AT&T eyes healthcare, autos in Internet of things race

AT&T sees “near endless” growth for connecting a bevy of everyday devices ranging from prescription drug caps to health monitoring systems to your car and home.

Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resales and partnerships at AT&T, on Wednesday outlined a startup within the wireless giant designed to connect multiple ordinary devices. The unit, which only has $1 million in revenue a quarter, is designed to capitalize on a future where everything is “smart.” Clothing, containers, cars and everything in between will be interconnected.

In a nutshell, Lurie was talking about machine-to-machine connections and the Internet of things. In this new world order of connectivity, wireless carriers like AT&T hope to be the glue.

What we are really finding now is consumers, small and large business alike, are starting to expect their devices to be smarter. And your device gets smart by being connected,” said Lurie.

Even though my group has been involved in doing this for the last three years, we are starting to see more and more momentum in other parts and other verticals.

Lurie said one hot selling connection for AT&T has been the Vitality GlowCap (right), which is a prescription container lid that reminds patients when to take their medicine. AT&T facilitates the connection between the GlowCap and the pharmacy and enables reminders via phone.

Another healthcare related device is the Zephyr BioHarness, which tracks what’s happening in the human body.

Lurie added:

“We also are seeing some new categories. One being in the healthcare side we launched a thing called the Vitality Glow Cap. We are seeing nice take with that. I talked about connected clothing, whether for adults or babies, and some other things that we are seeing there. Whether that is automotive, whether that is [m-health], [m-wellness], whether that is gaming, etc., this space is still growing and growing very quickly.”

Lurie’s lab certifies more than 1,000 devices ranging from smartphones to machine-to-machine connections. He added that vending machines, container tracking systems and smart grid devices are emerging markets.

In the short term, AT&T’s biggest connective device market will be the automobile. Of 260 million cars in the U.S., only 5 percent have a wireless module built in. That level of connectivity will eventually grow to 100 percent.

You talk about diagnostics, you talk about real-time traffic, you talk about all these aspects that really take having that car being connected, having it be smart, which means every car is going to have to have that,” said Lurie.

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