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IoT - A smarter world

This month we look at how connecting machines, streamlining data and creating new and dynamic ways of working is ultimately leading to a smarter world.

3 min

A place for everything: How IoT is changing the world of business



A place for everything: How IoT is changing the world of business

The Internet of Things is the way of the future, and a small coterie of Australian start-ups is leading the way.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is opening up a world of business opportunity as everything from cars to fridges to hearing aids gets connected. A new frontier in smart business solutions, IoT is also redefining the very industries it is disrupting.

It’s changing entire industries, says the chief technology officer for Cisco’s Internet of Everything vertical solutions team, Aglaia Kong. “Look at the Uber example, it impacted the taxi industry tremendously,” Kong says. “Business leaders need to be mindful about what is coming.”

The IoT makes it possible to control and monitor remote environments, and to collate and analyse huge amounts of data – data that deepens our understanding of trends, risks and opportunities.


Underwater applications

One of the Australian companies at the edge of this new frontier is Abyss Solutions, a start-up that uses aquatic drones to monitor underwater assets. What’s more, the drones are not guided by a person. This may sound simple, but global positioning systems do not work underwater and acoustic navigation systems are expensive.

Abyss’s drones find their way using a proprietary system, cutting the cost per drone to about $5000. According to director Nasir Ahsan, there are many applications for these drones: dams, water ways, ship hulls, oil and gas pipelines, subsea cables, fish and oyster farms, fish stock assessment, and aquatic weeds, to name just a few.

“For the first time ever, our clients get a comprehensive understanding of their whole asset, and a baseline that helps them proactively manage their assets,” Ahsan says.

For example, dam managers no longer have to wait until they detect a fault then send a diver to the estimated location. Using an Abyss drone, they can systematically map the dam below the waterline. Then Abyss software analyses thousands of images, a herculean and mind-numbing task that would take humans a whole lot longer.


Farming’s new frontier

Sydney-based software developer Craig Hendricks saw a viable solution to agricultural problems thanks to the IoT. Hendricks owned a farm near Oberon, about three-hours’ drive west of Sydney, where he farmed cattle, truffles and olives.

“I needed to be able to monitor and manage things when I wasn’t there,” Hendricks says. “So I developed technology to check what was going on – the level of water in the tanks, whether the pumps were working, and the soil moisture.”

Today Hendricks is commercialising the resulting system, Farmbot, to deliver remote-area monitoring to farmers, beginning with water monitoring.

Having recently installed a sensor on a 66,000 hectare farm, Hendricks recalls the astonishing result. “We turned it on Thursday night,” he says. “At 11am on Friday, the sensor showed the tank was empty. They didn’t believe it, so they looked. It was empty.”

Such data dramatically changes farm management, Hendricks says. The farmers discovered the pumps to the tank were not working properly, the water tank was too small, and their stock was using more water than they thought.

“They then had the data to support the capital expenditure,” says Hendricks. “Two weeks later, they ordered as many sensors as I could deliver. It’s a simple case, but the problem on farms is that something is always happening, especially with water, and you get caught out regularly.”


New opportunities

The next generation of IoT technology is already having a massive impact on our homes, and the way we go about day-to-day activities. On a recent visit to Australia Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, shared his vision for the way connected smart devices would continue to impact our homes and lives.

“The internet started with a PC on the desk and a hard wire to the wall, it didn’t become mobile until we had Wi-Fi and laptops, then smartphones let us move the internet from the laptop into our pocket and with virtual devices it’s in our line of sight,” Cole says. “Virtual reality will let us walk through hotels, and tourist attractions in our own home before we book our holiday.”

The challenge for business leaders, according to Cole, lies in creating the right cultural environment to respond to these changes to recognise and deliver the next phase of change.

“If you look at Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple they’re all getting into each other’s businesses, they’re all aggressively challenging each other, and challenging themselves,” says Cole. “The point is, if all four of these companies have cropped up in the last 16 to 20 years, there’s no reason to believe that we’re not going to see equally big competitors in the next three to five years, or that some of the four may go away.”


Telstra technology delivers global markets and opportunities directly to the desktops of Australian business leaders. Ask your AE about our global solutions.

2 min

iRobot: Four reasons to embrace the IoT revolution



iRobot: Four reasons to embrace the IoT revolution

With the Internet of Things set to challenge every industry, what can your business do to prepare – and prosper?

