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AT&T; boosts M2M position with energy deal

February 28, 2012

AT&T boosts M2M position with energy deal

By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Tuesday 28 February 2012

U.S. telco says its customers themselves who often come up with ideas for adding connectivity and intelligence into their business through machine-to-machine.

AT&T sees strong growth potential in the machine-to-machine space, where ″nearly everything″ can be connected to add intelligence, a company executive told Total Telecom on Tuesday, simultaneously announcing a new partnership between the U.S. telco and an energy storage firm.

M2M forms a significant part of AT&T's mobile solutions business, advanced services president Bill Archer explained on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress. ″We have more than 1,000 machine-to-machine connected device elements certified to run on our network,″ he said.

″The opportunity is really in front of us,″ Archer said. ″Nearly any element of a business can be made into a connected device and made intelligent by [that] connection.″

The utilities space is a key business in which the benefits of connected devices can be realised.

AT&T on Tuesday announced that it will provide M2M solutions to Ice Energy, a U.S. company that makes energy storage solutions for the utility space. The company's energy storage systems are mounted on large commercial buildings and used as an alternative to high-power-consumption air conditioning units. Using M2M, the company is able to monitor and maintain the units remotely, as well as diagnose faults.

″Businesses are realising that speed and effectiveness are associated with getting the information they need, when they need it,″ said Archer.

″In many cases, [the businesses themselves] are the source of the concept,″ he added, speaking about the M2M space in general. Good business leaders are focused on ″turning their ideas into business solutions... [and] that's where we come in,″ he said.

AT&T recognises that it will increasingly need to partner with other players in this space.

Going forward, the telco will rely less on its ″organic capabilities... [and will] supplement them with those of industry partners,″ Archer said. ″We don't have to have every component of a solution.″

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