Amazon Australia Launch Update

Against MANY in the eCommerce and Amazon industry predictions, its been almost a week after the predicted launch date. While Amazon.com.au Google rating must have gone through the roof with a large portion of the Australian Amazon fans admitting in outrage on twitter and Facebook that the spent a good percentage of time hitting the refresh button on the Australian sites homepage waiting for a “surprise” launch.

Further rumours are pointing to a GST glitch in the soft launch and testing stage for the delay of the predicted launch date (can we blame the ATO website for that?)

News broke today from Jason Mahoney, Managing Director of market research firm Kantar Retail, revealed at a WPP client event last night that the reason for Amazon's 'failed' launch last week was potentially due to glitches in their back end. Specifically, he mentioned that Vendor Central – which first-party suppliers use to sell their products with Amazon – was incorrectly calculating GST on purchases.

For now there is a few issues with the Amazon Australian Site, that may delay the launch until 2018, But that hasn't stopped them from the positive approach, reportedly bought 2.11 hectares of vacant land in Smeaton Grange. Which is about 7 million AUD worth of land, this is suspected to become yet another fulfilment centre, which is promising for US Australians and Home Automation enthusiasts. as this COULD point towards amazon bringing out more of there own products such as the Amazon Alexa (smart home assistant) hardware range.

NBN to halt HFC Connections IMMEDIATELY

NBN is immediately putting on the brakes on the rollout of HFC installations due to mounting issues with service dropouts, which could see over 100 million dollars of Telstra’s earnings delayed.

“There are many things we cannot control with the customer experience, but that which we can, we want to do something about” said Mr. Morrow, NBN chief executive.
Mr. Morrow said, “poor experience with the HFC rollout resulted from the lower frequency band NBN was using.” (WOW. What gave that away, maybe the 43000 complaints to the Telecommunications ombudsman.)

For customers waiting to be connected to the NBN via HFC, they will now have to face a delay of half a year or more. (They finally worked out that all those complaints might be correct.) “To help ensure the best possible experience for its customers (the ISP’s) and their end users, NBN Co will temporarily pause all new orders over its HFC access network.

This pause will be in effect until incremental field work is undertaken to raise the quality of service for end user”

For us that knew that “NBN co” would stuff up NBN 1.0 and refused to sign up until we are forced to migrate in 18 Months, even though NBN was available in our area, here are the top 5 jokes about NBN Co:-

* Come clean and tell the Australian public they typed into Google, “how to make money by building a big internet thingy” and followed a YouTube video from a 10 yr old boy from India.

They watched the IT Crowd series and believed Roy & Moss when they told Jen that the internet lived in a black box with a red light on it and it was connected by Wi-Fi, I’m sure that’s when they decided we didn’t need FTTP.
(I guess they bought the DVD collection as they sure as hell couldn’t stream it using NBN 1.0)

Here is a free idea for the NBN heads and Mr. Morrow. Roll out the 1GB/s upgrade and not tell us, with their track record we may just get a system that could make 100Mbs at 7pm at night.

Your NBN 1.0 connection is so slow that … (wtf ?! What is this timeout error)

Your internet connection is so slow, carrier pigeons can deliver mail faster than Microsoft outlook 365 on the NBN

Ok enough jokes (But I had one more!!! Like saying, NBN Co)

Now for some facts:

(cough)Let’s not forget the pay rises they received for the good job they have done so far. (cough) Morrow earned over 3.59 million last year to chew up more tax payer’s money and time!!!!!

We have been waiting for over 10 years for a promise to match the rest of the first world, quarterly report on the world’s internet speeds showed Australia climbed from 51st place to 50th spot during the first three months of the year and this has cost us 46 Billion dollars to reach 50th.

Then I read stories in the media that states the NBN has a message for Australia: ‘ If you want high-speed internet, you are going to have to pay more‘Pay more for high speed, how about what we have paid for so far to get an internet connection that works first. (How dare Mr. Morrow say this! If I was in a room with him at the time, I may not have been able to hold myself back from giving a new job, as a patient in the local hospital, or at least a fat lip.)

