Cleantech
AT&T, GE Developing Next-Gen Smart Energy Solutions for ‘Internet of Things”

AT&T and GE have announced a collaboration to create the next generation of smart energy solutions for the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), helping to improve the way the energy industry works.

The companies say they are jointly working on proof of concepts at the AT&T IoT Foundry in Plano, Texas.

Building on the firms' global alliance agreement announced in 2013, many of GE's machines and assets, such as locomotives, fleet, aircraft engines and, most recently, smart grid infrastructure, are connected through the AT&T global network. Now, combining advanced solutions from GE with the AT&T IoT infrastructure, utilities can seamlessly connect grid assets with critical software applications such as GE's Grid IQ™ Connect or GE's Predix™ analytics engine.

By combining their technologies, the companies say they hope to improve reliability, drive energy efficiency and reduce costs and emissions, while making customer service and response times better.

GE and AT&T are testing several new technologies, such as an advanced meter solution that merges GE's innovative smart meters and wireless solutions, including jointly developed communications hardware, with AT&T's secure cellular technology. The solution is being piloted with two North American renewable energy customers.

The companies are also testing intelligent lighting solutions that combine GE Lighting control systems and advance GE Wireless solutions. This combined solution will enable cities to remotely monitor and control lighting on public roadways. A web-based interface linked to the lighting controls allows municipalities to instantly identify usage and performance of street lights in specific locations.

GE and AT&T say they will look to market and sell these solutions to customers in 2015. Smart grid solutions will use GE's Grid IQ SaaS platform to deliver system intelligence, GE Wireless solutions for asset connectivity, and the AT&T network for secure and seamless data transport — each working in tandem to enable easy integration of advanced applications.

Despite the IoT’s sustainability potential, there are growing concerns over what becomes of these connected devices when they reach end of life. Many end up in landfills because, when they are embedded in objects and technologies, it is almost impossible to recycle them.

In other IoT developments, Dell, Intel and Samsung were among the six companies that came together last year to establish a new industry consortium focused on improving interoperability and defining the connectivity requirements for the billions of devices that will make up the IoT. The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is focused on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

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