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Creating opportunities with future technology: part two
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Creating opportunities with future technology: part two

Telstra Chief Technology Officer Håkan Eriksson talks about the potential of Big Data and vehicle communication

Big Data and analytics

We are using Big Data analytics to make customer experiences a lot better by helping us to understand the customer’s needs before they contact us. When a customer calls in, we will already know why they are calling and we can meet their needs faster. In fact, they might not even need to call in at all if we can provide support through our other platforms.

Using Big Data, we have developed a bot that is more intelligent and more helpful than redirecting to a website FAQs page. We have linked it to Facebook Messenger so that customers can have a dialogue with us on a platform they already use, whenever and wherever they like.

We are building on our bot by integrating it with other Telstra applications such as our Smart Home platform and thus turn it into a true personal assistant. Whatever customers want to do, they can have a conversation with a bot. Or if they do talk to someone, that person can be guided by information from the bot to make the support experience much better.

There are many other use cases for anonymised Big Data. For example, if you own a toll road and need to know why traffic uses the route during certain times and not others, then big data from mobile device connections can help you.

Alternatively, if a small tourist town wants to justify its argument for infrastructure improvements they can show how many visitors arrive at weekends, where they come from, and how long they stay. These are just two examples of using data to solve real world problems.

Vehicle communication

There are three types of vehicle communication: vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and vehicle-to-pedestrian.

Håkan Eriksson - Future Tech: Vehicle Communication


This refers to communicating between cars, and it is becoming more important as the number of autonomous vehicles increases. Self-driving cars learn as they drive but the process can be speeded up if they talk to other cars that are also learning. Similarly, if one car spots a pothole it can notify others to adjust their route or speed.

While some information can be uploaded when the vehicle gets home, much is needed immediately. Platooning trucks driving very closely together in convoys use special equipment located in the trucks to communicate with each other, but before that can happen they have to find their platooning partner.


Telstra participated in a pilot in South Australia that showed what vehicle-to-infrastructure can do. The pilot enabled ambulances to control traffic lights so they could get to their destinations quicker.

Infrastructure can talk to vehicles too. For example, if traffic lights were able to tell trucks that they will change by the time the truck reached them, the truck would not need to brake and it would help to reduce fuel consumption.


Finally, vehicle-to-pedestrian technology can help to reduce the risk of injuries on the roads. We demonstrated this in Adelaide when we used the GPS in cars and on bicycles to identify potential collisions in real time. The system could then send a warning the driver and rider, and they can avoid a crash. It even knows which angle the car is coming from meaning that, if vibrating sensors were put in bike helmets, they could warn the riders to take evasive actions.

In another example, one could program smart cars to prevent doors from opening if a bike is approaching, thus helping to reduce crashes in congested streets.

These are just a few examples of the potential of Big Data and vehicle communications. At Telstra, we are excited about all the possibilities. That’s why we are developing the technology and expertise to help achieve that potential.



Read part one of Håkan Eriksson's article where he shares opportunities rising from VR, AR and drone technologies. 

Håkan Eriksson
The Author Håkan Eriksson

Telstra's Chief Technology Office inspires, sets direction for, and accelerates Telstra's journey to being a world class technology company. Håkan is focused on guiding the CTO to establish leading positions on priority technologies, drive value through advanced technology and capabilities, accelerate business and cultural innovation, and drive collaboration across Telstra. Prior to joining Telstra Håkan had a long career at Ericsson, where his key appointments were Group CTO Ericsson and CEO Ericsson Australia and New Zealand. When he's not working, you can find him with his family and daughter Matilda, exercising in the outdoors, or learning to play the piano.

See all of Håkan Eriksson's posts

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