AT&T is kicking off 2015 with a double-barreled Internet of Things (IoT) assault, using this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to announce service advancements that cut across both the industrial and mass consumer segments of the IoT.
The carrier's moves could prove significant in what promises to be a proof-of-concept year for service providers addressing the IoT opportunity, as carriers seek to expand beyond the role of supplying undifferentiated connectivity and into providing solutions for applications creation, delivery and management. (See Will 2015 Bring IoT Resolution for Operators? and IoT: More Things, More Challenges.)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is wooing the developer community with its now-commercially available, open-sourced M2X Data Service, a managed service for makers of commercial IoT applications. The cloud-based platform, which was introduced in beta last year, is designed to help developers address collection, analysis, sharing and storage of data from connected devices. That's obviously a crucial part of the creation of effective -- and potentially revenue generating -- IoT apps for industrial settings, and potentially mass consumer environments as well.
"The beauty of it is that it's device agnostic, and also carrier agnostic," says Mike Troiano, VP of Industrial Internet of Things Solutions for AT&T. Asked if providing a carrier-agnostic development platform is at odds with AT&T's aim to secure enterprise traffic on its network in addition to being a facilitator of IoT applications, Troiano points out that the carrier's focus is on creating open solutions that can scale regardless of network provider.
"The reality is -- especially if you look at the global environment -- there are enterprise customers that will give us certain parts of the world, and others that will give us the entire world," Troiano says. "That's the environment we live in."
Several entities are already using the service for various applications, AT&T says, including Emerson and Manitowoc Foodservice for a commercial kitchen app, Rockwell Automation for collection of data from industrial devices, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) for a wide range of enterprise services, Numerex for creation of oil and gas monitoring apps, Wipro for asset and equipment tracking, and Samsung for IoT apps for wearables.
AT&T is also offering a free M2X Connection Kit at its developer summit this week. The kit provides developers with the AT&T Control Center platform, powered by Jasper Wireless Inc. , and includes three test SIMs and six months of free data service that can be used for device and solution testing. The carrier also released a beta version of its Flow Designer, a cloud-based tool for creating IoT applications.
Over on the more consumer-focused IoT front, AT&T has introduced expanded offerings and more partners for its Digital Life suite of home security and automation services. The carrier's aim is to provide an open platform that can accommodate all manner of connected devices and apps, and to attract customers that may already be using those services and gadgets into the Digital Life fold.
To that end, AT&T announced that home automation apps from Lutron Electronics and a WiFi-based IP camera from Samsung Corp. have been brought into the Digital Life ecosystem. Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s Qualcomm Life, meanwhile, is working with AT&T to develop a service that would let customers transmit biometric data such as blood pressure or weight via the Digital Life app. In addition, LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) was demonstrating at CES how its webOS Smart TVs integrated with Digital Life.
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading