AT&T details new smart cities pilot with Portland

View of the Portland, Oregon skyline across the river at night time
AT&T's smart city technology will be tested in Portland. (Image: CrackerClips/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

AT&T boasted of continued momentum in its smart city business with news that the city of Portland agreed to test new technologies to monitor traffic, parking and buildings and other structures.

"As we work to make Portland an even smarter and more connected city we're excited to launch this new collaboration with AT&T," Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a release from AT&T. "This is significant in helping us build our city's infrastructure and create new opportunities for local residents. With the integration of AT&T's Smart City solutions, we will be better positioned to improve traffic and increase public safety."

Specifically, the city plans to install around 200 sensors on light poles in its Central Eastside area. The Intel sensors will use technology from AT&T and GE's CityIQ to monitor traffic and parking. The city will also install LTE-capable sensors running technology from IBM and Moniteye on buildings and other structures that can measure things like temperature, tilt and cracks.

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Portland is the latest city to sign on to AT&T’s smart city push. The company announced the effort in 2016 with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel and Qualcomm, and said that it would “bring the smart cities framework to several initial spotlight cities” including Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.

Indeed, AT&T announced Portland as a member of its effort last year, and now the city appears to be moving forward with specific technology tests.

AT&T also detailed some of its smart city efforts with other cities including Chicago and Atlanta. In Atlanta, AT&T is working with GE and Georgia Power to install LED lighting monitors “that will ultimately help improve public safety conditions and create greater efficiencies, including maintenance costs,” the company said. And in Chicago AT&T said it installed interactive touch-screen information kiosks in select locations around the city that offer information for visitors as well as USB charging ports and offer free public Wi-Fi services.

AT&T of course is just one of many companies targeting the smart cities market. For example, Verizon has touted its agreement with Sacramento, which includes more than a dozen digital kiosks and new infrastructure for 5G, as an example of the kinds of smart city deals it is pursuing.

Apart from its Portland pilots, AT&T also said it is working with Cisco to potentially integrate Cisco’s Kinetic for Cities platform into select AT&T’s smart city efforts, including AT&T’s Smart Cities Operations Center. And AT&T said Synchronoss and Ubicquia joined its “Smart Cities Strategic Alliance.”

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