AT&T Opens New Foundries Dedicated To The Internet Of Things

The two new facilities will be in Plano, Texas, and Atlanta, and are part of AT&T's broader foundry program founded in 2010. Cisco, Ericsson, Intel and Microsoft are sponsors of the program.

The new facility in Plano, Texas, called the Machine-to-Machine and Connected Device (M2M/CD) Center, will be dedicated to the emerging Internet of Things, or the use of embedded sensors to enable everyday "things" or assets to communicate and share data with each other or the people who use them.

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AT&T, as an example, said it might pursue things such as "smart" luggage or pet carriers that let owners track those items as they move through an airport, or "smart" industrial machines that schedule their own maintenance.

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"These are just a few examples of what you might see coming out of Plano in the near future," said Abhi Ingle, vice president of Ecosystem and Innovation, AT&T, in a statement. "The M2M/CD Center will focus on rapidly designing and building prototype hardware and software for such applications, using a variety of cutting-edge hardware tools and highly secure and scalable software platforms."

Other major service providers, such as Verizon and Sprint, also have started investing in the buzzed-about Internet of Things, recognizing an opportunity to provide the networking infrastructures and the new breed of applications needed to enable the technology.

AT&T's Atlanta foundry will focus on developing a new generation of lifestyle applications and services. Specifically, AT&T said the facility will test and develop new products for AT&T's new Digital Life unit for home security and automation services.

New apps and services related to "connected cars," mobility and emerging devices are likely in the works, AT&T said. Cisco, which is acting as a host sponsor for the Atlanta foundry, will work alongside AT&T to help on-board third-party developers, startups and investors to bring into the facility.

Cisco itself sees massive opportunities for both itself and its partners in the Internet of Things, a market the networking giant valued this week at a whopping $14.4 trillion.

AT&T's foundry program already has produced a number of new technologies related to machine-to-machine and the Internet of Things, including Remote Patient Monitoring technologies that allow doctors to remotely monitor a patient's heart rate over a 4G LTE network.