After mining, health next goal for Telstra smart camp services

Telco hooks up miners with Foxtel IP network deal

Telstra has sought to capitalise on the lack of entertainment and connectivity options available at mining sites in remote and regional Australia, launching a 'Smart Camp' service.

The service combines IPTV setop boxes, content from pay TV provider Foxtel, telephony services, television channels, on-demand movies and a high-speed fibre broadband connection.

Telstra resources sector marketing and strategy executive, Alan Hindes, told Computerworld Australia that the development of the services was created to cater to demand from the resources sector for entertainment and as a tool for retaining staff situated in remote locations.

"The big pain points facing the resources sector is the issue around staff turnover rates," Hindes said. "Theese rates are as high as 30 per cent for some companies. That creates a whole range of issues such as how do you retain those staff and make it more attractive to work at one particular company?

"With the staff churn, one of the things we did was to look at the quality entertainment that different companies provide is quite diverse. In talking to us, the mining companies said they wanted to redesign the village and make it more favourable such as pay TV on demand which you would normally only get in an urban environment."

According to Hindes, Telstra went with fibre for the service because of the speed and bandwidth that it needed to deliver the content and also because there were issues with satellite around bandwidth cost and latency.

"Within the Telstra IP network, we are required with the Foxtel content to encrypt that so there is security for the end user. Adult content has been blocked because it was a concern for operators," Hindes said.

"The Smart Camp service is phase one of a two part phase because once you have fibre into an accommodation village and got the bandwidth to a unit, you can start to deliver other services such as company messaging, video conferencing and collaboration."

Hindes added that targeting retirement villages with a similar service and the health sector was a long term goal for Telstra as the service was designed for individual accommodation rooms, communal areas and administration areas.

In related news, Telstra has announced plans to introduce a `Foxtel-lite' service through its T-Box customers. The new service will be pushed out and made available to cable-based T-Box customers this week with ADSL-based customers to follow in the next two months.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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