Telstra News |

From Melbourne to California in 140ms: the company that controls drones over the internet

By Chris Rittler March 19, 2018

Following Telstra Ventures’ recent investment, Cape CEO Chris Rittler reflects on the company’s journey to date and the opportunities presented by the commercial applications of drones.

In 2014 the founding of Cape Productions was met with great excitement from consumers, enterprises, analysts and, most importantly, snow enthusiasts.

We developed software that allowed for the safe production of ski videos via automated flight of off-the-shelf drones. If you skied at some of the top resorts in North America, you could pay between $US50 and $US150 to have a custom ski video made of you or your family.

For an encore, we enhanced our technology and created a public flying portal. Using this portal, any consumer could register to fly a drone equipped with Cape software over the internet via a web browser from their personal computer in the comfort of their own home to have a personal video experience like none other.

We went further and integrated our drone video technology with the Facebook Live API to live stream high-quality aerial video directly to Facebook, which was demonstrated during the lead-up to Mark Zuckerberg’s opening keynote address at the Facebook F8 summit in 2016.

Tens of thousands of users registered to fly drones and over 100,000 flights were successfully executed. Safe drone flight and usability of drones had enabled a mass market. We have continued to develop our innovative system since that point.

Customers are now using off-the-shelf drones connected to the Cape Cloud via the Cape App to fly drones remotely over the internet, increasing the effectiveness of their teams by utilising the safety features and ease-of-use offered by Cape Aerial TelepresenceTM. Use cases include construction, asset inspection, and public safety, with more being added every day.

Our investors believe that the commercial adoption of drones will increase dramatically with the usage of Cape software. Telstra Ventures invested in Cape’s Series A financing alongside two other investors, Google’s Gradient Ventures and Mitsui & Co.

We have identified Australia as a country that would benefit from the use of drones across a number of industrial and government verticals. Telstra Ventures has closely followed developments in drone technology based on feedback from customers regarding their desire to use drones, as well as our own drones program – including using drone technology to inspect some of Telstra’s many cell towers and structures.

Telstra International expansion
Business and Enterprise | Network |

Expanding our network presence in the US

By Jim Clarke February 23, 2018

Global connectivity is critical for businesses that are stepping into new markets, operating globally or scaling up quickly to take up new opportunities.

Asia is now home to around half the world’s internet users and is the largest economic region in the world. That’s why we’ve built our heritage, culture and infrastructure in this region to enable thousands of businesses to connect millions of consumers across this global market.

But it goes beyond Asia. The United States has been long recognised as an important business partner for Australia, and provides a compelling opportunity for Australian businesses seeking expansion.

Findings from the Connecting Commerce whitepaper, which we commissioned from the Economist Intelligence Unit, identified that San Francisco, New York and Chicago were amongst the top 20 cities in the Digital Cities Barometer.

San Francisco recorded the second highest barometer reading overall of the 45 cities. Unsurprisingly New York, which ranked 11th overall, rated fifth for its financial environment and sixth for innovation and entrepreneurship.

With continued investment to maintain our network leadership in Asia – with a global subsea cable system spanning over 400,000 kilometres – we are also building on our well-established presence in the US.

This month, we announced the expansion of our network to four new locations – Atlanta, Dallas, Denver and Seattle, with infrastructure to enable expanding Australian, Asian and other international businesses to have seamless network access deep into the United States.

We’ve been operating in the United States for over 20 years already, with businesses including Telstra Ventures – which is Australia’s number one leading corporate innovator, with over $375 million invested in more than 50 technology companies since 2011.

We also work in partnership with world-leading technology companies throughout the US like Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Amazon for everything from subsea cables to cloud collaboration platforms.

It’s an exciting time to be a global business. Our heritage as a leading telecommunications company with $28.2 billion revenue and 30 years of experience connecting US customers to Asia gives our business customers the confidence to reach these new exciting markets.

With offices in New York, San Francisco and Washington DC, operating eight landing stations covering the East and West coasts, we’re excited to enable more of our customers to focus on their core business by relying on our diverse network.

Transforming customer experience together: Startups and the financial industry with finance startups.
Business and Enterprise |

Transforming customer experience together: Startups and the financial industry

By Gurpreet Ghuliani December 11, 2017

Changing customer demands are challenging and disrupting businesses globally. But if any industry is subject to tough love, then it’s the banking and financial services industry. It’s expected to play a vital economic role, but many view its existence as a necessary evil.

This reputation has led to a number of challenges for the industry. Aside from meeting greater customer expectations, there’s the ever-increasing cost of regulatory compliance, changes in consumer preferences and, significantly, the erosion of market share as younger more nimble FinTech companies gain a foothold in the industry. In fact, 50 percent of the incumbent revenue in the banking industry is lost to FinTech competition.

So how can these traditional brick-and-mortar incumbents stay relevant?

Put simply, banks must fundamentally review their service model in order to win over their customer base. The key to this is undoubtedly digital transformation; this means re-imagining financial services processes through seamless digitised experiences.

Customers no longer want, but expect financial services to be available online – 24/7.

As digital engagement has become imperative, finance startups with the up-and-coming ideas to deliver this will hold a greater amount of power. The truth is that startups have more ideas than financial incumbents because they face fewer barriers to digitally transform. Incumbents, however, are quickly realising that a combination of the two is of equal benefit.

Through Telstra Ventures, our corporate venture capital arm, we’re providing the impetus for some of these collaborations. This year, we increased our portfolio so that it now includes over 40 technology companies.

Whispir, one of our investees, is helping financial institutions to create meaningful dialogue with their customers through cutting-edge digital engagement and customer communication innovations. Its ideas were recently leveraged by Credit Union Australia (CUA) who sought out Whispir to provide a more robust and cost-effective 2 Factor authentification system for their online banking system.

The positive customer response led CUA to quickly expand its work with Whispir to also include enhanced IT service management and customer communication. This has helped CUA to improve its overall operations by delivering customer communications through the right channels, and on the right devices.

Another investee, Singapore-based Near, is helping financial institutions to better align their products to customer needs by delivering data insights that can predict customer behaviour.

The potential of this idea is already being put to use by one bank who is using Near’s data science models to identify,and reach out to prospective home buyers. Through this idea, this bank is tailoring its service model to more effectively serve customers with different needs and expectations.

Whether reshaping service models or starting anew, it’s evident that startups are helping to create the customer experiences that will allow financial institutions to flourish and thrive long term.

It’s a brave new world; one where startups can work alongside the financial industry to effect swift change. And if it continues to take off, finance startup founders will have more opportunities at their disposal than ever before.

Find out more about Telstra Ventures.