Tech and Innovation |

Innovation and technology are the foundation of Australia’s new normal

By Kim Krogh Andersen August 24, 2020

There’s no doubt technology has helped Australians address the changes that COVID-19 has brought on. From working, learning, socialising, shopping, eating, being informed and entertained, technology has been the foundation as we attempt to continue with our lives as much as possible. COVID-19 has swiftly forced the uptake of digitisation and changed our behaviour forever.

As a nation, we have collectively invested time and resources into learning how technology can help improve our lives in 2020, and we expect it to continue to play a vital role in the years to come.

Looking forward, COVID-19 will change the way we live and work forever. Just like other times of significant change and disruption, we need to learn the lessons, adapt to a new norm, and come out of it stronger. We cannot miss this chance to ensure the pandemic becomes a catalyst for innovation and growth in order of a better future.

In the home this year, we relied heavily on a stable and fast internet connection to support our working-and-learning from home environments during the day, while depending on it for seamless video streaming and gaming in the evenings. Furthermore, Australians have increasingly realised the benefits of shopping for goods and services online. Even when COVID-19 passes, we expect our newly-formed habits to remain, having a better appreciation of a fast, strong, and reliable internet and Wi-Fi connection.

Outside of the home, innovation was also being developed and deployed to keep us safe when we leave the front door.

The Government encouraged Australians to download and use the COVIDSafe app in order to provide an easier way to automate contact tracing to reduce further infections.

Telstra’s Track and Monitor asset-tracking platform was used by a healthcare industry customer as they swiftly deployed COVID-19 triage clinics across the east coast of Australia. This helped ensure there were no misplaced expensive and in-demand equipment, especially during a time of constant change.

We also saw the fragility and our dependency on delivery and supply chain systems, exposing the lack of end-to-end visibility. As an example, we are working with major suppliers to accelerate the development of Telstra’s Connected Supply Chain product and are also negotiating with transport companies to help increase supply chain visibility with domestic deliveries.

Quick, transparent and interactive communication was also very important. Victoria’s Department of Health & Human Services needed technology to help ensure compliance to the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for close contacts of COVID-19 and chose Whispir’s mass communication platform to perform this function with great success.

It is more imperative than ever to ensure the country does not encounter a second wave of nation-wide infections and the respective lockdown as a result. If it were to happen, the OECD has said the Australian economy could decline by 6.3 per cent this year, which would take us back to where it was in 2016.

The technology pioneered to help manage the pandemic will continue to help us live in the ‘new normal’.

Travellers passing through Canberra Airport may notice new Temperature Screening solutions at the security check-in. This allows the airport to increase its protection against COVID-19 and includes thermal cameras to detect travellers with high temperatures. The key goal is to help reassure passengers transiting through public spaces like airports. We may see more of this type of technology installed at other public spaces like train stations, shopping centres, and maybe even at some workplaces where thousands of people pass through daily.

Traditional offices will also evolve as a result of COVID-19. Employees will demand to be allowed to continue working from home after the forced experiment pressured companies to change their flexible-working mindset and accelerate the required digitisation. This also meant the need to evolve the cyber security, technology processes, and communication and collaboration tools to enable successful remote working. The pandemic has pushed CIOs and IT departments (no matter what size) to finally modernise various procedures and systems.

Telstra’s Smart Building product already measures people’s movement through infrared sensor data to deliver insights on desk usage, meeting room usage and general occupancy levels. The product is now being expanded to measure social distancing and hygiene compliance, and will be highly relevant to all industries, especially retail, transport, health, and commercial offices.

Elsewhere, video analytics will be deployed to assist critical industries with real-time thermal scanning to ensure the ongoing safety of staff and the public. AI will help deliver insights such as people flow and count, movement analysis, alerts, and more.

There is also set to be a widespread acceleration of automation (as robots can’t contract COVID-19) which has several drivers. One of the interesting opportunities I’ve seen is robots that can clean, disinfect, help detect fever symptoms, and monitor mask and social distancing compliance.

