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eSports opens a new world of gaming, connecting shared passions online

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 11, 2018

4 min read

In its current format, eSports – another name for competitive multiplayer gaming – has been around for over a decade internationally. In Australia, we’re now seeing eSports events sell out entire stadiums to fans eager to watch their favourite athletes compete onstage. It’s a turning point for the online pursuit entering Aussie homes alongside traditional sports viewing, and fans can take part more than ever before.

eSports is a billion-dollar industry worldwide, and it’s just as lucrative for its top competitive athletes as well. One of the highest-profile eSports championships in 2017, The International 7, pitted dozens of teams playing the online battle arena game DotA 2 for a total prize pool of nearly $US25 million. And with nearly $US24 million of that prize pool coming from the pockets of fans keen to watch the action, it’s clear that there’s a ready-made audience for the digital sport.

eSports events are only becoming more popular in Australia as well. The biggest events of 2017 packed out Sydney stadiums with tens of thousands of excited fans, and this year is set to improve on that. With eSports competitions often being broadcast online on platforms like Twitch available for everyone to watch, too, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. More events and tournaments are happening around the world in 2018, too – eSports is here to stay.

What is eSports, and how did it get started?

‘eSports’ is another name for professional gaming, in competitions that usually take the form of organised multiplayer matches – either online, or in person in the case of big worldwide competitions and tournaments. Like traditional sports, eSports covers different game types like real-time strategy titles (top-down games like Starcraft 2 where the player controls dozens of different units on a battlefield) and first-person shooters (where the player represents one individual, often in a team of other players up against opponents or working to complete an objective).

Competitive gaming has been around since ‘70s arcade parlours and the first home game consoles, but eSports as we know it found its roots in the internet cafes of South Korea – ‘PC bangs’, where players could pay an hourly fee and play different games against friends in-store or online. In the 1990s and early 2000s, as broadband home internet became more popular and affordable, these games and their players moved to regular online battles at nights and weekends.

In the past decade, pro-level eSports has moved from cyber cafés and homes to exhibitions in stadiums and arenas – where there were 10 tournaments worldwide in 2000, 260 in 2010, and that number has only risen since. Worldwide eSports organisations and the long-term success of games like Counter-Strike has turned these competitions into a true test of players’ skills – not just their reflexes, but their teamwork, strategy and understanding of the most intricate details of a game’s ‘meta’. Just as traditional sports’ rules evolve over years, so do the rules for each game, its competitive play, and its organising body.

What does the future hold for eSports in Australia and the world?

The biggest eSports tournaments are already broadcast live online to tens of millions of viewers simultaneously, rivalling Australia’s largest sporting events. When you realise that the most popular video game in the world – 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V – has made more money than any blockbuster movie and left ticket sales for any sporting event in the dust, you start to realise the scale of what’s to come.

We’re already living in a world where eSports teams and players are bought and traded like any NRL, AFL or other high-level traditional sport player are, and the prizes for top competitions stretch into the tens of millions of dollars. Players live in dedicated houses with high-speed connectivity and train for hours a day, honing their skills to become the best. It’s clear that eSports isn’t going away any time soon, and as our world becomes even more connected it will only grow and thrive.

eSports is nearly unique in that it allows for everyday gamers, sitting at home in front of their TVs or computer screens, to play the same games as the world’s best players. Indeed, every professional gamer out there today got their start as a hobbyist, and we’re seeing the first eSports athletes with full-time careers starting as young as age 16. As the networks connecting us to each other and to the world become faster and more powerful, we’ll all be able to take part in eSports at every level – from the couch to the stadium.

4 things I wish I knew before starting my first job

Telstra Careers People

Posted on May 2, 2018

1 min read

Earlier this month I was invited to share my experience of transitioning from university to the world of work at a Telstra sponsored Grad Girls event attended by around 40 young women nearing the end of their undergraduate degree.

Grad Girls is a one year program run by Vic ICT for Women that helps female undergraduates make informed decisions about the first step in their career paths as well as start their professional network.

 

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering and Science degree only a few years ago, I remember being in the same position as these young women.

As I sat on the stage answering questions from this group of women who are all on-track to graduate, I was reminded of my own feelings of excitement as I looked ahead to all the unknowns in my first full-time job.

So, here are four things I wish I knew before tackling my first job after university.

Inspiring ideas with our 2018 Innovation Challenge

Tech and Innovation

Posted on April 23, 2018

2 min read

We’re continuing to see great innovation and breakthroughs in technology thanks to the connectivity offered by the Internet of Things (IoT). As more devices are connected, the benefits are being seen across every industry in Australia.

Each year as part of Telstra’s Innovation Challenge (TIC), we invite future and current leaders in innovation and technology to create brilliant connected solutions for real-life problems. We challenge the innovation community – universities and the general public – to form teams and develop IoT solutions that could improve our lives.