The combination of cheap computing, ubiquitous sensors and fast, reliable wireless networking is making it possible to track, monitor and optimise everything from transport to personal healthcare. Here are just a few of the industries that stand to benefit from IoT disruption:


Affordable monitoring for agriculture

The Internet of Things gives business the opportunity to put mission-critical services on very low-cost platforms. This means using inexpensive sensors and cheap computing power, coupled with ubiquitous connectivity to track and measure aspects of your business you previously couldn’t.

Agriculture stands to benefit enormously from this technology, making it easier for farmers to know which fields are ripe for planting and which crops are thriving. Sensors on the ground provide near real-time measurements of everything from soil quality to sunlight and rainfall, sending data back for analysis and action. The result is threefold: optimised crops; lower running costs; and higher profits.


Tracking for financial success

The IoT enables deployment of simple software probes of a customer’s digital footprint, collecting social information, buying habits and repayment patterns to come up with a full risk profile instantly – a process that used to take weeks.

Using this deep processing power, credit can be granted or declined in seconds rather than days, fundamentally changing the way liquidity is released into financial markets, as well as opening up the field to innovative new players.


Knowledge for better health

By giving patients sensors monitoring everything from their blood pressure and heart rate to their daily activity, then analysing the data, looming health issues can be diagnosed before they become a problem. People can also use data to optimise their lifestyles, to get the activity they need by monitoring their steps and energy intake and output, and more.

By using wide population data, healthcare can be directed to where it is needed most, keeping patients out of hospital when they don’t need admission, helping people to lead longer, healthier lives and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.


Building smarter cities

Smart infrastructure is providing near real-time data on everything from the amount of garbage in a particular bin to the number of pedestrians using a particular street late at night.

Smart rubbish bins are only emptied when they need it, meaning the routes of rubbish trucks can be optimised, saving time and money. Likewise, analysing pedestrian activity makes it possible to switch streetlights off at night, lowering power costs and increasing the life of each lamp.

And that’s just the beginning. Cars with sensors provide data on congestion to optimise traffic flow via smart traffic lights and intelligent routing, while air-quality sensors provide near real-time information about pollution, enabling citizens with sensitivities to avoid certain areas.

Machine to machine (M2M) communications can help close the gap between supply and demand for Australian businesses. Ask your AE how you too can empower your workforce with Telstra’s M2M solutions.

1 min

The Great IoT Transformation



The Great IoT Transformation

IoT transformation is leading the way for Australian businesses to optimise, innovate, and compete on the global stage.

With the power to take any problem and solve it, IoT is presenting cutting-edge leaders with the opportunity to optimise business, foster innovation and breed success.

This shift means that Australian businesses aren’t just competing with one another, they’re competing with the world, says Mark Chapman, executive director of Telstra’s Global Enterprise Mobility. “Everybody wants to know how they can use IoT to actually improve some aspect of their business, to take cost out of the business, to actually make life better for their staff,” he says.

“IoT is a way of actually optimising your business to deliver the best outcomes for your customers at the best price,” Chapman adds. “From an innovation perspective, it’s about taking what you do today and making it better.”


IoT is a way of actually optimising your business to deliver the best outcomes for your customers at the best price.

– Mark Chapman, executive director, Global Enterprise Mobility, Telstra



Australian businesses aren’t just competing with each other. They’re competing with the world. In order to be effective in that landscape you’ve got to be doing it as well or better than your competition, not just next door, but overseas.

IoT can take a problem and solve it for you.

Everybody wants to know how they can use IoT to actually improve some aspect of their business and as I talk to customers, we talk about how to improve productivity, how to take cost out of the business, how to actually make life better for their staff, and improve safety.

IoT’s the topic on everyone’s lips. It’s the 2016 version of Big Data

When Telstra thinks about IoT, it thinks about 3 things. Innovation, network, and security. From an innovation perspective, it’s about taking what you do well today and making it better,

Getting security right for IoT is critical. We’re not just bringing together Telstra solutions and our networks, we’re also working with world class partners.

Being cost-effective, that means being efficient, that means delivering the best product to your customers that you possibly can.

IoT is a way of actually optimizing your business to deliver the best outcomes for your customers at the best price.


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1 min

Safety net: Technology, transport and timing



Safety net: Technology, transport and timing

As IoT propels industry insight, the transport and logistics sector has shifted gears, transitioning to a proactive approach to addressing safety.

