AusPost completes Australia’s ‘largest ever’ telecom upgrade

Australia Post Upgrade Telecommunications

Australia Post has announced it has completed an unprecedented upgrade of its telecommunications infrastructure, delivering it says “a new, highly resilient and scalable data network” that will help fast-track adoption of next-generation Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.

The postal service’s two-year Telecommunications Transformation program, implemented across more than 4,000 AusPost sites and billed as the “largest of its kind undertaken in Australia”, equips postal facilities with new wi-fi technologies and substantially improved network bandwidth.

Through these upgrades, AusPost will be able to “deliver a significantly higher service level at every one of our sites”, said chief information officer, Munro Farmer.

“We will now be able to scale up internet bandwidth when and where we need to, accelerate the onboarding of new services to days rather than weeks and enable new capabilities, such as mobile point of sale, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions,” he said.

AusPost partnered with Comscentre (now owned Orro Group) on its software-defined network build, equipping it with an ‘always-on’ central management capability able to deliver real-time insights across the postal service.

“Customers expect more information in real-time and transparency through the supply chain, and we are making sure we have the telecommunication infrastructure to deliver for them,” Farmer said.

As a result of the network upgrade, AusPost can “now identify and mitigate 80 per cent of issues”, he said. From this, “we have been able to reduce business impacting outages by over 70 per cent – a significant achievement for a network as expansive as ours”.

“The enhanced service availability also means the organisation can switch its focus from reactive support to being proactive in preventing issues.”

A core element of the wider Transformation program was the upgrade and standardisation of AusPost’s communications and collaboration systems, supported by Telstra and Cisco – a phase of the upgrade which benefited substantially from Covid lockdowns, enabling tech teams to work without regular staff in-office.

Based on Cisco’s videoconference platform, Webex, the enterprise-wide collaboration and conferencing platform was “rolled out in just three business days”, Farmer said, enabling “remote working for thousands of office-based Australia Post team members”.

The communications systems upgrade – in place now for more than a year – has resulted in a 40 per cent improvement in collaboration, according to AusPost’s head of technology for network and infrastructure engineering, Shane Hazim (speaking with iTnews last year on the upgrade, which was nearing its end stages).

It has also resulted in a 10 per cent boost in engagement scores across the group, Hazim said.

AusPost has also finalised its upgrade and standardisation of its six contact centre operations, consolidated onto one platform – Genesys’s Engage – and supported by conversational AI platform, LivePerson.

“20,000 mobile devices used by support team members, including mobile phones, laptops and tablets, have been brought together onto one customer-centric platform, greatly enhancing device security and management,” Farmer said.

The single platform has also given contact centre staff and business units a single pane view across the workforce.

At its peak, the wholesale Transformation program migrated approximately 100 Post Offices within five business days, AusPost said.

Across the two-year telecom transformation program, AusPost partnered with several technology vendors, including Cisco, nbn co, Orro Group, Engage, VMware, Star21, and Telstra.