AT&T teams with Cisco, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Intel on smart cities framework

LAS VEGAS—AT&T (NYSE: T) is collaborating with Cisco, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Intel, IBM, Deloitte and GE to develop a new framework for smart cities that will make it easier for communities to be more connected. The consortium will use three U.S. cities--Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas—as the first test bed cities for the platform.

Speaking at the 2016 AT&T Developer Summit here, AT&T Mobility CEO and President Glenn Lurie said that the company will be as aggressive in the smart cities area as it has been in the connected car and the Internet of Things markets. Lurie also quoted a Frost & Sullivan analyst report that predict the smart cities area will be a $1.5 trillion opportunity by 2020.

AT&T and its partners will work on a new framework that will try to solve various challenges for cities such as infrastructure, citizen engagement, transportation and public safety. For example, during a panel discussion held here including Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, Vestberg displayed a small 3D printed device that he said is currently being used in Atlanta to test water quality and transmit the results back to the city's water department.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, also a part of the panel discussion, said that he believes cities will need to be leaders in the smart cities efforts, adding: "We have to be first to the future." He added that by having connectivity to many of city functions, cities will be able to improve their residents' lives and ultimately the GDP.

Of course, key to AT&T and its partners' smart cities initiative is making spectrum available. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who also participated in the panel discussion here, touted her agency's efforts to make more spectrum available for wireless connectivity through the upcoming 600 MHz spectrum auction. In addition, she highlighted the Obama administration's plan to invest $160 million in smart cities research to develop smart cities solutions.

Announced last year in conjunction with a White House forum on smart cities, the initiative will include $35 million in new grants through the National Science Foundation, $42 million for connected vehicle research through the Department of Transportation, and $50 million over five years for the Department of Homeland Security to develop next-generation communications and information technology for first responders.

AT&T said it is developing a digital dashboard, called the Smart City Network Operation Center (SC-NOC) that will give cities a view of how their various assets such as power outages, water leaks, traffic congestion, etc., are performing in real-time.

Of course, AT&T isn't the only carrier looking closely at smart cities. Last June Sprint (NYSE: S) said it was deploying hardware from Cisco Systems to construct, own and manage the intelligent Wi-Fi network as part of a smart city deployment in downtown Kansas City, Mo., near Sprint's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.

For more:
- see this press release

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