In the home, we’ll see faster internet enabling more advanced entertainment and educational technologies. I expect further innovation in television, gaming, smart home, and communication devices will be front and centre in consumer electronics R&D in the next 12-24 months.

I have no doubt these examples of technology and innovation will be scaled even further.

COVID-19 has reinforced how critical technology is for our daily lives, specifically dependable and fast connectivity. The swift need for network reliability and resiliency when we first moved to working from home, was an early indication of how vital connectivity will be in the future.

The world is slowly exploring ultra-reliable low latency use cases like autonomous driving, remote surgery, robotics, smart cities and smart homes. 5G, Edge Computing, IoT and AI are critical technologies for us to enable these advanced scenarios, but we can’t forget security, privacy, customer experience, and operational excellence are equally as important when we embark on this journey. Because it’s people that will give purpose to technology.

COVID-19 has meant new cultural and workforce transformation for the better. We strongly believe technology plays a central role in these shifting and accelerating trends and will be the foundation in what the new normal looks like for Australians – in the home, at the office, and anywhere in between.

Devices | Smart Home | Tech and Innovation |

A tour of your futuristic smart home at CES 2020

By Luke Hopewell February 14, 2020

2020 is the year that tech takes over your house. From the front door to the bathroom and every room in-between, tech titans are bringing the latest gadgets home for your convenience. Step inside for a look at your smart home of the future.

Welcome home, reader.

You’ve just stepped into the home of the future through a front door that features smart, NFC keys. It’s a comfortable two-bedroom in the suburbs, and thanks to the major tech manufacturers at 2020’s Consumer Electronics Show, it now has all the latest gadgets. From smart fridges to clever household robots that pick up your dog’s business (seriously).

Fancy a tour?

The kitchen

The fridge is more than just a fancy gadget. It’s helped you cut down on food waste dramatically, and has saved you so much time going to the supermarket to pick up groceries. It’s a Samsung unit with built-in Artificial Intelligence that can recognise your food.

It lets you know what you’re running out of, makes suggestions based on what you have and helps you reorder stuff when you’re out thanks to the big screen on the front. You don’t even need to add stuff to your shopping list anymore!

Speaking of food, you’re about to be treated to a dinner designed specifically for you, down to the molecular level. DnaNudge is a new service you’re using that recommends the food you should and shouldn’t be eating based on your genes.

Because you’re the type of person who retains too much salt after eating it, you’ll find nothing too salty in that new smart fridge of yours. They know everything about what’s good for you after doing a cheek swab and sending it back.

When you do have stuff you need to throw away, it’s easier than ever thanks to the Townew trashcan that automatically seals your trashbags for you for more considerate disposal without the unwanted smells.

The sink is fitted with a smart tap that you can speak to via Amazon Alexa. You can ask it to pour you a specific measure of water at a specific temperature for perfect portion control while preparing recipes, and also for cutting-down on wastage.

The bedroom

When you lie your head down at night, you won’t have to worry about your sleep apnoea or keeping your partner awake with annoying snoring. Not since you got the second-generation MOTION Pillow that is. With airbag technology, it intelligently repositions you throughout the night, so your breathing isn’t inhibited. Your phone even charges wirelessly as part of the pillow too so you can see your sleep habits as soon as you wake up.

Of course, before you go to sleep, you want to watch some stuff, and control your content without losing a smart remote in the bed sheets. That’s why you’ve got the Hachi Infinite Projector installed: a short-throw projector that turns your bedroom wall into a touchscreen.

The bathroom

Yep, there’s even tech in here for making your life easier and more connected.

The Moxie Showerhead is from Kohler, and in addition to spitting out water, it spits out tunes and the latest news thanks to an Amazon Alexa integration.

There are touchscreens inside the bathroom mirror so you can keep binge-watching your latest show while brushing with your smart toothbrush, and your lipstick shade can change daily thanks to L’Oreal’s new Perso gadget that mixes you a new shade each day based on what your favourite influencers are wearing. And your skin glows each day thanks to Neutrogena’s new Skin360 app which delivers personalised skincare for your exact needs.

