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May 11, 2018

Scaling New Horizons with IoT

IoT solutions can transform businesses, allowing customers to connect in new ways; today's IoT applications we have seen so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

By April Slattery

Today, we’re connecting like never before. As individuals, we always seem to have a smart device close to hand. Likewise, businesses can connect across the globe using Internet of Things (IoT) devices and solutions.

IoT solutions are fairly new. But as companies catch on to the possibilities, they are adopting new uses for the technology. Below, we’ll see a few examples – from asset tracking and fleet vehicles to controlling machinery and monitoring medical devices, IoT has it all.

And we can do this on a global scale.

For example, Multi-Network Connect helps businesses manage their connected devices over multiple access technologies around the world through “a single pane of glass.” The portal can work across global networks including 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA) and satellite. Businesses can also configure the platform to work across various operator networks and access to their connected devices across multiple platforms via one set of APIs.

The business supply chain

A large part of our focus at the moment is on asset tracking and fleet management solutions. We’re working with several sectors in the global business supply chain. These include shipping companies, vehicle manufacturers, health solution providers, and plant and construction businesses.

For example, we work with CarForce to provide a global solution that helps car dealers, fleet managers and repair shops better manage their vehicles. CarForce offers an IoT software solution using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to predict the health of vehicles.

IoT can also transform the way we care for our communities and environment. For instance, we’re working with farmers to introduce smart watering to their fields. IoT solutions enable us to check on moisture levels, weather, shade, soil and plants to control water output. It has the potential to improve crop yields to meet the increased population growth and help farmers prepare as they adjust to changes in weather patterns.

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Working with the AT&T Foundry

A variety of customers choose to work closely with our AT&T Foundry innovation centers, which are now located in 6 cities across the world. These spaces help move ideas to market faster. They serve as the front door for business visionaries who want to work with AT&T. It brings them into a collaborative environment alongside AT&T innovators, industry technology providers, developers and startups.

For example, the AT&T Foundry in Plano, Texas worked with UK-based Softbox Systems to develop a working prototype of SoftBox’s “smart flask.” This connected device works by collecting location, temperature and usage data to help pharmaceutical companies protect costly and temperature-sensitive prescription medications. The flask also helps patients adhere to their prescribed usage.

But we can work with any business, in any part of the world, and connect them with experts from the AT&T Foundry for product design and innovation. We’re with them every step of the way and use our expertise to ensure companies can maximise their IoT experience.

Security at the heart

We have to manage more than 206.4 petabytes of data crossing our network every business day. That involves analyzing approximately 660 billion flows of network data.

As the number of connected devices multiply, so have the security risks. Security should be top of mind for any IoT enabled business and manufacturers needs to embed security features into products at the design stage.

In fact, a multi-layered security approach across network, device and application layers is essential. Companies across the technology ecosystem need methods and tools to detect and correct vulnerabilities, block attacks and remediate compromised devices.

Businesses also need to conduct ongoing organizational assessments to identify the types of risks they face. This includes a full audit of devices that connect to its networks. As a founding member of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance, we’re raising awareness of these best practices and advising businesses on how they can protect themselves against any attacks.

Ultimately, IoT is the future. We’re building platforms where it will become even easier to deploy IoT solutions to transform businesses and allow customers to connect in new ways. The IoT applications we have seen so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

The mobile revolution has enabled entirely new experiences, tighter customer relationships and better business insights. There’s never been a more exciting time than now to be in business and connected to the IoT.

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