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Among the many potential benefits of the burgeoning market for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and services are urban infrastructures that can practically think and problem-solve for themselves, improving neighborhoods and the lives of their citizens. AT&T wants to get the ball rolling in Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.
The telecommunications giant announced an IoT-enabled framework for connected communities on Jan. 5. And it has gathered an impressive set of early supporters. Joining AT&T in its smart city IoT push are Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel and Qualcomm.
Building on AT&T's work with connected street lights, water systems and power meters, the group's smart cities framework includes solutions for monitoring a city's infrastructure, delivering real-time public transportation updates and delivering pertinent information to people via mobile apps. AT&T is also working on a Smart City Network Operation Center (SC-NOC), a digital dashboard that provides a near-real time, high-level view of a city's condition.
AT&T is no stranger to wiring up cities, noted Mike Zeto, general manager of AT&T IoT Solutions' Smart Cities unit.
"We've built strong relationships with cities across the U.S. for over 100 years," said Zeto in a statement. "We're continuing to be a leader in smart cities innovation. Our holistic strategy can help cities save money, conserve energy, improve quality of life, and further engage with their citizens."
Over the next few years, smart cities will emerge as a major driver of IoT device demand as they seek to manage traffic, improve public safety and optimize a wide variety of municipal operations, according to a recent forecast from technology analyst firm Gartner. This year, connected cities will snap up 1.6 billion sensors and other IoT devices, a 39 percent increase compared to 2015. By 2018, that number will more than double to 3.3 billion devices.
This summer, the McKinsey Global Institute predicted that smart cities stand to pump up to $1.7 trillion into the IoT market by 2025. All told, the research organization expects the IoT market to reach between $4 trillion to $11.1 trillion in that timeframe.
The Windy City has already taken the first steps in its evolution into a smart city by deploying water sensors and analytics technologies, said Brenna Berman, the City of Chicago's chief information officer, in a statement. "We are excited to team with AT&T, a leader in Internet of Things solutions, to help us harness the power of near real-time information to create a safer, cleaner and more efficient city."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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