AT&T launches structure monitoring product for smart city bridges

AT&T structure monitoring for smart city bridges

Sensors embedded in critical infrastructure such as bridges could help to monitor for cracks, tilts, shifts and other potentially dangerous problems, say AT&T executives.

AT&T is on a mission to fix elderly and decrepit US infrastructure. Almost half of the nation’s bridges are more than 50 years old, executives at the telco reckon, and many roadways and railways aren’t assessed frequently enough, often because they’re situated in remote locations.

With that in mind, they’re testing a new structure monitoring system, as part of the company’s wider IoT-focused smart city work. At this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, executives said that all kinds of bridges can be monitored with this system, from simple footbridges to those supporting railways and roads.

Cracks, tilts and shifting

AT&T’s Smart Cities Structure Monitoring product will see selected infrastructure equipped with sensors to remotely monitor cracks tilts and shifting, for example, and to issue alert triggers in response to significant events – such as subsidence or even earthquakes, presumably. The sensors will take readings once every eight hours before transmitting their data to IBM’s cloud for analysis, via AT&T’s LTE network.

According to the company, this will help improve safety and planning, reduce the need for manual inspections and enable near real-time monitoring of structures over the internet. Smart Cities Structure Monitoring will join a growing suite of products in this area, which also includes solutions for smart cities, smart energy and smart irrigation.

Read more: AT&T plans edge computing test zone for Silicon Valley

AT&T’s ‘spotlight cities’ update

AT&T launched its Smart Cities organization in the fall of 2015 and has tested its smart cities framework in a number of cities throughout the US – or ‘spotlight cities’, as it likes to call them.

Atlanta, Georgia, was one of the first to sign up as an AT&T spotlight city. To date, 200 sensors have been added to previously installed LED streetlights in key area of the city, which aim to help local authorities address issues including traffic flow, parking optimization and gunshot detection.

In Dallas, Texas, meanwhile, AT&T has teamed with the Dallas Innovation Alliance to create a living lab in the city where solutions to sustainability and parking can be explored. And, in the city’s historic West End, the city has installed new smart lighting solutions using connected LED and intelligent controls, which used 25% less energy in the first 90 days post-installation.

Finally, in Montgomery County, Maryland – an area where many people travel daily into Washington DC for work – AT&T has worked with public transport providers to help them keep commuters informed about transit delays; for example, by installing WiFi on targeted buses and bus shelters.

Read more: AT&T signs deals to develop smart city capabilities in Ireland and beyond

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AT&T to Launch Mobile 5G in 2018

AT&T to Launch Mobile 5G in 2018

AT&T to Launch Mobile 5G in 2018

Mobile 5G Services to Become Reality for Consumers and Businesses This Year in a Dozen Cities.

AT&T expects to be the first U.S. company to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018.

The promise of mobile 5G is seemingly endless and we’re moving fast to make that promise a reality.

To reach this ambitious milestone, we’ve taken a different approach to transforming our network. AT&T 5G services will be based on industry standards for 5G. To make this happen, we were one of the key drivers for standards acceleration last year.

Because of that acceleration, 3GPP, the international wireless standards body, completed key elements of 5G new radio (NR) standards last month. With these specifications now available, hardware, chipset and device manufacturers can start development. This allows us to provide mobile 5G services sooner. We’re confident this latest standards milestone will allow us to bring 5G to market faster without compromising its long-term vision.

“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations.

“We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”

In addition to plans for offering mobile 5G to consumers this year, we expect to trial 5G technology with businesses of all sizes across industries to help them to transform business operations and create more engaging experiences for their customers.

Taking 5G to the edge

As standards continue to develop, 5G will advance and won’t just be about faster speeds on your phone. It will also mean much lower latency, which will be enhanced by a new range of applications utilizing edge computing.

A quick primer: latency refers to how long it takes for the network to recognize you’ve requested a chunk of data and to start sending you that data. For example, it’s the brief delay between the moment you press play on a streaming video app and the moment the video shows up on your screen.

We expect future 5G technologies will eventually allow future driverless vehicles to make real-time decisions based on information that goes beyond the individual sensors onboard the vehicle itself. Vehicles will be able to “see” around corners, through other vehicles, and at longer distances. This will enable vehicles to quickly make sense of their environment and help guide safe operations on the road.

That’s what we mean about 5G unlocking a new level of experiences beyond just speed.

As great as 5G will be, we know one size doesn’t fit all.

