Multinational telecommunications giant, AT&T, and General Electric’s (GE) Current division, have announced an exclusive agreement to connect cities across the USA and Mexico to the Internet of Things (IoT), unlocking a realm of possibilities to improve the way cities operate, communicate, and meet the needs of citizens.
Since launching its smart cities organization in 2015, AT&T has been using its resources and IoT expertise to help cities develop and implement a holistic smart cities strategy to address their current and future needs. The agreement with Current significantly extends these smart city services, plus opens new revenue opportunities for the company. By introducing GE’s Predix-powered IoT platform, AT&T can use intelligent sensor nodes mounted on outdoor LED lighting in a city to create a digital infrastructure that helps address issues such as traffic flow and parking optimization, gunshot detection on city streets, air quality monitoring, and weather emergency alerts.
AT&T and Current are already working with the cities of San Diego and Atlanta to transform existing street lighting into a connected digital infrastructure. The two companies have collaborated before. Current recently announced a deal with San Diego to upgrade thousands of the city’s outdoor light fixtures to sensor-enabled LED technology, making it the world’s largest smart city IoT platform. AT&T will act as the data carrier and provide highly secure connectivity for the San Diego deployment, which is expected to save the city approximately US$2.4m in annual energy costs. The deal also builds on AT&T’s membership in GE’s Digital Alliance program, where it serves as a connectivity-as-a-service collaborator for GE’s Predix platform.
GE’s Current, which combines energy technology such as LED lighting and solar power, with sensors and software, aims to help customers like cities, commercial buildings and industrial facilities slash energy costs and create intelligent environments. Its platform enables a wide variety of developers to create new applications that could improve safety, productivity, energy efficiency, and other issues that impact municipal, commercial and industrial customers.
“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with AT&T to help cities redefine the civic engagement model. Our digital network is based on an open platform, which allows entrepreneurs, incubators and students to get involved in the future development of smart city applications,” said John Gordon, chief digital officer at Current. “AT&T has a long history of working commercially with municipalities, and our technology will be a perfect fit toward helping more cities unleash the limitless potential of the Industrial Internet. Our goal is to bring the combined power of GE and AT&T to municipalities in a way that pulls from the best of both worlds. We are two companies with more than a century of success in solving big problems, and we believe our combined innovation can help build a better world.”
Chris Penrose, president of IoT at AT&T, added, “Intelligent lighting plays a huge role in a sustainable smart city. Our collaboration with Current will enable us to use a city’s existing lighting infrastructure to more securely connect sensor-enabled networks.”