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9 surprising ways to reuse old tech: Recycling week

Tech and Innovation Devices

Posted on November 17, 2017

4 min read

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

From a DIY baby monitor to new music player … there’s more you can do with your old mobile phone than leaving it stashed in a drawer.

While many of us are obsessed with updating to the latest phone and tech, you may not be aware of the growing amount of old technology that’s piling up in storage.

To mark the end of National Recycling Week in Australia, we wanted to share some of the more unique ways to keep your electronic waste (e-waste) out of landfill.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. TV remote

Forever losing the remote to your TV? If you’ve got an old smartphone with infrared functionality on this list you can turn it into a universal remote control to manage your TV, set-top box and home media system. Even if you don’t have an IR-compatible device you can still use an old smartphone to control your Telstra TV through the Telstra TV app.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Dedicated alarm clock

Remember when you used to have an alarm clock beside your bed instead of a smartphone? Get a better night’s sleep by keeping your current smartphone away from the bedroom, and setting up a dedicated old device as a clock and alarm. There are lots of great alarm clock apps and they work without a network connection.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Set up a baby monitor

Almost all smartphones have a camera and microphone, and with the right app these can be set up as a video surveillance system. All you need to do is get a baby monitoring app such as Cloud Baby Monitor and connect the smartphone to Wi-Fi.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Emergency-only phone

All mobile phones have the ability to connect to Triple Zero (000) even without a sim card, provided the devices support a network that is available. So if you still have an old (3G+) phone around, a charger, and access to 3G or 4G coverage, it may be smart to keep the phone handy as an emergency-only phone.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Kid-friendly learning tool

Old smartphones and tablets can be locked down to turn into a fun and educational toy for kids. As well as for learning apps, they can be used to encourage children to explore the world around them. Pixl Toys have created a camera case for smartphones that kids can use to learn more about technology and photography.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Dedicated music player

Smartphones often have loads of storage and so work as great music players without draining the battery of your main device. If you use a streaming service then you can access all your music, even without having a lot of storage on the phone. Use the phone’s Bluetooth to connect to a dedicated speaker to increase the audio quality.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. SatNav in your car

GPS access in phones means that costly SatNav systems are becoming a thing of the past. For older cars, get a phone holder and car charger to set up your dedicated phone SatNav. Access to real-time maps needs a data connection but many apps including Google Maps and Nokia HERE have options to download maps to give directions offline.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Donate your computing power to science

Even an old smartphone is probably more powerful than a computer from the 1990s. That unused computing power can be ‘donated’ to science projects around the world that need to crunch big volumes of data. Choose your cause, whether it’s searching for aliens, identifying earthquakes, curing disease or improving weather forecasts.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Recycle with Mobile Muster

If you have an old phone that no longer works or you have no use for, you can recycle it through a MobileMuster collection point. All data is destroyed and more than 95 per cent of the materials are recovered to go into making new products. All our Telstra retail stores have MobileMuster collection points, so pop into your local Telstra store and recycle your old phones.


Recycling week | Reuse your old tech


Bonus e-waste tip

For the wider e-waste space … ever thought of creating a Kitty Condo with your old computer screen?

What cat wouldn’t want to live inside a 1990s computer screen box? Your cat will love you for it – and you’ll give your friends a laugh when they see it.



It’s been a year since we launched our Electronics Reuse and Recycling Strategy. Read about what we’ve achieved so far.

The qualities any good tech leader needs

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on October 23, 2017

3 min read

Do you want to become a tech leader but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Here at Telstra our success is based on our people reaching and exceeding their career goals.

So we asked our Executive Director of our Global Products, Michelle Bendschneider, who became a leader at the age of 22, what tips she has for aspiring leaders in the technology sector.

Here is her advice:

What do you think defines good leadership?

As a leader, you have to be well rounded, which means you must have an ability to set vision and clarity, to be able to give the business and your team clarity of intent whilst bringing energy, engagement and excitement about the future. But, you also need to follow that up with a pragmatic way to execute.

From my personal opinion and experience, great leadership is one that brings a level of energy in the business that has the future in clear sight, but also the need to execute here and now. That to me is a really good balance.

What qualities do you need to be a leader in the technology industry?

There is a lot of hype associated with the technology industry, and it’s tremendously exciting and humbling to be working in the era of mass technology adoption. But I challenge you to really think about why you are in technology. Is it because we are living in a technology hype? Or is there a genuine passion for technology and what it can unlock for society, and your role within that?

If you are comfortable with the technology question and are truly passionate about the wonders of technology, then you are on the right path! But if not, sit back and think about that choice because it’s a tough industry to be in without passion.

What advice do you have for women who aspire to lead?

