The new AT&T and IBM alliance will initially focus on creating new solutions targeted for city governments and midsize utilities. These organisations intend to integrate and analyze vast quantities of data from assets such as mass transit vehicles, utility meters, and video cameras. As a result, cities may be able to better evaluate patterns and trends to improve urban planning and utilities can better manage their equipment to reduce costs.
"This collaboration of two world-class companies will help deliver a more connected planet", stated Chris Hill, Senior Vice President, AT&T Advanced Solutions. "We share a vision that the 'Internet of Things' will help companies in a variety of industries rely on their remote assets and connected devices to take their business to the next level."
Key capabilities for city planners in connected cities include:
"Smarter cities, cars, homes, machines and consumer devices will drive the growth of the Internet of Things along with the infrastructure that goes with them, unleashing a wave of new possibilities for data gathering, predictive analytics, and automation", stated Rick Qualman, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Telecom Industry, IBM. "The new collaboration with AT&T will offer insights from crowdsourcing, mobile applications, sensors and analytics on the Cloud, enabling all organisations to better listen, respond and predict."
AT&T brings its M2M globally accessible network, devices, and Global Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) to help connect assets worldwide to a single global network. These technologies are managed through AT&T's M2M platforms to securely collect, organize, store and send the data to applications. IBM brings the Intelligent Operations Center, Maximo Asset Management, its advanced analytics capabilities, and IBM MessageSight MQTT Appliance, which complements the IBM MobileFirst family of solutions. IBM MobileFirst provides the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for organisations to capitalize on the increasing role of mobile devices in the Internet of Things. The two companies will work together to build solutions at the AT&T M2M Foundry in Plano, Texas and IBM Global Solution Centers around the world.
According to industry analyst firm IDC, the installed base for the Internet of Things will grow to approximately 212 billion devices by 2020, a number that includes 30 billion connected devices. IDC sees this growth driven largely by intelligent systems that will be installed and collecting data - across both consumer and enterprise applications.
In the latest iteration of Current Analysis' Global M2M Service provider rankings, principal analyst Kitty Weldon wrote that "AT&T is positioned as a global leader in providing M2M services and has demonstrated excellent traction for its initiatives with customers".
IBM and AT&T are participants in the "SmartAmerica Challenge", led by Presidential Innovation Fellows Sokwoo Rhee and Geoff Muilligan. The project aims to build several "Internet of Things" testbeds around the country by May 2014. The network would aim to show what cyber-physical systems can do to improve safety, sustainability, efficiency, mobility, and overall quality of life.