Telstra Vantage™ |

Welcome to Vantage Remixed 2020

By Luke Hopewell October 21, 2020

Looking for Telstra Vantage 2021? Find out more here.

Follow our live coverage of Telstra Vantage Remixed 2020 right here on Telstra Exchange.

Welcome to Telstra Vantage Remixed, our seventh annual celebration of world-class ideas, technology and business solutions with our incredible showcase.

Across Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October, we’re running 38 sessions, panel discussions and keynote presentations from Telstra, our partners and special guests live, online and on demand, exclusively for our enterprise customers.

Here we will share live coverage from each of the keynotes so you can get the most out of Vantage Remixed.

Day One

9am, Wednesday 21 Oct

Welcome to Vantage Remixed

And we’re off! Stay tuned for all the highlights from our seventh annual celebration of world-class ideas, technology and business solutions at Telstra Vantage Remixed across today and tomorrow.

Today, it’s all about finding new ways to accelerate the digital economy and solve real business challenges, so we don’t just bounce back – we walk out stronger. We’ll also explore the role our networks, cyber security and digitisation capabilities will play in this new economy.

And finally, we’ll hear from conman turned cyber security expert Frank Abagnale this morning and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard this afternoon.

You can check out the full agenda here.

9:30am, Wednesday 21 Oct

Andy Penn delivers his Vantage Remixed keynote

Our CEO, Andy Penn, has just delivered his keynote at Vantage Remixed 2020. Andy delivered his keynote from his home in Melbourne, where lockdown measures continue to affect the state. As an optimist, Andy wondered what we can all learn from COVID-19.

“I cannot help but think and believe the experiences and learnings from this time will be important in the decades ahead.

“But like you I am asking myself what are these learnings, how do we use the disruption and pain brought about by COVID for good in the future? How do we use it as an accelerant to the transformation of our businesses? How do we use it to bring new experience to our customers?”

Andy Penn shared the state of doing business in 2020 and how it’s primarily digital as a result of COVID-19. The rate of digital adoption following the pandemic means that we now have an opportunity to deliver on the promise of becoming a leading digital economy by 2030.

“Achieving this will not only require businesses to accelerate their own digital journeys but it will require Government too to set the policy and regulatory framework to support a digital economy.

“In this regard there are I believe three areas where policy and regulatory change will be important and for which we can jointly advocate.

“Firstly a systematic review of legislation and regulation at all levels of government – federal, state and local – to remove rules and regulations that stand in the way of a paperless economy, a virtual economy and a cashless economy.

“Secondly, to ensure we have the right policy and regulatory settings in place to support a thriving telecommunications sector. The digital economy is fundamentally dependent on the country’s telecommunications networks.

“And thirdly, with so much at stake, robust and effective cyber security has never been more important.

“Our economy, our society and our future depends on Australia’s cyber defences being strong and built around a framework that is coordinated, integrated and capable.”

Andy Penn closed by adding that: “businesses that will be successful in the future will be those that can embrace this newfound humanity and make it the foundation of their culture. It will bring them closer to their customers and the communities they serve and create an environment in which their workforce will be motivated and engaged.”

Check out the new economic modelling we commissioned from PwC, underscoring the profound effect accelerating the digital economy could have on the nation.

10:40am, Wednesday 21 Oct

Frank W. Abagnale, Scam Me If You Can

If the name Frank Abagnale sounds familiar to you, don’t be alarmed. Abagnale is the subject of Steven Spielberg’s 2002 blockbuster film Catch Me If You Can. Starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale as an adolescent, where he became a confidence man and scam artist who defrauded millions and led the FBI on a global chase.

After his arrest and subsequent conviction, Abagnale started working with the FBI to teach scams awareness, and these days he’s a world-renowned cyber security specialist, and author of his most recent book, Scam Me If You Can.

Abagnale said that not a soul on Earth is immune from being scammed, and new scams are being invented to dupe us every single day.

“The whole social engineering aspect of it of scamming hasn’t changed in 40 years. Scammers, conmen and criminals all stay the same, but the methods have changed significantly,” Frank Abagnale tells Adam Spencer at Vantage Remixed.

“In writing my book it dawned on me that these scams are scams that are 50 years old. It’s just the methods have changed. The criminal mind has not changed much at all. There is no foolproof system, and if you think there is you haven’t taken into account the creativity of fools. We can make it so difficult for a criminal, we have the technology, but if you don’t use it, it’s worthless. If you don’t use it, you’re becoming a victim!”

