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Our Connected Future

Discover how giant robots, driverless transport, automated machinery, fenceless farms and other mechanical systems that effectively "talk" to each other, will power Australian business towards a connected future.


1 min

Make way for machines that talk to each other



Make way for machines that talk to each other

Machines that talk to each other are about to become a reality throughout the Australian economy.

Whether it’s driverless transport in remote mines or automated stevedores at our ports, Australia is already home to some of the world’s largest automated machine-to-machine systems. Get ready for more.

The next generation of M2M technology could enable fenceless farms, fully transparent logistics chains and wearable safety devices to prevent accidents on building sites.

The opportunities and challenges in this space have been highlighted in the recently published Land of Sweeping Change: Powering Australian Business towards A Connected Future, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Telstra.

Drawn from a survey of 300 senior Australian executives in industries ranging from agriculture to distribution, manufacturing, transport and telecommunications, the study found a rapid but lumpy uptake of M2M technology. The research highlights changes that need to take place in order for the benefits of M2M to be realised across the economy—including cultural, structural and communications issues that hamper technology rollout.


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A bright future

The research shows that once these challenges are addressed, M2M offers a huge boost to operation efficiency, customer service and workplace safety. Moreover, large-scale change could come sooner than we expect; software developers, hardware manufacturers and telecommunications providers are already working together to remove integration headaches and boost performance.

At the same time, businesses and industry groups are removing some of the cultural roadblocks slowing M2M adoption, and new analysis tools are making it possible to get all-important insight into return on investment of existing projects, making the technology easier to explain and adopt.

So now is the time to consider how your industry might be on the verge of major change, caused by machines that talk to each other.


Idea in brief

Here are some of the report’s highlights:

  • M2M creates new opportunities for business efficiency, improved customer service and safer work practices.
  • M2M solutions are increasingly the result of software developers, hardware manufacturers and telecommunications providers offering comprehensive, business-ready technologies.
  • M2M is moving from just machines to operators, through the use of wearable technology for people and animals.
  • M2M rollouts already feature new analytics tools that make it possible to access real-time data for decision support.

Discover how M2M technology will impact your business—download the report.

2 min

Secrets of the CFO



Secrets of the CFO

IN:SIGHT asked four leading economists to identify key business trends shaping the Australian economy during the next 12 months – here’s their five tips for the future.

Four of Australia’s leading economists agree; Australia is in for a bumpy ride. As falling commodity prices force a slow down in the resources sector, business needs new sources of growth, and luckily there are many to be found, if you know where to look.

The economists contacted by IN:SIGHT are Frank Gelber, from BIS Shrapnel, Cherelle Murphy from ANZ, James Glenn, from National Australia Bank, and Jason Murphy, publisher of the Thomas the Think Engine.

1 – Dollar goes down – exports go up

Describing the Australian economy as being “on the threshold of major cyclical and structural shifts”, Frank Gelber, Chief Economist at BIS Shrapnel says it’s time to see growth in non-mining industries, regions and states.

He sees opportunities across the services sectors in areas like tourism, education, finance and business, as well as agriculture and manufacturing, particularly secondary processing of food.

“Businesses needs to redeploy skills and labour, capabilities and marketing efforts away from declining industries and towards export and import-competing industries,” Gelber says.

2 – Banking on experience


James Glenn, Senior Economist, Australia & Commodities, at National Australia Bank, says low interest rates are hitting the economy in patchy and unexpected ways, boosting real estate prices on the one hand, but having little effect on consumer confidence.

“Confidence remains a big concern. So long as this lack of confidence persists, we are unlikely to see a meaningful recovery in consumer spending,” Glenn offers. “Consumers are looking for value for money, and are increasingly valuing “experiences” and other services when making spending decisions.”

As a result, Glenn says industries that focus on providing experiences such as education, restaurants and cafes, travel and health are all well positioned for growth.

3 – The age of infrastructure

BIS Shrapnel Infrastructure’s Frank Gelber also says infrastructure investment, which has been falling for some years, should stabilise over the next year and then pick up.

“This structural change will shift the focus of growth away from mining back to trade-exposed industries, regions and states,” Gelber says. “These structural and cyclical shifts present us with strong growth opportunities as well as significant risks. This highlights the importance of preparation and careful planning.”

4 – Get smart


Cherelle Murphy, Co-Head of Australian Economics, at ANZ says business will do well to take advantage of relatively attractive prices of key business inputs including labour, credit and fuel, and look for opportunities in and around expanding markets.

“International student enrolments are rising as the Australian dollar falls and the outlook for related student accommodation, retailing, transport and communications is improving,” Murphy says. “The lower Australian dollar is also driving increased tourism, with the hospitality sector a key beneficiary.”

