Yesterday Australian incumbent telco Telstra took the media on a tour of its showpiece Customer Insights Centre in downtown Sydney.
The company is justifiably proud of the facility that includes a 300 person auditorium, broadcast quality TV studio, a restaurant, workshop and collaboration spaces.
Welcoming visitors is the centre’s Insight Ring, a nine metre circle-shaped platform that surrounds guests with digital insights mined from Telstra’s information services. Leading off the reception area are a range of displays showcasing the company’s products and capabilities including wearable technologies, 3D printing and Ged The Robot.
Marking the centre as a modern facility the display spaces where Telstra and its partners can show off technologies to industry bodies and prospective clients.
The previous space two floors higher in the building was beginning to show its age after seven years and the fixed displays of technology in the older facility dated the centre, something that’s a disadvantage in an industry changing as quickly as telecommunications.
In the new centre, the demonstration facility is largely screen based so displays can quickly be adapted to show off the technologies aimed at whichever industry they are pitching.
Andy Bateman, Director of Segment Marketing at Telstra, who lead the tour was proud to show off the current display that had been set up to showcase the company’s banking products.
Bateman described how the facility can be quickly altered to suit the needs of specific demonstrations, this was a degree of flexibility missing in the PayPal innovation center in San Jose, which is more comprehensive in its displays but requires a major fit out to change anything.
Venture capital investor Marc Andreessen stated that software will eat the world, Telstra’s Customer Insights Centre illustrates this starkly.
However software doesn’t always have the upper hand, just opposite the Telstra centre is the Sydney City Apple Store. In some ways, the two facilities opposite each other illustrate one of the big technological and market battles of this decade.
For most businesses, software will define the future way of working but for the smart hardware vendors will still be making good money.