Telstra’s IoT growth accelerating, exec says

3.2 million IoT devices on telco’s network

Credit: Telstra

As of the end of July there were more than 3.2 million Internet of Things devices connected to Telstra’s network according to Gerhard Loots, the telco’s global IoT solutions executive.

“Our first million devices took eight years; our second million devices took five years,” Loots told a press briefing at the Telstra Vantage conference. Telstra had managed to grow that number to 3 million devices in two years, he added. “I reckon we’ll do a million devices this year,” the Telstra executive said.

“Australia is starting to embrace IoT,” Loots said, citing the acceleration in devices connected to Telstra’s network. “Five years ago if we look back at this space it was pretty dead; a lot of it was power points and so forth.”

In FY19, Telstra’s IoT revenue grew by 20 per cent. Loots said Telstra had completed the rollout of two IoT networks: NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) and Cat M1.

Last year, Telstra detailed new location tracking services for consumers, SMBs and enterprises. One of the customer case studies featured at Telstra Vantage was SCT Logistics, which is using  telco’s Track and Monitor system. SCT is monitoring 1500 trailers, containers and rail wagons with Telstra’s help, Loots said.

The logistics company has been able to reduce trailer loss, as well as improve supply chain visibility, thanks in part to fitting assets with a solar-powered Telstra tracker.

Telstra adds building management to IoT portfolio

Telstra has is also expanding its IoT portfolio to “smart, secure spaces,” Loots said. The term can encompass everything from smart cities and precincts to individual buildings.

A new software platform from Telstra can collect data from occupancy sensors to help building managers better understand how space in workplaces based around new, agile ways of working is being employed.

Telstra Connected Buildings is expected to launch in 2020, but the telco has been piloting it since March. In addition to being trialled in the company’s Melbourne and Sydney offices, Telstra is working with customers in the banking and property management sectors.

“The problem it is trying to solve is to ascertain how you can use space more efficiently, especially when you think of new ways of working and flexible working conditions,” Loots said. “It’s a problem that facility managers haven’t traditionally had to deal with; traditionally if there were 10,000 people you needed 10,000 seats.”

“Today that ratio can differ quite a bit and you need to be able to measure that in order to make sure you’re not renting too many seats, in essence,” the Telstra executive said.

The platform can measure the occupancy of a building or workspace real-time.

“There’s also obviously some people flow calculations that one can do which becomes quite handy in the instance of fire evacuations and those kinds of things, knowing that everyone actually has left the building,” Loots said. Telstra said it could help building managers schedule cleaning and maintenance. Telstra will be “iterating and adding more functionality” to the product, Loots said.

Data can be ingested from a variety of building management and access control systems, or sensors connected to Telstra’s NB-IoT network can be deployed in older buildings.

Telstra is also gearing up for the launch in 2020 of IoT Connection Manager. The service will allow the telco’s customers to view and manage IoT SIMs in a single location, as well as shift between plans or set alerts or rules. The company said it will also offer “near real-time” information about connectivity and traffic.

The author's travel and accommodation for Telstra Vantage were provided by Telstra.

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Tags TelstraNetworkingTelecommunicationsInternet of Things (IoT)

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