Telstra Innovation Challenge highlights regional tech investment

Media Release, 28 March 2017

Investment in faster networks, drones, precision agriculture, e-health and robotics is driving Telstra’s innovation agenda for regional Australia that has today been detailed in a White Paper into ‘Regional Australia’s Technology Future’. 

The White Paper highlights the world of opportunities that new technologies can bring to regional and rural communities across Australia and how Telstra is working with industry partners across the country and around the world to bring them to life. 

“Telstra is investing now to deliver the kind of technology that can transform the lives of people living in regional communities over the next 20 years,” said Telstra Chief Operating Officer Robyn Denholm.

“Whether it’s mobile networks that are larger and faster, high-tech agriculture that makes farms more competitive, e-health solutions that bring world-class care to regional communities, or decentralised energy networks to make communities more independent - technology has the potential to create huge opportunities for families and businesses in regional Australia.

“We want regional communities to see what is possible and to be part of our innovation journey through programs such as the Telstra Innovation Challenge.”

For the first time, Telstra’s Innovation Challenge will focus on Australian agriculture.  

This year teams are being challenged to design, hack and code an innovative internet of things (IoT) prototype solution for one of the many challenges that confront Aussie farmers. 

The solution may involve providing an environmental benefit for farmers, improving operational efficiency by automating and simplifying manual tasks or using IoT technology to create farms of the future. 

The Innovation Challenge, supported by Landmark, has two streams – one for university teams and one for members of the public. 

Landmark has been working and supplying the Australian farming industry for the past 150 years and has a great insight into the challenges the industry faces today and in the future. 

“Like all industries, Australian farms are operating in more challenging conditions and investment in new technologies is needed to help farmers thrive now and into the future,” said Landmark’s Precision Agriculture Manager Garrett Watson. 

“Operational efficiency, enhanced automation, environmental issues such as soil conditions, weather patterns and pest threats, tools that collect and analyse data on crop health, supply chain logistics, these are all challenges confronting Australian farmers. 

“We can’t wait to see what creative solutions teams develop as part of the Telstra Innovation Challenge.”

More than 50 university teams have entered the Telstra Innovation Challenge.

Monash University, RMIT, University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney, Carnegie Mellon University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Adelaide, University of the Sunshine Coast, University of Western Sydney, University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, University of Canberra, Victoria University, Australian National University, Central Queensland University, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and Macquarie University are all represented.

“It is great to see so many universities engaged in a program that provides a forum for our next generation of tech and innovation leaders to develop their skills and highlights the importance of STEM studies in our future economy,” Ms Denholm said.

Entries are still open for the public stream of the competition, which will be held in Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab in Melbourne.

Finalists will pitch their solution to an expert panel in Melbourne on May 13 and will be in the running for a range of great prizes, including the chance to work with Telstra to further develop their solution. 

For all the details about the Telstra Innovation Challenge, log on to

To view the ‘Regional Australia’s Technology Future’ White paper, log on to 

ABOUT LANDMARK: Landmark has been part of rural Australia for 150 years. A leading agribusiness company, Landmark offers merchandise, fertiliser, farm services, wool, livestock, finance, insurance and real estate. Today, they are Australia’s largest distributor of merchandise and fertiliser, with 2000 employees servicing 100,000 clients in our national network of around 400 locations. Landmark is committed to growing value through a world of innovation, practically applied. 

Telstra Media contact: Michael Zappone


Media reference number: 034/2017