AT&T fortifies partnership with GE on Internet of Things

Strengthening an alliance that AT&T (NYSE: T) and GE forged in 2013, the two companies say they're testing several new technologies, including an advanced meter solution being piloted by two North American renewable energy customers and intelligent lighting solutions that allow cities to remotely monitor and control lighting on public roads.

The companies are jointly working on proof of concepts at the AT&T Internet of Things (IoT) Foundry in Plano, Texas. Together, the companies say, they're simplifying asset connectivity for the grid.

Many of GE's machines and assets, such as locomotives, fleet, aircraft engines and, most recently, smart grid infrastructure, are connected through the AT&T global network. By combining advanced solutions from GE with the AT&T IoT infrastructure, utilities can seamlessly connect grid assets with critical software applications such as GE's Grid IQ Connect or GE's Predix analytics engine.

Naturally, GE is an ideal partner for AT&T. "With its product and wireless technology leadership, GE is an ideal partner and, together, we're creating a more energy-efficient planet," said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, IoT at AT&T Mobility, in a press release. "With nearly 20 million devices connected to our network, we help provide dependable solutions that make energy management easier. By combining our technologies, we can improve reliability, drive energy efficiency, and reduce costs and emissions, while making customer service and response times better."

GE and AT&T will look to market and sell their solutions to customers through the rest of this year. Smart grid solutions will use GE's Grid IQ SaaS platform to deliver system intelligence, GE Wireless solutions for asset connectivity and the AT&T network for data transport.

Separately, AT&T is offering a Cellular Communications Module (CCM) reference design with an integrated Prepay Energy management application. The CCM reference design addresses the demand for accelerating the cellular adoption of IoT solutions in the utility industry, especially in mid-market utilities in the U.S., the company said.

The CCM Reference Design is a hardware and software reference design that can be customized for a variety of devices and use cases in the utility industry. Benefits, according to AT&T, include broad coverage, open standards, convenient bill payment options and near real-time data capabilities for monitoring usage.  

"With the introduction of PayGo technology in our Cellular Communications Module Reference Design, we now offer a complete Prepay Energy management solution," said Mike Troiano, vice president, Industrial Internet of Things, AT&T Mobility, in a release. "Utilities can offer their customers more convenient options for payment while also helping their customers monitor their overall energy consumption." 

Trioano said AT&T is not just waiting for solution providers interested in developing IoT solutions to come to AT&T with a device to certify; it's actually helping them design the entire solution.

For more:
- see this press release and this release
- see this ZDNet story
- see this Wireless Week story

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