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Watch the highlights from the launch of Telstra's Executive Briefing Centres.
Leonie Valentine: Telstra Enterprise and Government Marketing is proud to bring you the new executive briefing centre in Melbourne and the executive briefing centre network.
What we are going to use this network for is getting closer to our customers, helping them understand how the products and services that we deliver are actually going to make a difference to the bottom line of their business; and helping them to collaborate on projects.
Sol Trujillo: Tonight this is about a business conversation. It’s about time; it’s about how all of us don’t have enough time. It’s about productivity. It’s about how do we keep on driving productivity in terms of our businesses. It’s about leadership, it’s about how we run our businesses and operate our businesses. And it’s also about how we can engage with our customers. So you can create the best experience possible and be as real time, as real time as you want to be.
Customer 1: It’s marvellous; I want one for my ego. *Laughs
Customer 2: I guess the interactive whiteboard, because I’m in education and training. I’m used to a soft board and this one a hard board so I quite like that. So you can actually touch it and do things with it. The interactive whiteboard is that what you call it.
Customer 3: Great to be here and it’s really exciting to see what the possibilities are. The telepresence room is fabulous, I think. It feels as though you’re in the same room with people.
Hugh Bradlow: Yeah it’s a great place to show customer what can be done and to bring your corporate customers down. Show them things like telepresence or RealPresence™ as Polycom call it. Because people don’t really appreciate it til they have seen it. I think going to be the service of the future. Because it’s going to expand out into every environment it really will. You know with the pressure of travel, green house, all those sorts of things this is the way forward.
Telstra Staff Member: Screens which are actually a life size, it encourages a natural dynamic to the meeting to it. So if you feel like walking around from left to right, if you feel like sitting down, these don’t inhibit the productivity of the meeting. The second thing is, it’s high definition we have stereo surround capability.
Customer 4: And really it makes video conference a lot more real and possible. People are often very frustrated by video conferencing. This makes it much more feasible and if people were worried about sustainability and minimising their carbon footprint, stop going on the airplanes and use the video conferencing facilities.
Customer 5: Fantastic, absolutely brilliant. Actually my experience from video conference is a long time back where it was a stilted horrible thing. This is brilliant, watching things go on right around the room. Absolutely tremendous.
Alan Pentland: This is the digital doctor. What it allows you to do is high definition video conference link, between a doctor say in a major regional hospital and somebody out in the bush such as….
…But basically you see it’s quite clear high definition picture. And it enables the doctor in the city to look at it this person and say you’re healthy or not, as the case may be. It means particularly for situations where you need a specialist who would only be based in the city, not out at Ararat hospital or something like that. They can see this and they can talk to the patient as a video conference as well. Then they can capture the image, so they can see the image, make a diagnosis and then talk to them again. It helps with medicine.
Bill: Absolutely fantastic, I think this is the beginning of many many things to come. As people get creative lots and lots of entrepreneurship, I think innovation is going to actually see many many things actually being transmitted on the networks that are been developed now.
Leonie Valentine: I’d welcome you to explore the Executive Briefing Centre here in Melbourne next time you’re around. Or in fact use one of the EBC network boardrooms that we have in the state offices. See you soon.
The Executive Briefing Centre or EBC is a stunning venue designed to showcase our world class collaboration and communication solutions.
Gareth Jude, Industry Executive for Retail talks about business trends in the sector.
Facilitator: Gareth Jude, thank you for joining us.
Gareth Jude: Thank you.
Facilitator: Now, Gareth, tell us a little bit about what Telstra's vision for the retail sector is.
Gareth Jude: If you go back 20 or 30 years the best shopkeeper in the world could only have a relationship with their customer when they were in the store. With technology that relationship can now extend to at their desk, on the train, on the bus; virtually anywhere, through the internet, Facebook et cetera. So you can extend the relationship with your customer. You can make it more meaningful through offers that area tailored to your customer; what you know about them.
In addition to that, when you're in store the experience can be enhanced through technology; whether it be a video screen showing you the latest point of sale and offers that are available in the store; whether it be iPads that are directing you around the store; whether it be free Wi-Fi hotspots that are giving you access to links taking you to sites that show you more about what's available. All these things are driven by technology can enhance shopping experience.
Facilitator: So what you're saying is that technology can really increase the engagement between their customer and the retailer.
Gareth Jude: Yep, yep.
Facilitator: We hear a little bit about mobile technology and retailing and being able to flash out ads and offers to people as they walk by the store. Is that something that's feasible today, or is that coming down the track?
Gareth Jude: Well, the mobile's really important because that's at the centre of all this enhanced relationship. The majority of people who have a smart phone use that smart phone to access the internet every day. So the big implication for retailers is you've now got a customer walking into the store with the internet in their hand. This hasn't happened before the last year.
That opens up a whole lot of new potentials for retailers. One is proximity marketing; so knowing that certain customers are walking in the store and sending them messages accordingly. That's already being trialled in Australia - Westfield, the new Sydney City centre does that. There are a lot more things coming that will centre around the mobile in relation to the shopping experience.
Facilitator: So the mobile area, today and in the future, is something that's really going to empower retailers, both online and offline. What more can technology bring to the traditional bricks and mortar retail space?
Gareth Jude: Traditionally, in Australia, we've seen online and offline - or bricks and mortar - as two separate things; an either/or choice. So you think about a company like DJs; they pulled out of online in 2003 because they said that channel doesn’t make us money.
You think of a company like Flight Centre, who is our biggest travel retailer; you can't actually buy a flight online with Flight Centre because they see online as potentially cannibalising their bricks and mortar network. The exact opposite is the experience overseas.
So in the UK, for example, of the top 30 online retailers, 25 of them are bricks and mortar chains who have embraced the idea that online actually is a supplement to your bricks and mortar offer. It actually works hand in hand with your bricks and mortar offer. It's not in competition with it.
So you get companies like John Lewis, which is a big department store, pretty similar to David Jones in its position in the market. They have big integration between their online and offline shopping experience. This will be the way of the future; and it shows in their results.
So their (John Lewis’) average in-store customer - bricks and mortar only - is worth £800 a year to them. Their average online only customer is worth £200 a year to them. Their omni-channel customer - the customer that shops online and in the store - is worth £1700 a year to them. There are numerous examples of that overseas that I see being the future of retail; the integrated online and bricks and mortar experience.
Facilitator: Do you have any words of advice for retailers that really want to tread that path, going forward? How can they negotiate a future where they are a hybrid model between bricks and mortar and online?
Gareth Jude: Well, the first thing is to have a solid technology platform, because it's no good having your customers walking into your store with the internet in their hand and then the internet disconnecting as they're trying to do something. So a solid technology platform is the first prerequisite for all of this.
The second thing is to embrace it; is to get over the idea that your channels are in competition. They're actually complementary.
Facilitator: What sort of technology can Telstra bring to the equation for retailers that want to pursue this model?
Gareth Jude: Well, we've got solid proven networks. We've got the Next G® network -solid improvement - and a proven track record in this space.
Facilitator: What do you think the retailer of five years' time is going to look like?
Gareth Jude: I think you'll see seamless online/offline integration. I think you will be shopping on the train, on the bus, at home, at your desk and in the shop; so the retail environment will extend beyond the brick walls and it will become a much more extensive experience.
I think once you're in the shop the experience we get today will be much more enhanced. The retailer is going to know more about you when you walk in, through the data they've captured, and they're going to be able to target offers, vouchers, material relevant to that shopping experience, as you walk through the door.
You're going to pay in a much more convenient fashion; so the traditional anchored point of sale terminals will give way to a more mobile point of sale terminal. You're seeing in already in stores like the Apple Store and Microsoft's new stores in the US. You'll see things like QR codes linking you to websites. You'll see augmented reality and all sorts of other bells and whistles, I think, flying around, making that shopping experience much more valuable to you than it is today.
Facilitator: That's great. It sounds like a pretty exciting future for retailers. Gareth Jude, thank you very much for joining us today.
Gareth Jude: Thank you.
Garth Dickinson from the NSW Department of Environment, Cimate Change and Water discusses with Hugh Liney how business is reacting to Government's Energy and Water Savings Plans.
Hello, and welcome to Telstra’s innovations podcasts: a series of conversations with innovators in business and government. In today’s podcast, this is Hugh Liney, speaking with Garth Dickinson, who’s the manager for technical services from the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change.
Garth is discussing creative ways for Government, companies and the community to save energy and water.
Hugh: Garth, how have the business, government and other organisations generally responded to that 2005 NSW Government legislation, the one that required the states highest energy users to prepare water and energy savings plans?
Garth: Well Hugh, I must say there was some initial reluctance, on the part of some organisations, partly due to some organisations had already done quite a bit of work in either improving their energy or water performance in past years, it had been part of some other programs.
Councils in particular had already done a lot of good work, some people were thinking, oh well, governments just going to come in and make us do all this work again, so we had to make sure that there was recognition for other programs, there was a long consultation process with a whole range of stakeholders, and those sort of issues were worked through, that any outstanding works or other programs were recognised, but also, there was a sense that this was government legislating business’s operations, and so we had to be very mindful that these were going to be looking at management systems, and operational aspects to the businesses that weren’t going to be an extra impost or burden on their current operational situation, so that was sort of pretty important to get across as well.
And then, the financial cost of actually doing the audits was a big concern for some organisations, and there needed to be the case put forward that there were a lot of saving opportunities out there that we thought most companies would be able to offset the cost of their audits quite quickly in the savings that they were going to find through their facilities, now some organisations that have already done a lot may not find the same level of savings that other companies or agencies or councils might have, but they would also be in a much better position to do their action plans quite quickly.
Hugh: Okay, but I can see there was a lot of persuasional PR that had to go along with it to get it implemented?
