Will NBN increase Australia’s Productivity?
By Dexter Duncan
A recent customer quotation for a WAN service for multiple locations was a reminder that there are still huge price differences in from the various service providers. For five sites across Australia, three quotes were gathered for a similar WAN (Fiber, MPLS, etc.) services. One quote was $13,000 per month and others were $3,500 & $4,800 for similar services!
In a previous article on Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), we showed that roll-out of NBN is driving down the price of high speed internet, especially in “uploads” and size of data allowances. We showed that your business could get 25M download with 2M upload and 200GB data for as little as $70. A recent press release from NBN Co. in October 2011 has shed more light onto the roll-out schedule and provides information on how fast internet can be used to schedule and conduct medical appointments, a.k.a. called “TeleHealth”.
The October press release included a 12 month national roll-out plan with 28 new locations bringing the rollout to over half a million of the planned 13 million premises. (See the NBN Co website for full listing.) New locations are added every 3 months.
One implication for business is for staff to “visit the doctor” from the office. For follow-ups and test results, this means more productivity in the office. With over 40,000 doctors in Australia, the Federal Government is looking to modernize health and extend reach to the bush using modern technology. Telehealth trials are expected to begin at two cities in the Australia Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) in early 2012. Lucky residents in Kiama and Armidale (where NBN services are already available) will benefit from the government’s $4 million trial for the delivery of monitoring and high-quality video conferencing systems mainly targeted at older Australians. Monitoring will be used to check blood pressure, glucose levels and lung function.
If businesses start to think creatively, another implication is to expand the reach of your business. For example, “head-office” is involved in important customer meetings by sending the “regional” representative equipped with video on the laptop. A whole team or a specialist can then participate in the meeting effectively without spending the travel time. This is true for legal or medical specialist, tradespeople or engineers. Design drawings, legal files, modifications and other files are shared and reviewed via live chat session while maintaining a video connection. Tradespeople can also update files, submit forms and update databases without going back to base.
Perhaps the most common productivity outcome for all businesses is a faster internet connection at affordable prices. This means you interact more freely with you customers and suppliers without experiencing “world wide wait”. It also means Voice over IP (VoIP) is widely used to delivers cost savings to all your office and mobile calls.
A more specialised area of cost savings is the ability to harness and access all of your data for a central data centre. Although this option is available today, the increase in faster uploads and data sizes means the transactions are less expensive per second both in terms of infrastructure costs and staff time when compared to similar offerings without NBN. Centralised access to data in data centres becomes more cost effective and faster as uploads and data sizes increase.
A few entrepreneuring brains will certainly think of more ideas and bring a new generation of innovation and job growth. Location based services where mobile phones are used to find and do business is already taking hold overseas. More collaborative forms of communication that combine chat, video, information and location are sure to bring dollar signs to a few Aussie start-ups. Whether monitoring or tracking staff, suppliers, customers, assets or combining all with technology such as barcodes and/or RFID codes, the new NBN promises to bring new winners and losers.
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About the author: Dexter Duncan is a Division Manager at Empower IT Solutions. Contact Dexter at dd@EmpowerIT.com.au
Want to know more information on NBN roll-out?:
Inquiry into the role and potential of the NBN, Chapter 3 Health – http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ic/NBN/report.htm