Abagnale added that the best way to protect people from scams is to educate them on the methods scammers use to infiltrate our lives. That way, we can all know what to look for when scammers come calling.

11.40am, Wednesday 21 Oct

Accelerating the delivery of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing

Telstra’s Group Executive of Networks & IT Nikos Katinakis led a panel discussion to explore how 5G and Mobile Edge Computing will deliver the lowest latency networks to connect devices and revolutionise how organisations operate.

Luciano Ramos from Rogers Communication, Shawn Hakl from Microsoft and Srini Kalapala from Verizon spoke to Nikos about the need for a seamless global experience to unlock the full potential of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing, as well as the first set of standards specifically designed to accelerate these technologies.

The discussion included how 5G and Mobile Edge Computing has the potential to truly revolutionise how organisations operate, and be a game changer for a range of applications that demand a lower latency closer to the users, as well as delivering operational efficiencies and changing the way businesses engage and deliver services to customers.

Nikos also touched on the recent expansion of our 5G network and our ambition to grow our footprint to 75% of Australia’s population by June next year.

2:00pm, Wednesday 21 Oct

IR 4.0 – The real growth opportunity of 5G, Cloud, Edge, AI & IoT

We’ve just heard from Telstra’s Kim Krogh Andersen, University of Queensland’s Prof. Bronwyn Harch, and AATLIS’ Grant Statton talk about the technologies and growth opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution. The panel highlighted some real-life use cases and industry examples of work that’s already happening, and why collaboration with government, industry and academia is needed to drive success in this new era.

The panel also emphasised why it’s important to build new skills and capabilities in emerging technology areas for the future. And the need to put these transformative technologies into the hands of the smartest people across all different industries, provide them access to the resources they need to learn about them, and create the best environment in which to build and test their vision.

2:00pm, Wednesday 21 Oct

Humanising cyber security in the new normal

Covid-19 caused a mad rush to move entire workforces home and created a whole new wave of technology users from kids being home schooled to GPs using technology for the first time to connect with patients. The advice from today’s panel featuring Telstra’s CISO for Asia Pacific, Narelle Devine, Telstra’s GM for Cloud & Security NSW, QLD and ACT, Geneveive White and Forrester Principal Analyst Serving Security and Risk Professionals, Jinan Budge, was to take a breath, reassess and think about where your vulnerabilities are and what tools you have at your disposal to address the most important security issues.

With greater scrutiny on security and IT budgets, and growing cyber risks in the wake of COVID, throwing more money at the problem is not the answer. What’s most important is having visibility of what’s on your network, which now extends beyond the company headquarters and into the home, understanding what is of value to criminals so you can see where you’re most likely to be targeted, and knowing the tools you already have available.

A key tool in any organisation’s kit is its people who are the first line of defence against cyber risk. Building a cyber safe culture is key. Your security is only as strong as “Gary in Accounts” who likes to click on links and download applications. Businesses that take the time to train their people get the best results.

Security is a team effort involving the whole organisation and the broader industry requiring open sharing and collaboration.

3:20pm, Wednesday 20 Oct

Innovation and agility with Mirvac, OMDIA and Adaptive Networks

Earlier today we heard about Adaptive Networks from Telstra’s Executive Sanjay Nayak. Sanjay was joined by Brian Washburn from analyst firm OMDIA, who shared insights on how IT spending and behaviour has changed as a result of COVID-19, making business agility more important than ever before.

“At the onset of COVID-19, IT executives had to work out how to rapidly shift their workforces to remove working, how to rebalance their network and how to adapt their security model,” said Washburn.

Network agility became absolutely critical,” said Nayak, “because the network and application performance impacts employee productivity and therefore your ability to serve customers.”

Washburn added, “Interestingly, our surveys have shown that while ICT budgets have been paired back, networking budgets have stayed the course and in some cases networking projects have accelerated. This is because the network is so essential in driving digital transformations and moving businesses forward in this new environment.”

Nayak and Washburn also discussed how SD-WAN is a lynch pin in network transformation projects, with Washburn adding that he has spoken to very few dissatisfied SD-WAN customers and that they tend to get more value and satisfaction out of these platforms when they take the dedication to “go big”.

This afternoon we heard from Chris Pogson, General Manager, Technology at Mirvac about their implementation of adaptive infrastructure.

Discussing the impacts of COVID-19 and Mirvac’s focus on building a culture of innovation, Pogson discussed the role Adaptive Networks is playing in supporting the business’s rapid growth.