In fact, 5G is just one of the technologies we’re deploying to give our customers network connections that are fast and responsive like never before. Wired or wireless, mobile or fixed, we’ve got it all covered. Other areas we’re working on include:

LTE

In 2017, we turbo-charged our LTE network and deployed advanced features in all of our markets, which greatly enhanced coverage and capacity. We were the first to launch LTE-LAA and expect to launch the technology in at least 2 dozen additional metros this year.

AT&T 5G Evolution

We’ve been hard at work this past year laying the foundation for mobile 5G with the launch of 5G Evolution in 23 major metros; Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Fresno; Greenville, South Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Louisville; Memphis; Nashville; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Sacramento, California offering immersive entertainment experiences like augmented and virtual reality while on the go.

While we’re rolling out mobile 5G in 2018, we also plan to continue to enhance our network with 5G Evolution technology in hundreds of additional metro areas. We will give you more options to access our latest wireless network offers by making additional 5G Evolution capable devices available throughout the year.

LTE-M

We also deployed our nationwide low-power wide-area LTE-M network in the U.S. in 2017. Plus, Mexico’s first LTE-M network is now network ready, creating the first North American LTE-M footprint. LTE-M supports large-scale Internet of Things solutions, like smart city services, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, security and alarm monitoring, and personal wearables. It offers extended battery life, lower-cost modules, improved coverage underground and deep inside buildings and carrier-grade security. With these advantages, LTE-M is already spurring innovation such as the AT&T LTE-M Button, and enabling devices to be connected that were not possible before.

Fixed Wireless Internet

In 2017, we brought high-speed internet access to over 440,000 locations across 18 states in mostly rural areas through technologies like Fixed Wireless Internet, as part of the FCC Connect America Fund. In 2018, we plan to reach over 660,000 total locations and 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020 in those 18 states.

As a leader in the development and implementation of Fixed Wireless Internet, we’re laying the foundation for the future of how we’ll bring consumer and business customers faster high-quality internet over a combination of wireless and wired connections, particularly in previously hard to reach locations.

Fixed 5G and AirGig

Last year, we also launched pre-standards 5G fixed wireless trials in Austin, Texas; Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana with residential, small business, and education customers. We also launched 2 Project AirGig trials, our innovative technology offering transport for ultra-fast low latency internet over power lines. One was in Georgia and the other international.

Fiber for Consumers and Businesses

In 2017, we reached more than 7 million locations across 67 metros nationwide where we market our ultra-fast low-latency internet service powered by AT&T Fiber. In 2018, we plan to add 3 million more locations on our path to reach at least 12.5 million locations across at least 82 metro areas by mid-2019. New metros areas where we plan to bring our 100% fiber network include Amarillo, Texas; Beaumont, Texas; Evansville, Indiana; Gainesville, Florida; Panama City, Florida; Springfield, Missouri and Waco, Texas.1

On our fastest internet service, AT&T Internet 1000, you can download 25 songs in 1 second, a TV show in 4 seconds or your favorite HD movie in less than 34 seconds.2

Additionally, we’re the largest U.S.-based provider of fiber for business services with more than 8 million business customer locations either on or within 1,000 feet of our fiber. An ultra-fast internet connection powered by AT&T Fiber lets you easily telecommute, videoconference, upload and download large files and connect faster to the cloud.

G.fast

In 2017, we began offering internet speeds up to 500 megabits per second with G.fast for multifamily properties across 8 metro areas outside of our 21-state traditional service area. We’ve also announced plans to give consumers a new choice for internet in apartment communities in an additional 14 metro areas areas.3 In 2018, we plan to launch G.fast to apartment communities within our 21-state footprint.

G.fast allows us to provide residents in existing multifamily properties an ultra-high speed internet connection without placing new home run inside wire, making it a breeze to upgrade an apartment building to stream live video on DIRECTV NOW and more.

1 Based on the number of Fiber-to-the-Home households using publicly available data for the top fiber providers in the AT&T footprint.
2 Speed/Time examples are estimates. Estimate for HD movie is based on a 90-minute HD movie.
3 Actual speeds will vary. See att.net/speedtiers and att.com/speed101 for more information.

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AT&T Completes Sequans’ Monarch LTE Platform Validation

AT&T Completes Sequans’ Monarch LTE Platform Validation

AT&T Completes Sequans’ Monarch LTE Platform Validation

World’s first LTE-M optimized chip ready for deployment on AT&T’s network.

