Media Release, 04 October 2019

From subsea to space - a new frontier in WA’s remote operations

Friday 4 October, 2019

Telstra and Fugro today launched an innovative Remote Operations Centre (ROC) based at Telstra’s Perth International Telecommunications Centre (PITC) in Gnangara.

The ROC, a partnership between Telstra and Fugro, the world’s leading geo-data specialist, services Fugro’s maritime operations off the coast of northern Western Australia.

Part of Fugro’s satellite solution, the ROC enables skilled engineers in Perth to remotely control submersible robotics to conduct inspection, repair and maintenance on pipes and infrastructure that can be up to 4,000 metres underwater.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn, said the facility would be a platform to develop and test opportunities for remote operations across a range of industries.

“The ROC is at the cutting edge of technology and opens the door to a wide range of new business prospects. We are working in collaboration with Fugro to make this technology available to any operations that would benefit from remote monitoring – whether it be subsea or terrestrial,” Mr Penn said.

“The ROC will showcase how remote controlled robotics could be applied to support a range of different industries including mining, agriculture and future operations in space.

“There is real potential for the platform to change the way businesses operate. We have come a long way from when Fugro was first told by others that its vision for harsh environment remote operations was unachievable and could not be done.”

Fugro General Manager, Sam Forbes, said the ROC had its origins in 2015 when Fugro embarked on a new path to disrupt its own business and sure up its future through the development of remote operations.

“At the time we encountered a number of technical hurdles that challenged our vision. We were told by the broader community it couldn’t be done,” he said.

“Telstra adopted a completely different approach. It’s been a ‘can do’ attitude from the start and the collaboration between our teams delivered viable solutions to make our vision a reality. Telstra’s ability to provide world class infrastructure such as the PITC, combined with Fugro’s cutting edge technology and remote operations expertise, has been the catalyst for success.

“Prior to the ROC we controlled our sub-sea robots with a team on-board a vessel at sea, a very challenging and harsh environment that presented many barriers to transformation.

“Together with Telstra we’ve created what we believe is the first of its kind in the world – a real-time robotic command and control centre that operates over satellite communications and is focused on subsea operations.”

“The ROC is the start of an exciting new era for this technology type. There is the potential to create an innovation hub and facility that can support both Government and industry’s technology aspirations for remote monitoring and operations,” he said.

Telstra and Fugro are finalising the remote operations as a service capability available through the ROC for the wider market.


Telstra Media contact: Mark Thompson 0477701814    
Media reference number: 120/2019