Folks, the point I’m trying to make is this is a total joke and has made Australia look like a laughing stock to the rest of the world. How the hell will they take us seriously when we place the countries internet back bone in the hands of these idiots then pay them millions of dollars and reward them for giving us a lemon. If the NBN was a car we would have laws to get our money back but alas using a good Aussie slang “WE ARE UP SH*T CREEK IN A BARB WIRE CANOE” and it going to cost, you and me as the Australian tax payers more and more money while these turkeys try and figure their way out of another jam they have got themselves and the Australian public into.

Trevor Friswell
Article Author

Apple HomePod delayed until 2018

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the “silly season” specials is usually prime time to release any new products or technology to hit the market strong, at least that is what Apple thought when they announced the release of the Apple HomePod Smart Speaker.  As a typical Apple product there is a lot of fanfare and hype around potential products, and originally announcing first release to UK, USA, and Australia definitely brought the buzz they wanted, what they didn’t want was the stories that followed. The HomePod journey has been an interesting one, with originally manufacturer reports claiming there were not enough to supply for a demanding market. Announced back in June, Apple claimed they would “re-invent music in the home” with sound quality being the obvious focus on the assistant powered speaker.

The issue with announcing in June, and not releasing until December is this gave other companies time to react, with both SONOS and Madebygoogle releasing a quality sounding smart assistant speaker for the home in the last few months, and apple still no where on the market.  Apple have run into a few issues with the build of the HomePod, and now they have lost the upper hand for the market. Could pulling out the the holiday rush be the nail in the head for HomePod?

Obviously delaying the launch of any new product is not good, but delaying over the biggest shopping events of the season is not something any company would choose to do lightly. So far the only date that has been given is early 2018 at best, and the chances are high that with some of the speakers manufacturers saying product roll out had already started, that apple will fall further behind for whatever software or hardware changes that may have caused this delay.

Only time will tell.

Confirmed Amazon Australia Launch

With the silly season looming, Amazon Australia's Release date has finally been confirmed. unofficially. via an email obtained from marketplace sellers. (featured above).

The email confirms what many of us have been speculating, that Amazon Australia Marketplace will go live just before black Friday (giving time to iron out potential kinks before the big annual sale)

It is still not clear what will be sold, with five hundred Australian suppliers that will be trading through the Marketplace from day one. Also still unknown is when exactly it will launch, or how Amazon plans to announce the launch. Mentioned in the email the site will have a preview soft launch for a few insider buyers and sellers.

Launch could go live to the public VERY soon. with “Black Friday” falling tomorrow Australian Time.

Can NBN.co Lower Australia’s broadband costs?

A few days ago NBN.co released its new wholesale broadband agreement (WBA3), which has apparently been in the works, and negotiations for the past 2 years. The new WBA3 would focus on new measures that would be aimed at helping to “further improve the experience of end users on the NBN network”. With a major increase in number of complaints received by the telecommunications industry ombudsmen flagged this as a major cause for concern with the growth rate of service complaints wholesale broadband agreement Australia’s consumer watchdog has launched a public inquiry into National Broadband Network (NBN) wholesale service standards to work out whether regulation is required to enforce service agreements with retail service providers after a years increase of 159.3 per cent.

The WBA3 will bring NBN.co focusing on the service requirement of the wholesale service, which can in turn impact what is received in homes and businesses. With the increase in complaints and the public inquiry NBN.co are not concerned about cost of service as they still are over budget and in debt for the roll out of the NBN. With Bill Morrow, who said on 14 November that, “together, we are revisiting processes and making adjustments to make improvements at all service levels a priority”.

In conclusion; for the time being costs for broadband on the NBN will not lower.

Where is Samsungs BIXBY now?

Users of the Samsung s8 and note 8 are torn, with numerous how-to tutorials and mixed reviews about Bixby the big question is, is it any good?

The update known as is known as Bixby 2.0 left many users crying for an option of disabling the Bixby assistant functions all together, and mostly turning to the android promoted google now assistant. Some digging through android user forums has led us to the discovery that few users take use of the forced Bixby assistant button, Samsung has hardcoded the soft button into updates and users aren’t happy. Since the Bixby update SEVERAL apps have begun popping up in the play store to “remap” the soft button, much to the detriment of the phones operating functions. Samsung users that have opted to remap the button to a different assistant to the likes of google now assistant, are reporting minor function errors after doing so.

