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AT&T launch SF LTE-M IoT pilot

William Payne
October 13, 2016

AT&T is launching a pilot of LTE-M technology in San Francisco to showcase how new LTE-M2 technology can bring IoT connectivity to a new generation of devices and markets. The company will launch the new technology across its commercial LTE network in 2017.

The LTE-M pilot will include participation from a number of industry leading firms, who will test it as a low-power wide-area network for a number of vertical market IoT solutions.

Separately, AT&T has also launched a collaboration with Israeli food delivery software company, Dragontail Systems to use IoT to speed up delivery of fast food to customers.

LTE-M technology will connect a wide variety of IoT solutions such as smart utility meters, asset monitoring, vending machines, alarm systems, fleet, heavy equipment, mHealth and wearables.

AT&T says that key features expected from LTE-M include: lower costs for modules that connect IoT devices to the LTE network; longer battery life; up to 10 years for certain enabled IoT devices; and better coverage for IoT devices underground and deep inside buildings.

“We have pulled together players from across the ecosystem to pilot solutions for a myriad of industries and applications,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “LTE-M will provide a unique combination of enhanced coverage and longer battery life with carrier-grade security. It’s part of our strategy to offer the widest range of IoT network options to our customers.”

Participants in the pilot will include smart water metering firm Badger Meter, fleet and asset management IoT specialist CalAmp, smart city and water infrastructure specialist Capstone Metering, snack and food vending specialist PepsiCo, and mobile technology developer Samsung.

Smart water metering firm Badger Meter will analyse how an LTE-M network may be used to enhance communications for smart water devices.

Fleet and asset management IoT developer CalAmp will explore how the LTE-M network can help companies more efficiently manage their connected vehicles and assets.

Smart city IoT specialist Capstone Metering will explore how LTE-M can improve Smart Cities sensor technologies, looking particularly at how it could increase battery life and improve connectivity and sensor monitoring for underground smart water meters.

Food giant PepsiCo will examine and test ways that sensors can improve the in-store experience with smart vending solutions for thousands of PepsiCo products.

Mobile technology developer Samsung will evaluate an LTE-M-based solution to enhance performance for consumer solutions. This may include wearables or other consumer devices.

The pilot will also include solutions from a range of technology providers: Altair, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Sierra Wireless, u-blox, Wistron NeWeb Corp. (WNC), and Xirgo Technologies.

In a separate move, AT&T and Israeli food delivery software company, Dragontail Systems, are partnering to use IoT technology to streamline fast food delivery to customers.

Dragontail will use the AT&T mobile network for its Algo Dispatching System. The Algo uses a patented algorithm to optimise and manage the process from food preperation to customer delivery.

The Algo examines every step of food preparation and delivery. It touches each order location, driver location, meal status in the kitchen and the pack station. It then manages the order of the items that need to be prepared in the kitchen, and makes dispatching recommendations. That means Algo customers get what is described as "Just-In-Time Baking".

“We are thrilled to be teaming with AT&T to use its mobile network for the Algo Dispatching System. Having AT&T on board is a huge win for Dragontail and will be a huge help. They’ll help us bring our system to life across many of our fast food and quick services restaurant partners,” said Dragontail Systems’ Chief Executive Officer, Ido Levanon.

“In the quick-service restaurant industry, efficiency and quality are just as important as the customer experience,” said Joe Mosele, vice president, IoT Solutions, AT&T. “Our wireless network will power Dragontail’s innovative Algo Dispatching System.”