Garth: Ahh, a certain degree of it yeah, but being government, you are allowed to say well this is what the legislation’s going to do and there you go. But yeah, we had to be mindful of canvassing all of the concerns for a whole range of different organisations, and at the end of the day, the program had to be flexible enough that say a small, family run business that might be in some sort of nursery, say a high water using nursery or something like that compared with a massive project like the steel works down at Port Kembla or something like that that was a massive site and using single figure percentages of NSW’s energy usage, so it had to be able to be flexible enough to cover all of those as well.
Hugh: No, fair enough, but in particular, and there’s two great contrasts that you mention, the nursery and the steel works, so what type of creative action plans can you suggest that can be implemented to save water and energy?
Garth: Well, what we’ve found through the process, just to give you an idea of what happens after the plans have been done. There’s an annual reporting process where organisations have to tell us what their baseline water and energy consumption is, and then what projects they’ve implemented over that time, and we’ve seen that a bit over half the water projects and a bit over a third of energy projects have been implemented, and these are cost effective projects, so, short paybacks. So they’re not always, but they’re generally fairly simple projects, um, so, what we’re seeing, is that even ones with a short payback, for one reason or another, aren’t always being implemented, and there’s technical and practical reasons and at the moment with the global financial crisis, obviously, raising capital is a concern for some business’s as well, ah, but not all the projects you would think, with a two or three year payback, most of those really should be implemented.
So, getting those simple projects implemented, is an issue to start with, before you start getting into the more complicated and creative ones, so really, what we want to stress wit these organisations is that you start with the simple stuff, shutting things off when they’re not in use, automating systems, stuff like that, it’s all basic common sense stuff but you’d be surprised still how many of those you know, sort of low hanging fruit, you know water leakage, and stuff like that and putting in monitoring systems and all that sort of stuff that’s not sexy, but it’s just good management practice at the end of the day. So, there the sorts of things that we’d like people to be making sure they’ve got those basics bedded down first, before they start looking at you know your big projects, like co-generation tri-generation and solar photo voltaic cells, all of that stuff, while they’re great PR points because a company can say look at all that work here, they have got that high demonstration value, they’re generally either a more complicated project or they’ve got a long payback and so that has issues when you’re trying to make a strong business case to get a project like that across the line.
And so, what we’ve sort of found is that maybe combining some of those short payback projects with something that’s a bit longer, and getting an overall business case that can satisfy a board’s requirements, can be a good way to go. But we’re always trying to stress, let’s get the basics done first, then move on to the more complicated projects.
But we really found that industries, specific industries, like manufacturing sector, poultry processing, dairy, all of those industries that have got very specific processes, they were the ones that came up with what we thought were more creative but probably to them was just normal business, but because their solutions are so specific to their particular way they go about making whatever it is that they make, um, and they do require a really in depth knowledge of what their processes are about. So that was probably where you’d find you know, some really you know, highly unique projects in some of those specific industries.
Hugh: Now that’s interesting isn’t it? You know, where the creativity comes from and what kinds of businesses. Now, more recently, the NSW climate change fund has established funding programs for water and energy savings projects. What have been the results of projects such as these after a couple of years?
Garth: Well the climate change fund actually started back in 2005, when the water and energy saving action plan started, there were two funding programs that went with these, the water savings fund and the energy savings fund, and then in 2007, they were amalgamated and the whole program was expanded to be the climate change fund, and rather than just be open to business’s, government, agencies and councils, it was expanded to include residential rebates for home owners, um, communities and schools funding programs as well as the green business program that was obviously for business’s, and then the public facilities program that was open to government agencies and councils and things like that.
So, it’s had a couple of stages in it’s life, but generally, we’ve found that there’s been a really high subscription for every funding round that we’ve had we go through a very rigorous assessment process of all the applications and we have an independent evaluation panel of industry experts who look at each of the individual projects, we have ranking systems and then the final decision that’s made by the evaluation panel goes to the minister who has the final say on the project, but at the end of the day all of the funding rounds that we’ve run have had very good subscriptions and unfortunately you can’t fund everything and there’s been lots of really good projects who unfortunately, have come up against better projects that just haven’t come across the line. There is a big difference between somebody having an idea and doing a little bit of a concept design and taking it to the CEO or the board and saying look there is this grant fund our there to improve our water energy usage at our site can I put in an application, ‘Yep sure no worries’. To then go and do a detailed design and really scope out a project can be a big step and we have has a few projects that for one reason or another we haven’t been able to fund because there has been difficulty in getting the projects implemented.
Hugh: What other government incentives, programs and regulations are in the market place besides these programs to encourage business and organisations to improve overall sustainability and overall environmental performance?
Garth: The government last year released the NSW government sustainability policy which was looking at the environmental performance of its own operations which is definitely something that needs to be addressed when we are talking about NSW health and the department of education and training to massive agencies. So the sustainability policy concentrates on the budget dependant agencies to certain degrees in this policy and they don’t have to report and aren’t included in the targets but there are targets there for reductions in water and energy usage and reducing green house gas emissions there is also waster policies and fleet services and things like that included and overall procurement and they are a big buyer out there in the market place and if we can get some wins on having some METS to water efficiency labelling scheme and products being promoted through governments then that can help with those products having a better market share in there and so governments have a good bit of buying power as well. So that is government looking at there own sustainability performance.
There is another program that we run within out sustainability programs division ‘Sustainability advantage’ which helps sort of medium sized businesses to framework approach that runs through a number of different modules that cover vision commitment and planning but also risk identification and minimisation, staff engagement. Supply chain and resource efficiency and climate change and that has got a really good brand out there in the market place its been going for a few years now there are a lot of businesses signing up we are just trying to look how we can use that framework to help the government agencies meet the targets of the sustainability policy.
We are trying to use that framework approach and have a systematic way for government agencies obviously a few different drivers, the bottom line is important for agencies but they still have the service to deliver to the people of NSW so you know we have to be a bit mindful and make sure that its not going to impinge on service delivery. We also run the neighbours tool, which is a federal government performance rating tool the national Australian water, energy, waste and indoor air quality for office building, it started with office buildings, which used to the old AEGR, Australian Business Greenhouse Rating and now AEGR has sort of been just an energy rating tool.
There is now a homes rating tool, schools hospitals, retail, its expanding all the time. One really interesting development which would be of interest to Telstra is we are looking now at developing a rating tool for data centres which is becoming a massive concern for a lot of businesses and their energy usage and looking at ways that we can improve indoor air, the temperature control all that sort of stuff within data centres so this is an emerging field and that the neighbours team are looking at.
Hugh: On a sort of theoretical, implementable concept, green jobs, we hear a lot about it at a federal government state government level is it too early to discuss policies for green jobs.
Garth: No not at all, it has been identified within the organisation probably last year that there was a lot of movement going on with the water and energy savings action plan that we created this demand and their just weren’t enough consultants out there doing the work so there was this real lag, and people would be ringing up saying we need an extension because the neighbours guys are saying the same thing because they actually train up accessers to go out there and do the ratings. Though they have a very rigorous process to go through. So we have seen that third party service providers there is just not enough of them out there in green jobs as they are being called, but you know in a whole range of different areas so we have made sure that there are some programs that help stimulate that and we have seen a bit of movement at a federal level as well but we have already started a couple of programs, you may be a aware that the NSW government I think it was June last year announced the energy efficiency strategy and that a few different programs in it looking at small businesses and small business energy efficiency programs which is there for audits and rebates and you need accessers for that, there is a low income household rebate program which needs accessers as well.
There is an expanded part of the sustainability advantage program that I mentioned before. All of these programs all need people to actually help administer them. So as part of that there was 20 million dollars allocated to green jobs or green skills as it has been called. The department of environment and climate change and water are working in partnership with the department of education and training specifically through the TAFEs so tradespeople are a big part of it but also professionals, engineers and things like that. Part of its course development and brining new people into a trade say like an electrician or a plumber something like that, young people on an apprentiship and they are getting the right skills and knowledge in sustainability initiatives so that they can go out there into the market but also you have got to be able to train up the existing work force as well and that has a flow on effect to other people like facility managers and things like that who will be working closely with these sort of consultant. So that’s something that is out at the moment that we have an expression of interest for energy efficiency training. I think that it closes on the 16th of November so not too far away but there is a couple of streams, a stream for businesses with demonstration projects in how to increase green jobs and then there is another one on course development so a partnership approach with either a training provider of industry or business so I am looking forward to seeing what we get out of that because there is a need out there to increase these courses and one other thing that is probably worth mentioning is that there is a couple of online resources out there for people who want t bit more information about this.
The website is www.greenskills.nsw.gov.au and on that website there is a green skills business guide and a green course finder which is specifically tailored for small to medium businesses so if they want a bit more information on how or if they want to select or recruit someone with a sustainability background or environmental position and how to go about that.
Hugh: Garth Dickinson that sounds great and thank you very much. So you can find out more about the water and energy saving plan at www.environment.nsw.gov.au and about the green jobs at the new site www.greenskills.nsw.gov.au we hope you enjoyed this conversation brought to you by Telstra Enterprise and Government.
In this special podcast Gavan Corcoran outlines how Telstra customers can be assured of integrated first class service excellence to the highest international standards.
Cameron Reilly interviews Geoff Wenborn, General Manager for Strategy and Architecture within the Australian Technology Region for NAB.
Welcome to Telstra’s innovation podcasts. A series of conversations with business leaders around innovation in a connected world
My name is Geoff Wenborn I’m the General Manager for Strategy and Architecture within the Australian Technology Region for NAB.
Cameron Reilly: You’re listening to the Next Dimension Working podcast. I’m your host Cameron Reilly. Hey thanks for joining me again on the Next Dimension Working podcast, my guest today is Geoff Wenborn from the National Australia Bank, as you heard at the beginning of the show. I started off by asking Geoff about the nature of being in the banking business and the role of technology, because I think banking is a really interesting industry, they don’t really deal with a physical product, they just deal with bits moving across a network.
