Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CES, AT&T Shift to Internet of Things, Connected Cars

The Consumer Electronics Show once was lead by televisions as the key product category. Then CES became a show focusing on personal computers. Then came mobility. Now CES is about connected cars, part of the Internet of Things category.

AT&T signed more than 300 Internet of Things connected devices deals in 2015, in the United States and internationally, to connect sensors and other telemetry devices across the automotive, shipping, industrial, health care, home security and smart cities sectors.

In the United States, about 25 million connected devices are now on the AT&T network, a year-over-year increase of more than 25 percent when compared to the third quarter of 2014.  

In the third quarter alone, AT&T added a record of more than 1.6 million connected devices. Of that number, one million--fully 63 percent--were connected cars.

Also, AT&T is introducing a new family of Long Term Evolution modules to meet the needs of a broad range of Internet of Things applications. The modules are designed to simplify and lower the cost of IoT device designs globally, while improving device performance.

The new modules can run over the AT&T 4G LTE network. An LTE-only option offers low current to improve device battery life, which is important for some IoT applications.

Other module variants include built-in GPS, voice and data. Modules are available that support both 4G and 3G networks for IoT devices that need the ability to use either technology.

AT&T worked with Wistron NeWeb Corp. (WNC), a module and device manufacturer, to design the new LTE modules. They use an industry standard surface-mount package specified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

The M14A2A – LTE Only Category 1 can limit the amount of battery drain on an idle device compared to other LTE modules. Where 3G fallback is needed, WNC offers options such as the M14Q2 – Category 1 and M18Q2 – Category 3.

The IoT modules are expected to become available from WNC at prices planned as low as $14.99 each, plus applicable taxes, starting in the second quarter. Samples will be available for testing in the first quarter.

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