With countless flocking to remove Bixby, it leaves the question if it is any good? Samsung are involved in a heavy online advertising campaign via Facebook and YouTube and they market the ad to do everything that google now can. few users report that this is not the case but that Bixby and google go hand in hand, and many users saying they hate it, or haven’t even set it up. Probably forcing Bixby onto user’s devices would have been the worst thing Samsung could have done, really, who wants to use something they are forced to use. As the smart assistant boom is bringing many options for which assistant you let assist your family, home and work life it’s no wonder users are not fond of the late comer Bixby.

In conclusion many users claim Bixby is not worth the time to investigate, they have already gotten things set up with another voice assistant, or they don’t wish to make use of the voice assistant technology. If you are a user of Bixby please leave a comment below and tell us what you think of the Samsung assistant.

UPDATE: Everything we know about Apple Homepod

It been 5 months since news of apples plans to release the “homepod” smart speaker, powered by siri; Apple marketed the homepod as the first music and sound centered speaker to support a built in smart voice assistant. With the homepod still yet to be released, many are questioning what apple is planning to do with the homepod to over throw the current smart speaker market. In the 5 months since apple announced the plans for the homepod, both the Sonos ONE and google home max have been hyped up and released filling the void in the market for a powerful sounding smart speaker. a speaker that can play good music AND still control your home automation

The Apple HomePod speaker will be priced at US$349 with localised Australian pricing to be confirmed later in the year.

  • Apple-designed upward-facing woofer
  • Custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters
  • Apple Music Integration
  • Siri Integration
  • Automatic room-sensing technology
  • White and Space Grey
Should be released in decemeber 2017 which is now 2 weeks away, with claims to be in time for christmas. which is in 39 days

Amazon Australian Website Stocking Up

If you have been following our on going news updates about Amazon’s inevitable Australian launch, you’d know that everyone at About Automation are extremely excited about the upcoming shopping giants entry to the Australian market.

If you’re getting excited for Amazon’s arrival in Australia too, there’s a few more signs that launch is imminent. Amazon’s Australian website is now being populated with some items – among the few items being found are power boards, and Game of Gnome garden figurines, the few products being spotted are showing up when searching for specific search terms, among the apps and books results. the website layout and categories have not changed yet so we like to think of them as little Easter-eggs or teasers.

Following the Amazon Sydney summit this morning, Amazon confirmed that the marketplace based web store will launch “really really soon”, and in copy format of the US Marketplace, Amazon will initially stock out of their own warehouse, and will be opening the marketplace to third parties as in the states, a bit further down the line.

We sincerely hope that means they will bring the entire Amazon technology range to our shores, and finally release an Australian version of Amazon Alexa.

NBN fake stats and false speeds

As mentioned in a previous installment the nbn cost is a hot topic amongst many Australian communities for the time being. As the nbn fibre network is still being rolled out and estimated to be finished late 2018 early 2019. But a more heated topic in the news is the speeds. With the many types of connections can bring different speeds per connection, what the public already using the fibre network are most concerned about however is the difference in official reports speeds vs. the speed they are paying for and experiencing. Under the new NBN program is you want decent speeds you will have to pay even more to ensure you get the speed required, so even when the network might be capable of faster speeds, you have to pay a higher rate to access that boosted speed.

According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
“ONE-in-four Australians are unhappy with the speed of their fast broadband connection,” NBN complaints are rising at a faster rate than the number of users. This might be because to install the fibre network to the pre existing cooper network the current service will get disrupted and crippled to do so. So even if a household is not on the nbn they still may experience drop outs and slow speeds because of it.

The proportion of national broadband network customers complaining about faults to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman rose to 0.66 per cent in the 12
months to June 30, from 0.50 per cent a year earlier.

On top of complaints to the ombudsman about speed and drop outs within both networks the other serious complaint coming out is about the lack of solid information available to consumers about the fibre networks capabilities.
Mr Sims said the ACCC is working towards retailers providing accurate information on what consumers can realistically expect from their internet service provider (ISP).
“We want to see retailers moving away from unhelpful, easily misconstrued and inconsistently applied claims like ‘up to’, ‘boost’ and ‘superfast’, and from advertising and/or providing information about theoretical maximum speeds that are based on wholesale inputs,” he said.