“When COVID-19 hit, it was timely that we had invested in an agile network and technology infrastructure that enabled us to be resilient and adapt,” said Pogson. This solution allowed us to pivot and bring solutions to market at speed.”

Sharing his advice on making these big transformations as smooth as possible, Pogson said it’s often the simple things that cause the biggest issues.

“I’ve learned over the years that getting some of the practical things right – such as understanding how the site will be coordinated, and having your team come together and communicate effectively allows everything to be a lot smoother.

This is why Mirvac chose to work so closely with Telstra as one team during its SD-WAN hybrid network implementation where their relationship was focused on trust and transparency.

Telstra Client Executive Leeanne Bligh described it as both companies having ‘opened the kimono’ and said that the more you get to know your customers the more you can be part of the team.

You can learn more about Adaptive Networks in the video below and in this blog from Sanjay.

If you’d like to know more about SD-WAN you can also download OMDIA’s report on SD-WAN: Tips for Enterprises to Unlock More Value.

4:30pm, Wednesday 21 Oct

In conversation with Julia Gillard

When Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard stepped away from her role leading the nation, she didn’t stop helping Australians who needed it. Now as the Chair of mental health advocacy organisation Beyond Blue, Gillard sat down virtually with Adam Spencer at Vantage Remixed to talk about life pre-pandemic, and how we can hope to emerge on the other side.

Gillard highlighted that trends of incresing nationalism; a changing global pecking order; growing inequality, and technology take-up have all been exacerbated by COVID-19. And those trends have given way to new ones as we work together to combat the virus.

As a result of the pandemic, Gillard identified a renewed reliance on both government to help us all navigate COVID-19, as well as scientists. Similarly, we’re now seeing the way we work in new light as we reevaluate our relationship with our careers.

Gillard said that businesses who want to thrive through the pandemic will learn to grapple with this additional complexity.

“It used to be that you had to walk and chew gum at the same time. These days you’ve got to run while juggling, hurdling and making sure that you know what’s around the next corner,” Gillard told Spencer.

End of Day One

That’s a wrap for day one, we hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Join us tomorrow for more keynotes about our latest initiatives in the Bigger Picture channel. Hear from the world’s leading tech companies in the Power of Partnerships. And learn about new ways to adapt and create progress for your business in Solving for Today.

Day Two

9:00am, Thursday 22 Oct

Welcome back to Vantage Remixed

Good morning and welcome to day two of Vantage Remixed.

Today we’ll explore ways to create an adaptive workforce to respond and thrive in today’s environment. We’ll also be looking at how we can empower teams with the capabilities, tools and culture to perform at their best.   

9:30am, Thursday 22 Oct

How COVID-19 forever changed the workplace

Founder of Expert 360 and Telstra’s newest board member Bridget Loudon opened the session today with her insightful view of how COVID-19 hasn’t derailed the workforce, but accelerated change that should have happened years ago.

Through COVID, we’ve broken a 150-year practice and expectation forged by the industrial revolution where people get up every day and come to a place of work, usually Monday to Friday for largely fixed hours,” said Bridget.

Even when everyone is able to go back to the office, many will want to continue working from home. Yet many organisations are still wedded to the way things were 150 years ago.

Bridget said this wave of more flexible working has been a long time coming, and now with COVID it’s a tsunami.

COVID showed us how much flexibility we have to respond to the world around us and flexibility in how we allow work to get done.”

Flexibility also unlocks so many things we’ve been working hard for – like diversity.

People have been ready for this for so long and we are waiting for the companies to catch up. First with the infrastructure to make it possible, and now for them to shift their mindset.

Bridget closed her keynote with a challenge for the audience. “We may never get another opportunity to fundamentally rethink the way we work, so I encourage you to move bravely into the future.

What embracing flexible working means for organisations

Bridget was joined by social commentator Bernard Salt, Telstra’s Enterprise Executive Michael Ebeid and Founder of Rezilium Kamal Sarma to dig into the challenges and opportunities flexible working creates.

Bernard Salt suggested that the trend towards working from home will be retained post-COVID.

“Working from home was at five per cent before COVID and had been since about 1996. It’s now at 45 per cent but will probably go back somewhere around 10 per cent,” said Bernard. He also mentioned that there will be different preferences from different generations, for example, he doesn’t think the millennial generation will go back to the way things were and will want far more control over how they deliver their work.

To support this new-found flexibility, Kamal Sarma said organisations have got to re-evaluate culture.

“Culture will be much more important. How do you create a connected culture when you don’t see your colleagues that much? We’ll start to see some tension around the edges, for example a lot of people are lonely. And has the culture kept up (during COVID-19)? How do you lead?” said Kamal.

