Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

AT&T and GE combine research into smart energy products

Steve Rogerson
February 18, 2015
AT&T and GE are working together to create the next generation of smart energy products for the industrial IoT, helping to improve the way the energy industry works. The companies are jointly working on proof of concepts at the AT&T IoT Foundry in Plano, Texas.
“Our innovations are resulting in a host of new applications, from smart grid to machine-to-machine communications,” said John Lavelle, vice president of digital energy for GE. “By aligning GE’s leadership in secure wireless technology and utility software with AT&T’s extensive connectivity, we’re propelling our shared vision for a more cohesive energy network. In short, we are connecting brilliant machines to the industrial internet.”
Building on the companies’ 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 products 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.
“With its product and wireless technology leadership, GE is an ideal partner and, together, we’re creating a more energy-efficient planet,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president at AT&T Mobility. “This is a major step forward in connecting machines with wireless technology. With nearly 20 million devices connected to our network, we help provide dependable solutions that make energy management easier. By combining our technologies, we can improve reliability, drive energy efficiency, and reduce costs and emissions, while making customer service and response times better.”
Technologies being tested include an advanced meter that merges GE’s smart meters and wireless products, including jointly developed communications hardware, with AT&T’s secure cellular technology. This is being piloted with two North American renewable energy customers.
They are also working on intelligent lighting that combines GE lighting control systems and wireless products. This will enable cities to monitor and control lighting remotely on public roadways. A web-based interface linked to the lighting controls allows municipalities to identify instantly usage and performance of street lights in specific locations.
The two companies will look to market and sell these to customers in 2015. Smart grid products will use GE’s Grid IQ SaaS platform to deliver system intelligence, GE wireless products for asset connectivity, and the AT&T network for secure and seamless data transport – each working in tandem to enable integration of advanced applications.
“We are continuing to innovate, find new ways to work together and bring opportunities to the marketplace,” Penrose said. “We see our pilot projects as just a precursor for what’s to come.”