Over the past decade there has been a massive shift in the way technology is used to monitor, measure and manage within the transport and logistics sector – saving time and money, and preventing accidents from occurring.

“In time we will be able to predict the likelihood of accidents or predict the risk of an accident,” says Charlie Macdonald, industry executive for Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at Telstra.

“Because we’re getting better insights, we can make more informed, fact-based management decisions,” Macdonald adds. “We’re looking at smart motorways, smarter transport systems.”


“In time we will be able to predict the likelihood of accidents or predict the risk of an accident.”

– Charlie Macdonald, industry executive, Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics, Telstra



The Internet of Things is not connecting your toaster to your fridge and of course that’s what everyone thinks the Internet of Things is about.

In our old world we used to harvest data.

We now connect, monitor measure, manage.

We able to over time predict the likelihood of accidents or predict the risk of an accident.

Using video-sensor-based technology to understand driver distraction or monitoring on brain activity to predict likelihood of fatigue.

Using this data, joining it with different sources and getting new insights on your business.

Looking at smart motorways, smarter transport systems.

A trial with heavy vehicles connecting to traffic lights.

The most impact to the pavement of the road, is the breaking and acceleration from stop to start with red light. If they could keep that – that heavy vehicle going through their system, there’s lower impact on the infrastructure, less braking, less acceleration, lower emissions, lower fuel consumption.

We’re now getting better insights. So because we’re getting better insights, we can do better, have better more informed fact-based management decisions.


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2 min

The road to safety: How IoT is changing the trucking game



The road to safety: How IoT is changing the trucking game

There’s a new wave of technology that’s driving the transport industry into a safer, more efficient and more sustainable era.

With more than 650,000 trucks on Australian roads carrying freight on a daily basis, the challenges around safety and efficiency are numerous and proliferating. But thanks to the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), innovators are uncovering new opportunities to meet these challenges with leading edge technology.

Innovation in transport and logistics is focused on the three key pillars of speed, fatigue and mass management, says the executive director of manufacturing, transport and logistics at Telstra, Charlie Macdonald.

Driving safety forward

IoT is revolutionising the transport and logistics sector, Macdonald says, resulting in smarter motorways, smarter systems, and even the connection of heavy vehicles to traffic lights.

“If heavy vehicles can communicate their location with upcoming traffic lights, the lights will be green at the right moment to allow the vehicle to move through the system without slowing down,” Macdonald explains. Small changes such as this will have a profound impact on infrastructure, emissions and fuel consumption.

The added bonus is accident prevention. “We’re going to use advanced communications between vehicles to make sure we don’t have any collisions,” says Macdonald. “We’re going to put in technologies to allow for higher levels of productivity and efficiency.”


We’re going to use advanced communications between vehicles to make sure that we don’t have any collisions. And we’re going to put in technologies to allow for higher levels of productivity and efficiency.

– Charlie Macdonald, executive director, Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, Telstra


Technology for increased efficiency

“The freight industry is really exciting from a technology perspective,” says Cate Hull, CEO of FreightExchange. “Trucks now have black boxes, there are cameras on the roads, there are sensors in the roads, and you’ve got all sorts of amazing technology which traditional companies can now use to really drive efficiency.”

Hull saw big opportunities for technology to underpin much-needed transformation in the sector. As many as one in four trucks on the road empty, she says. “We saw a big opportunity in freight to really drive sustainability and better efficiencies in the industry.”

FreightExchange is now a national success story, using data insights from IoT technology to match empty trucks with goods for distribution – saving time and money and increasing productivity.


Change is in our hands

The growth of apps and mobile devices is also increasing safety and efficiency on our roads. Tools such as the CheckALoad app, which takes the national Load Restraint Guide and turns it interactive, are making it easier for heavy-vehicle drivers to check load safety and compliance.

These mobile tools also allow drivers, consignors and compliance officers to maintain records, by providing instant, real-time access to previous transactions at the touch of a button.

“We used to run our businesses using our rear-view mirrors, always looking behind us, analysing data on the results of our sales performance and the production of previous months,” Macdonald says. “In our new world, we’re looking through the windscreen, looking forward and predicting what’s about to happen based on real-time data and new insights.”


Idea in brief

  • The Internet of Things is revolutionising the transport and logistics sector
  • Innovation is focused on the three key pillars of speed, fatigue and mass management
  • Technology enables diverse businesses to work together to co-ordinate trucking space
  • Black boxes, cameras, sensors and apps accelerate efficiency and productivity

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