Telstra’s Michael Ebeid said it’s also important for organisations to consider how they continue to support mentorship.

I learned so much from looking over a colleague’s shoulder, and having people look over my shoulder. We need to make time for non-transactional calls, check-ins, mentoring, and training people in how we do things in the organisation. If we don’t do it, we’re missing something, said Michael.

Bridget mentioned that the Zoom window is like a window into someone’s life that you’ve never seen before, and the panel agreed there have been many positives to showing more of who we are, including kids appearing in the background no longer being taboo.

The panel also answered a question about whether track pants were okay on video calls (and you’ll be pleased to know the answer was yes!).

I’m a big fan of people wearing what they’re comfortable with,” said Bridget. And other panel members agreed it’s important for people to wear what makes them feel good.

For Kamal, getting dressed for work is a ritual he enjoys. “When I get into my work clothes, I’m ready to go. My mind switches on, it projects in my energy, in my voice.

Whatever you’re wearing, it sounds like an exciting time ahead as organisations and society shift to this new definition of the workplace.

2.00pm, Thursday 22 Oct

Meeting the demand for digital skills

Earlier today, Bridget Loudon mentioned that in the coming years demand for skilled talent in Australia is expected to outstrip supply fourfold.

One of the blessings in disguise of building the infrastructure for people to work from anywhere – which quickly became necessary with COVID-19 is that talent can be anywhere.

Big businesses are saying, we have to get the best talent and we’re going to be flexible about when, where, and how work gets done,” said Louden.

But in order to get the right mix of skills your organisation needs, there’s also a huge opportunity to develop existing employees.

This afternoon we heard from Telstra Group Executive Alex Badenoch and UTS’s Fiona Anson about the role of short courses, or microcredentials, in meeting the accelerated need for digital skills.

We’re seeing technology develop at such a rapid rate. Previously you’d do a three or four year degree and you’d get a piece of paper to say you’re qualified for a new job. But now we’re seeing technology disrupt jobs every single day. It’s a matter of responding in weeks, not years,” said Alex.

There are people who may have 60 or 80 per cent of the skills we need, but we need to augment that. So, enabling our people to do a 6week course means they can keep growing in their job, or as some jobs disappear and new ones emerge it allows them to move roles.

We heard from past microcredential students, Stephanie Virgato and Adam Caudell, about their experience building their capability at Telstra. You can watch the video here.

Fiona Anson added, “There’s a broader opportunity for universities to work more closely with organisations to truly co-design what they need as needs evolve. We need to build them faster to be able to respond to this changing market.”

Employers need to step up and bring their knowledge and needs to the table, and work with universities to create the skills they need,” said Alex. “We’re all grappling with this fast pace of change. I encourage large organisations to get your people enrolled in the courses we’ve created or sign up to a partnership to build the next set of credentials we all need. This will impact the quality and quantity of digital skills we all need for the future.

Badenoch closed by saying there’s an opportunity to work with universities and the VET sector to think about how these microcredentials become ‘stackable’, and combine to create further qualifications.

12:40pm, Thursday 22 Oct

Fast-track the future with wireless and 5G

This session discussed how the world of 5G is about more than just fast speed for consumers, it provides new opportunities for enterprise connectivity.

Panel members Peri Moris (Telstra); Sanja Marais (Aspen Medical); Gavin Wilson (Cradlepoint), and Dustin Kehoe (Global Data) discussed a range of use cases for 5G in the enterprise, and how it unlocks a seamless and resilient applications for new connectivity.

Sanja Marais of Aspen Medical, for example, shared how Enterprise Wireless was able to deploy connectivity for over 100 pop-up respiratory clinics to help test and assess patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The devices were so easy to use, Aspen Medical were packing up connectivity kits in a box so that staff members on the ground could self-install at their own clinics.

5G offers advanced network features and flexibility, allowing enterprise to deploy networks faster, smarter and cheaper than ever.

3.00pm, Thursday 22 October

Igniting the spark in tech-savvy youth to make a difference in society

“How can we use technology to support the people in our community impacted by COVID, both now and in the future?” That’s the question the Telstra Foundation and partner Young Change Agents posed to digital-savvy, community conscious young Australians from four tech schools based in Victoria. Today, they pitched their ideas thousands of Telstra Enterprise customers and the judging panel consisting of Telstra CFO and Group Executive for Strategy & Finance, Vicki Brady, Young Change Agents CEO and Co-Founder, Margaret O’Brien, Yarra Ranges Tech School Director, Ashley Van Krieken and Tech Schools Director, Dr Sarah Hayton.