Geoff Wenborn: Absolutely, I think that banking for all time has really been about the exchange of information by and large you know even if you think around, non automated bank activities, you know, when you go into a bank to write a cheque, you are really recording information and submitting it for processing so as the industry has evolved it’s very much about digital bits and how you capture, process, store and translate those for customer outcomes is what we’re all about.
Cameron Reilly: When I think back over the last decade and I try to think about technology related changes or improvements in the way that I deal with banks, I guess I don’t go into a branch much now as I probably did a decade ago, although I did have an ATM card and a credit card, but I didn’t have e-banking, which I guess is something that a lot of Australians use today. Outside of the rise of the ATM and e-banking, what are some of the other major changes that you’ve seen in the banking industry as a result of technology in the last ten years?
Geoff Wenborn: I think there has been a massive amount of product capability that technology has enabled different ways of customers looking at their holdings, you know across their portfolio. I mean that’s one clear example of banking and technology coming together. I think as you mentioned from a channel perspective, you know, the changes in our, I suppose typical behaviours, going back not much more then ten or fifteen years, when branch banking was really the only way. There are a proliferation of channels such as the phone-banking channel, followed by the Internet channel, and as we look forward I really see the mobile device and the opportunity that the mobile is creating a new way of delivering many banking services, such as mobile payments, and potentially the mobile phone as a channel in its own right. And there are, you know, banking has actually had a great track record in innovation from a customer and product perspective over that period of time.
Cameron Reilly: I remember seeing a video of Bill Gates presenting the keynote at CES in 1995, I think, where he was showing on this video, a device that looked startlingly like an Apple Iphone® and he was transferring money from his bank account to the bank account of a vendor; I think it was like a street side coffee vendor, using this device via what would today be described as some sort of Bluetooth type transaction. That was 13 years ago he did that video. It still seems to me that we’re a long way away from that, am I missing some big innovations that are just around the corner? Or is there still some challenges to be resolved before we reach that kind of innovation?
Geoff Wenborn: Well, I think there are some challenges that still need to be resolved but I do think that the technology capability delivered in a device such as an Apple Iphone® which is really fully integrated with the network capability that telcos can provide, does give us, in a reasonably short time frame the opportunity to actually deliver on that vision and other improvements in wireless bandwidth etc, really make that a reality, and in fact we are doing some trials now with Telstra contact less payments if you like, which sounds very similar to what you would have seen back then in that video from Bill Gates.
Cameron Reilly: Are the major hurdles for delivering something like that, Geoff, technology based or security based? Is it about having a common platform like, I know the amount of money and effort that was involved in rolling out the Eftpos system in Australia a decade or so ago. What are the key challenges in realising this?
Geoff Wenborn: Well I think the first two points you mentioned are really a couple of the key challenges. So yes, there’s some challenges around the technology and that’s often really the user experience of technology and how easy it is to access and work in a way that supports the objective of the customer every time they want to do a transaction. So the technology needs to work, to enable the user experience, but I also thing we are well progressed on that front. On the security side I think that is actually a really significant issue and we have recently done some great things with security across our desktop transformation program, which leads us to believe that we can really make a secure payment channel for customers and I guess create the trust that they can use those kinds of services. But I do think security, and as people have experienced with the Internet, is an absolutely critical issue that we need to resolve in banking to create trust in how we actually do those transactions.
Cameron Reilly: What about changes, that you’ve seen inside of the bank, in the last five or ten years as a result of technology? Has it changed the way that employees go about their daily work life?
Geoff Wenborn: Within the NAB I think we’ve just finished rolling out a really significant desktop transformation program, which has moved us to a single operating environment, and as I mentioned I guess, standardised security in how we deliver applications and how we operate for all employees. I don’t think we've fully delivered on that promise in terms of what it means from a user experience perspective. But we have been working on a number of other fronts to actually create different capabilities from technology and not just for our internal staff, if you like, but also for our end customer, which is clearly what we need to do to compete differently.
Cameron Reilly: What about outsourcing? I guess that’s a big question for lots of large companies today. Has the NAB had much experience with outsourcing IT jobs to India or China or anywhere like that like that?
Geoff Wenborn: Well I think there’s outsourcing and a component of outsourcing is clearly off shoring. Part of our strategy is really, to look to leverage, you know, the global workforce if you like, but only at a pace that makes sense and Australia is in a position where we don’t have enough people looking forward and I’m really talking about the five to ten year time horizon, that we’ll be able to actually do all of our processing roles. So to remain competitive, we will need to leverage sources of labour from wherever that makes the most sense. But again, to me it’s not really a case of you know removing roles that we need, to maintain our competitive strategy through, it’s more a case of finding other sources of labour to do roles that we can’t support from within Australia. And that’s the off shoring context. But I think outsourcing, we’ve had an experience of outsourcing in our business areas for along period of time through our partners such as Telstra, IBM etc etc so for me, we will continue to source labour from where it makes the most sense.
Cameron Reilly: So, let’s talk a little bit about the innovation side of things. If you look forwards say three to five years out, if we think about it first of all from retail perspective, a consumers perspective. What kind of changes do you expect that we should see in the way that we interact or have a relationship with the National Australia Bank, lets say by about 2012 –2013, are we going to experience many significant changes from where we are today?
Geoff Wenborn: Well, I certainly hope so, we’ve been working really, for the last twelve months on a technology transformation program, but we are really looking to change the underlying architecture, if you like, of the NAB so that at the back end we can service customers easily and efficiently, make it robust, keep it secure, integrate portfolio views etc. but the front end, really open up the channels, so that if people want to interact with us online, then they can actually do that through a community kind of process. So we really need to open up our architecture as much as we can at the front end to allow our customers to interact with us any way they see fit, which is all enabled by I guess technology, if you look at web 2 dot 0 etc and where social networking might take us. So we see some really exciting innovation coming up and I think further that that as well, we are looking to invest in our back-end platform and really move to a much more integrated architecture in that context, which also creates a lot of new capability for our customers and again that’s quite exciting, to think about what it might look like in that five year horizon.
Cameron Reilly: What about things like biometrics and smart cards? We have heard lots about those things over the last ten years, but haven’t seen too much of it make it’s way into our daily lives. Are these things that the NAB are exploring?
Geoff Wenborn: Well I think there are a number that as you create a consistent architecture and the forms of identity management, which may well be biometric should be able to be fully integrated into that process. So it’s not a case of just doing it for the sake of doing it, but if it creates more customer confidence and security and we can enable it through direct straight through processing. So let’s say you can identify yourself as you require by a finger print scan physically in a branch or whatever location you may be at then that would be something we would be looking to integrate within our business processes over that period as well.
Cameron Reilly: Interesting. What about when you look at businesses like PayPal ®, which is owned by Ebay®, do you see those businesses as threats in the local marketplace? Or are they not really on your radar?
Geoff Wenborn: Well I think that whole space and you know how payments are made across the Internet channels, market payments, if you like, and that strategy. Yes there are always new threats arising, I guess you could call it a threat, we probably see it more though as an opportunity to work with our partners who work in that space. To look for different ways of actually enabling, again, customers to leverage our services so, you know obviously, I guess, we haven’t fully thought through how we would make that strategy work in the longer term, because it’s something that is evolving and we are working closely with our partners to look at how we actually provide the right kind of technology and the right kind of experience to make it useable for our customers, much as people find that PayPal® out there in the online world.
Cameron Reilly: Final question for you Geoff. What’s your favourite personal technology? What’s your gadget de jour at the moment?
Geoff Wenborn: I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say this, but my gadget de jour is the Apple Iphone® right now.
Cameron Reilly: Ahh, one of the people who has got one in from the US, or do you have some sort of top-secret local version?
Geoff Wenborn: No I've acquired one from the US and we’re just using the interface technology there and the way it’s linked it through to the network. It’s absolutely brilliant and you know, I also think that for us what we need to be doing is making sure that we understand the kind of potential experiences that we could be providing to our customers and internal stakeholders. So yeah I’m finding that very, very exciting to use at the moment.
Cameron Reilly: What is it about the Iphone® that you think is so exciting? What is it that they have done so well?
Geoff Wenborn: Look, I think probably they have really engineered the user experience with a great deal of forethought, and you know it’s about how you actually deliver a user experience through design, I think that most people are familiar with Apple® to some degree, so I think we can learn from that in how we deliver our banking services.
Cameron Reilly: Well that’s great, I’m sure we would all love to see National Australia Bank products and services looking like they were designed by Apple® in the future.
Geoff Wenborn: And why not?
Cameron Reilly: (Laughs.) Thanks for joining us Geoff.
Geoff Wenborn: All right thanks Cameron.
Ernst & Young's CEO Gerard Dalbosco discusses the important lessons from the GFC with Hugh Liney.
Hello and welcome to Telstra's innovation podcasts, a series of conversations with Innovators in Business and Government. This is Hugh Liney talking to Gerard Dalbosco the Oceania Area-Managing Partner and Australian CEO of Ernst and Young.
Hugh Liney: It's about Lessons From Change, which is a response to the GFC. Gerard firstly a bit of background on the whys and wherefores of the program, Lessons From Change now that itself was a development on the Opportunities and Adversity program that Ernst and Young published right at the heart of the GFC so a bit of background.
