Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Telstra uses IoT to launch location services

Steve Rogerson
August 29, 2018

Australian telco Telstra is harnessing the IoT with the launch of location products for consumers, small businesses and enterprises.
The location of things technology will help users keep track of their valuables from keys, bikes and family pets to business assets such as hardware and vehicles.
The announcement follows Telstra’s deployment of Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technology on its mobile network over the past 12 months, and the June T22 strategy update, which highlighted Telstra’s plan to deliver the next generation of connected experiences.
Later this year Telstra will introduce Telstra Locator for consumers and small businesses, and Track & Monitor for enterprises, helping a broad cross-section of the Australian community locate assets.
“We’ve already deployed the most advanced IoT technology on our mobile network, we’re now focused on harnessing IoT technology to introduce services that make customers’ connected lives easier,” said Telstra head of innovation and strategy Michele Garra. “Telstra’s new location of things products use connected technology to solve everyday problems for Australians – from families and local businesses through to our country’s largest enterprises.”
With almost one in three Australians losing their keys in the past 12 months, and around one in four misplacing a phone or remote control, Telstra’s vision is to create the nation’s most powerful finding service.
Users will be able to attach locator tags to their valuables and use the Telstra locator app to help find them if they go missing.
There will be three tags for different needs. A lightweight and long-lasting Bluetooth tag is for keys and purses and a rechargeable wifi tag is for pets, bikes and bags. Early next year Telstra will introduce a premium LTE tag for high-value assets such as vehicles and machinery.
Each tag connects to one or a combination of Telstra’s networks. This includes a new Bluetooth locator community, parts of the Telstra Air wifi network and, for LTE tags, Cat-M1 IoT technology on Telstra’s mobile network, which has a coverage of around three million square kilometres for compatible devices.
Telstra Locator will launch later this year as a subscription-based service available to consumer and small business post-paid mobile users.
Telstra customers will have their first taste of the finding service in early September, with the release of a device locator feature for the telco’s 24x7 app users. This will help people locate compatible Telstra mobile phones and SIM-enabled tablets on their Telstra account, including the ability to send tailored messages to lost devices and play sounds to locate devices in hard to see places.
The device locator is suitable for families with a mix of Android and iOS devices allowing them to locate their compatible devices from a single screen.
The 24x7 app users will be given the opportunity to opt-in for the device locator feature by enabling location permissions and, at the same time, they’ll become part of a Bluetooth locator community that allows Telstra mobile customers to help other customers find lost valuables securely and anonymously.
The Bluetooth locator community will continue to grow over the next few years with more than 6000 vehicles and 6000 taxis travelling more than a million kilometres each day being fitted with Bluetooth locator technology to broaden reach.
For many small businesses, assets from machinery to catering equipment can be found quickly and easily. Photographers will be able to attach tags to their hard cases and cameras, while tradespeople will be able to use the service to help locate their tools and transport equipment on busy constructions sites.
Telstra is also working with large organisations to trial its Track & Monitor offering for enterprise customers, which will be available from October.
“As low powered network technology evolves, we are seeing customers looking to introduce and expand their asset tracking capability, far beyond current fleet tracking, to a whole range of items such as equipment, pallets and packages in mass volumes,” Garra said.
Enterprise customers will be able to purchase Track & Monitor to enable low-cost, large-volume asset tracking, whether across multiple warehouses or retail sites, or while in transit.
“These devices will send data about a customer’s valuable assets, delivering valuable insights that our customers can easily translate into better business outcomes,” said Garra. “Ultimately, our number one priority is to deliver transformative experiences for our customers, and we believe that opportunity lies in IoT.”