Optus looks to spend $1.5m on transportable 4G small cells

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Optus looks to spend $1.5m on transportable 4G small cells

To bolster its disaster response capabilities.

Optus is set to invest $1.5 million in a fleet of transportable small cells that are lighter and easier to deploy in disaster zones than the telco’s current fleet of satellite cells on trailers or SatCats.

The telco revealed the planned investment in its latest sustainability report [pdf], saying that the small cells could help it provide “a more effective response to natural disasters and emergencies.” 

“Our disaster management fleet utilises SatCats (a satellite cell on a trailer that uses satellite transmissions for coverage in a limited range, without the need for infrastructure),” it said.

“During calendar 2019, our operations team explored the use of rapid deployment mobile solutions for disaster management and as a result, our current fleet of four SatCats may be complemented by an additional investment of $1.5 million on small cells. 

“Small cells are lighter, easier to transport, provide instant access to the 4G platform and are cheaper than SatCats. 

“This investment will strengthen our disaster response capabilities by rapidly deploying mobile coverage solutions to affected zones.”

Optus showed a side-by-side image of a SatCat and transportable small cell; the latter is considerably less bulky.

Optus said in a separate submission to a federal bushfire inquiry that it deployed its existing SatCats in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia during the most recent summer bushfire crisis.

Automation drive continues

The sustainability report provides additional information on Optus’ three-year adoption of intelligent automation technologies.

It - for the first time - properly describes the function of a bot called TARA that was developed during a recent hackathon process.

“The Talent Acquisition team aimed to use automation to help them and their leaders recruit talent more effectively,” Optus said.

“TARA (Talent Acquisition Robot Assistant) will scan thousands of resumes for keywords and phrases to allow categorisation, allowing the team to deal with people more than paperwork.”

Optus also said its iAutomate centre of excellence, IT and robotic process automation (RPA) teams across its consumer, Optus wholesale and networks divisions had “set up a new Robotics Operation Centre (ROC)".

The ROC would be used to centally "monitor, govern, operate and support our digital workforce of more than 150 RPA bots, ensuring our automation practice is sustainable, adheres to regulation and policies, and meets our evolving needs.”

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