Gerard Dalbosco: Yes Hugh the Global Financial; Crisis create a great time of volatility and uncertainty for a whole lot of our clients across just about every sector and one way we set about helping our clients through that, was our Opportunities In Adversity Program. That ran from early this year and was designed to help business manage through the economic downturn and was designed to arm our people really with some important information about what was happening in the downturn and how clients really should be reacting to it. Lessons From Change builds on the success of the Opportunities In Adversity program it shared some insights that we gathered from nearly 40,000 account meetings world-wide across a range of sectors, a range of sectors and we've tested our findings through an in depth survey of over 500 Ernst and Young client services partners from around the world and combined this with some additional research from our global industry leaders. Our goal in this program is to really help companies learn from other's experiences.
Hugh Liney: Ok on that point can you describe to us the tougher environment that business are now operating in and that's different to even six months ago isn’t it?
Gerard Dalbosco: Yeah there's no doubt that the environment still is pretty tough. I've been meeting with a lot of our clients here in Australia recently and while they're cautiously optimistic and they think that they have emerged from the worst of it, they are still cautious, but they're cautiously optimistic. Our research and our discussions with clients would suggest that most of our clients and most corporates out there are planning for a different market reality. A tougher market reality and a sense that the economy might be a bit different from the past, and what I mean by that is that I think they think demand will improve but it will be bumpy and it will probably still be depressed relative to levels that we've seen in recent years. There's an expectation that unemployment will still continue to be a bit higher, I think there's a very strong expectation that there will be increased taxes to fund the stimulus packages and deficits that governments have run not only here in Australia but right around the world I think there an expectation there will be an increased regulatory burden as well and I think a few people are a bit concerned about that.
Hugh Liney: All right with all that you’ve outlined and not all of it outright good forecasting. what does it all mean for traditional business models for business in Australia?
Gerard Dalbosco: Yes well the market has changed, there's no doubt about that and I think business models need to change and adapt to the market. The credit crunch really impacted a number of business models outright. There were business models that were reliant on cheque credit, rapid asset price inflation and they have disappeared overnight but it also impacted a range of other businesses where patterns of consumer demand have changed for instance, where companies have really had to have a good look at their customer base and their sales strategies to determine what do we need to do differently? And so businesses right around the world are looking at what do we need to do differently? They are reassessing their strategies, they are very much looking at who their key customers are and they're looking at segment profitability they are focusing on what really are our core competencies? What are our differentiators in the market place? And how do we connect to the market in the most effective way, in what is a different market. One of the key elements of our research I think has been that there's been a renewed focus in many companies on innovation and that sort of manifests itself in whole range of different ways, you know it comes out through different types of flexibility or different creativity and imagination, different view points within a business but companies are really being a lot more innovative in terms of how they look at their market place and how they run their business.
Hugh Liney: Well that’s a good insight of the future. Now your report also talks about a new performance agenda, now what exactly does that mean?
Gerard Dalbosco: Companies we're seeing them focus on a range of different things and they are looking or we're seeing them focusing on a number of different aspects of their business, I have just really talked about how they've looked at their customers and how they've had to re-evaluate their business models as a result. But they've also looked at other things such as operational flexibility, in terms of how can they become more responsive and more flexible to change cost levels, or to improve efficiency or adapt more quickly to changes in the market. Similarly you know optimising capital availability and deployment of capital have become key focuses, we've all seen through the credit crunch the difficulty in raising debt and in some cases raising equity, so managing capital carefully and deploying it effectively has become an even greater focus. Accelerating decision making and execution, has also become really important with a shifting market, companies have to make quick decisions and they need to be able to assess those decisions and execute them more quickly than they have had to in the past. Another really important area is risk management, I think for a lot of companies risk management went way down the priority list. there's no doubt that companies are now embedding a much broader assessment of risk for their strategic decision making and putting in stronger control frameworks into their business so that they can assess risk more effectively.
Hugh Liney: Ok now you mention then, the need for greater efficiencies and that understood but do all companies actually understand what this might entail?
Gerard Dalbosco: I think they have had to in many ways Hugh. I think some companies have learnt it on the run but this is really about improving the responsiveness and flexibility of a business, to drive down cost or improve efficiency and to most importantly adapt quickly to changes in the market. The interesting issue here is that while short-term gains can be achieved through re-deployment of people, or reducing work force or moth balling capacity and deferring programs, that’s not a sustainable approach for the future, it might get you through the short term. So now companies are really actively looking at how they can optimise the flexibility of their operations so they can connect to their markets and penetrate their markets more effectively. They are streamlining processes and non-core functions are being outsourced, or they are moving to shared service centres, while making sure that core information and expertise is retained within the business. And there's a whole lot of work happening around supply chains and exploring opportunities to collaborate more with other parties so that they can reduce fixed costs so there's a whole lot of things that companies are doing to look for greater efficiencies, to pick up speed, to pick up efficiency right through their whole business process.
Hugh Liney: Well that’s good to know it's not just a synonym for cutting staff level anyway. Laughs) look you also mentioned market there and surely there's a need for companies in this environment to search out new markets?
Gerard Dalbosco: Yeah I think geographic expansion and different markets, new product expansion is critical but let me just deal with the geographic aspects of that. I think what we've seen in recent years is that globalisation has sped up and we've seen it change the face of business and we've seen it change market places. What globalisation has done is really connected our business communities and so we're operating in a much more interconnected world and the Global Financial Crisis proved that because we saw what started in the US catapult right around the world in a matter of days and weeks. The second trend around different markets is capital flows and the shift of wealth from west to east and the different investors that we now see coming in to our own market here in Australia, from china, from India, from sovereign wealth funds out of the Middle East that’s changed and what that’s done, has meant that wealth has moved and its moving here. Similarly Australian companies are investing in new growth markets, that wealth is coming from markets, which are growing really quickly, like China and like India. What we're seeing is a lot of our homegrown companies here in Australia our own key domestic players, are investing much more strongly in some of these domestic markets. So those new markets that many of our local companies are looking for are coming from those emerging economies and I've only mentioned a few, there, there are others into Africa, Russia clearly into Brazil and other parts of South America.
Hugh Liney: Yes indeed. Gerard in summary and if you'd be so kind what's the very best advice at the end of a really terrible 2009, the best advice that you'd give to your own clients and also other Australian businesses?
Gerard Dalbosco: Yes look it certainly has been a tough period Hugh and I think there many, many different types of advice you could give, but I think to me its encapsulated in the fact that the very best organisations the ones that emerge the strongest here will be those that have been able to balance the short term with the long term. So the short-term critical issues of cost management, resource management with the long-term issues of investment for the future and sustainability. I think the companies that have been able to manage through this short term effectively and efficiently while keeping a very clear view on their long term strategic objectives will be the ones that do the best.
Hugh Liney: Ok Gerard Dalbosco that a good positive note thank you very much.
Gerard Dalbosco: Thanks Hugh.
Cameron Reilly interviews Greg Walters, CEO of an Australian transaction services called Qpay.
Welcome to Telstra's innovation podcasts, a series of conversations with business leaders around innovation in a connected world. You're listening to the Next Dimension Working podcast. I'm your host Cameron Reilly.
Cameron Reilly: Thanks for joining me. Today my guest is Greg Walters CEO of Australian transaction services company Qpay.
Cameron Reilly: So Greg welcome to the show tell me a little bit about Qpay?
Greg Walters: Well Qpay is a new innovative business which developed a technology that makes online transactions secure. It’s transactions or electronic ID. We go a couple of generations beyond existing security methods always identifying end users like tokens and texts, and in consequence that rolls out into a whole lot of other opportunities. We’re able to develop a secure mobile payment platform so people can buy goods or services with their mobile phone for one thing we can make secure, purchasing or sale of shares, with indisputable authentication at a transaction and a whole range of other cool outcomes.
Cameron Reilly: That’s fantastic how long has Qpay been running?
Greg Walters: We started a private company a couple of years ago back in 2005 now, public company was created in 2006, we got a few investors onboard which has been terrific so we’re just coming out of the final development stages and we’re working with banks and credit card institutions and telcos around the world right now.
Cameron Reilly: It sounds like a fairly big challenge to do secure payments, I mean after a over decade of people buying stuff online I know that a lot of people still have some concerns about online shopping on the net. How have you managed to make it secure over a mobile platform?
Greg Walters: Well what we do is, people can do a transaction online for example whether it’s making a purchase with credit card or doing their internet banking and transferring funds to a third party, well what we do is, those customers get a call on their mobile phone and they enter their pin or they can do voice biometrics and several layers of authentication actually, and because it’s based on a mobile phone call which is encrypted then it’s off-net, it can’t be attacked by people in Nigeria and criminals around the world, the security layer is completely invisible then, to the internet world.
Cameron Reilly: Fantastic, makes sense, so you mentioned buying shares, what other kind of applications do you see for being able to transfer money from a mobile phone?
Greg Walters: Well transactions can be initiated by a mobile phone or a PC, so even traditional media such as, internet banking applications, also remote access, for example in Telstra when you log on remotely when you’re out and about you have several layers of security one of which I guess is probably a token, and in that instance what we are able to do is identify that it is actually you who is coming in remotely not just someone who has maybe got access to your laptop or your token.
Cameron Reilly: Okay so this sounds like, is it a java based application that runs on the mobile phone platforms?
Greg Walters: No it’s actually voice, the interesting thing about Java applications on a mobile phone is it’s quite similar to Java applications on a computer and we are constantly seeing those applications broken by key loggers, man in the middle attacks and other intriguing technologies with fantastic names. So if we were to boot Java up onto a mobile phone or mobile data, the solution is to try to create security, we would have exactly the same problems we have on the Internet. Now SMS is not a secure platform either that is why we use specifically voice, so what happens is, if you were to do an online transaction such as to log into a wan or you could be doing your internet banking and transfer money to a third party or using your credit card, any of those types of transactions, what would happen is, you would get a call to your mobile phone saying to confirm transaction type; ‘please enter your pin’ or ‘please say yellow’ or ‘please say your mothers maiden name’, there’s a whole lot of ways we can authenticate you via pin or voice biometric and voice biometric with random questions and it is all done on a mobile voice channel, so a mobile phone does not need any new software and it works on every mobile phone in the world right now.
