Tech Solutions

How Off-Grid Energy is joining the DOTs

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Two engineers combined their visions for sustainable energy in locations that aren’t connected to the grid and Off-Grid Energy Australia turned on its lights.

Many of Off-Grid Energy’s clients are people building their dream home on an acreage block, where getting power connected generally costs around $20,000 to $30,000. “So an off-grid system with solar and batteries can be a good option,” notes Sean. Tree changers often go off-grid as a lifestyle choice too.

Sean and Hugh soon found they were servicing beyond the residential demographic they started with, as demand for their services grew among businesses, councils and regional operation stations.

man in reflective jacket next to solar panels
Small regional businesses are getting the capabilities larger firms have today.

- Wayne Howorth, Telstra

Overcoming the tyranny of distance

With a mainly regional customer-base, Off-Grid Energy Australia needed a reliable provider for all of its communications. “It was a no-brainer,” admits Sean, “Telstra ticked all the boxes because it has great regional coverage for landline plus mobiles. We didn’t even look elsewhere; we just went straight to Telstra.

”DOT (Digital Office Technology)™ was chosen for Off-Grid’s HQ because it offers flexibility and a swathe of features, such as 250GB of shared data on the Medium Core Plan and optional add-ons including a Virtual Receptionist to direct customer calls, a dedicated line for fax/EFTPOS and a mobile broadband device for back-up connectivity.

“The advice and support from Telstra was good,” notes Sean. “We booked a training session via video conference [as an optional extra technical support service from Telstra] and learned how to hold messages, divert phones and all those things. We also started using the online portal [My Account], where you can adjust your profile and check your data usage – that was very useful. We see ourselves as a modern company that wants to use all the services the internet can provide.”

Reliable communication is essential among the team and availability to respond to customers, with most team members on their phones throughout the day, whether they’re working at HQ or on a sales trip or installation. “The free intra-account calls [between devices within Australia] give us tangible savings as we do call each other a fair bit. We often redirect the office number to one of our mobiles when everyone will be out of the office.

”Each of Off-Grid’s smartphones is on an Easy Share Business Plan, and the business’s connected tablets have Telstra Mobile Broadband Business Plans.

No more missed messages

DOT’s Voice2Email helps streamline communication for all team members by attaching voice messages to emails.

“You can pick up a fair bit from a voice message, rather than just someone jotting down a few notes; and I can handball that in an email forwarded to our sales guys so they can listen to it and respond to it,” says Sean. “If we couldn’t catch those messages we could potentially lose business.”

Single bill convenience

Sean admits having a single bill from a single provider for all of Off-Grid’s communications makes everything much simpler: “You don’t have to think about who is responsible for it – if it’s anything to do with the communications, we know it’s Telstra. It’s a big company, so in my eyes that suggests reliability. If we were with one of the smaller providers they may not have the manpower to provide the service we expect, especially in the regional areas.

Insights from Telstra's General Manager of Digital Business

”Small businesses whose work is mainly outdoors need to be just as available to their customers as their larger competitors, explains Wayne Howorth.

DOT provides smart calling features, such as phone redirection and Voice2Email so that businesses can pick up calls and work in more locations. And owners get peace of mind with free calls in Australia between services on their DOT account.

“Small regional businesses are getting the capabilities larger firms have today,” Wayne says. “However you imagine your business’s future, DOT can help get you there.”

Find out how DOT works here.
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