IBM, AT&T Team on Internet of Things for Smarter Cities

IBM and AT&T have teamed on creating Internet of things apps that will fuel the next generation of Smarter Cities.

IBM and AT&T have announced a new global alliance to develop solutions that help support the "Internet of things."

The companies will combine their analytic platforms, cloud, and security technologies with privacy in mind to gain more insights on data collected from machines in a variety of industries.

The new AT&T and IBM alliance will initially focus on creating new solutions targeted for city governments and midsize utilities, said Michael Curry, vice president of WebSphere product management at IBM. 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 utilities can better manage their equipment to reduce costs.

"This collaboration of two world-class companies will help deliver a more connected planet," said Chris Hill, senior vice president of AT&T Advanced Solutions, in a statement. "We share a vision that the 'Internet of Things' will help companies in a variety of industries rely on their remote assets and connected devices to take their business to the next level."

AT&T brings its Machine-to-Machine (M2M) globally accessible network, devices, and Global Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) to help connect assets worldwide to a single global network. These technologies are managed through AT&T’s M2M platforms to securely collect, organize, store and send the data to applications. IBM brings the Intelligent Operations Center, Maximo Asset Management, its advanced analytics capabilities, and IBM MessageSight Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) Appliance, which complements the IBM MobileFirst family of solutions. IBM MobileFirst provides the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for organizations to capitalize on the increasing role of mobile devices in the Internet of things. The two companies will work together to build solutions at the AT&T M2M Foundry in Plano, Texas and IBM Global Solution Centers around the world.

"We were working on a lot of this stuff with AT&T and it was all working out pretty well so we said let's try to 'templatize' as much of this as possible and go after a broader set of opportunities around the world to go after this quickly emerging space," Curry said.

Curry told eWEEK that IBM and AT&T are working with "multiple cities" around the world in pilot projects involving these new applications, but the companies are not sharing the names of those cities at this time.

"Smarter cities, cars, homes, machines and consumer devices will drive the growth of the Internet of Things along with the infrastructure that goes with them, unleashing a wave of new possibilities for data gathering, predictive analytics, and automation," said Rick Qualman, vice president of strategy and business development for the telecom industry at IBM. "The new collaboration with AT&T will offer insights from crowdsourcing, mobile applications, sensors and analytics on the cloud, enabling all organizations to better listen, respond and predict."

Curry noted that IBM provides the middleware layer, the above the network layer, to do everything from analytics to cognitive computing, and some of the application layer capabilities like asset management and even security.