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Interview with Andrew Walsh, Executive General Manager, New Developments

What are the biggest technology innovations around the corner that will shape how we live, work and play?

We expect that:

Technologies such as virtual reality will be able to enhance our work-from-home experience, giving us a sense of physical interaction.

In addition, a richer 3D and spatial collaboration environment can provide a break from the 2D experiences of being stuck on monitors at home.

Augmented reality can help field workers who require detailed live information enhance their access to data without having to spend time looking at a phone screen. We expect to see many experiences become ‘cloud rendered’.

The requirements for expensive hardware will lessen, and we will see more cloud content providing real-time interactive experiences.

What we think is the norm today will likely radically change in the next few years.

At nbn we’re always looking ahead – investing in innovation today so Australia is ready for tomorrow.

That’s why nbn is preparing for these advances in technology with a massive upgrade to fibre and high-speed tier plans over the next decade.

How can we harness technology to create both smarter and more sustainable cities? Are they always mutually exclusive?

By harnessing technology, we can make cities both smarter and more sustainable.

At nbn we take sustainability seriously – it’s all about looking after people and the environment so we hand down a healthy planet to our children.

Our network’s fibre-optic technologies are energy efficient by design, and more resilient, when compared to legacy ADSL technologies. nbn’s target is to purchase 100% renewable electricity by 2025 to power the nbn® network.

At nbn we’re working with leading scientists and universities to unleash the power of the internet, inventing new technologies, and enabling others to do so as well. And that also helps us inspire smart cities.

The emergence of the Internet/Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technologies as an overlay to broader broadband networks has the potential to introduce a system of sensors, actuators and machines all embedded with electronics, software, and network connectivity.

This game-changer enables better data analytics, automation, and process control. This modulation of systems and people, and its ability to make real-time decisions, is shifting supply chain and consumer behaviours.
The digital transformation we’re experiencing supports the energy transition.

The energy system is shifting from a centralised approach to a now decentralised one.

Digital technologies and high-speed broadband help cities remain resilient and work efficiently and safely.

Access to technologies like these has the potential to unlock more sustainable energy and broader social and economic benefits that broadband connectivity provides.

And the nbn network will be able to play a big part in helping that happen.

How can technology facilitate a connected workplace and healthy workplace community?

Just over ten years ago, it didn’t exist – yet now the nbn network supports so much of what we do every day.

It’s changed the way we do things…

  • people struggling with health can get help hundreds of kilometres away,
  • businesses are tapping into new markets,
  • the hard work has been taken out of working from home,
  • virtual classrooms have gone to another dimension,
  • we’re visiting family and friends from our living rooms,
  • while home entertainment has become a whole new experience.

The pandemic, and our use of technology has enabled our people to connect with each other on a different level – people have an equality of presence in virtual meetings and opportunities to join the conversation. We also shared the experience of working from home, given a window into each other’s personal lives, meeting loved ones and appreciating the challenges of balancing work and caring needs.

How can technology support diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

The nbn network has become the digital backbone of our country – but it’s capable of doing much more, and it’s our job to unlock that potential.

The network touches more than 17 million people across Australia every day, which creates more career opportunities for women, stepping into more leadership roles and different industries regardless of where they live, thanks to the ability to connect virtually.

You no longer need to live in in a capital city to be a contender; you can be anywhere in the country, including in regional and remote Australia.

Flexibility has emerged as being critical to employees and companies, recognising how fundamental this is to attracting and retaining talent and creating flexibility programs that meet the workforce’s needs.

nbn consulted widely with our people to create a hybrid work model that balances the business and employees’ needs – ensuring teams can deliver on the shared objectives at home or in the office, people remain productive and still be there to care for loved ones, do school pick-ups and maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Flexibility relies on having a secure and reliable broadband service, which the nbn network helps internet providers supply to over 8.5 million homes and businesses nationwide, and the digital platforms to be productive for conducting business meetings, collaboration, and tasks. Of course, an end customer’s experience including the speeds achieved over the nbn network, depends on the nbn access technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside of nbn’s control (like the customer’s equipment quality, software, chosen broadband plan or how their provider designs its network).

Through the pandemic, the benefits of having this reliability of connection enabled millions of people to continue to work remotely and for businesses to maintain operations.





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