Danna, Muntaka, and Saanvi from John Monash Science School presented COVID Care, a gifting business that sends care packages to nurses and frontline healthcare workers from community members to thank them during this time

Rhiannon from Yarra Ranges Tech School presented Study Sync, an app that tracks how much work youth are doing and what they have left to do. It notifies users when to take a break or start a new subject. Users can also find contacts for teachers if they need help with their work.

Fei, Zengquin, and Jenny from Dandenong High School (KIOSC) presented Hax and Tipz, a social media page that helps users organise their day start to finish with suggestions on how to be productive, have fun and connect with loved ones.

Bendigo Tech School had two submissions.

Lily presented Project Plant, a business that sends plant boxes to users with fun social media and online competitions that advocate the benefits of plants and how they can be grown at home

Then, Cooper and Adler presented Ed Level Up, a service that integrates rewards for completing schoolwork and getting good marks into gaming platforms to motivate students to learn remotely.

Thanks for joining us!

That’s a wrap for Vantage Remixed 2020, we look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Business and Enterprise | Telstra Vantage™ |

Vantage gets Remixed and goes virtual – here’s what to expect

By Andy McFarlane October 15, 2020

Looking for Telstra Vantage 2021? Find out more here.

Next week we’re launching our seventh annual celebration of world-class ideas, technology and business solutions with our annual Telstra Vantage showcase.

Across Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October, we’re running 38 sessions, panel discussions and keynote presentations from Telstra, our partners and special guestslive, online and on demand, exclusively for our enterprise customers.

Day one is all about finding new ways to accelerate the digital economy and solve real business challenges, so we don’t just bounce back – we walk out stronger. We’ll explore the role our networks, cyber security and digitisation capabilities will play in this new economy.

Then, on day two, we’ll explore ways to create an adaptive workforce to respond and thrive in today’s environment. We’ll be looking at how we can empower teams with the capabilities, tools and culture to perform at their best.

Plus, we have some fantastic external keynote speakers lined up including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, conman turned cyber security expert Frank Abagnale and leading demographer Bernard Salt.

Here are our top picks from this year’s agenda – stay tuned to Telstra Exchange for all the latest Vantage Remixed news.

Day One – Wednesday 21 October

Opening Performance: Like AI Version, Telstra keynote and Q&A panel

9.30am – 10.30am AEDT

Watch as three of Australia’s most progressive artists challenge the boundaries of co-creation between humans and intelligent machines in a remix of one of Australia’s most iconic songs. Then, hear from Telstra CEO Andy Penn on the importance of digital acceleration in Australia’s recovery plan, and Michael Ebeid on the expertise and innovations that can help your business emerge stronger in 2021.

Scam Me If You Can – Frank Abagnale in conversation with Adam Spencer

10.40am 11.30am AEDT

Frank Abagnale, notorious conman turned cyber-security expert, talks about today’s evolving security landscape and how to stop scammers in their tracks. The subject of Spielberg’s film, Catch Me If You Can, Frank also now lectures at the FBI and keeps a keen eye on the latest high-tech deception techniques.

Accelerating the delivery of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing

11.40am – 12.10pm AEDT

5G and Mobile Edge Computing will deliver the lowest latency networks to connected devices and have the potential to revolutionise how organisations operate. Hear from Telstra’s Group Executive of Networks & IT, Nikos Katinakis, and a panel of experts as they discuss the need for a seamless global experience to unlock the full potential of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing, as well as the first set of standards specifically designed to accelerate these technologies.

Humanising cyber security in the new normal

2.00pm – 2.30pm AEDT

Security isn’t binary, it needs diverse views and expertise. Join Telstra’s new Chief Information Security Officer for Asia Pacific, Narelle Devine, for a discussion about how people can be your first line of defence, how to manage your cyber risk in the new normal and your five-point action plan for long-term security.

Inside Mirvac’s Adaptive Network

3.20pm – 3.40pm AEDT

Learn how Mirvac partnered with Telstra to reimagine theirtelecommunications, technology and end user experiences. Explore the lessons learned in their SD-WAN transition, the network insights they’re using to inform better decisions, and how scalable cloud connectivity is helping them improve speed-to-market. You can read more about our recent Adaptive Networks announcement here.

