AT&T Unveils $99 IoT Starter Kit for Developers

The Starter Kit, developed with Cisco and Avnet, will include connectivity, hardware, application development and cloud storage tools.

IoT development

AT&T is giving developers the connectivity, hardware and application tools they need to accelerate their work in the Internet of things.

The carrier is rolling out its all-in-one IoT Starter Kit, a collection of technologies that officials said will make it easier for developers to more quickly spin out IoT offerings. AT&T worked with Cisco Systems and Avnet to create the starter kit.

"Developers are the ones driving innovation in the IoT industry," Chris Penrose, senior vice president of IoT solutions at AT&T, said in a statement. "Our new IoT Starter Kit creates a faster and easier way for them to create IoT solutions. We're now offering a one-stop shop to help transform their ideas into impactful IoT services."

Included in the Starter Kit are an AT&T global SIM card that works in more than 200 countries and territories, a 4G LTE modem that runs on the carrier's network, an expandable development board that works with a range of plug-in sensors, an API to monitor the network connection and data transfer, REST APIs, and cloud storage to host, manage and share data across multiple groups.

In addition, there is access to AT&T Flow Designer to help programmers launch IoT apps more quickly, a microcontroller carrier board with an Arduino-compatible expansion slot, and access to AT&T Control Center, an IoT connectivity management platform developed by Cisco. Control Center delivers a secure and reliable way for developers and users to provision and manage their IoT devices.

"The Internet of things is not about 'things'—it's about service," Martyn Etherington, head of IoT cloud marketing at Cisco, said in a statement. "IoT developers play a critical role in the development of applications that deliver new, valuable services through connected devices."

The Starter Kit is designed to give developers a single place to find all the tools they need to build their IoT projects, rather than forcing them to buy technologies from multiple vendors, according to AT&T officials.

AT&T and Avnet will be making the Starter Kit available for $99 starting in August. The carrier also will offer different versions of the IoT Starter Kit that will work with IoT products and services from third-party vendors. This will include versions designed specifically for developers using IBM's Watson IoT and Microsoft's Azure IoT Suite, which also integrate with Cisco's IoT service platform.

The Starter Kit announcement, made July 12, comes at the same time that AT&T unveiled a deeper IoT partnership with IBM and the launch of a pilot program for a new Cat-M1 network to support IoT devices and services on the carrier's LTE network. The goal is to improve device performance and drive down costs in IoT deployments.

AT&T over the past couple of years has been aggressively growing its IoT capabilities. The service provider earlier this year unveiled a lineup of LTE modules that are designed to simplify and lower the cost of IoT device designs while driving improved device performance.

The Internet of things is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years as more devices, appliances, systems and sensors hook into the Internet. Estimates around the number of connections vary, but Cisco and Intel officials expect that there will be more than 50 billion connected devices and systems worldwide by 2020.

According to IDC analysts, global spending on the IoT will grow from $689.6 million last year to almost $1.3 trillion in 2019. In all, IoT spending will increase 17 percent a year between 2015 and 2019, the analysts said late last year.