AT&T and Amazon Web Services took another big step into the world of the internet of things this morning with the announcement of an LTE-M-based button designed to enable users to order office supplies or submit service requests with a single click.
The LTE-M Button, as it will be branded, leverages the nationwide, IoT-centric network AT&T launched earlier this year in an effort to ease deployments without having to configure the device. It will launch in the first quarter of next year with a promotional price of $30 per LTE-Button for the first 5,000 sold, and the price will likely settle “in the mid-$30s” once the promotion ends, Mike Troiano, vice president of Internet of Things Solutions for AT&T, told FierceWireless at AT&T’s Dallas headquarters this week.
The button will be primarily targeted at the enterprise market, and its life cycle is expected to be in the range of three years, he said. The price includes data usage over the life of the product.
AT&T and AWS are longtime partners, and the LTE-M Button is supported by AWS’s 1-Click service, a new initiative aimed at helping customers use AWS with minimal configuration.
Although the price of AT&T’s simple gadget may seem a little steep compared to Amazon’s Dash—a consumer-targeted gadget that connects to Wi-Fi and sells for $20—the ease of cellular connectivity should help AT&T’s business customers minimize the costs of sending IT workers to fix problems when connectivity is problematic. Cellular can also be used to reach remote places where Wi-Fi simply isn't available—an oil field, say, or a remote agricultural area—and enables the LTE-M button to be used right out of the box with no provisioning.
Indeed, AT&T is clearly positioning its LTE-M button as simpler, more consistent alternative to Wi-Fi-connected devices, and it notes that prices of devices are almost sure to come down as the larger world of LPWA technologies evolves. And AT&T makes no secret about its eagerness to expand its cellular business into segments and devices that are currently dominated by Wi-Fi.
“This really is revolutionary,” said David Allen, AT&T’s director of advanced product development. “Now we’re creeping into Wi-Fi.”