The Hon. Julia Gillard AC in conversation with Adam Spencer

4.30pm – 5.15pm AEDT

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard will discuss emerging issues and trends for leaders and business from the coronavirus pandemic that has so profoundly changed our lives, society and the economy. As Chair of Beyond Blue, one of Australia’s leading mental health awareness bodies, Ms Gillard will also discuss the importance of understanding and managing mental health issues in the workplace and the constructive role employers can play. She will also draw on her work on women and leadership.

Day Two – Thursday 22 October

Developing Australia’s workforce to power a digital economy

9.30am – 10.30am AEDT

Technological advances and the impact of COVID are radically transforming our workforce. Demand for technology expertise exceeds supply, creating the need for a new way of hiring and deploying different skills. Join Bridget Loudon, Telstra’s newest Board Member, as she shares her experience. She’ll be joined by Adam Spencer with Chris Smith, Bernard Salt and Kamal Sarma to discuss the best approaches to attract talent and empower them to thrive.

Fast-track the future with wireless and 5G

12.40pm – 1.10pm AEDT

5G Wireless networking is opening up incredible opportunities for Australian businesses. Learn how Aspen Medical are on the pathway to 5G using Enterprise Wireless with over 100 pop up Respiratory Clinics, assessing and testing patients with COVID-like symptoms. Plus hear the latest research from Global Data and Cradlepoint on how other businesses are using this transformative technology both locally and globally, and find out how you can too.

Digitisation and digital inclusion: doing good business responsibly

1.00pm – 1.30pm AEDT

As organisations rapidly digitise the way they serve and connect, some Australians are being left behind – and they could be your customers. What is digital inclusion and why does it matter? Are forgotten segments the key to business and economic growth? Join Telstra CEO Andy Penn and leading academics from RMIT and Swinburne as they discuss the findings of the 2020 Australian Digital Inclusion Index and the role we all play in ensuring everyone benefits from the digital economy.

Integrated digital twins as a path to insight

1:20pm – 1:50pm AEDT

To drive true digital transformation, you need to blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds. Learn about digital twins, what they can do for your business, and see case studies of successful digital twin implementations and the insights gained from them.

Igniting the spark in tech-savvy youth to make a difference to society

3:00pm – 3:30pm AEDT

Digital-savvy, community-conscious young Australians are the future of our country and our businesses. Here, schools from across Victoria will present their solutions to a challenge: “How do we support the people in our community impacted by COVID, both now and in the future”

Shaping Tomorrow Together - Telstra Vantage 2019
Telstra Vantage™ |

How regional teens are embracing technology for change at Telstra Vantage 2019

By Jackie Coates September 16, 2019

At Telstra Vantage 2019, we invited high school students from regional Australia to take the stage and present their tech solutions to the real-world problems facing their communities.

Bringing together leaders from the technology industry, ‘Tomorrow’s leaders embracing technology for change’ at Telstra Vantage 2019 was designed to help attendees draw inspiration from young minds.

In collaboration with Telstra Foundation partner Young Change Agents, high school students showcased innovative ideas and helped Telstra Enterprise partners gain a fresh perspective on technology.

Young Change Agents is a design-thinking based social entrepreneurship program for 10 to 18-year-olds that provides students with the tools to think creatively, build skills in critical thinking and communication, and empowers them to become entrepreneurs, leaders and world-changers.

Over three days, the four teams of students completed a design thinking process with Young Change Agents to identify real-world issues facing their community. They ideated potential solutions, developed a business model, and then validated, prototyped and pitched their ideas to our panel of judges – Mike Ebeid, Telstra Enterprise Group Executive, Jackie Coates, Head of Telstra Foundation, Kate Stewart, Telstra Head of Education Partnerships, and Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne.

The students pitched some inspiring innovation ideas:

Farm Watch: health tracking data for farm animals

Narromine High School, Narromine (West of Dubbo)

This team’s idea comes from using existing tracking systems (wearable tech bands for livestock) to an app that extracts research from data sets collected from the tracking systems. The data collected can be sold or donated to science or research and help educate schools and the public.

Mike Ebeid said, “This idea certainly speaks to everything that we do here at Telstra. Keeping a track of livestock is really important for farmers and helping to solve that is great because most farmers I know care a lot about their animals. It will also help people to see and appreciate the work of farmers. It’s a really good idea.”

Link Lamp: connecting people through light to relieve loneliness

Keira High School, Wollongong

How might we make people who are lonely feel more connected to others? This team came up with smart connected lamps that are paired so when one person touches their lamp, it sends a signal to the other one resulting in light appearing. This shows that the other person is thinking of them and they are not alone.