Sequans Communications S.A. announced that its Monarch™ LTE Cat M1/NB1 Platform has completed AT&T’s ADAPT chipset validation program and is now ready to support module certifications.

Monarch is the world’s first LTE-M chip built from the ground up to comply with the 3GPP Release13/14 standard. Monarch is a single chip solution comprising baseband, RF, power amplifiers, and memory, and is optimized in both hardware and software for the design of IoT devices.

“Having AT&T’s stamp of approval marks a key milestone in the life of Monarch, the leading LTE Cat M1 chip in the world,” said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. “For our customers launching devices on AT&T’s network it means high quality, faster time to market, and an overall reduction in development time and cost for Monarch-based IoT modules and devices.”

“All of our module partners who are building Monarch-based modules are leveraging our ADAPT certification to finalize their module certifications, and one of them, Wistron NeWeb (WNC), has already achieved approval of their IMS2 module that is now available through AT&T’s IoT Accelerator Program.”

“Sequans’ Monarch provided an excellent basis for the IMS2 module,” said Johnson Hsu, VP and GM, Connected Home Business Group, WNC. “Monarch’s ultra low power consumption and other advanced features enabled us to deliver a powerful IoT module to AT&T’s IoT Accelerator Program.”

“Our ecosystem of LTE-M devices is enriched with the approval of Sequans’ Monarch chipset,” said Cameron Coursey, VP, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “Our goal is to offer our customers a wide array of cost effective, low power consuming LTE IoT modules, and we are pleased to have Monarch-based modules now available through AT&T channels.”

“We are thrilled to see more of our module partners getting their Monarch-powered devices certified by leading operators and we look forward to seeing more LTE-M devices launching soon on AT&T’s leading network,” said Karam.

AT&T’s ADAPT chipset validation processes assure device makers that Sequans’ Monarch Platform and modules based on it meet AT&T’s stringent performance, interoperability, and feature requirements, and are approved for use in devices and modules operating on the AT&T 4G LTE-M network.

Among Monarch’s key features are its ultra low power consumption, allowing very long battery life for IoT devices, and its programmable RF filtering technology that enables a single hardware design (Single-SKU) to operate on any LTE band worldwide. Monarch is a member of Sequans’ StreamliteLTE product family.

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How AT&T migrated 40,000 users to IBM’s IoT solutions

Any telecom provider must always try to avoid network downtime. But to stay competitive these companies also must constantly upgrade their software and systems. So when AT&T decided to migrate more than 40,000 users to comprehensive IBM IoT solutions—to support internal software development and replace its existing disparate solutions—the company knew it was facing a long slog.

Naturally, service outages were not an option during this protracted transition. That’s a primary reason why, over the course of about three years, the company used an agile business planning model and IoT-enabled solutions from IBM to complete this monumental project. AT&T agile tool product owner and team lead Tiina Seppalainen detailed how it all unfolded at the recent IBM Continuous Engineering Summit in New Orleans.

Seppalainen CE Summit re IoT solutions

AT&T’s Tiina Seppalainen describes her company’s use of IBM’s IoT solutions.

Deliberate and sequential planning

Seppalainen said the keys to success lied in broad buy-in from all levels of the company. This included a meticulously planned process for executing and managing the changes at various stages. “We had an aggressive and changing schedule, and we did this without any kind of formal training; we were given the tools and told to have at it, so that’s what we did,” she explained, adding that the project involved about 3,000 applications, about 100 project areas and 57 servers.

Careful and sequential planning were key.  Seppalainen and her colleagues set up about 10 scrum teams, a total of about 100 people, who were primarily dedicated to the project. “This allowed us to be nimble and change as needed, which was frequently,” Seppalainen recalled. “We regularly adjusted either what we were doing or when we were doing it. And we had a team to engage user groups and keep people apprised of the progress.” She said the company’s leaders actively supported the endeavor via internal communications, webcasts and town halls so “it would be very clear from the top down that this was going to happen, and quickly, and everybody needed to support it.”

In keeping with the agile model, the migration teams rolled out the new solutions in phases. They received feedback from early adopters and adjusted accordingly. Of course, large organizations like AT&T have many stakeholder groups with different wants and needs for their respective operations. Seppalainen reported that while they couldn’t fulfill everyone’s wish list, they were able to prioritize and deliver the most critical requests.

