By Lynn Bunim, WIPP Membership & Special Programs Director
At its Developer Conference running in Las Vegas parallel to the Consumer Electronics Showcase, AT&T spent time talking up the potential of reaching its 132 million wireless customers and 45 million video customers. The change in the tenor, from showing off its newest phones or touting the latest upgrade that speeds up its wireless network, speaks to how AT&T plans to be a part of its customers new, more connected life. The carrier recognizes it is no longer enough to power your smartphone or home DSL connection. It wants to be the link that connects your car, the health devices that monitor your body and even the infrastructure in your city.
“This is a new AT&T,” Ralph de la Vega, CEO of the company’s mobility and enterprise business, said in his keynote address. The push is part of the Internet of Things trend. The idea is that every device — whether it’s a refrigerator or glucose monitor — talks to each other to better serve you, with AT&T angling to become the bridge between things. Those connections are going in everywhere, including coolers built by Red Bull that enable the company to track their location, state and temperature.
AT&T offered new information about its smart cities initiative, through which it promises to bring everything from traffic monitoring to electric grid management to gunfire detection into one comprehensive ecosystem. The program’s initial cities will be Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago, and it involves a huge range of partnerships, with giants including Cisco, Ericsson, GE, IBM, and Qualcomm. “We are going to go up the stack,” says AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie. “We are going to bring things that are complete solutions.”
WIPP’s membership and WIPP’s Coalition Partners comprise thousands of entrepreneurs and women owned small businesses, all of whom are on the move all the time. Improved connectivity could bring improved productivity for this important segment of the business community.