But be careful on your way out: the cat’s smart litter box that analyses its stool for health problems before intelligently cleaning it up is in the corner over there.

The lounge room

Every surface in your living room – from the coffee table to the arms of the chairs – allow for your phone to be charged wirelessly in here. After all, everything in your house is controlled from your smartphone, so why risk it running low?

Plus, all your content and smart home tech is controlled via the phone as it connects to the superfast new Wi-Fi 6 modem router with intelligent cybersecurity controls built-in so the bad guys can’t easily hack your house. You can pair that with the updates to Google’s voice Assistant, which can now schedule actions, read you an article or start a call for you.

“But where’s the TV?”, your visitors might ask in puzzlement. “Oh,” you can respond modestly, “it’s integrated into the ceiling”. At the push of a button, LG’s latest rollable OLED TV unfurls from the ceiling like a projector screen without the projector to deliver dazzling colour and deep blacks.

When buying the TV, there were a lot of considerations in mind. You had to consider whether you wanted either LG’s Real 8K TV, or Samsung’s portrait-oriented Sero TV. Perhaps you even wanted to pair a TCL TV with its new sound-reflecting technology for better Dolby Atmos sound immersion. In the end, however, you decided that technology shouldn’t be the focal point of a room. Rather, it should disappear out of sight when not being used.

All in all, your new home of the future isn’t a bad place to put your feet up.

Devices | Entertainment | Smart Home | Tech and Innovation |

Gifts to smarten up your home

By Luke Hopewell December 4, 2019

Christmas is the perfect time to smarten up your home. Whether it’s smarter entertainment, smart lighting or smart calling, we’ve got what you need for the smartest Christmas yet.

Telstra Smart Home Kits

Maximise your downtime and make 2020 the most convenient year for you and your home with our Telstra Smart Home gear. We’ve got a range of kits to make getting started super easy!

Control & Monitor

Live stream and record what’s happening in your home. The kit includes:

  • 1 x Smart Home Hub: your smart home’s brain – connects all your Telstra Smart Home devices together.
  • 1 x Indoor Camera: keep an eye on your home with HD videos and pictures.
  • 1 x Smart Power Plug: automate your lamps, radios and other simple appliances.

Voice Control & Monitor Multi-Room Kit

Enjoy voice-enabled control at home and monitoring from afar. The kit includes:

  • 1 x Smart Home Hub: the heart of your smart home.
  • 1 x Indoor Camera: takes clear and crisp HD video and images, day or night.
  • 1 x Outdoor Camera: takes clear and crisp HD video and images, day or night.
  • 2 x Smart Power Plugs: automate your lamps, radios and other simple appliances.
  • 2 x Door or Window Sensors: knows when doors or windows are open or closed.
  • 1 x Google Home Mini: operate your compatible Telstra Smart Home devices with your voice and get hands free help in your home.

Voice Control & Monitor Household Suite Kit

Manage and monitor your whole home – inside and out. The kit includes:

  • 1 x Smart Home Hub: the heart of your smart home.
  • 2 x Indoor Cameras: takes clear and crisp HD video and images, day or night.
  • 1 x Outdoor Camera: takes clear and crisp HD video and images, day or night.
  • 4 x Smart Power Plugs: automate your lamps, radios and other simple appliances.
  • 3 x Door or Window Sensors: knows when your doors or windows are open or closed.
  • 1 x Google Home: operate your compatible Telstra Smart Home devices with your voice and get hands free help in your home.

Smart Home Cloud & Service plan

The Smart Home Cloud & Service plan is an essential part of your Telstra Smart Home. Once activated, the plan provides you with:

  • Access to the Telstra Smart Home app, and the ability to create and schedule automation.
  • 30 days of cloud storage for 100 videos and 200 images per day – recorded by your smart home camera/s.
  • 24/7 access to our team of smart home tech experts who can assist you when you need help.
  • Management of your home by getting your smart home devices interacting with each other.
  • Peace of mind that we constantly monitor and upgrade the security and usability of our app, our range of devices, and continue to add new devices to our range.
  • A month-to-month subscription (you’ll need an active Smart Home Cloud & service plan to manage your smart home devices).

Telstra TV

Enjoy the best streaming apps, the latest movies, live sports, catchup TV and more. Plus, search across apps with a single voice remote.

Not sure what to watch? Discover content across the biggest brands in entertainment – without having to open individual apps.

Watch live TV with the integrated free-to-air tuner, enjoy glorious 4K HDR streaming, control your television’s power and volume from one remote, and sync your Telstra TV with Google Assistant on smart devices like Google Home to open apps, launch live TV channels, and pause and play using your voice.

Google Home with Voice-Activated Calling

Google Voice-activated Calling with Telstra on select Google Nest devices*


Voice-activated Calling with Telstra allows you to make voice-activated calls via any Google Nest speaker or display. You’ll be able to link your Telstra mobile number and sync the contacts saved in your mobile phone for calling by contact.

Whether your mobile is off, out of reach, or your hands are full, you can now make voice-activated calls independently from your mobile device.

Your personal mobile number will be presented when you make calls from your Google Nest device/s, and up to six mobile numbers can be linked to devices in your home. It’s free to set up and calls are at no additional cost to your existing mobile plan. Data charges may apply.

Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 6

Onyx Studio 6 - Hero Black

With its signature round silhouette, premium fabric cover and aluminium handle for easy portability, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 combines style and convenience in a sophisticated and refined Bluetooth speaker.

It features an IPX7 waterproof design to use at any place within the home without worrying. Offering up to 8 hours of playtime on a single charge and wireless dual sound, it can wirelessly connect two Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 speakers to elevate music listening experience.

With its iconic yet subtle design, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6 is the ideal complement of any interior.

nbn | Network |

Not all nbn providers are created equal

By Michele Garra November 4, 2019

As the National Broadband Network makes its way into your area, we understand picking the best provider can be difficult. Many providers offer different prices for speed and bandwidth each month, but not all providers are made equally. Here is why.

It starts at home

Connecting to the nbn is about more than just plugging in and getting online. In 2019, connectivity is more involved thanks to the number of devices connecting over Wi-Fi in the home.

From our research, we’ve found one in three broadband customers in Australia experience sub-optimal Wi-Fi performance. At the same time, the number of connected devices in the home continues to increase as tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs and other accessories penetrate the home market (currently 7.8 per customer).

We know how important getting strong Wi-Fi around the house can be, which is why we continue to improve our Smart Modem Gen 2, with its strong Wi-Fi capabilities and mobile backup for more reliable connectivity.

The newTelstra Smart Modem Gen 2makes it easier for you to get connected. Get online within minutes at home when you walk out of our stores with a device or receive a Self-Install Kit in the mail.

Thanks to its built-in mobile backup, you’ll get online sooner and have the peace of mind of a backup connection in the event of a disruption on your nbn service (nbn is fallible; 6% of nbn customers experience more than five minutes of service disruption per day). It’s also easier for our field technicians to diagnose your network if there’s a glitch and for households to keep track of what devices are connected, and how much data you’re using.

The Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2 also makes sure you’re getting the best of the service you’re paying for. If you ever have any issues with your home broadband experience, our field technicians have one-click access to vital stats on the health of your home network making it faster for our experts to get you back online. Over the past three months, we have tracked nbn migrations and had over 60% less home callouts for support from customers using the Telstra Smart Modem.

Overall, this means less effort for customers and:

  • 50% less support calls
  • 55% less level 0 and level 1 TIO complaints
  • 62% less truck rolls out to a customers’ home

Using theTelstra Home Dashboard App, customers can also map the Wi-Fi in their home, view connected devices and also run a speed test to determine both the speed and quality of the Wi-Fi network in their home.

The Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2 is the first modem device in the world to introduce EasyMesh™ technology for better Wi-Fi connectivity in the home. EasyMesh™ allows you to easily network a series of access points together in the home to extend your Wi-Fi quickly and easily to every corner of your home.

This whole of home Wi-Fi with EasyMesh™ technology could not have happened without a collaborative effort between our Telstra Engineering teams and strategic modem partners, Arcadyan and Technicolor, as well as our chipset vendors to ensure we delivered a world-class and award-winning offering to our customers.

We’re not the only ones who love our modem offering: the global Broadband World Forum recently awarded us with the Best Home WiFi Solution as well as a highly commended award for Best Fixed Access Solution awards for our work on the new Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2. We think you’ll love it too for its ease of use and sheer performance.

And we’re not bluffing, either. We’re here to put our money where our mouth is. With our nbn satisfaction guarantee, our promise to you is if you’re not happy within 30 days of connecting your nbn services, let us know and you can cancel without paying early termination charges and we’ll refund your first monthly plan fee and any hardware repayment costs.

Entertainment | Smart Home | Tech and Innovation |

Make voice calls from your Google Home, only with Telstra

By Stephen Dance September 17, 2019

We’re all about the power of voice and the power of technology – especially when they’re working together. Today, we’re making it even easier to connect with your friends and family thanks to our deep partnership with Google to launch Voice-activated Calling with Telstra on select Google Nest devices*.

We are the first mobile carrier in the world to offer outbound calling on Google Home/Nest devices.

Voice assistant technology is growing rapidly in Australia, with smart speakers present in over a million households around the country. Two-thirds of Australians use their smart speaker every single day to order products, receive the latest news and answer their burning questions.

Rolling out from today, if you have an eligible Telstra mobile service and own a compatible Google Home or Nest speaker, or a display – you’ll be able to use your voice to place a call, even if your Telstra mobile is out of reach. This call travels across our network and uses your Telstra mobile phone number, so you can make calls as if you were holding your phone.

Google Voice-activated Calling with Telstra on select Google Nest devices*

The ability to make calls through Google Home and Nest speakers and displays means you can now stay connected in even more places. When you have your hands full with the kids, pets or both, your ability to call someone is still within reach thanks to our world-first partnership with Google.

For example, you can use your voice for call control to:

The new voice-activated calling functionality allows you to link and synchronise contacts for up to six devices to your Google account. That makes it perfect for home users.

  • Call by contact name, for example, “Hey Google, call Mum”
  • Call a number
  • Call a business, for example, “Hey Google, call ABC Pizza”
  • Call Emergency, e.g. “Hey Google, call triple zero.” (or alternatives including “Hey Google call Zero Zero Zero”).

Voice-activated Calling with Telstra works through a Google Home/Nest speaker or display by utilising the home internet connection to access the Telstra network – and best of all, call charges are included in your Telstra mobile plan which means there are no additional call costs to eligible Telstra mobile customers with:

  • An active and compatible Telstra mobile service on a smartphone(pre-paid services require credit)
  • A powered Google Home/Nest speaker or display, connected to an active Wi-Fi network
  • A Google/Gmail account and the Google Home Android or iOS App.

Data charges may apply and will be charged in accordance with your broadband providers’ data plan. Eligible customers can activate the feature from today via the Google Home App by linking their mobile service to Voice-activated Calling with Telstra and setting up Google Voice Match** on their devices.

This service is only available to our Telstra mobile customers from today, and is free to set-up, with calls made through your Google Home or Nest speaker or display at no additional cost to your mobile plan (data charges may apply). Thanks to Telstra and Google, your smart speaker or display just got smarter.

Things you need to know

*Requires a compatible Telstra Mobile service and device with credit, a powered Google Home, mini or Nest device connected to an active Wi-Fi network and activation through iOS/Android app. Data charges may apply. Call charges will be in accordance with your Telstra mobile plan. To call E000, say “Hey Google, call Triple Zero”. Liberate and Mobile Protect are incompatible. Excludes business customers. Currently not available on Google Nest Hub Max- coming soon. Google Home, Mini or Nest: Requires a Wi-Fi network, a nearby electrical outlet and a compatible mobile device.

**Voice Match is a Google service that is used to identify individual voices. Setup is controlled using the Google Home app

Google, Google Home and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google Inc.