Coordinating the calendar

The volume of users necessitated scheduled releases and automated updates. The agile team spread these across the calendar to avoid overwhelming everyone with the changes. (Seppalainen applauded IBM’s crucial assistance in the project area design work, calling it “a key to our success.”) “We had a lot of concurrent and dependent activities and multiple work streams, and they all had to be managed,” she added. “It was a major challenge to coordinate interdependent and overlapping work efforts.”

This meant having frequent meetings, almost all of them virtual, including check-ins at the beginning and end of every work day. “It was a very agile mindset,” Seppalainen said. “That’s what made this happen; just doing that day in day out.”

Testing and training of IoT solutions

Once new roll-outs were in place, AT&T conducted extensive testing. It established training courses that included certifications, and created “small-bite” videos so users could quickly refresh their skills as needed.

Now that the heavy lifting has concluded, Seppalainen contends that her company views this massive endeavor as a success. “Using the agile approach was one of the key factors because it’s team oriented, very iterative and gives you the ability to adjust to changing needs,” she explained. “Our strong program and project management is what brought this three-year odyssey to fruition.”

To see how you can streamline operations and improve productivity for organizations of all sizes with IBMs Continous Engineering and IoT solutions, visit our landing page. And join us at Think 2018, March 19-22 in Las Vegas.

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How AT&T migrated more than 40,000 users to IBM’s IoT connected products

For any telecom provider, avoiding system downtime is usually job one. So when AT&T decided to migrate more than 40,000 users to IBM’s IoT-enabled connected products—with the goal of supporting internal software development and replace its existing disparate solutions—the company knew it was in for a long slog.

Over the course of about three years, the company used an agile business planning model to pull off this monumental project. AT&T agile tool product owner and team lead Tiina Seppalainen detailed how it all unfolded at the recent IBM Continuous Engineering Summit in New Orleans.

Seppalainen CE Summit

AT&T’s Tiina Seppalainen describes her company’s Rational migration at the 2017 CE Summit.

Connected products buy-in and planning

Seppalainen said the keys to success lied in broad buy-in from all levels of the company and a meticulously planned process for executing and managing the changes at various stages. We had an aggressive and changing schedule, and we did this without any kind of formal training,” she said. “We were given the tools and told to have at it, so that’s what we did.”AT&T had to account for about 3,000 applications that support different parts of the company. “We ended up [affecting] about 100 project areas and 57 servers. And they all needed to be built in time for the migrations to the Rational tools,” Seppalainen said. “It was all planned very carefully and sequentially because of the dependencies between our servers.”

This included setting up between five and 10 scrum teams with a total of about 100 people who were primarily dedicated to the project. “This allowed us to be nimble and change as needed, which was frequently,” Seppalainen said. “We regularly adjusted either what we were doing or when we were doing it, and we had a team to engage user groups and keep people apprised of the progress.”

She added that a critical component of the endeavor was strong leadership commitment at multiple levels and very active support. This included internal communications, webcasts and town halls. “It was very clear from the top down that this was going to happen, and quickly, and everybody needed to support it,” Seppalainen said.

In keeping with the agile model, the migration teams rolled out the new solutions in phases, received feedback from early adopters provided input, and adjusted accordingly. Naturally, such a large organization has many stakeholder groups that wanted different things. Seppalainen said they couldn’t fulfill everyone’s wish list, but they were able to prioritize the most critical requests.

Coordinating the calendar

The volume of users necessitated scheduled releases and automations, which the agile team spread out across the calendar so as not to overwhelm everyone with the build-outs and iterations. (Seppalainen said the crucial help IBM provided in the project area design work was “a key to our success.”) “We had a lot of concurrent and dependent activities and multiple work streams, and they all had to be managed,” she said. “It was a major challenge to coordinate interdependent and overlapping work efforts.”

This meant having frequent meetings, almost all of them virtual, including check-ins at the beginning and end of every work day. “It was a very agile mindset,” Seppalainen said. “That’s what made this happen; just doing that day in day out.”

Testing and training

Once new roll-outs were in place, AT&T conducted extensive testing, established training courses that included certifications, and created “small-bite” videos so users could quickly refresh their skills as needed.

Now that the heavy lifting has concluded, Seppalainen said her company views this massive endeavor as a success. “Using the agile approach was one of the key factors because it’s team oriented, very iterative and gives you the ability to adjust to changing needs,” she said. “Our strong program and project management is what brought this three-year odyssey to fruition.”

To see how you can streamline your organization’s operations and improve productivity with IBMs Continous Engineering and IoT solutions, visit our landing page. And join us at Think 2018, March 19-22 in Las Vegas.

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