NextG to enable the wireless enterprise

NextG to enable the wireless enterprise

Telstra claims 250,000 customers

Six months after launching its high-profile HSDPA NextG mobile network, Telstra has turned its attention to enterprise applications that can leverage wireless broadband from the field.

Group managing director of Telstra's product management, Holly Kramer, said the network is poised to change the way organizations conduct business with applications like enhanced communication, office mobility, and workforce management.

Speaking at the Wireless World conference in Sydney today, Kramer focused on the NextG experience for the enterprise.

He said while wireless applications have been slow to take off in part due to security concerns by IT departments, the orange "turbo card" for notebooks now makes it more attractive.

"Last year our partner iPass was working on a solution called Telstra Remote Working, which is now available and allows you to tap into your corporate VPN," Kramer said.

"Your IT department or communications partner has control [and] this makes working mobile more realistic."

One example is workforce management with Telstra partnering with software as a service provider Xora for a field force automation solution.

"It is a client you download onto a phone and when a worker goes to a job they log on and it can be integrated with an invoicing system," she said.

One early adopter is transport giant Toll, which claims the NextG applications give it a better ability to respond to customers.

Other early adopters include streaming video company @world Adventures and Internet consultancy E Central, whose CEO prides himself on the ability to work onboard a yacht in the Whitsunday Islands.

All up, Telstra is laying claim to 250,000 NextG network customers.

Another application is asset management from vendor @Road, which uses location information and is now fully deployed across Telstra's fleet resulting in a 15 percent reduction in repeat calls to technicians, according to Kramer.

"We can immediately find where all our technicians are at any one time and send messages to them," she said.

Kramer also took the opportunity to spruik online SMS as a good way to communicate with customers, and cited the Royal Children's Hospital as one high profile success story.

When confirming appointments the hospital had a "no-show rate" of 30 percent. By utilising SMS this figure has dropped to 12 percent.

Kramer even talked about her own experience with the NextG network admitting she was unable to receive fixed-line broadband at her farm in the southern highlands of NSW. As a result she switched over to mobile broadband.

"I now have the opportunity to work from the farm on the weekend. I tried to get fixed high-speed broadband but it wasn't an option," she said.

Kramer admitted that the network is not perfect and doensn't work all the time, but "we've made a dramatic step forward with NextG".

She said a changing workforce will drive mobility solutions as the workforce of the future will have high demands and expectations.

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