Advice for women wanting to take on leadership roles: there are all types of leadership. Individual contributors can be great leaders and technology specialists have just as much leadership impact as a people leader despite the two being quite different.

What type do you envision for yourself? Do you see yourself steering a large group of people? Or do you feel you have more value as an individual contributor with leadership skills?

Often there is a perception that the larger the pool of people you lead, the more important you are in the organisation but that’s not the case in the modern ways of leading. Leading is about influencing outcomes that you don’t necessarily control and being accountable for those that you do.

A final piece of advice

My number one piece of advice on leadership is to be really introspective about what makes you happy, what drives your passion.

Leadership is a two sided coin – you can make business changing decisions and lead people, but on the flip side you are held accountable for business outcomes. Own your space confidently and give yourself permission to enjoy it.


  • A leader needs to be well-rounded
  • Be passionate about the technology industry
  • Think about the type of leader you want to be

Learn more about where a career at Telstra could take you.

Innovation in broadcasting industry requires a mindset change and flexibility

Business and Enterprise

Posted on October 17, 2017

3 min read

Innovation can be best achieved by collaborating with customers and partners to solve problems and pioneer new approaches. It is time for the broadcasting industry to work more closely together to create and promote an innovative mindset across our sector.

I recently attended the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC 2017) in Amsterdam, where together with my team we exchanged ideas and insights with industry leaders on how to embrace change in the broadcast media industry. The pace of change and innovation has clearly accelerated even since last year’s IBC, making the sector a very exciting space to be – if you are willing to embrace change.

We are witnessing broadcasters transition from traditional hardware based environments to digital and software centric workflows, spanning across creation of content through to delivery.  However this transition does not need to be a binary choice – technology will support a hybrid model, allowing broadcasters to transition to IP and cloud at a pace that suits them. In time, broadcasters will be able to peel back the traditional SDI layer and reveal all the exciting prospects of an all IP world. For now it’s about having an easily upgradable pathway to IP without the need for replacing the whole transport platform.

Rob Ambrose from High Green Consulting echoed this view while attending a Telstra Broadcast Services customer briefing. For High Green Consulting, the key to future growth is to be more flexible and efficient across the digital supply chain. Rob shared his top three tips for encouraging an innovation mindset in broadcasting – focus on flexibility and scalability not just cost, plan for hybrid models for diversity and resiliency, and see technical and business challenges as opportunities to be solved for competitive advantage.

Ed Silvester, Head of Video R&D at Perform Group took a different approach and stressed the importance of creating a culture of innovation and change internally. The fact that a lot of people in the industry prefer to stay with the status quo makes it important to create internal excitement around innovation. At Perform, there is a focus on getting people on board at an early stage, and communicating the enthusiasm of “being first” in order to bring people along on the journey of change and innovation. Team members’ involvement is key so they have asked many different parts of the business to contribute to feedback loops and have also focused on training and reskilling the workforce along with the technical and business model changes.

Whichever way we look at innovation within the broadcast industry, it is clear that a mindset change and flexibility is required. With the future of 5G deployment set to open the doors for new business models within the broadcast industry, it’s important that change is considered an opportunity not a threat.

Anousheh Ansari podcast: Let our choices reflect our hope — and not our fear

Telstra Vantage™

Posted on October 13, 2017

4 min read

When engineer and businesswoman Anousheh Ansari was a little girl, growing up in Iran in the 1970s, she loved to sleep outside and stare at the sky wondering, “What’s out there?” Could it be that somewhere, on a distant planet, there’s another girl looking up at the sky thinking about the same thing?

Ansari dreamed of going to space, and it was that dream — and those moments when she watched the stars at night — that gave her peace as her country underwent a revolution she couldn’t yet comprehend and then entered war with neighbouring Iraq. During a keynote presentation at the Telstra Vantage 2017 conference, Ansari said that her imagination saved her during those terrifying moments.

She called imagination “one of the most precious gifts we have as human beings,” as it allows us to change what we don’t like in our lives and to think about things that don’t exist — then make them real. It starts with the spark of an idea. For her, that spark was space travel. She drew pictures of herself visiting alien worlds in rockets. The adults around her thought it was an unrealistic dream and a phase she’d eventually grow out of and forget. But her stubbornness prevailed.

When Ansari moved to the US in the mid-1980s and saw, with some disappointment, that Star Trek had not become reality, she refused to let her dream end. She became an engineer and built up a successful career in telecommunications and technology, and in 2001 she sold her company.