For consumers it is important to get the speed you are paying for, To get an accurate idea of your connection and use speed it is suggested to test your conenction at different times and days, and use an independant testing service.

Similar to testing services such as;

Speedtest.net

Oz Broadband Speed Test

Testmy.net

Mr Turnbull, who was communications minister before becoming Prime Minister, said many of the problems were caused by the way the project was designed. and recently publicly came out claiming that “The NBN was a calamitous train wreck of a project when we came into government in 2013,”

For the PM to say that about his own previous role, you know it must be a mess- even if he fabulously passes the blame back onto the opposing party. All Australia is left with is what NBN.co decides, so we as a collective must hope that the kinks iron out and Australia can catch up to the rest of the world.

Stacey Friswell
Article Author

FTTP vs. FTTC vs. FTTN vs. FTTB vs. HFC – NBN WHAT THE HELL?!

Consumers are left absolutely confuddled after yet again another planned switch in NBN plan. Recently NBN.co CEO announce the switch to FTTC to lower costs as many consumers have been unhappy with speed vs costs produced under the new ISP plans.  With many consumers still confused on the FTTN to FTTP shift which was discussed back in June 2016 AFTER construction to the Fibre to the node network had started. The change to the policy was announced in June 2016

” The FTTN roll-out will be phased out as soon as current design and construction contracts are completed”.

That’s right, if you already had NBN connection in your area you have FTTN which is Fibre to the Node, It was already planned and paid for, so they kept going.  This was then “fixed” by the FTTC Fibre to the Curb Policy; which again, if you already had NBN Fibre TOO LATE, they are not coming back to fix it. So what is a “Node” you ask? It’s like a central connection point, which a “node”are those big ugly khaki boxes you see on the sidewalk, well, you will be seeing them a lot more if you don’t know the ones. In fact, there has already been an uproar about the nodes, with some residents having part of their front yards taken away for them, for badly placed node cabinets. There are entire news articles and twitter accounts still existing, for poor citizens pleading to the the “node” removed. The node cabinet has brought other issues than just big and ugly, much more important issues.

For starters, node cabinets bring more things to hit during car accidents, and that’s not an easy fix, that’s an entire neighbourhood without phone or internet. They encourage vandals, graffiti and damages to the node, which means for tax payers dollars to fix or clean it. There has been reports and claims of node’s “blowing up” or “exploding” because of the large batteries in them, Or when they have good batteries, Thieves are breaking in and destroying the cabinet to steal the battery as they are quite expensive.

(Have I mentioned the Battery yet? your probably wondering why it has a battery?)

The Node connection requires constant power to be connected. So, if power goes out, so does anything that uses the NBN – including phone lines, Medical alarm, auto-dialler or emergency call button, Security alarm, EFTPOS or health claim terminal, Monitored fire alarm, Lift emergency phone, Fax and teletypewriter devices.

For the Homes, Businesses, Medical Facilities and Media Stations, whom all rely on generators and backup power in black outs. This Node Technology can cause MAJOR issues, as in emergency situations where blackouts occur, who can potentially be without power for a few hours – that could be a few hours too long, as the batteries can only last a MAXIMUM of 9 hrs but with use they expect a minimum of 3 hours.

With Australian storm damage, and power grid failures on the rise this is an increasing issue, residents of Brisbane have already been warned for the coming summer that the power grid could fail from overuse and last year parts of south Australia went days without power. if your mobile dies during an emergency you could be left with no way of contacting help if needed. THANKS NBN!

So What do all the types of connection mean? to put it simply

FTTN – Fibre to the node – means the connection goes to the node box, and then your house connects with the pre-existing copper cable to the node.

FTTC- Fibre to the Curb – means the connection forgoes the node issue, and runs straight to the footpath (curb) of the street, usually having smaller connection point in a pit in the footpath. (this also requires power, but also special equipment in your home)

FTTP – Fibre to the Premises – as the name suggests the optic fibre line will be run from the nearest available fibre node, to your premises ( this is an expensive option)

FTTB – Fibre to the Building –  Is usually in a shared address scenario such as business buildings or apartments – NBN.co will run a fibre optic line to the building communications room.

HFC – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial –  where the existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network can be used to make the final part of the Connection from the node.

To find out what sort of Connection you have Click here.

Stacey Friswell
Article Author