The giant telco has opened up the new IoT lab to start-ups and the general public by providing a space where product developers can create, test and prototype IoT solutions under controlled radio conditions.
The new venture spreads the telco’s capabilities across different locations, including Gurrowa in Melbourne, aiming to deliver what it says is global best practice innovation and technology methodologies for the company and its network of partners.
Telstra Labs also includes a new Melbourne-based start-up programme under its accelerator business Muru-D, with applications to open in the coming months.
“This is the first lab of its kind in Australia and it means that anyone from university students, to a start-up, to a multinational company can come here and work with some of the best equipment and minds in the business to bring their IoT solution to life.
“Australia’s economy is built on primary industries that will benefit greatly from the adoption of IoT technologies and it is vitally important for Australia’s productivity that we stay ahead of the curve on developing and implementing IoT solutions.”
Eriksson said the lab will help foster a community focused on quality IoT product design, encouraging best-practice sharing of ideas, experience, research and insights amongst engineers from startups through to global enterprises.
“It represents Telstra’s commitment and investment in IoT, and its capabilities are such that we will be using the lab to work with our partners and vendors to develop market-leading solutions.”
Included in the IoT Lab will be fully-functional Cat-M1 and NB-IoT radio networks, which enable developers to test their IoT solutions in a safe way to see how they operate on Telstra’s network.
There will also be a range of electronics testing equipment, diagnostic tools and hardware, including a dual 3D printer, a mill (to make circuit boards), and a laser engraver, with the tools to be used by Telstra’s developers to prototype IoT electronics, such as sensors and other IoT hardware.
According to Eriksson, everything from wearable technology prototypes, to spare parts for drones and circuit boards will be able to be built from scratch and tested in the IoT Lab.
The launch of the new facility will allow the first members of the public to use the IoT Lab — the Telstra Innovation Challenge participants — to have access to the facility from 6 to 13 May to build and test agricultural IoT solutions.
The Telstra CTO team will have several permanent IoT demonstrations running in the lab, and will showcase IoT projects from Telstra’s strategic partners.
“One of the most exciting things about having the Muru-D Melbourne programme based within Telstra Labs is that we can offer the start-ups access to the full capability that exists in this facility,” Eriksson said.
“We are currently recruiting for an entrepreneur-in-residence who will act as the ‘head coach’ for the start-ups, and once this key role is filled we will be able to advise the specific programme dates for the first Melbourne intake.
“We’re focused on attracting start-ups to the Melbourne programme who are interested in the kinds of technologies that we are already exploring, so we can offer those start-ups great support both in terms of access to Telstra’s technology experts and the software and hardware capabilities that are here in the lab.”
Telstra Labs is part of the GSMA Mobile IoT Open Lab initiative – a global network of leading IoT testing facilities that are sharing insights and collaboratively working to accelerate the design and development of cellular IoT solutions.