New Telstra service facilitates secure B2B data sharing

Supply chain, water and agriculture sectors early target of service built in partnership with Microsoft

Credit: Telstra

A new service built by Telstra in partnership with Microsoft allows enterprises to share access to their data with business partners via a secure, permission-based platform.

Telstra is initially focusing on the logistics, water and agricultural sectors for its Data Hub offering. The telco’s group executive, product and technology, Christian von Reventlow, said that 99 per cent of businesses’ data was “simply unused.”

“Tonnes and tonnes of insights are left on the table and don’t get leveraged,” he told a press briefing at Telstra Vantage. In logistics alone, “billions of dollars” of value in Australia could be unlocked through better use of data; globally, the opportunity is in the trillions, he said.

Telstra had the opportunity to “do something in Australia and then scale it globally,” acting as a facilitator for data exchange.

The Telstra Data Hub product owner, Julian Butler, said that the telco had spoken to more than 500 customers over the last two years about their challenges with sharing transactional data with business partners.

Those conversations revealed a strong desire by businesses to have “greater transparency and control” over how they shared and accessed data, but a sensitivity about who would operate industry data hubs. Butler said that businesses had indicated a neutral third party would need to operate a hub – the role Telstra sees for itself.

The hub can replace the tangled web of point to point B2B data sharing, Butler said.

Currently many of those exchanges still rely on email, PDFs, spreadsheets, and in some cases even faxes, he said. The Data Hub is a scalable, cost-effective way of sharing data, he said, through APIs or via an online interface. It is not designed to share information about individual customers, he said.

The service is built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Microsoft Australia’s IoT and AI lead, Matt Sinclair, said that there had been a “deep collaboration” between the vendor and Telstra to build the service, based on a “shared vision” about the challenges organisations face with sharing data.

Von Reventlow said that the service was not generally available yet, but Telstra already has five paying customers using it.

Aldi is one of the enterprises using the platform. It is also being used to help monitor the water quality of Queensland’s Lower Burdekin River. The Queensland trial involves data derived from sensors connected to Telstra’s NB-IoT network being shared among multiple government agencies and related entities.

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

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