Cameron Reilly: Wow, so how do you initiate the transaction? I gather that you authenticate via voice, do you initiate it via voice as well?
Greg Walters: No you would, for example in your situation within Telstra, you would log on remotely with your laptop the way you do at the moment, if you were using a secure ID type solution, you would put in your user name and password and when you came to the Telstra wide area network and then your hourglass would come up then what would happen, so that all the same as what you would currently do for a remote login. And then instead of your computer for example asking for a number from a rolling token you would get a call on your mobile phone to confirm your login to Telstra LAN, ‘please enter your six digit Telstra security pin now’, although you initiate the transactions the same way you normally do, whether it is a LAN login or whether it’s doing your internet banking. So you might transfer three and a half thousand dollars to a BSB account number your brother’s BSB and account number, you would get a call back on your mobile phone to confirm your transfer of three and a half thousand dollars to account number 12456, ‘please enter your bank mobile security pin now’, or ‘press data cancel if your have changed your mind’ or ‘press hash if the transaction was not authorised or if the transaction details are incorrect’.
Cameron Reilly: I see so it happens all on the authentication layer.
Greg Walters: Yeah so the transactions are initiated in the traditional online world exactly the same way they are now, whether it’s a share transaction in, or an internet banking funds transfer, what you do remains exactly the same, except that you get a call on your mobile phone asking you to confirm the details, reading out the details, making sure you haven’t got a man in the middle or some other nasty, and then you enter your authentication forward, whether it’s a pin or a voice biometric, voice recognition, random question, or one of those other methods that we have patented.
Cameron Reilly: That sounds fantastic when you launch it are you expecting this to be something that will be driven by the banks wanting to reduce fraud or is to be driven by retailers? Who are going to be the adopters of the platform?
Greg Walters: Well there’s several advantages in the market place, one is of course is it’s more advanced and more secure than the likes of token and SMS for online banking however, for banks to move forward in technologies it normally takes them eighteen months to two and half years to adopt the next generation of technology, so certainly there’s banking applications for online banking and for mobile banking. There’s also the other applications for businesses to do their WAN log ins and so forth, but what we’ve done is, we have actually created a technology initially not to solve internet fraud and identity theft, but more so to develop our own mobile payments platform. So we’ve set out to create the ability for people to be able to buy goods and services using their mobile phone like they do on the net but without the security issues that they have on the net. So our main drive into the market isn’t actually selling our security but it is actually promoting the mobile payments platform, which is the ultimate end game for commerce people to be able to transact using their mobile phone.
Cameron Reilly: There has been a number of times just in the recent couple of months where I have wanted to transfer money between my business account and my home account, something like that, thought of it while I’m out at the shops, thought I should be able to do this on my mobile phone but I can’t, today, it seems ridiculous in 2008.
Greg Walters: Well we haven’t been able to do so because the security simply wasn’t there if we could secure a PC with all the smarts and processing power and the capability of holding so many programs then there was no way we could secure a comparatively dumb device like the mobile phone until now, so first of all we felt we needed to resolve the security problem and then provide the solution.
Cameron Reilly: Fantastic I’m looking forward to that. Tell us a little bit about how you developed this on the back end how many developers do you have at Qpay?
Greg Walters: We actually have two outsourced companies, one focussing on the IVR work and the other one focussing on the core system. The Core system sits on a dot net platform. Under the dot net platform we were running some cold fusion as well, but we’ve programmed that out because we are very, very happy with the dot net platform, and we’re running an underlying sequel database with a whole range of goodies, we use triple DES encryption even with our own system with separation of pin and mobile phone number to make it very difficult that in the unlikely event that if someone did hack our system there’s traditional and sound security logic applied to our system, to the way in which we store information, and the way we transmit information as well. So there’s nothing new in the way our system is designed, it’s just new in what it does. So like good old traditional technologies dot net where Telstra hosted in Sydney, probably the most robust and secure exchange in the country, we know that if we lose transmission, then Sydney CBD ‘s gone out so we’re very, very happy to have a strong, robust, secure system which is the backbone of our product.
Cameron Reilly: And is this something that you’ll be rolling out just in Australia it sounds like it has global application?
Greg Walters: Yes at the moment we’re in discussion with over half of the T1 banks, telcos and credit card companies here in Oz, but we also have opportunities that we’re investigating overseas. We’ve been to Asia three or four times now, I’m off again this week actually. There are some terrific applications in the developed world, which we’ve spoken about, in the evolving economies such as India and China there are huge applications there, just in the way of remote payments and mobile commerce. We’re also seeing opportunities to develop solutions for other work in poor and rural areas such as Africa and India. Enabling them to engage not just in telecommunications as mobility rolls out in these remote areas, but also to developing secure commerce and to a more secure level than we’ve been able to enjoy for the last decade here in western society, providing telecoms to the working poor in places such as India and Africa is really good, but what they actually need is to be able to engage in commerce, they need to able to acquire small value or micro loans, they need to be able to improve their farming practices, and then they need to be able to sell their increased produce outside of their local area. They need to be able to sell it on a broader market and by providing commercial or commerce applications on the mobile we’re able to deliver that out to the working poor as well. So it’s really interesting seeing the applications just grow month on month as more people find out about the technology, once you create security on a mobile phone the consequences, at the moment we’re just touching the tip of the ice berg
Cameron Reilly: It sounds like it has potential to have a positive impact on some of these developing countries as well.
Greg Walters: Certainly, certainly, you look at India and the gross domestic product can be the increase, in GDP, that can be realised from just this technology by providing secure commerce to the several hundred million working poor is phenomenal not to mention of course the change of life and the increase in prosperity it provides and affords to these villages.
Cameron Reilly: Now there's a number of companies around the world obviously working on mobile commerce there’s some very big companies like PayPal which is owned by eBay™ out of the United States. Do you have much competition in this mobile authentication and mobile payment arena?
Greg Walters: In the mobile payments arena yes, you’ve got PayPal™, Obopay™ you’ve got PayMate™ in India and there’s some fantastic companies out there who are providing the facility for people to be able to transact via a mobile. There are other solutions we see out in the market place where people are using text based solutions which are relatively easy to break or charter based applications which again mobile mail-ware will make those applications highly insecure over the coming years. There are already multiple viruses created specifically for the mobile phone out in the market place and so we see ours as the only secure end-to-end process from registration through to transaction available in the market place worldwide today.
Cameron Reilly: I suppose most of it is probably unfamiliar yet with mobile viruses how did they get transmitted?
Greg Walters: The first one that was transmitted was actually transmitted by bluetooth, people walk around leaving their bluetooth on, so that they might be able to connect to other people or swap business cards and as a consequence they left a very open doorway for viruses to be able to be transmitted mobile to mobile so it’s like a peer to peer virus sharing technology and late last year they actually caught the people who developed that first virus, they were caught in Madrid. So quite a number of viruses coming into the market transmitted normally via the mobile internet so the mobile internet creates the same doorways for viruses to come down to the mobile the same way the traditional internet does for the PC and laptop.
Cameron Reilly: And I guess most of us aren’t running virus scanners on our PDA’s.
Greg Walters: Well mobiles are a comparatively dumb device, they’re incredibly intelligent when we look at where they have come over the last ten or twenty years and what we can do with the mobile phone is very exciting, but to try and securitize it against all of this malicious software is terribly difficult, terribly difficult and that why we like to use the voice side, so that it’s an independent channel from data and it’s generally not suspect to key loggers and so forth.
Cameron Reilly: Well look, qpay.com.au I’ll be looking forward to hearing of your progress over the course of this year it looks like we’re in store for some exciting developments.
Greg Walters: Thanks for the chat Bye bye
Cameron Reilly: Cheers Greg.
Cameron Reilly interviews Dr Hugh Bradlow, Chief Technology Officer, Telstra.
Welcome to Telstra’s innovation podcasts, a series of conversation with business leaders around innovation in a connected world.
This is Telstra Today, conversations with Telstra in the 21st century. I’m your host Cameron Reilly.
Cameron Reilly: Doctor Hugh Bradlow, welcome to the show.
Hugh Bradlow: Thanks Cameron, glad to be here
Cameron Reilly: For people who maybe aren’t aware of what a CTO does in an organisation the size and reach of Telstra, would you mind giving us a quick day in the life?
Hugh Bradlow: Yes sure, Telstra as you realise is a very big purchaser of technology and a lot of the technology we’re adopting is new to the world, it’s technology that’s changing very rapidly it’s being introduced as we speak and obviously one wants to perform some sort of due diligence on the actual suitability of that technology the fitness for the purpose. I call it ‘kicking the tyres’ effectively analysing the technology if necessary do trials and experiments with the technology to understand its capabilities and whether it’s worthwhile buying. So that’s probably the most significant aspect of the role. The second aspect is that being constantly exposed to new technology one tends to see opportunities that may arise from that new technology in terms of offering services to customers and so we seek out innovations that are enabled by new technology and then work with our vendors to help deliver those technologies into Telstra services.
Cameron Reilly: Is it very different from the previous role you had at Telstra research, I think, when we first met about ten years ago, you were running Telstra research labs trying to build a web browser.
Hugh Bradlow: (laughs) Yeah it is. Look it is different in the sense that the model for R&D has changed, a lot of the stuff we did at Telstra research was similar, but a lot of it was different in the sense that we probably tried to do more things in-house than we do today. Today our model is, that we want to do things with and in partnership with others and through them, rather than try to do things independently of them because they have huge R&D capabilities and the commercialisation capabilities to take those new innovations to market. Where in the Telstra research labs we had good ideas but we were never able to get them to market because we simply didn’t have the product development and the commercialisation capabilities.