In the longer term Murphy says the aging population and increasing female workforce participation will benefit companies involved in healthcare, childcare and domestic services.

5 – Stay safe

With interest rates are at historical lows, Jason Murphy, publisher of economics blog thomasthethinkengine.com says businesses would still be wise to tread carefully when it comes to borrowing due to structural risks facing the economy as a whole.

“Despite the low cost of capital, the right thing to do for companies is not to over-stretch,” Murphy says. “A smart business will use the current times to prepare to expand, but without necessarily committing vast sums until the green shoots are clear of the mud. Pessimism will not drive a business to grand success, but may prevent it from failing altogether.”

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2 min

Understanding the private cloud



Understanding the private cloud

The private cloud makes sense for organisations that need high levels of control, security and governance.

The private cloud offers corporate IT systems an ideal combination of security, governance and the flexibility of dynamic public cloud infrastructure.

Mark Thurmond spent six years as head of IT security technology at vendor RSA Security before taking on the role of senior vice-president of global sales for cloud computing powerhouse VCE. Here, he explains why the private cloud offers a unique and stable transition into the cloud for large-scale corporations.

Discover how it can reduce complexity, attain agility and ensure that governance and security requirements are fulfilled.

A private cloud is all about service delivery in IT. So if you’ve got a private cloud, you have your own IT assets within your datacentre.



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My name is Mark Thurmond, senior vice-president of global sales and field operations for VCE.

Before joining VCE in January, I ran RSA Security globally for six years. Think of what’s called the threat landscape, how complex it’s truly become. You have hacktivists, you have cyber-criminals, you have state-sponsored attacks that are extremely sophisticated.

A private cloud is all about service delivery in IT. So if you’ve got a private cloud, you have your own IT assets within your datacentre.

You might want to have better security, you might want to have better performance, there could be data services you want within your private cloud. That is why you’d create and build out a private infrastructure. Now you still want all of the great things the public cloud allows you, but you want more control in the private cloud. Then you [can] do things like … bursting out information and content into a hybrid cloud and bursting out workloads into a public cloud.

So it’s kind of a transition phase. Private, hybrid and public cloud are those big buzzwords and terms you see a lot. We are seeing the marketplace move very, very quickly from private and hybrid. It’s a dynamic that’s actually happening globally. It’s pretty amazing to see with all my travels how it’s actually being adopted.

So really, to me, it comes down to control, and I think when you look at Telstra, they do it probably better than any other organisation out there. They actually weave in different offerings from private to hybrid to public, but they also keep security and things like governance risk and compliance top of mind.

Telstra does an amazing job of really thinking through security and governance risk and compliance, which is a huge differentiator … When you look at a private cloud, again, what you want to be able to do is have control over that data and that infrastructure.

Talk to your account executive about how private cloud addresses your corporate IT requirements.


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1 min

Insurers connect creatively with customers



Insurers connect creatively with customers

Digital communication empowers insurers to be more responsive, Medibank’s Nicole Adamson says.

As head of business strategy for Medibank, Nicole Adamson does more than just deliver insurance. She is charged with making sure the company’s systems connect creatively with customers, assist GPs and encourage healthy lifestyles throughout the community.

An innovative, digital approach to a range of communications has allowed Adamson and her team to deliver a range of messages directly to their clients where they are, as opposed to waiting for the customers to come to them.

Here’s her take on how large organisations should be listening and responding to customers in the digital context.

We’re not in any way taking the role of the GP, we’re just trying to add to the role and the value


We have a strong drive from our customers and consumers as to how they purchase health insurance, how they research health insurance. Maybe eight to 10 years ago, it was a lot more through our retail channel. These days, people are online and they’re googling and they’re looking for the likes of iSelect and other aggregators to understand more about it.

We are piloting programs with GPs, particularly in Queensland, where we’re looking to get access for our members in a timely fashion, and then work with the GPs to try to help our members identified as having chronic diseases with better managing through the care plan that their GP writes.

We’re not in any way taking the role of the GP, we’re just trying to add to the role and the value. We use our data and we look at where we’re spending our biggest dollars and then spend the time from a strategic perspective. [We look at] each of those buckets of money and say, ‘Well how do we purchase in that particular space? Where is our money going? Are our members getting the best outcome? Could we use that money in a better way?’ And that’s where our contracts with providers come into play, so we can have some contracts that stipulate the pricing, but then also the quality outcomes that we’re expecting them to deliver for our member.

The Generation Better campaign is a big part of that, so #GenBetter is the hashtag that we’re using. It has a TVC campaign associated with it, where the underlining message is, just make a small change. Any small change will make a difference [through] people sharing those messages and using the hashtag. Relating it back to the Medibank brand, we’re hoping we’re able to stretch our brand past that traditional view of insurance payer, more into playing in this health space.


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