Telstra ramps up R&D strategy

Telstra set up three New Wave research labs this week as part of an overhaul of its R&D division, the first in 77 years, the national carrier said.

The new labs, New Wave Innovation (NW-I), New Wave Research (NW-R) and New Wave Development (NW-D), will be headed by former Telstra Research Laboratories (TRL) MD Dr Hugh Bradlow, now chief technology officer (CTO) of New Wave Labs - a first-time role in Telstra.

New Wave and TRL are now Telstra Research.

Bradlow will also oversee the group's cross-business technology strategy and architecture.

Telstra aims to form an "ideas house" environment via the labs, through which research staff will devise new business opportunities in the "generation after next" telco, mobile and Internet industries. New Wave Labs will also commercialise innovation projects through spin-off companies or alliance partners, Bradlow said.

NW-I will focus on new business propositions and their commercialisation. Company sources said new products, which do not fit directly into Telstra's business model, will be launched through spin-off ventures. Chris Rowles will head NW-I.

NW-D, with Sydney and Launceston labs, will support NW-I by providing ongoing development work between proof-of-concept and external commercialisation. Satya Anupindi heads NW-D.

NW-R, with Leith Campbell in the top role, will source and pursue "blue sky" research activities, those which Telstra believes will "break new ground in the future".

While TRL and New Wave sit in one group, each unit has a distinct focus - the former on evaluation and introduction of new technology tipped to become next-generation Telstra services, and the latter on idea shifts in the marketplace and "generation after next products".

Telstra's investment in New Wave was not disclosed.

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