Cameron Reilly: Telstra is a massive organisation with lots of people and lots of money though, what were the main challenges in bringing those ideas to market?
Hugh Bradlow: Well look, Telstra is a big organisation but you’ve got to remember our business is not developing technology, our business is assembling technology and enabling people to use it. So our prime business is about delivering service not technology and developing technology is a very product focussed activity and it’s totally different from developing services which are all about; ‘How do I provision the customers with this service? How do I turn them on in other words and how do I establish a reliable billing relationship with them? How do I fix their services when they inevitably go wrong? So we collect technology from other people assemble them as services and deliver those services to customers and the organisation neither had the willingness, nor the culture, nor the desire to invest in technology product development.
Cameron Reilly: How does that map though when we look at things like Telstra’s whereis mapping service and some of the media players is it different from a content perspective than a product perspective, is that what you are saying?
Hugh Bradlow: Yeah because we actually assemble most of our content assets without actually developing them ourselves, sometimes you have to do a certain amount of development but often though, in most cases content is also something that we deliver to customers without actually developing ourselves.
Cameron Reilly: Ok. And well, what kind of background did you have before joining Telstra Hugh? How long have you been with Telstra by the way?
Hugh Bradlow: I joined Telstra almost 13 years ago I was an academic in telecommunications, well electrical engineering, effectively or computer engineering. prior to joining Telstra but I had always spanned the sort of boundary between the academic world and the industrial world, so I had established when I was at the University of Wollongong, Nortel’s R&D facility in Australia and I ran it on a part-time basis four days a week for them on secondment from the University and the fifth day of the week I actually ran an R&D unit that was funded by Telstra. You know, my work in the past has been very much around the telecommunications industry and the new technology in that industry.
Cameron Reilly: So from your perspective as CTO you must have a great perspective on some of the opportunities that are available to Telstra and your customers over the course of the next decade. As well as perhaps some of the challenges for Telstra as an organisation there’s obviously a lot of change happening, particularly because of data and communications in IP networks. I would like to talk about some of those if we can. Let's start with the challenges, because they’re quite often more interesting, what are some of the challenges for Telstra in the next decade?
Hugh Bradlow: Right so, you know, look the biggest challenge is about customer service and you know when Bill Clinton was elected, his slogan was ‘The Economy Is Stupid’ and in our business it’s the service that is stupid. You’ve got to actually ensure that customers get what they pay for and that it works when they need it to work and this is, in the telecommunications industry worldwide. It has become a significant problem in the 21st century because instead of offering one or two relatively simple services we now assemble vast arrays of technology to offer a very disparate set of services and customers neither care about that nor understand that all they care about is the fact that the service works or it doesn’t; and when it doesn’t work, they want someone to understand the problem they’re having and fix it quickly. And so for us the biggest challenge is going to be, how do we make sure that our new services that we’re constantly putting into the market place work effectively and efficiently and can be fixed when failures occur. And that wherever possible avoid those failures in the first place. So I think globally that’s the biggest challenge of the telecommunications industry and of course Telstra is no different in that regard. In fact Telstra is probably more challenged than any other carrier because we offer more services than virtually any other carrier. That is sort of number one on the list. Number Two on the list is that we’ve put in place new networks our NextIP™ network and our NextG™network and these networks are what you would call next generation networks in that they instead of being vertical silos of each function like we used to have a separate voice network and a separate data network and a separate mobile network. These networks are being built in a horizontal fashion you have an access layer which could be fixed or mobile, you have a an IP layer which is multi-service network which carries all the different types of services in one core infrastructure. And what we’ve done is we’ve created these networks as carrier-grade highly reliable redundancy cured networks, enormous coverage, high speed, huge scalability, they really are powerful engines for the future. But at the end of the day, the thing that counts, is, how can you turn those into new services? And the new services are not just the network they are also the applications that sit on that network and those applications, because there are so many of them are extremely complex and what we’re working on today is a layer which we call the service delivery framework which is if you like sort of a new network layer on top of the IP network that allows us to create new services for those services to work across fixed mobile, online to treat the customers as an individual and deliver a different capability to them according to their needs but it’s not based on the service they get, the particular application in point in other words build the services around them, not around the type of service whether it fixed or mobile. And that infrastructure, that service is extremely complex and has to meet very stringent requirements and we want it to be reusable and flexible and so again most Telcos who have taken this NGN journey are struggling with us, we have taken it earlier which has given us a lead, a significant lead but has also put us at the forefront of these challenges.
Cameron Reilly: Well just are sticking on challenges for a moment obviously 20 years ago Australia was the only provider of voice telephony in this country, today there seems to be new providers cropping all the time particularly when you look at the IP only space like Skype™and Google™are playing in that space. What do you see as the road map for Telstra there? Does that get offset by the opportunities you have with some of these new services and new products?
Hugh Bradlow: No, look a lot comes down to the regulatory environment one operates in and also the different models that people have adopted commercially, so if you look at the US where you have customers, mobile customers pay air time but from their point of view, the calling customer looks very much for dialling a local number. They have a somewhat different model for voice and IP than we do in Australia, so if you look at a service like Vonnage™ in the states, you can get Vonnage™ and you can phone any number for $25 per month or something like that. In Australia if you get a voice and IP service and you want to dial a mobile phone, which is usually what one wants to do, because most of the time one’s communicating with people who are on the move and therefore you’re dialling their mobile, you still have to pay fixed to mobile termination charges and therefore the actual value of those arbitraged services the equivalent of Vonnage™ is not that great in Europe or Australia. So you see far less success with those types of service. Our belief is that people want telephony and they want that telephony to be reliable and convenient and usually convenience means mobile, as I have just indicated. Reliable means they want carrier grade service you know 5 9’s reliability that they can rely on to work, whenever they need it. As my wife always says, if you’re in the world trade centre on 9/11 the last thing you want is an unreliable service provider, you want to make sure the phone call goes through. What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to take the best aspects of those new services the flexibility the ability to integrate into your PC environment, so called unified communications and deliver those to our customers with their reliability they have come to expect over 120 years of our telephone network.
Cameron Reilly: Mobile phone networks over the last 20 years haven’t really been known for their reliability it doesn’t seem to have dampened the take up of them though has it?
Hugh Bradlow: Well that’s true but then there’s an enormous convenience factor with mobility but in truth though the mobile phone networks have improved dramatically over the last 20 years, if I compare what I experience with the NextG™ network to less than ten years ago when we introduced the Cedia™ main network, the experience was totally different, it’s been so much more reliable this time than it was then.
Cameron Reilly: Telstra just announced yesterday actually that you are going to be carrying the new Apple 3G iPhone® do you think devices like the iPhone® are shaping people’s expectation of mobile services. Is that creating new opportunities for you?
Hugh Bradlow: Look, I think they certainly are influencing it but I think the biggest shaping of people’s expectations has been high speed wireless broadband which we introduced with our Next G™network, because what it’s creating is an expectation of a mobile internet. Now the mobile Internet is a complicated ecosystem because it’s not only dependent on the network it depends on the content and on the devices and all three. You know the stars have to align in all three. Until the high-speed wireless broadband was available people weren’t really thinking in those terms in any serious way. Suddenly you come along with a networks like our NextG™and people are rapidly starting to build websites that display much more effectively on small screens, and then you are getting people like Apple® and other device manufacturers who are putting together devices that operate much more effectively for users on the move, who only have a small screen available to them, who don’t have a keyboard for input and things like that. And so yes, it is starting to shape new expectations for a mobile Internet, but I don’t see that as unique in that regard, I don’t see it as a paradigm shift. I think the thing the iPhone® has done is it has is shifted the user interface paradigm and the usability paradigm significantly but it hasn’t shifted the overall industry paradigm, it has just kicked it along a bit.
Cameron Reilly: Why do you think it was Apple® that had to come along and shift that usability paradigm? Why didn’t the existing handset and Telcos operators do this?
Hugh Bradlow: Well that’s a good question. I think Apple® are a company who have specialised in design and that’s given them a certain edge in their business over the past few years with the Mac and with the iPod® and they were then able to take that design DNA and put it into the phone which is you know I think the first thing. The second thing is that unfortunately the handset industry is controlled by the vendors who make the handsets. I think they are still in what I would call a land grab phase, which means really, that they’re all seeking world domination, and so they’re hanging on to bits of the design that they probably are not the world's best at doing and therefore they are providing a second rate experience in many cases because they are not good at doing that but they still insist on doing it. And it’s very hard for third parties to break into that handset eco-system because there are so many variants of device platforms of proprietary operating systems of different API’s that a software engineer end who wants to design an application for a mobile phone sometimes has to product hundreds of variants to get it across the range. So I think they’ve stifled innovation in that regard and Apple® broke the Gordian Knot in so to speak by just simply bypassing them all.
Cameron Reilly: And now Google’s™ been demonstrating the sort of the pilot of installations of its Android™ operating system. Will we see Android™operating on Telstra phones?
Hugh Bradlow: I can’t predict that Cameron, a lot depends on the handset ranging decisions, what it really offers, and don’t forget and Android™is just one example of a Linux based mobile phone there’s the so called LiMo group who had another example there are a few of these of different Linux based space mobile phone developments going on and which one is the best, predominates or gets traction whether they become more pervasive than they are today is yet to be seen. Don’t forget most phones do not have a Linux or Windows® or Apple® operating system, most of them are Java based with proprietary kernels the so called feature phones which is the bulk of the market, so smart phone which are the iPhone® the BlackBerry® the incendiary devices the Windows® devices or Linux devices are a relatively small proportion of the market.
Cameron Reilly: True.
Hugh Bradlow: There’s still a lot, but they are not the dominant proportion.
Cameron Reilly: How does Telstra look at Google circa mid 2008 friend or foe?
