AT&T fetes big year for Internet of Things connections

A couple weeks after rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) announced the availability of the world's first Cat 1 LTE network features for the Internet of Things (IoT), AT&T (NYSE: T) wants to make sure everyone is aware that it signed more than 300 IoT deals in 2015 -- and it's now powering some 25 million connected devices to boot.

Those 300 deals were both in the U.S. and abroad and involve everything from automotive to shipping, industrial, health care, home security and smart cities sectors. In a video posted to YouTube, AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie discusses how all the stars are aligned, with the OEMs, people building the devices, silicon and more affordable modules. "Of course, you have us, the carriers in the middle of this that really are driving this to really new levels," whether it be for the car, home or otherwise. "The best part about it is this is going to be a big year for this to take off for the whole industry."

While Lurie acknowledged in the video that IoT is going to be big for everybody, he pointed out in a press release that AT&T invested early, a situation that sets it apart from Verizon. AT&T established a group to explore the IoT in 2008, and Lurie was a driving force in what AT&T called its "emerging devices" division before his current role. "We continue to set ourselves apart from other carriers in the IoT space," Lurie said in the release. "We invested early and continue to invest in IoT platforms -- pushing innovation through industry collaborations and development of new uses cases for IoT that solve real problems."

During a keynote speech at the CTIA Super Mobility conference in September, Lurie described a world where every "thing" will be connected, including wheelchairs -- which AT&T is already doing -- and cars that will be able to adapt to whomever is driving at any given time. Lurie also discussed AT&T's deal with Jaguar Land Rover North America, where they're bringing high-speed Internet to Jaguar Land Rover vehicles in the United States and Canada as part of a multi-year agreement.  

In the third quarter alone, AT&T added more than 1.6 million connected devices, and of that number, 1 million were connected cars. AT&T is now working with nine top automakers, and it had a total of 5.8 million connected cars on its network as of the third quarter; it expects to connect more than 50 percent of all new connected U.S. passenger vehicles by year-end.

A couple years ago, AT&T Mobility was able to snag a deal with General Motors that Verizon historically held for many years for powering its OnStar offering. 

In another segment of IoT -- wearables -- AT&T said it launched more than 14 new devices this year. It's working with Dr. Lynda Chin of the Institute for Health Transformation at the University of Texas System to develop technology that provides personalized diabetes care outside the doctor's office, and its Remote Patient Monitoring solution is a cloud-based service that monitors patients' vital signs after they leave the hospital.

The operator also makes a point of saying it continually advises manufacturers, partners and vendors to architect and connect devices in a highly secure manner.

For more:
- see this release
- see this video

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AT&T identifies 'cellular-first' trend in Internet of Things
AT&T's Lurie outlines new path for industry: Connecting everything