different attitudes and positions to contribute to open debate, discussion and hopefully consensus on complex issues.

Our principles for engaging with key industry associations

We have developed a set of principles to guide and inform how we engage with industry associations. While the scope of different industry associations varies, in general, we seek to be part of organisations which:

  • Create value for Telstra and our industry
  • Create opportunities to better understand issues affecting our industry and contribute to the development of effective and efficient policy, regulation and industry standards
  • Create professional development and training opportunities
  • Facilitate the sharing of industry best practice and insights
  • Assist us to better understand the diverse views held on important issues affecting industry.

In maintaining our membership with industry associations we know that all members will not share the same position on all issues, which means there will be times when other members will have views not aligned with Telstra’s position. Where this occurs, we engage with the association leadership and ensure our position is publicly disclosed. We believe industry associations should refrain from advocacy in areas where no broad industry consensus exists – in these areas individual members are best placed to advocate their views independently.

In addition we also regularly review our memberships of industry associations to ensure our participation remains constructive and in line with our broader interests and positions on key issues.  We also expect industry associations to have clear and transparent governance and advocacy and lobbying arrangements.

All of these principles can be found on our website.

Industry associations and climate change

We recognise there is community interest in the role of industry associations in relation to policy advocacy on climate change.

In line with our positioning and principles, we have commenced an alignment review of our key industry memberships in relation to climate change. The basis for this review – which we will complete in 2019 – will be our Climate Change Position Statement.

Where we identify material differences between Telstra’s position on climate change policy and the advocacy positions of our industry associations, we will engage directly with them.

We will provide an update on the outcomes of this process in our Sustainability disclosures.

An important role to play

Business has an important role to play in addressing climate change and it is critical we work in partnership with governments and the wider community to minimise the environmental, economic and social impacts.

At Telstra we certainly accept our responsibility to help facilitate low-carbon growth, to minimise our emissions as a large user of power and to help other businesses reduce their own emissions through the adoption of new technologies and communication tools. More broadly we see value in connecting with other businesses – the like-minded and those who have other positions – through industry associations to find the best path forward.

International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter


Posted on March 4, 2019

2 min read

International Women’s Day is being celebrated on 8 March and the theme is #BalanceForBetter.

The 8th of March is International Women’s Day, an annual global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We celebrate this progress while acknowledging that there is still a lot of work to be done if we are to achieve true gender equality.

The proportion of women in any workforce is only one aspect of gender balance. The true benefits for individuals, businesses and economies are only achieved when all people are able to access fair opportunities, rewards and resources regardless of their gender.

Telstra is proud to be widely acknowledged as a leading employer of women. Last week we were recognised for the fifth time as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

It takes commitment to achieve the citation. We’ve been monitoring, and closing, our gender pay gap for a number of years. It is well below the Australian national average. We have clear objectives to ensure that women are proportionately represented in management and executive roles, as well as our overall workforce.

Gender balance doesn’t only benefit women. True balance is achieved by giving everyone access to flexibility and leave to balance their working and caring roles.  Telstra enables flexibility through the use of technology, provides paid parental leave and carer’s leave and gives employees the option to purchase additional annual leave.

Kylie Fuller left receiving Telstra’s citation from Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

We also care about women in the community – from the Telstra Business Women’s Awards that celebrate and reward high achievers, to the Safe Connections program that supports women who are escaping domestic and family violence- we’re committed to making a positive difference.

Conserving water with IoT: our partnership with Busselton Water and Software AG

Business and Enterprise

Posted on February 26, 2019

2 min read

We’re trialing an innovative water management solution in collaboration with Software AG and Western Australia’s Busselton Water, using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and an analytics solution to monitor and manage water across the Busselton area of WA, saving water while simultaneously lowering operating costs.

Water is a scarce resource, and conserving it wherever possible is a constant process of research and development. New and innovative solutions like IoT, using our 3.5 million square kilometres of NB-IoT network coverage, makes intelligent sensing possible, with benefits for individual customers and water utilities – like detecting pressure drops from blockages or leaks in water infrastructure and more detailed usage and consumption information.

Our partnership with Software AG, starting with a proof-of-concept trial with Busselton Water in Western Australia, will use our IoT platform and Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT Solution Accelerator for Water Management to provide utilities companies a quick way to gain insights from meter data and help minimise the cost of water supply. Given that Busselton Water is already using radio frequency monitoring for its over 26,000 customers in the region, they are well placed to test this innovative water management system.

The solution collects available sensor data like pressure, consumption, and alerts such as pressure drops from a new generation of digital water meters managed via Telstra’s IoT platform and the Cumulocity IoT Accelerator running in the cloud. The solution offers off-the-shelf tools for monitoring and managing all this data, and dashboards provide users with near real-time full state-of-play at any given time.

Utilities can add customizable tools and water utility specific dashboards to monitor other data metrics such as aggregated consumption over time, min/max/average flow and trend analysis, as well as peak and non-peak consumption. We will offer the solution to water utilities around Australia either as a standalone product or as part of our IoT for Intelligent Utilities package.

We are very excited to use our deep expertise and relationships in the water industry and technology partnerships to build a solution that meets the specific requirements of water utilities. By adding insight to the data our utilities collect, our solutions will help save water and improve services for customers.