Hugh Bradlow: Well they certainly compete with parts of our business like Sensis, in other areas they drive traffic onto our online networks, which is a good thing in some ways, as long as we’re collecting commensurate revenue and it enables us to invest in the infrastructure. I think Google is very effective at what it does in search and advertising but I think the impact on the industry is somewhat over-hyped, just to put it in context the global telecommunications industry depending on whose figures you believe is about ten to five times bigger than the global advertising industry. So the notion that Google will buy and operate networks seems to me somewhat fallacious because the business model is all about actually leveraging someone else’s network to deliver services on top of it to their customers.
Cameron Reilly: Speaking of buying networks, there was an announcement in the last week I think that there’s a bid for part of the government’s broadband network it’s being helmed by some people from Leytons Macquarie, ABC, Seek. What’s Telstra’s view of that?
Hugh Bradlow: Look, there’s a gag order on any discussion around the national broadband network proposal, so we obviously comply with the Governments requirements and I really can’t comment on that Cameron.
Cameron Reilly: Ok I understand, I don’t want to get you into any legal trouble on this podcast.
Hugh Bradlow: No. (laughs)
Cameron Reilly: Well let’s gets back to Google™then I mean Google™has obviously developed a great brand. What do you think it is that they’ve done so well to build up this positive vibe about their brand? Is there anything that you think Telstra can learn from Google™?
Hugh Bradlow: Well it’s interesting that question, because what they’ve really done excessively well is search and well probably like most people I started using Google™for search ten years ago whenever they first started because it was simple, clean, effective search engine. They’ve actually developed a core competency very well, and they’ve complemented that core component with a competency in building data centres or Cloud Computing, as people like to call it that supports high-speed very low latency search capability. And then they’ve actually seen their business DNA as being about helping people get access to information they need so they have done some very neat complementary things like build Gmail™, which is a great web mail system and that’s really taking care of their users, they have given them terrific capability in terms of being able to search those emails, they have leveraged very effectively for their advertising business because they pop up context sensitive adverts beside their emails which are unobtrusive in the sense that if you focussing on the advert you don’t actually get distracted by the advert, but often the advert catches your eye and you think ‘oh that’s interesting I wouldn’t mind seeing that.’ So I think they have done a very good job on the basic core business, which is in a way in enabling people to search and using that search to deliver advertising. They’ve gone into a few other things which you’d look at and say; ‘Oh’ you know ‘why on earth would they do that?’ they did this social network thing called Orkut™ which has been a total failure except in Brazil apparently for some obscure reason. So you know, they do, do a lot of things, which are really pretty ordinary, their desktop search tool for example, I regard as pretty ordinary as well. So you would think with a core competency in search they would do a really good job on it but it’s not a patch on something like an X1, which yahoo distributes. So I think that what Google™ have really done well is search, and they have really built on that, but you know it doesn’t make them infallible or unbeatable.
Cameron Reilly: Indeed not. I want to talk about ‘web two dot oh.’ You were quoted a little while ago, as saying that you hate facebook and were actually trying to lose friends. Why is that Dr Hugh?
Hugh Bradlow: (Laughs) I think I probably successfully lost a few friends over that (laughs). Look I think, you know that’s an age and stage thing I’m at a stage in my life where I am extremely busy at work and I am extremely busy with my family and I’m not in that phase of life where one’s trying to expand ones social network, meet new people, form new relationships and things like that and I look at facebook and it’s just a clutter of junk to me, you know, I really don’t care if someone is having lunch with their dog or not if you are at that phase of life which my kids are, they are trying to establish relationships, you know keep in touch with an expanding network of friends, just generally swap social chit chat, facebook is great for them. And one of the interesting things for me and my wife is that we have both become users of facebooks I wouldn’t say avid users, but just in order to keep track of our kids and what they are up to. It’s our way of communicating with them, so I think that you know facebook is appropriate to certain ages and stages but it’s not the worlds new answer to communications.
Cameron Reilly: So what things are you excited about when you look across the Internet ‘web two dot oh.’ landscape at the moment? What are the sort of things where you get excited? Not necessarily just for yourself as an individual, but for Telstra as business opportunities or technologies that you think can make the world a better place?
Hugh Bradlow: Ok so you know the things that really excite me? I’m an information professional, my whole life I’ve been involved in information, the use of information, the learning of information, the processing of and then analysing and the new ‘web two dot oh.’ world where all sorts of information sources that were not previously available are suddenly becoming so easily available is to me truly transforming. When I was a student if I wanted to look up a topic and I was interested in say, satellite systems and how they work, I would have to go off to the library and dig around the shelves and try to find the right journal etc. Today I sit and run a search through Wikipedia as my first point of call and that often leads me a to whole lot of primary sources and off I go, in the time that it would have taken me to walk to the library I have actually got the information I need, so that to me ‘web one point oh.’ is extremely powerful. ‘Web two dot oh.’ is creating a whole lot of new intelligence sources and the term that people are starting to use now is crowd sourcing and the thing that epitomises it to me best is there’s a new satellite navigation device called a ‘Dash’ in the States it looks like a Tom Tom, or a Garmin but it actually has a cellular mobile radio built into it, so what this thing does is, as you drive along it broadcasts to a server somewhere how fast you are going and where you are at. The server then takes that data anonymously and collates it with all the other data it’s receiving, and then constructs an image of the traffic conditions and the routes ahead of you. So it displays on the map on the screen a green or orange or red line showing you whether you are likely to encounter congestion or not. So if you are, you can re-route. In the future it may automatically re-route for you as you go along, in that way. Now the notion of crowd sourcing and being able to take this so called collective intelligence from millions of people around the place and build a net perfect real time image of state the world around you is to me tremendously exciting. So I think there are a whole batch of new opportunities going to emerge in that space, and we as a Telco are very well placed to deliver that to our customers. Not by, let me hasten to add and with some emphasis not by violating any ones privacy because all of these things are done anonymously with consent etc. But never the less, people still find that extremely useful, you know, like when you go to Amazon and you look up something on Amazon and then they tell you that the people who looked at that, bought this. It’s a very useful indication of whether a better solution is available for what you are looking for. So I think that whole information story is incredibly important. The second thing that I think is very important is personal productivity and our lives seem to be an ever increasing pattern of acceleration, as more is demanded of us and as the pace of everything speeds up the ability to use the technology effectively to make life easier is very powerful, and you know, I struggle to think of how life would be without the internet today. We’ve only had it for the last 15 years, so it’s that productivity that makes a huge difference and I think the next frontier is going to be entertainment and the ability to get what you want when you want it, I think the next frontier for businesses is going to be customer service, the ability to deliver that sort of personalised experience that people sort of have an altruistic desire for, when they talk about longingly about branch offices and things like that things that simply no longer exist because they are no longer affordable. I think we will be able to get back to that level of personalisation and experience through the new technology.
Cameron Reilly: So where is Telstra sinking its research its R&D money? Anywhere exciting?
Hugh Bradlow: As usual we cover a lot of ground, we’re obviously continuously interested in improving our infrastructure, so we’re working on the next generations of mobile networks so called HSPA evolution or HSPA plus LTE which is considered as 4G in the next generation and you know continuously looking at ways of improving our infrastructure and its performance. We are working on the customer service systems that will enable us to do what I was talking about earlier things like, service assurance much more effectively and better. So those are important areas for us, we are working on new ways of delivering customer service, looking to improve interaction, so things like speech recognition - we are working on new applications, new user interfaces for mobile services. The list goes on, there are just lots and lots of things, which we’re working on at the moment.
Cameron Reilly: What about holograms? You got a lot of press recently, in fact if one Googled Hugh Bradlow, one finds references to your hologram party trick last month. For people who missed that why don’t you explain what you pulled off?
Hugh Bradlow: First of all let me start off with a disclaimer here, there are a lot of very pedantic people out there who will say ‘well it’s not really a hologram,’ yeah, my answer to then, is ‘to get a life.’ well I know it’s not a hologram, you know, strictly to speaking holograms use interference techniques or a different type of application. But in fact what this system does, is it creates an extremely effective 3d image on a screen and essentially what it does is, it has a very thin film stretched very tightly so it forms a very smooth reflecting surface at a 45 degree angle from the roof to the floor of the stage and they then have a high definition projector on the floor of the stage and it projects up onto the screen and it projects the image forward, but in such a way because it’s transparent, you can actually manage the lighting, so that you get an experience of depth when you look, at this projected image. It’s actually a technique from the 19th century known as Pepper’s Ghost, but of course it couldn’t be implemented until the 21st century because you need very good computing smarts to make it all work properly. Then on the other end, you again in carefully managed light conditions you film the subject with a high definition camera, and you transmit that signal over your network on high definition and you transmit it into the projector, and in fact it come from a British company called Nugent systems who fete it as a hologram. As a three-dimensional effect it is very effective, if you have ever been to the ghost castle in Disney land, they use the same technique to fill their so-called holograms in that environment.
Cameron Reilly: And what was special about the presentation that you gave in Adelaide recently?
Hugh Bradlow: Well apparently and I can’t validate or contest it one way or the other; apparently it was the first time in Australia that someone had done a live, remote, holographic presentation, so it got everyone very excited.
Cameron Reilly: And it took a lot of bandwidth I’m guessing?
Hugh Bradlow: It takes a powerful network to do it yes, but you know it’s what I would call a class of tele-presence system and tele-presence is now well within the realms of our network capability to deliver in fact we use tele-presence routinely between our Sydney and Melbourne head offices. So it uses up bandwidth, but the bandwidth capability is something our networks can now cope with.
Cameron Reilly: I have seen the tele-presence suite that you have in your offices in Melbourne, it’s fairly impressive, Dr Phil Burgess showed it to me a couple of months ago and it was extremely stunning. Are you seeing customers pick those up yet?
