CES 2016: AT&T Brings Internet of Things Savvy to Smart Cities Push


AT&T Internet of Things Smart Cities IoT CES 2016

AT&T expects 50 billion devices to be connected and sharing data across multiple smartphone platforms by 2020. As the North American Internet of Things leader—with more than 25 million connected devices on the AT&T network—the company sees IoT as the next industrial revolution. In preparing for that future, it’s showcasing its own (and partners’) efforts to make cities smarter at CES 2016.

“There’s a lot of noise out there about the IoT,” said Chris Penrose, SVP for Internet of Things Solutions at AT&T Mobility, reports ZDNet. “Our goal is to replace confusion with clarity.”

AT&T Smart Cities IoT

To that end, AT&T has formed an alliance with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel and Qualcomm and plans to bring its smart cities framework to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“We’ve built strong relationships with cities across the US for over 100 years,” said Mike Zeto, GM Smart Cities, AT&T IoT Solutions, in a press release. “We’re continuing to be a leader in smart cities innovation. Our holistic strategy can help cities save money, conserve energy, improve quality of life and further engage with their citizens.”

“What we’re seeing is a remarkable transformation in business enabled by the innovation provided through smartphones, high-speed mobile broadband and the cloud,” Ralph de la Vega, CEO and president for AT&T’s mobile and business units, told ZDNet at CES. “The software advances, just like the ones you saw at our hackathon here. It’s amazing what can be done with software today if you have mobile devices, mobile broadband and the cloud. It’s really transforming the way business gets done.”

“Substantial attention has been paid internationally to how new technological innovations can be used to solve the problem of modern cities. The combination of AT&T’s mobility and cloud networking solutions seamlessly enable almost every aspect of the smart city vision,” stated John Levis, principal for Deloitte’s technology, media and telecommunications practice.

AT&T’s smart city framework includes the following categories:

  • Infrastructure. Cities can remotely monitor conditions of roads, bridges, buildings, parks and other venues. Maintenance crews can identify slick roadways during freezing weather or detect bridges that may need repairs.
  • Citizen engagement. Mobile apps give people information to be better prepared about real-time traffic issues and view parking meters and reserve spaces ahead of time.
  • Transportation. Digital signage lets commuters know in near-real-time when the next bus or train will arrive and people can rent electric bikes at stations across the city.
  • Public safety. Cities can better manage pedestrian traffic patterns at stadiums, parks and busy intersections. Gunfire detection technology helps law enforcement know when and where a shooting occurred, the number of people involved and rounds fired.

AT&T’s digital dashboard—the Smart City Network Operation Center—offers cities a view of asset performance in near-real-time so officials can track power outages, water leaks and traffic issues from one location.

AT&T’s new report, “The Right Information Can Change the World,” shows how businesses can use the IoT to reduce costs, grow revenues, boost efficiency and satisfy customers including accelerating innovation, understanding the challenges IT organizations may face, real-life business use cases generating tangible return on investment and the developer opportunities.

“Businesses can harness data safely and more securely from the IoT,” said Penrose. “They can then predict, learn and make near-real-time decisions—and that can create a distinct competitive advantage.”

The report cites several categories where the IoT is making a difference including connected cars, fleet management and telematics, utilities, supply chain and smart cities—even glucose monitors. The push into smart cities is part of a larger strategy that includes AT&T’s expansion into Mexico and purchase of DirecTV.

The smart cities sector is estimated to be a $1.5 trillion market by 2020, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

On the connected car front, AT&T already provides wireless connectivity for nine of the top 16 automakers and announce new deals and extensions of existing ones at CES, including its partnership with Ford’s SYNC Connect platform.

Following the acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T announced that Digital Life, its home automation and security platform, is now compatible with some DirecTV devices.

AT&T also said it’s trialing a commercial launch in 2016 of a voice assistant mobile app for AT&T Digital Life that will enable customers to control aspects of the service’s home security and automation system functions via voice.

The Internet of Things was also the focus of its 10th annual Developer Summit and Hackathon leading into CES from Jan. 4-5. Take a look at some highlights below:


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