A few years later she met engineer Peter Diamandis, who had since 1995 been seeking funding for his XPRIZE concept — a competition for non-government organisations to build a reusable vehicle capable of flying a pilot to the edge of space. He’d been turned down, repeatedly, but Ansari and her brother-in-law were impressed by his passion and decided to underwrite the competition. It became the Ansari XPRIZE in May 2004, with participation from 26 teams from 7 countries. The first US$10 million winner was a rocket-powered aircraft called SpaceShipOne.

Richard Branson and Virgin subsequently partnered with SpaceShipOne makers Scaled Composites to design and build rocket planes based on that concept to provide suborbital spaceflights to tourists.

Ansari said the prize helped spur innovation in an area where it had been sorely lacking. She noted that private space technology is now a $100 billion industry, and that it’s now even possible to build and launch low-cost nanosatellites for special communications and research purposes.

Ansari achieved her dream in 2006, aged 40, after training as a backup for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station, when Japanese businessman Daisuke Enomoto was disqualified for medical reasons. She became the first woman and first Iranian (and fourth overall) private space explorer, and she lived aboard the ISS for eight days — during which time she conducted experiments for the European Space Agency and published the first ever blog from space.

Ansari said that she’s excited about the future, but the pace of change is now so fast — and new technologies have become so intertwined — that it’s hard to predict what lies ahead. She likened it to taking 20 steps on the stage. If they were linear steps, she might reach the end of the stage or a little beyond there. But it would be hard for anyone to imagine 20 exponential steps, which would actually send her around the Earth 125 times.

She argued that it’s important to be prepared for change and to be ready to adapt. To prepare, we can look at the trends: she said 3D printing may transform food, medicine, textiles, and more, and it will make it possible to build habitats on the Moon and Mars; gene editing may cure diseases or grant us new abilities; and augmentation will enable us to regain capabilities lost or to gain entirely new ones.

“Technology is just a tool,” she said, “and how we use it and what we use it for will determine if it’s a good technology or it will actually be a harmful technology.”

The most important thing, Ansari said, is that we let our choices reflect our hope — and not our fear. The future is what we imagine it to be, she concluded, so she implored everyone to “march into the future armed with our hopes and positivity.”

Telkomtelstra uses in-depth local knowledge in a growing Indonesian market

Telstra Vantage™

Posted on October 11, 2017

3 min read

The Country Managing Director for Telstra Indonesia, Erik Meijer, gave a short presentation at Telstra Vantage 2017 about Telstra’s work in the growing Indonesian market through Telkomtelstra — a joint venture between Telstra and Telkom Indonesia.

Meijer pointed to Indonesia as a huge growth market in the technology industry. It has a population of 262 million people — 10 times that of Australia — and a fast-growing Internet penetration of 55 percent. Technology adoption is on a steep rise, too. Most people skip older, more established technologies, such as fixed-line broadband, in favour of new wireless options. Indonesia now has 370 million active mobile subscriptions, which is how most Indonesians access the Internet, and two-fifths of the population is active on social media.

The Internet has become a central part of life for many Indonesians. Average Internet use per day per user is three hours, and — while there are only eight million credit cards in circulation — over 100 million people, or 41 percent of the population, have bought something online.

This digital savviness of the consumer market makes it increasingly important for businesses in Indonesia to follow suit. Indonesia is maturing into a global economic powerhouse. If the current GDP growth rate of 5 percent every year continues, it will have one of the 10 largest economies in the world in 2020.

Older Indonesian companies are lagging behind consumers in take-up of digital technologies, however, and brick and mortar stores have traditionally seen online as competition rather than an opportunity for growth. This presents international companies with an opportunity to expand into Indonesia, especially if they can connect online and offline worlds.

Meijer said the big growth areas at the moment for business are in financial technology (also known as fintech), e-commerce, software as a service (SaaS), and on-demand/service marketplaces. And the main trend is a move into cloud connectivity, although this is more complicated in Indonesia because of regulatory restrictions on data sovereignty.

Telkomtelstra is currently the only company that offers a hybrid cloud service to businesses that’s in line with these regulations. Telkomtelstra can also manage a company’s data and network security and infrastructure, and it can provide managed unified communications (a complicated thing in a country of 17,000 islands), SaaS customer engagement solutions, and vital insights into the Indonesian market that help forecast risk for expansion into the territory.

In the three years since telkomtelstra began operation, the joint venture has grown to manage about 13,000 business sites for more than 100 customers. Meijer said there are 130 Telkomtelstra employees on the ground in Indonesia to help serve business customers. Besides on-site support, they have a cloud contact centre, a network operations centre that runs around the clock, and a customer portal that displays the status of all network components in real-time.

The real value of all these services, Meijer emphasised, is that they allow businesses to “outsource all your boring stuff” on the technology side so that IT teams can focus on innovation and on driving the business forward.