On Monday, AT&T named Southern Company to its growing Smart Cities strategic alliance, a holistic approach to help cities better meet the needs of their citizens using the Internet of Things (IoT).
The announcement, made in coordination with AT&T's involvement in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, also included the addition of Hitachi as another new alliance partner and Montgomery County, Maryland and Chapel Hill, North Carolina to the Smart Cities roster of spotlight cities.
Introduced last month, Smart Cities will roll out initially in select spotlight cities and universities with support from the alliance of key technology leaders and industry organizations. The goal is to develop and deploy solutions that help cities address critical issues like high energy costs, transportation, aging infrastructure and public safety.
Southern Company is the first electric utility to join Smart Cities. The company and AT&T will work together to develop and promote innovative energy technologies supporting cutting-edge communities.
"Through our Smart Cities collaboration, we aim to develop new technologies that will improve customers' quality of life and support thriving communities - all while using electricity more productively," said CEO Tom Fanning. "Working together to turn good ideas into real solutions is a direct extension of Southern Company's long-standing commitment to create a better energy future."
"More and more cities are realizing the impact IoT solutions can have on improving the lives of their citizens," said Mike Zeto, general manager and executive director of AT&T Smart Cities. "Through our strategic alliances with companies like Southern Company and Hitachi, we're well positioned to help cities address problems, as well as create new opportunities, in their communities." Hitachi will bring its experience working with companies on a global scale and expertise to help solve issues that affect quality of life in cities and at universities.
Earlier this month, AT&T announced that it is working with Nokia to make sure U.S. utility companies can get their data when they need it. Using its spectrum with Nokia LTE technology, AT&T is providing a new option for utilities to build a private, highly secure, reliable and high-capacity LTE network.
As the two newest spotlight cities, Montgomery County, Maryland is collaborating with AT&T and Deloitte on developing a Smart Cities framework to explore the various possibilities of smart transit, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina is entering into a new agreement with AT&T to be one of the 2016 Spotlight City Pilots. Service offerings AT&T and its collaborators can provide Chapel Hill include smart lighting solutions, parking sensors, public venue options and transit and exploring a number of opportunities to increase public safety.
Read more about IoT solutions for Smart Cities.