By 2020, between 20 and 50 billion “things” will be connected to the internet and to each other[1]. Nine billion – from cars and traffic lights and healthcare monitors to asset trackers on ships, utility meters and household appliances – are already connected.

Will the networks that handle our everyday social posts, texts, emails and video downloads be able to handle it?

In short, the answer is yes.

Our networks are evolving to meet the need.

Right now “things” connect many ways. Cellular networks, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth already connect your cars, speakers, fitness trackers and more.

There are also satellites that can reach remote areas around the globe. Think of a tractor on a farm, a container ship in the ocean, a generator in the desert or an oil pipeline on a barren plain.

So-called low power networks use existing cellular networks for a range of industrial applications like smart utility meters, pollution monitors and smoke detectors.

We’re working on technology tailor-made to connect “things” to our 4G LTE network.

Today, we announced plans for trials in the San Francisco Bay Area of Cat-M1 network technology. We expect this to:

  • Securely reach places that current technology can’t such as security/alarm panels in basements and electric and water meters buried underground.
  • Extend battery life to 10 years or more for enabled IoT devices such as industrial sensors deployed in remote regions around the world.
  • Offer businesses access to low-cost modules that enable connectivity.

We can see that demand to connect “things” is growing as costs come down and technology advances. That’s why we’re moving forward now with new approaches to make connectivity ubiquitous and improve the way we live and work.

[1] Frost and Sullivan, The Internet of Things (IoT): How Real Is It Today? Dec. 2015.

Cameron Coursey, Vice President of Product Development for AT&T’s Internet of Things Solutions

Cameron Coursey
Cameron Coursey Vice President of Product Development for AT&T’s Internet of Things Solutions