Deal me in: AT&T sees bright future for IoT in business
Deal me in: AT&T sees bright future for IoT in business

Deal me in: AT&T sees bright future for IoT in business

Cellular connectivity provider AT&T claims to have signed over 300 deals on the Internet of Things across the globe in 2015, connecting 25 million connected devices and driving IoT deployments in automotive, shipping, industrial, healthcare and smart cities.

Announcing the news in a press release earlier today, AT&T said that it had added 25 million connected devices to the AT&T network in the year, a yearly increase of more than 25 percent over Q3 2014, adding 1.6 million connected devices in the third quarter alone.

Connected cars

Of that number, 1 million were connected cars and it is clear this is a big area for AT&T. The firm is now working with nine automakers in this area, having connected 5.8 million connected cars alone in Q3.

As examples, AT&T signed an agreement with Subaru to provide 4G LTE for the Japanese car maker’s STARLINK in-vehicle connectivity system, and agreed a multi-year deal with Jaguar Land Rover North America to bring high-speed internet to Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in the continent. The firm also announced an agreement with Audi of America, which will see all 2016 model-year Audis equipped with Audi Connect come with AT&T 4G LTE or 3G connectivity.

Connected business

But connected cars is not the only focus for AT&T, with the network provider also looking to connect businesses through IoT.

In fact, the firm boasts about having some real-life deployments in action already; shipping giant Maersk is using AT&T IoT technology to track shipping containers and keep perishable contents at the right temperature, while Rockwell Automation is using IoT to securely collect, manage and act on data , such as maintenance or malfunction alerts from industrial equipment.

A US-based company called Roof Monitor is using AT&T’s IoT technology to offer Roof Sensor, which monitors live loads of water and snow on the roofs of low-sloped buildings and informs businesses of potential risk. Roof Monitor is also using Edge Defense, a safety mat system with internal sensors that alert individuals in real-time when the perimeter of a roof is breached.

Healthcare and smart cities

Elsewhere, and AT&T is one of the many vendors trying to grab a piece of the smart city pie.

The firm recently launched a Smart Cities Organization inside AT&T and is also connecting utility grids, smart meters, water management systems, lighting and city infrastructure, in order to increase efficiency and decrease waste.

The San Francisco-based company is also partnering with the Smart Cities Council and the Dallas Innovation Alliance to help build smart cities around the world, and has its Labs team working with UC Berkeley and Caltrans to explore how data can help reduce traffic congestion and improve urban planning.   As part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Global City Teams Challenge, AT&T teamed up with IBM and Mueller Water Products to create a new smart energy solution to help cities save water.

Healthcare is clearly a big focus too; AT&T launched more than 14 new wearable devices this year, and is working with Dr Lynda Chin of the Institute for Health Transformation at the University of Texas System to develop technology that provides personalised diabetes care outside the doctor’s office.

As you’d expect, AT&T has a raft of solutions for IoT implementation, from SIM cards and the AT&T Control Center to its Drive Platform (for connected cards) and data management services, but is also keeping an eye on the future through its IoT AT&T Foundry innovation hub and AT&T Labs Advanced Technologies. This year alone, the company has hosted 22 hackathons focused on IoT.

“This year was pivotal for IoT. We saw, and are continuing to see, tremendous global interest and adoption from virtually every industry,” said Ralph de la Vega, CEO, AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions.

“Our IoT solutions help you monitor cargo, homes, vehicles and containers around the globe. You can connect light posts and water systems, wheelchairs, trash cans and soil. Connectivity is changing how companies operate and how people interact.

“Just wait until next year. We think 2016 will be the year when IoT becomes an indispensable part of our daily lives as consumers, governments and businesses fully embrace all it has to offer.”