Teams will be able to leverage Telstra’s Cat M1 technology, which includes three million square kilometres of IoT coverage, combined with some of the newer moving devices to create tech solutions focused on the health and wellbeing industry.

Together with Bupa as our industry partner, we’re challenging teams to solve some of the most interesting issues facing the health and wellness industry. Teams can choose what specific areas they focus on, which could range from preventative healthcare devices, to developing on-the-job tech improvements for healthcare workers.

We provide qualifying teams with everything they’ll need to get their ideas up and running, including a development kit designed specifically for Australian innovators and developers.

The TIC has two streams of participants: one for university teams and one for the general public. The university stream has already kicked off, but it’s not too late to register for the public stream by heading over to the Telstra Innovation Challenge website for more details.

The finalists for both streams will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges on 26 May at Telstra Labs in Melbourne, to be in the running for a range of great prizes.

With thanks to the Telstra Innovation Challenge 2018 sponsors:

  • Gold sponsors: Cisco, Ericsson, Telstra Health, Microsoft
  • Silver sponsors: muru-D, Qualcomm, Tekt Industries, Little Bird Electronics, Intel

Tags: IoT, technology,

I feel like I’ve joined Telstra at the right time to help us transform

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on April 9, 2018

2 min read

I have been at Telstra as a product owner for just over five months, and I feel like I have joined at just the right time.

I’m a Product Owner (Agile) and part of Telstra’s new ways of working, where we nurture and grow scrum teams to deliver amazing digital products progressively.

For this role, I need to balance focusing on the team as well as on our customers. It’s a challenge but I really enjoy it.

The reason I feel like I have joined Telstra at the right time is because my role enables me to be part of our digital transformation, which is a key part of the organisation’s vision of becoming a world-class technology company that empowers people to connect.

I have gone through a similar transformation at a large-scale company, previously in my career. That’s why I know during this journey there will be plenty of opportunities for me to learn and grow my career as a Product Owner.

So what does my average day look like at Telstra? Here are just a few things on my work list:

  • Attend the Agile Scrum ceremonies with my team
  • Ensure that my teams have enough high business value stories from the product backlog to work on, by working with our customers
  • Organise fortnightly demonstrations of the incremental working software to showcase it to all of the relevant stakeholders
  • Lead my teams so that their impediments are addressed on time

Find out the skills you need to be a Product Manager at Telstra.

It’s a pretty busy role but it’s an area I’m really passionate about. Why? Because my dream is for Telstra to become the go-to service provider for all customers in Australia by providing them with a brilliant customer experience. I know it’s something that everyone who works here is focused on.

Lakshmi-speaking-at-the-Women-in-Technology-Australia–Conference
Lakshmi speaking at the Women in Technology Australia – Conference

So what is my best piece of career advice for you?

Be ready to grab any opportunity that comes along because it’s a chance for you to acquire a new skill and implement that in the job you have taken.

It’ll also help you to stay motivated and feel challenged, which will hopefully lead to a greater purpose and sense of satisfaction.

The technology behind Perth’s newest stadium

Business and Enterprise

Posted on March 23, 2018

3 min read

Perth is now home to one of the world’s most connected stadiums, changing the way fans experience major sporting events. John Khoury, our Director of Business Services, shares how Telstra, as lead ICT sub-contractor under construction contractor, Multiplex, has been instrumental in bringing world-class technology to the West.

Have you ever been at an Eagles versus Dockers derby only to miss out on a game-changing goal because you were stuck in line on a food run for your mates? Or have you tried to livestream your reaction to a questionable umpire decision at the same time as thousands of others – and your post goes nowhere?

At Perth’s new stadium, fans will enjoy a new kind of experience thanks to its world-class technology. This technology forms the nerve centre of the stadium, and controls connectivity throughout the venue – including to one of the biggest integrated LED sports lighting systems in the world.

Live match video and broadcast programming is delivered via Telstra’s tried and tested venue-grade IPTV service across 1,000 television screens throughout the stadium – so you’ll never miss out on the action when you need to step away from your seat.

Fans will be able to access the free public Wi-Fi so they can stream content to their device and keep friends and family updated on social media. We’ve installed one of the largest networks of Wi-Fi access points in any Australian stadium so anyone attending a match or concert will be able to connect once they’ve walked through the gates.

The technology we have integrated has future-proofed the stadium for the people that will enjoy it in years to come by providing a foundation for the venue’s operator and other service providers to add new applications and services.

We’re excited by this new stadium, created for fans in Perth and those who visit from around the country and beyond. It took more than 11,000 hours over a two-year construction period for our team to install all the tech behind the scenes, and we really have been able to deliver on the commitment to create a stadium that puts fans’ experiences front and centre.

Our involvement by the numbers:

  • 200 switches form the nerve centre of the stadium and control connectivity throughout the venue for over 5,500 field points.
  • More than 1,400 wireless access points provide the high-density Wi-Fi solution.
  • Our team spent more than 11,000 hours onsite over a two year period.