Wednesday, 04 September 2019 14:01

Telstra connects three million IoT devices Featured

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Telstra connects three million IoT devices Stephen Withers

More than 3.2 million IoT devices are connected to Telstra’s Internet of Things network, with another 2000 being added every day.

Telstra Global IoT solutions executive Gerhard Loots said Telstra had built the largest IoT network in the country.

"From vehicles to machines, infrastructure, smart meters, buildings, and much more, the benefits we can realise from a connected world are now real and attainable," he said.

"The number of IoT devices being connected each day is increasing at a great rate. Connected vehicles are an exciting product of IoT, but we are also seeing solar panels, humidity sensors, traffic cones, buses, whitegoods and garbage trucks connect to our network, and deliver insights that previously weren’t possible."

Telstra's Cat M1 network (for applications such as utility metering and agricultural monitoring)covers approximately 3.5 million square kilometres, while the NB-IoT network (suitable for applications such as asset tracking) has a slightly smaller footprint of around 3 million square kilometres.

Telstra has "been pretty busy in the IoT space," said Loots, adding that "Australia is starting to embrace IoT."

"FY 19 has been a big year for us," with a growth rate of 20%, higher than the industry average. The company claims to be on track to reach four million connected devices by September 2020.

Telstra's IoT platforms include Track and Monitor, smart spaces, Telstra Water Management, IoT Connection Manager, and Telstra's Bluetooth network.

Customs include transport company SCT Logistics, which is using IoT to see where its assets are and understand how they are being used.

"SCT Logistics is rolling out Telstra's Track and Monitor solution to 1,500 trailers, containers and rail wagons in its fleet,” said Loots.

The full rollout is expected to have a payback period of three years.

"Not only will this allow them to understand more about their assets and increase utilisation, they expect the technology investment to be offset by cost savings in as little as three years.

"Building a business case for IoT can seem like the hardest part, so large scale examples like this are paving the way for an exciting and connected future."

Telstra expects to extend its Telstra Track and Monitor device range with new asset tracking units combining LTE-M and Bluetooth connectivity with GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth geolocation in a rugged device.

Using Bluetooth for geolocation is "a different way of thinking," said Loots, as it provides the last known location of an asset rather than a realtime location.

Telstra’s Bluetooth network includes Track and Monitor customers, Telstra Locator customers, Telstra payphones, opted-in Telstra 24x7 users, and Telstra technician vans. Together, they report more than 25 milliom observations a month. Planned expansion includes the addition of the CAB digitalM media TVs installed in thousands of taxis.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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