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Virtual reality: the future of content

Tech and Innovation

Posted on January 18, 2018

4 min read

The blend between our virtual existence and the physical world has become a normal part of our lives. We are living life through a screen already, so the jump into virtual reality (VR) is not as large a leap as one would expect.

With all of the big tech players pushing hard in the VR race, it’s only a matter of years until we see people sitting next to us on the train with their headsets on. Technology is moving at such a rapid pace in the VR industry, product releases are coming thick and fast, and everyone is trying to be the first past the post to bring a full VR experience into a simple, comfortable, standalone device.

The future of VR

The future of the headset will be one where augmented reality (AR) is the minimum and one can transition into VR or “full immersion” with ease. Microsoft has termed this mixed reality (MR), and with the advent of inside-out tracking has lead the way in making standalone headsets that enable not only looking around the virtual world, but also walking around too.

The ‘full’ VR experience will continue to expand with the release of haptic clothing and gloves, allowing for virtual touch to be included into the development of the VR experience. As VR developers start to utilise these haptic touch devices, the beauty of MR will come into its own and the physical-virtual blend will be truly immersive.

The reason why VR development is moving at such a rapid pace is because of the synergy between hardware and software development. All of the large players are releasing their own platforms to view VR content – and as it stands now, the pathway to content is quite sporadic and device-dependent. This will likely change, with the first company to create a great customer experience at all touch points going a long way to being the ‘Netflix of VR’.

But this will most likely have a shelf life as technology advances, and smart device manufacturers start to adapt their offerings into the MR space. One thing that won’t change is the need for a super-fast network to deliver the content and experience – however it is offered.

Taking VR into the mainstream

Virtual Reality at CES 2018

As VR becomes more mainstream, it will move from the ‘gamer’ space via film-making, and eventually into advertising and public relations (PR). The marriage between VR and PR is quite a simple one, as it makes a lot more financial sense to create a PR activation that can then be taken into the virtual world and experienced by the masses.

No longer is a PR or advertising opportunity going to be bound by the laws of physics or geography; in the near future, utilising AR, ads will be able to be generated into each of our mixed reality experiences for both our entertainment and the company’s ROI.

“Surfing” the web will move from being a nice analogy into reality, with companies like Web VR already playing with the idea of virtual websites. VR for websites has always been what we’ve imagined the best user experience on the Internet to be, and this will enable mass adoption of VR – bringing with it new rules for UX design and web design alike.

The virtual desktop will enable people to work in even tighter spaces, with an unlimited number of screens and at a larger scale than ever before. Productivity will increase, and people will truly be able to immerse themselves in their work.

VR will invade many different industries from both a consumer and enterprise perspective regardless of history. There are already no limits to where someone can take their experience inside the virtual world – and as technology keeps advancing, the limits to how VR can interact with the physical world keep expanding.

There are a few questions that will arise as VR is widely adopted: will one company be able to truly “own” VR? How will ethics become a part of VR development practices? How will VR start to affect us as humans – as we start to interact more with the virtual world, is it inevitable that our physical interactions will decline?

These are the top skills we’re looking to hire in 2018

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on January 15, 2018

5 min read

We’re on our way to becoming a world-class technology company that empowers people to connect.

To help us achieve this goal we’re actively working on building the networks of the future that’ll help people find better ways to communicate, learn, and do business.

Business is changing so we’re trying to move as fast as the industry around us, but success can only be achieved by having the right people doing extraordinary things.

We are trialling 5G technology, developing Internet of Things network capabilities and deploying optical transport technology in our transmission network.

Sqoop, Spark, Hive, Flume, Oozie, and NumPy may sound like band names to me, but on a serious note, I know that these are the kinds of tools and skills that our workforce of the future needs to help us be successful for our customers.

Even then, that only refers to a fraction of the talent we’re seeking. These are the biggest areas we’re looking to hire in, in 2018:

Data Analytics and Management

Data. It’s the thing I use to make informed decisions but the same can be said for any good business. The challenge is that there’s a lot of data out there and its growth rate is exponential, so we need talented data specialists to help us make sense of it all.

Whether your specialty is data analysis, architecture, or modelling there will be room for your skills at Telstra.

Learn more about where a role in Data Analytics could take you at Telstra.

 Telstra Labs working environments

Information and Cyber Security Specialists

As our networks get smarter, so too are the threats against it.

We’ve recently launched Security Operations Centres (SOCs) in Melbourne and Sydney giving our people the tools and environment they need to identify and neutralise threats before they happen.

This means you’ll get to work on a scale you won’t find anywhere else.

Learn more about where a role in Information and Cyber Security could take you at Telstra.

Solution Architects

A great customer experience doesn’t just happen, it’s designed. In order to build our capability in customer solutions, we’re seeking technical specialists with a broad range of expertise in user design. We’re particularly looking for people who have the customer journey front of mind, these skills will help us deliver products end-to-end.

