AT&T has bought the Cambridge-based Olivetti & Oracle Research Laboratory, in a deal worth more than 30m pounds over six years. The US telco paid Olivetti Spa and Oracle Corp 7m pounds for the facility and will invest $4.5m pounds a year in R&D. The lab, now renamed AT&T Laboratories, will focus on research into networking, multimedia and mobile communications systems. Peter Renison, a spokesperson for the labs, said that the facility had been one of pioneers of broadband wireless networking and was currently working on such projects as allowing access to a desktop from anywhere the world and using infrared and ultrasound to track people’s movements round the office. A spokesperson for AT&T said that the lab would continue to operate as an autonomous unit, albeit in close contact with AT&T’s US R&D operations; he cited the labs ability to quickly bring research projects to market as good reason for keeping it independent. The laboratory was set up in 1986 by Professor Andy Hopper and has attracted over 100m pounds in investment money since its inception.
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