Inside the AT&T Foundry: Our Customers are at the Heart of Our IoT Rapid Prototyping

July 25, 2017
By Tom Schleef

The AT&T Foundry for the Internet of Things (IoT) lets our enterprise customers take full advantage of the IoT tools we offer. We work hand in hand with them to create proof of concepts (POCs). POCs demonstrate to them the benefits of monitoring and controlling their products using the AT&T Network – with little to no cost to them.

Various rapid prototyping tools make these POCs possible in a short period of time. Often these POCs are ready in days. Wes Neibaur, a mechanical engineer at the IoT AT&T Foundry in Plano, Texas, is here to tell us more about them

What are you working on now?

As a mechanical engineer, developing application specific hardware is a big part of my job. That includes outfitting electronics with enclosures and housings for various IoT devices. We actually have an in-house 3-D printer at the IoT AT&T Foundry

Camera technology, image sensors, processing and usability for IoT devices and applications is a big area of exploration for me right now.

I’m also exploring IoT opportunities related to medicine transport. That includes ways to track location, temperature, acceleration, humidity, and activity during transportation.

I’m finishing the setup of the new IoT AT&T Foundry waterjet. The state-of-the-art machine uses water and sand to cut dense materials like metal, glass, granite, and stone with high precision.

Along with our other rapid prototyping tools, the new waterjet will help us get new technology into our customers’ hands – faster than ever before.

How did you get your job?

Another technology company recruited me out of college to develop the mechanics of their 2-way FM radios used by the public safety community. Since then, I’ve worked at several communication electronics companies.

In 2012, an AT&T employee – with whom I previously worked with at an IoT company – contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in joining the IoT AT&T Foundry. I was interested. So, I contacted my current AT&T manager to set up an interview.

What do you love most about coming to work?

I’ve loved my job since day one. I enjoy working with great people on a wide variety of IoT-related projects. We have very similar backgrounds and work ethics on my team.

AT&T provides us with the latest technology and equipment, like high-end 3D printers, laser cutters, waterjets, and computerized numerical controlled (CNC) mills for drilling/cutting.

The IoT AT&T Foundry is a fast-paced environment. Projects last from a few weeks to a few months.  There is always something new.

Where do you see the technology you focus on going in the next few years?

Industry experts believe that IoT devices will exponentially continue to grow.  AT&T will continue to work on the forefront of this wave.

What do you do outside of work for fun?

I enjoy going to church, spending time with family, watersports, and traveling. I also like to go off-road trucking.

Wes was the second employee to join the IoT AT&T Foundry, which opened in 2013.

Tom Schleef - RF Product Development Engineer

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