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Data explosion: how cloud technology is changing the businesses we serve and the networks we build
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Data explosion: how cloud technology is changing the businesses we serve and the networks we build

Data technologies have changed the game for Australian businesses – and the telcos that serve them. Michelle Bendschneider, Executive Director of Global Products at Telstra, shares her thoughts on how an explosion of interconnectivity is driving a change in business needs and Telstra’s networks.

The last five years have seen Australia’s business and commercial landscape undergo an alchemic transformation.

At a macro level, we’ve witnessed an explosion of interconnectivity and enterprise collaboration the likes of which have never been seen.

SMBs that have traditionally operated on a local platform have started expanding into global markets – selling their products and services to a customer base that’s hitherto been off-limits.

Extreme digitisation has transformed business models, operations and corporate ecosystems in ways we could never have imagined. And with the advent of SaaS applications, public cloud technologies and connected devices, the cloud-driven mobile workforce has become the new normal.

All this because of one significant development: the convergence of increased data consumption and pioneering technology.

“Our industry is essential when it comes to enabling technological advancement,”

Michelle Bendschneider, Executive Director of Global Products at Telstra

The move to digital has caused significant growth in data consumption, up six-fold in broadband and nine-fold in mobile, in the last five years (Source: Telstra). Consumers once did their banking in banks and their shopping in shops, but much of that trade has moved to the cloud and businesses across the spectrum are moving quickly to serve their customers digitally.

With this faster pace comes a fundamental need to understand what’s next for the telco industry, and how telcos and ICT operators can better position themselves to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

The time has come to shift from hope to reality

Top of mind for Michelle Bendschneider, Executive Director of Global Products at Telstra and her colleagues is the Internet of Things (IoT) which, for many industries, will be a key differentiator in their product offering.

“You only have to hear what’s being discussed at Mobile World Congress or other telco-centric trade fairs to realise that ours is probably the essential industry when it comes to enabling technological advancement,” says Michelle.

“With this in mind, we are very open about our intention to become one of the world’s leading IoT networks. And not just in the medium to long-term.”

Plans are already under way to develop a range of IoT technologies that require the collaboration of some of the industry’s best silicon chip providers and device manufacturers.

Also, multi-billion dollar investments are being made to ensure the Telstra network is ready to handle the onslaught of data these innovations will bring.

Coupled with these network enhancements will be a gradual move towards other data-driven technologies – namely virtual reality, the hybrid cloud and improved security.

Michelle explains, “We’re very proud of the direction we’re moving in. And if our current capabilities are anything to go by, the next two to three years are looking very impressive.”

In a recent collaboration with Microsoft HoloLens, Telstra delivered a pioneering solution that enabled one of their leading construction clients to showcase 3D designs using a combination of virtual and mixed reality.

The implications of this are extraordinary – both from a technological and commercial perspective. And if Michelle’s predictions are accurate, we can look forward to seeing a mass proliferation of these innovations, across a range of industries, in the coming years.

Making this real for end users

For businesses in telecommunications, capitalising on these innovations comes down to mastering a delicate balance of investment, capability, competitive positioning and strategy execution.

Ultimately, customers are looking to iterate their own products and services as rapidly as the technology develops – which means businesses need to be on-hand and ready to sell what they need, when they need it.

As Michelle states, “Telstra is working on the products and infrastructure required to underpin your clients’ success, but you have to play your part in gaining a deeper understanding of their industries and the needs they have, with regards to data and technology.”

Wholesale partners that recognise the importance of this level of strategic positioning will be best placed to take full advantage of the innovations to come, securing a strong competitive advantage in the market.

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