Sally Capp said, “This idea pulled at my heartstrings. I’ve got a son in the United States at the moment and I think if I had this lamp (and I would love one), I would’ve been pushing that button every moment of today so that he knows I’m thinking of him.

There’s no doubt that even though we are more connected than ever, the mental health surveys tell us…that people are suffering from social isolation more than ever before. It’s just little ideas like this that can make such a big difference and a big impact.”

Travel on the Gravel: VR learning experiences for long bus rides to school

Trangie High School, Trangie (West of Dubbo)

Bus companies find that students get up to mischief on long bus rides. Students find bus travel boring and parents want their kids to productively use their time on long bus rides. If local buses have virtual reality headsets, bus trips could educate and entertain youth and allow the students to virtually experience situations they wouldn’t normally be exposed to.

Jackie Coates said, “No one knows the tyranny of distance more than a regional student who travels hours a day to and from school on the same long and winding road.

I love how this idea uses virtual reality to solve a real problem and the students did some excellent work scoping their business plan and hustling a local bus company to run their prototype.”

Happy Patch Packs: veggie garden packs using sensors connected to an app

Trangie High School, Trangie (West of Dubbo)

How might we help local families grow fresh produce without using too much available water resources? This team wants to create a self-watering/data measuring fresh fruit and vegetable garden growing kit helping people in remote or drought-affected communities to gain access to fresh food.

Kate Stewart, “Hearing from the students how tough it is in regional communities when it comes to accessing fresh veggies and water and the costs for families, I think this idea is fantastic. I love how the team has incorporated a tech solution in what is a very sustainable and clever idea and how you’ve solved a local community challenge.”

Thanks to the Young Change Agents team and the amazing high school students involved who helped us to deliver a great event at Telstra Vantage 2019.

Telstra Vantage 2019
IoT | Telstra Vantage™ |

Over 3 million new IoT ‘things’ on our network

By Gerhard Loots September 5, 2019

Australians are well and truly embracing the Internet of Things, with over 3.2 million devices now connected to our IoT network and an average of 2000 more being added every day.

At Telstra Vantage 2019 this week, we’ve been showcasing how these connected ‘things’ are assisting to increase safety, reduce costs and help to make our customers’ experiences easier and better from start to finish. We took the opportunity to demonstrate our various IoT platforms including Track and Monitor, smart spaces, our IoT Connection Manager, and the Bluetooth finding network that powers our Telstra Locator.

There’s a huge opportunity for IoT to transform the way that businesses operate in Australia. More than half of all Australian organisations surveyed are confident that an IoT strategy would generate significant revenue increases for their business*, while over 70 per cent agree that IoT can increase their employees’ productivity and lead to more positive experiences in the workplace*.

It’s this strong positivity and endorsement from our enterprise business partners that has helped our IoT business revenue grow by nearly 20 per cent in FY19. We’ve made this possible by investing in and building the largest IoT network in the country, which means Australians can make the most of this new world of connectivity right now.

We also know that the number of IoT devices being connected each day is growing at a rapid pace. Connected vehicles are an exciting IoT use case in our portfolio right now, but we’re also seeing a huge range of high-tech devices like solar panels, humidity sensors, traffic cones, buses, whitegoods and even garbage trucks being connected to our network – and each one of those contributes data to insights that previously weren’t attainable.

When businesses use IoT to solve traditional problems in new ways, we’re seeing some incredible success stories emerge. National transport company SCT Logistics used our Track and Monitor product across its rail freight and road transport fleet, dropping its loss rate of 3 per cent on average annually straight down to zero in a three-month trial.

Not only is SCT Logistics stemming the $4 million cost of losses each year, but it also hopes to get better usage and utilisation rates out of its assets instead of letting them sit idle in customers’ warehouses and shipping yards. After this successful trial, SCT Logistics is now rolling out Track and Monitor across its 1500 non-powered assets like trailers and rail wagons, and integrating that data with its own systems. Despite the scale of this full roll-out, the initial cost is expected to be offset within three years through the efficiencies and constant visibility that our IoT network makes possible.

By the end of the financial year, we expect to launch more devices in our Track and Monitor range for enterprise-scale use, including new asset tracking units with both LTE-M IoT and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for geolocation. This new unit will combine the strength of LTE-M for detailed critical tracking needs and the low power benefits of Bluetooth tracking in one device.