Our Solutions Architects will have a critical role in helping us digitise our network of the future and enhance how our customers engage with us in better ways.

Learn more about where a role in Solution Architecture could take you at Telstra.

Security operations specialist Roxanne speaks to her colleagues about a recent innovation

Infrastructure Designers and Engineers

Find yourself at home in a DevOps and Agile environment? Comfortable coding in Python and looking at better ways to deploy automation? You’ll find yourself among friends with our Infrastructure Designers and Engineers then.

This area of growth is an exciting space particularly because of the types of work you’ll have access to. It’ll also make it easy for people to adopt and use our technology, which will help to enrich their lives.

Learn more about where a role in Infrastructure Design and Engineering could take you at Telstra.

Innovation lab - west wing

Network Engineers

As Australia’s largest telecommunications and technology provider, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’d be looking for network engineers. But it’s the kinds of networks you’ll be working that makes our business so unique.

In 2017, we launched our Cat M1 network to better accelerate growth of IoT based business and applications across the country as well as laying the groundwork for the national rollout of 5G technology.

Did you know we’re going to be testing 5G technology on the Gold Coast in 2018? It’s exciting projects like this that you may be able to work on.

Learn more about where a role in Network Engineering could take you at Telstra.

Product and Service Designers

As our new projects and technologies transform from ideas to viable products for our customers, we’re going to need the right people with the right skills to ensure they’re designed to world-class standards.

We put the customer at the heart of everything we do, so we’ll be looking for designers of products, digital experiences, app developers and more to join our dynamic teams.

Learn more about where a role in Product and Service Design could take you at Telstra.

Innovation Lab - east wing

Software Engineers

Our Software Engineers will need to be ambitious, curious, and ready for a challenge.

A job with us will give you the opportunity to work on projects that have real impact on our customers and society.

You’ll need to be familiar with APIs for leading technology platforms and integrations, work in an Agile manner (typically Scrum), and have a willingness to apply data to make informed decisions that deliver results. Better still, your skills could be deployed right around our business so you’ll have no trouble keeping busy.

Learn more about where a role in Software Engineering could take you at Telstra.

It’s a new year filled with new opportunities. I hope this list has presented you with more insight into what we’re looking for and perhaps offered you a glimpse into your future career with us.

We work collaboratively as a team, as one Telstra, and I look forward to you joining us.

360 video: Tech trends for 2018 that will change your everyday life

Tech and Innovation

Posted on December 12, 2017

1 min read

Hot off the technology presses at Telstra’s Chief Technology Office – meet the five trends that will change your everyday life next year, including everything from the mass adoption of voice assistance, to cheering on the newest category of athletes and the tech toys your kids actually want for Christmas.

If you prefer listening to our tech trends on the go, listen to our in-depth podcast on the 2018 tech trends here:

 

Tags: technology, trends,

Technology to prevent prescription medication overdoses

Tech and Innovation

Posted on November 30, 2017

2 min read

Prescription pill packet

Last year, 372 Victorians died from an overdose of prescription medicines, which is higher than the road toll for five years in a row. From 2008-2014 alone, there was an 87 percent increase in the number of prescription opioid deaths in Australia. These are devastating statistics and ones that technology can help change.

Currently, there is no way for health practitioners who prescribe and dispense addictive medications to know if their patient may be getting prescriptions for the same drugs from other doctors. This lack of visibility makes it difficult for practitioners to identify patients at risk of addiction, which means they might not be getting the support they need to prevent the damaging and often life threatening consequences of drug dependency.

Technology can help play a role here. Real time prescription monitoring, which provides an electronic view of what other controlled medications a patient might be accessing, is a strategic priority for the Victorian Government in its effort to reduce the real and growing harms from prescription medicine misuse.

Fred IT Group has been appointed by the Victorian Department of Human Services to deliver Australia’s first large-scale prescription monitoring system as part of its SafeScript initiative and we welcome this opportunity to play a role in this significant and important Victorian Government initiative that has real potential to save lives.

Through our partnership with Fred IT’s eRx Script Exchange and in conjunction with MediSecure, we will provide a vital clinical alerting tool and capability to enable doctors and pharmacists to identify and support patients with potential dependency issues with prescription medications.

By connecting the practitioners who prescribe and dispense medication with important and timely information about that person’s history relating to controlled drugs, doctors will be better informed to have conversations with their patients that could help mitigate potential misuse and hopefully, improve the statistics.

Fred IT Group is Australia’s largest provider of Pharmacy IT solutions servicing over 3,000 pharmacies. In 2009, Fred launched the ground breaking cloud based solution eRx Script Exchange, Australia’s first and largest national electronic prescriptions exchange. Fred IT is a partnership between Telstra Health, Fred IT and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Tags: technology,

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,