Verizon teams up with Georgia Tech on Internet of Things, wearables

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) has entered into a multiyear research partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, with the objective of fostering development of new technology solutions in for the Internet of Things (IoT), including the areas of telematics, wearables and LTE network enhancements.

"The wireless industry relies on constant innovation. Verizon's technology platforms, including 4G LTE, enable this innovation, allowing us to take wireless technology out of the phone and integrate it into new areas such as transportation, healthcare, green energy, education, wearable computing, and much more," said Jonathan LeCompte, president of the Georgia/Alabama region for Verizon Wireless, in a press release. "Our partnership with Georgia Tech's world-class research and development and exceptional students will prove to be a critical component in the advancement of new wireless solutions for the 'Internet of Things' era."

While rival AT&T (NYSE: T) historically has been more vocal about its commitment to M2M and making the IoT a priority, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo shared a little more about the company's thinking around the IoT during a wide-ranging discussion at the Wells Fargo investor conference in New York City this week.

A lot of the things heard around the industry are about connectivity, and the problem with that is it's good business, but you need "millions and millions and millions" of devices to actually start to generate a lot of revenue because it's cents on the dollar, he said.

"What we're trying to do is with the Hughes Telematics acquisition, we're playing at level above that," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. By expanding beyond connectivity, the company can go outside the U.S. and not necessarily be the network provider, he said.

He pointed to the company's 2012 Hughes Telematics acquisition, which he said provides not only connectivity but also a platform and solution, which he said will result in high ARPU for the company. Having the platform allows Verizon to expand beyond connectivity and to other geographic areas such as China, where the company is working with Mercedes on a connected car solution.

While Verizon's deal with Georgia Tech means it will be collaborating in AT&T Mobility's backyard--the part of the company formerly known as Cingular Wireless put down its roots with headquarters in Atlanta--it comes one year after AT&T launched a new AT&T Foundry facility in Atlanta to hasten the development of IoT technologies. Located in a building adjacent to Georgia Tech, that team was tasked with testing and developing products involving AT&T's home security and automation service Digital Life.  

Just down the street from that foundry is the AT&T Drive Studio, where AT&T tests and develops technologies to enhance the driving experience by improving safety, diagnostics, convenience and entertainment. The AT&T Drive Studio features working garage bays, a speech lab, a showroom and conference facilities. The studio is designed to serve as a hub where AT&T can respond to the needs of automotive manufacturers and the auto ecosystem at large.

For more:
- see this press release
- see this Atlanta Business Chronicle story
- see this Seeking Alpha transcript (reg. req.)

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