AT&T IoT chief discusses integrated offerings

Chris Penrose, president of internet of things solutions for AT&T, is passionate about the value the IoT can create for both businesses and individuals. During a meeting with reporters at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles, Penrose showed off a number of new products, including a telematics unit. Last week at the AT&T Business Summit in Dallas, Penrose met with RCR Wireless News and had in front of him the aftermarket connected car Spark solution, developed with Harman. Suffice to say, he’s looking forward to an increasingly connected, automated future.

Penrose estimated he regularly interacts with between 20 and 30 connected things. “I love the space. I want to understand these things. The good side for me is a lot of this is beginning to take that automation and hopefully make my life run more simply.”

“The main things I get excited about are what I’m calling the remote control of everything,” he said. Add 5G into the mix and the dramatically decreased latency opens up a whole new set of use cases like remote mining and surgery and manufacturing automation. During the AT&T Business Summit, the operator announced it would work with Samsung to test out 5G-based automation at the company’s Austin, Texas, semiconductor fabrication facility. Penrose noted the current IoT climate is marked by low-power, wide area networks that support applications that don’t necessarily require ultra low latency, and bringing 5G to bear on the IoT requires the “right economic model.”

In Los Angeles, AT&T’s smart cities, IoT, public safety and network teams worked together with city officials to develop a public private partnership model that exchanges wireless sites for IoT-type services. This value exchange allows AT&T to deploy infrastructure and enhance its network more quickly, while providing the city with valuable services.

Discussing that level of coordination, Penrose said, “We’ve designed it to make sure we are all chasing the common vision or being able to take all of what AT&T has and put it all together. We need to be able to sit in front of you and say these are all the things AT&T can do.”


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