Behind AT&T, IBM Smart Water Offering

06/06/2015

Telecompetitor

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A partnership between AT&T, IBM and Mueller Water Products has yielded a compelling Internet of Things (IoT) smart water application that aims to help conserve water by enabling municipalities to prevent large-scale leaks in their infrastructure.

 “U.S. water infrastructure is fairly old,” commented AT&T Associate Vice President of Industrial IoT Mobeen Khan in an interview. “Many times when there is leakage, we’re not able to learn about it for days. Having something like this will enable [us] to not only reduce costs but to conserve water.”

The partners’ solution has been deployed on a trial basis in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Los Angeles but as it relies on elements already available from each partner, Khan soon expects to see it deployed more widely. Municipalities should see a prompt return on investment in the technology, Khan said.

Mueller, AT&T, IBM Smart Water Application

Mueller Water Products is a key supplier of water delivery and monitoring equipment, including sensors used in the trial deployments that use acoustic technology to identify leaks before they become a major problem. Data from the sensors travel through AT&T’s network to software developed by IBM that alerts designated individuals about the situation.

The smart water application also relies on AT&T’s service delivery platform, which enables users of IoT apps to manage their connections. That platform encompasses provisioning, billing and other capabilities delivered through a customer-facing portal and through application programming interfaces, explained Khan.

“Customers can run… dashboards, reports and set policy,” he said.

By using AT&T’s service delivery platform, a municipality could, for example, geo-fence meters to guard against theft and vandalism. Users also could put restrictions on how much data can be transferred or when it can be transferred.

AT&T, IBM and Mueller created the smart water application as part of the National Institute of Science and Technology’s Global City Teams Challenge, a competition that aimed to identify promising IoT applications.

AT&T’s IoT Strategy

Khan noted that AT&T has nearly 22 million connected devices on its network, not including smartphones and tablets. The company is pursuing IoT opportunities in four key areas, including supply chain, smart city, insurance/ telematics and industrial, he said.