Our Bluetooth finding network community has grown impressively over the last few months, too, with an increase from 7.5 million data points in February of this year to over 25 million in July. Track and Monitor customers, Telstra Locator customers, Telstra payphones, opted-in Telstra 24×7 app users and our nationwide fleet of Telstra technician vans all contribute to the density and quality of our Bluetooth community, and we’ve been pleased to see this grow as more customers join. We also plan to add Bluetooth locators to future Cab Digital taxis, potentially adding thousands of taxis to securely and anonymously help all our Bluetooth finding network users locate their lost valuables.

We’re well on track to connecting over four million IoT devices by this time next year, and we’re really excited to hear more success stories from our customers as they find new and innovative applications for our nationwide IoT network and the wealth of data and insights that it allows businesses to capture.

* Forrester’s Business Technographics Global Networks And Telecommunications Survey, 2019

Expanding into Asia
Telstra Vantage™ |

Navigating technology demands to expand business into Asia

By Richard Moss October 18, 2018

A session at Telstra Vantage 2018 provided insights into the technology and solutions you can leverage in expanding your business, confidently and successfully, into Asia and the globe.

Despite the many opportunities beyond our shores, a 2017 Australian International Business Survey found that just 7.1 percent of Australian businesses are selling goods and services overseas. Partly this may be that it seems daunting, speculated Nigel Stitt, Telstra’s Australia/New Zealand head of sales for global enterprise services.

Asia is not a singular entity, after all. The region has a complex web of cultures, technology infrastructures, governments, regulations and employment and data sovereignty laws that all need to be respected and considered.

But if you pick the right partners, he said, there’s no reason to feel daunted. On the contrary, opportunities abound in Asia — a region that combines crisp and clean modernity with infrastructure and traffic chaos and lots and lots of energy. All the same, it’s best not to just jump blindly into operating in the region. Here are the key insights you need to know.

Preparation is key

Andy Tybell, Telstra’s head of solution consulting for Asia and Australia/New Zealand, advised that any businesses considering expanding into Asia will get the best results if they plan and prepare early. Feasibility studies and resources like Austrade and the Australia China Business Council can highlight the latest business trends and market conditions as well as help to determine how products and services should be localised.

A company’s product line might not be the only thing that needs some localisation in Asia, either. Unlike in Australia, business decisions are rarely made in meeting rooms, Tybell said, but rather tend to occur in informal environments like restaurants and karaoke halls.

Stitt added that you’ll need to leave impatience behind. Executing on a successful business arrangement first requires growing and investing in relationships, which means respecting Asian business etiquette.

That said, even just learning the local greetings in the local language can go a long way when you’re about to engage in a business conversation.

Investing in local talent

It used to be that many Australian businesses would open operations in China to improve their manufacturing capabilities for servicing the market here, but Stitt said there’s been a strong shift towards expanding for in-China opportunities.

Similarly, in other parts of Asia there are ample opportunities to build and grow a new branch of your business that’s been designed from the outset to meet the local market’s needs, as Telstra did with the Telkomtelstra joint venture in Indonesia.

Investing in local talent — at all levels — can be a huge advantage here, especially in the long-term, rather than taking the easy short-term route of flying expats in to fill all of the important roles. And for this, once again, there are partners that can help — both in terms of professional employment organisations and well-connected locals as well as Australian companies like Telstra that can lend their experience and tap into the networks they built during their own expansions.

Technology is on your side

The sheer breadth of technology options available today means there’s never been a better time to expand your business into Asia. Even in remote locations like Papua New Guinea, where terrestrial services are not readily available, it’s now easier than ever before to handle the needs of a technology business.

Satellite connectivity has been bolstered in the past decade by the introduction of mid-Earth satellites, which offer lower latency and higher bandwidth than older geostationary satellites (150ms and up to 100mbps, versus 600ms and 1-2mbps), while high-speed cable and 4G/5G networks have now opened the door for businesses expanding into more built-up areas of Asia to launch light.

“In the past you had to have a heavy capital expenditure — put in equipment, send out staff,” said Tybell. “Nowadays what you can do is you can actually virtualise the environment in the cloud and just go directly to that environment.”

But it’s important from a technical standpoint, he added, to establish a baseline so that you can replicate the user experience — or at least get as close as you can compared to the country you originated in.

To do that, he advised, start at the top-level. Look at your staff. First ask what functions and processes they’ll use to fulfill their role, then map those to the applications that they’ll use — because their user experience is key to a successful expansion.

Once you’ve determined which applications are critical, you can use your current site as an archetype to figure out your approximate CPU, bandwidth and storage needs and get a profile of what the new site will look like. Then leverage your partnerships to make it happen.