AT&T and IBM recently announced a new global alliance agreement to develop solutions to help support the Internet of Things (IoT).

In the world of technology, IoT capabilities are driving a lot of innovation. If you aren’t already familiar with the term, expect to be seeing it a lot in the future. Also known as Machine to Machine (M2M), or Industrial Internet, IoT is a concept that describes collecting, analyzing and reacting to data collected primarily through wireless connections between objects.  A vending machine telling the dispatch that they are low on inventory, a water sensor that tells the utility about water leakage, and a garage door that can be opened/closed from your smartphone are examples of IoT.  According to industry analyst firm IDC, the installed base for the Internet of Things will grow to approximately 212 billion devices by 2020, a number that includes 30 billion connected devices. IDC sees this growth driven largely by intelligent systems that will be installed and collecting data — across both consumer and enterprise applications. (IDC, “Worldwide Internet of Things 2013-2020 Forecast: Billions of Things, Trillions of Dollars,” Doc #: 243661, October 2013)

“This collaboration of two world-class companies will help deliver a more connected planet,” said Chris Hill, Senior Vice President, AT&T Advanced Solutions. “We share a vision that the ‘Internet of Things’ will help companies in a variety of industries rely on their remote and connected devices to take their business to the next level.”

The alliance between AT&T and IBM will focus on creating new solutions initially targeted for city governments and midsize utilities. These organizations intend to integrate and analyze vast quantities of data from assets such as mass transit vehicles, utility meters, and video cameras. As a result, cities may be able to better evaluate patterns and trends to improve urban planning and move resources around as needed.

Some of the example solutions that we are building together include smarter cities, utility industry solutions.  IBM and AT&T are also participating in the “SmartAmerica Challenge,” an initiative of the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program. The project aims to build several “Internet of Things” testbeds around the country in 2014. This initiative would aim to show what IoT can do to improve safety, sustainability, efficiency, mobility, and overall quality of life.

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