Hugh Bradlow: I think everyone that sees it says; ‘Can I have one?’ you know, if I think of the amount of travel it has saved us, it’s ridiculous. It’s so much easier than doing a trip across the country.
Cameron Reilly: I think you wrote on your blog I think I read this story that there was a meeting between some people in Melbourne, some people in Sydney, and a guy in the meeting in Sydney got up and walked out of the boardroom and the guy in Melbourne who wanted to have a quiet chat with him got up and walked out as well, and then realised that he wasn’t there.
Hugh Bradlow: Yes one of my colleagues tells this story and it’s very believable.
Cameron Reilly: (Laughs) I hope it’s not true for that guy’s sake. Look before we wrap up the standard question when I am chatting to people at Telstra is to say, what do you think that Telstra is going to look like 5 years from now? What’s your vision for Telstra’s circa 2013?
Hugh Bradlow: I think five years from now, we will have one of the most effective, fully integrated, new generation network platforms, with modern customer service and operational support systems that will enable us to deliver all sorts of new services very effectively to the Australian customer base. And those services will span a whole lot of different aspects, they’ll span from traditional person-to-person communication services, to various entertainment services on demand, and various information services like I talked about. Which is why Sol Trujillo, our CEO refers to the industry as a Media Comms, media dash Comms because the synthesis of the media, the entertainment advertising capabilities of the media industry with the personalisation and carrier gradeness of the communications industry to deliver a new meld and amalgam of services.
Cameron Reilly: Well excellent Dr Hugh, thank you very much for spending some time with us today, giving us your vision for Telstra and I look forward to seeing the ways that Telstra makes our life better with this new fast network in the coming decade.
Hugh Bradlow: It’s a pleasure Cameron nice to talk to you.
In this People, Planet and Profit podcast, this is Hugh Liney talking to Tim Jarvis an environmental scientist with URS, author, adventurer and explorer and for our purposes on this podcast a thinker and communicator as well.
Welcome to Telstra’s innovation podcasts, a series of conversation with innovators in a connected world. In this People, Planet and Profit podcast, this is Hugh Liney talking to Tim Jarvis an environmental scientist with URS, author, adventurer and explorer and for our purposes on this podcast a thinker and communicator as well.
Hugh Liney: Tim from kayaking to the centre of Australia, polar expeditions to the north and south poles and of course your immensely brave recent re-enactment of Douglas Mawsons Antarctic survival journey. There must be lessons both personally for you, you know the world environment and for people generally. Give us the benefit of some of your experience?
Tim Jarvis: Well it’s difficult to distil of course, 20 years of doing this kind of stuff but I think the reason I embarked on doing these journeys in the first place is a desire to test myself and to find out a little more about what lay within me and that’s the irony of these things you go to these vast landscapes like Antarctica or the Arctic and you go there really to take out all of the societal noise and then what you’re left with is what’s inside you. So I go there to discover myself and a more resourceful part of me when I put myself in difficult positions in those places. I think what it’s taught me is a tremendous amount of self confidence and self belief and it’s given me effectively a map of who I am as a person in all these extremes and it’s given me the confidence to understand that you know that I can really push myself and discover more about myself and I can apply that to lots of different spheres of my life and I’ve chosen to bring it into the environmental field and use it to try and bring about environmental change I think. I think the broader message to people would be to look inside yourself see what’s there, have the confidence to know that you can make a difference in the spheres of your own life.
Hugh Liney: All right. Well the environment first. As an environmental scientist yourself, with specialities in the area such as land resource, management and water resources. What have your drier journeys mid land Australia and elsewhere caused you to reflect upon environmentally?
Tim Jarvis: I think the key thing really is just how much we are stressing this plant of ours and I think I just intended an environmental water conference called Oz water and the goal there really was focussing on, by it’s very nature supply side solutions to problems, you know building more dams and looking at desalination. But I think we really need to visit what we are demanding the water for, in a typical country, a developed country you are using anywhere from 30% to 75 % of your available fresh water on agriculture, and if you’re going to do that you want to make sure that you are basing the agriculture types that you choose on the capability of the land to support it. And I would question some of what we’re doing in this country on that basis.
Hugh Liney: Okay, your recent extraordinary re-enactment of Mawson 1912 story, it brought its own threatening circumstances to you and I assume that your adventurer colleague John Stoukalo by following as closely a as possible Mawsons minute calorific intake among all the other deprivations of such a trip. What do such dire circumstances tell us about the sometimes controversial character or misunderstood character of Mawson and indeed your own thought processes and philosophy at the time?
Tim Jarvis: Well as I said in the response to the first question, I think the reason I do these things is to plumb the depths of my own personality and I guess the representative of Mawsons journey is perhaps the greatest survival journey, not well known. We knew about the Scotts and Shackletons perhaps but not the Mawsons of the world outside these shores. And I wanted to go and test myself against the circumstances that he faced and I wanted to get as close as poss to what he went through. And I think what it taught me about him is he perhaps started off with a very scientific mindset to the whole exercise and he probably finished it as a far more religious person, in using the term religious perhaps with a lowercase R. he talked of providence and forces being at work that were really allowing him, enabling him to continue.
Hugh Liney: Do you put that down to the sheer physical and I suppose mental hardship that he had to undergo moved him away from the scientific more to the metaphysical or something like that.
Tim Jarvis: Look I think so and at the end as I say he was a more religious person but also he retained some of his scientific discipline too, in that he really was worried about the whole exercise having been wasted if he hadn’t made it, who would have been there to convey all the info they gathered about the magnetics of the area in which they travelled and the geology and he would have felt that the lives of the two men who had died had been completely wasted. So he still retained a kind of a very focussed scientific outlook as well.
Hugh Liney: Good on him. Did you yourself experience any such philosophical swing on your journey?
Tim Jarvis: Well I mean I noticed a lot of the things that were happening on our journey were really parallel, very close to the things that happened to him.
And just because you are making a film about something and you have a crew that sometimes are with you and sometimes are not, it perhaps conveys to the viewer an unrepresentative sense of safety on the part of the modern person. I’m not trying to big note, you know, the danger level for me. the danger was really there. If the tent had blown away and the crew were 3 days away that would have been the end of it for me. And so a lot of my experiences really were pretty close to what he went through and that brought me a lot closer to it.
Hugh Liney: Makes for great TV or film as well. Now for those who don’t know for you it’s Shackleton’s big double feat of sailing, ice entrapment, rowing and getting to and rowing from elephant island to Georgia and then more. What’s so grabbing you know? In particular although it’s an extraordinary expedition but what grabbed you and made you follow Shackleton?
Tim Jarvis: Well I don’t always do re-enactments of other people’s trips is what I should first of all say.
Hugh Liney: Good point.
Tim Jarvis: Mawson was probably the first and Shackleton is perhaps the second and last. It’s a journey that’s just captured the imagination. It was Shackleton really plucking from the jaws of defeat an incredible victory. His goal had been to cross the whole of Antarctica and with the crushing of his ship and his forced evacuation of the ship and all of his men into lifeboats. It was really just all about just trying to save themselves and there were real wonderful leadership messages to be learned from that in that he basically knew that his original goal was no longer achievable and decided that the new management goal if you like was going to be to try to save all of his men and he pursued that with the same conviction as the original failed goal. To answer your question I’m interested in doing it because it’s a water-based journey it’s different from a land-based journey that I have done before. The oceans are of course another unknown and another place in which to pit yourself against and discover more about yourself. But I love the leadership lessons and I love the environmental opportunities that it presents. We’ll be setting off from a place called Elephant Island it’s very, very close to where the Larsen B ice shelf broke away and we hope to try and convey the images of what’s happening on the western Antarctic.
Hugh Liney: Here your work with URS covers a wide range of environmental disciplines if your day job for want of a better phrase. What types of projects do you undertake?
Tim Jarvis: Well I’ m a soil scientist by training and I wanted to use that to look at agriculture productivity in developing countries that was the real goal behind it all and I have since turned my hand to looking at the issue of contaminated land and I spend a lot of time involved in environmental audit work, contaminated land work, natural resource management base work, looking at agriculture productivity and also overseas aid project management which URS does a lot of for oz aid and world bank.
Hugh Liney: Fantastic and I gather your time most of the time is spent in the UK? Fifty fifty
Tim Jarvis: I’m about 60 - 40 UK to Australia these days.
Hugh Liney: Okay for people who are perhaps less adventurous in life perhaps myself and some of our listeners what do these journeys of yours and even your predecessors, what does it tell us, the less adventurous in life?
Tim Jarvis: Well I think Marie Curie said ‘life is an adventure or it’s nothing at all.’ she was a scientist she wasn’t someone who had to go pulling sleds to the pole. So adventure manifests itself in different ways with different people and I’m not saying that everybody should try and trek to the pole, but I would say that by trying to achieve, trying to delve within yourself and see what you’re capable of you know life really can be very rewarding.
Hugh Liney: Good lesson. Talking about life itself, on a final note. effective telecommunications must play an important role in all these outposts that you’ve been to. Can you give any examples just about how technology has made your challenges all the more possible?
Tim Jarvis: Well I guess there are two spheres of what I do one is environment and other is expedition and essentially making films about those and telecommunications is absolutely integral across all of that. If you can’t go out there and bring back the story to a broader audience then all the important messages are completely lost. So telecommunications form a very central part of film making and bringing messages back. In terms of the logistics having expeditions you couldn’t do it without telecommunications of course. And then on the environment side improved telecommunications whether it be teleconferencing or other technologies to try and reduce carbon footprints and the like are going to be a thread of any organisations intending to reduce its footprint.
Hugh Liney: With that note thank you Tim Jarvis.
Tim Jarvis: Thank you.