At its second annual Business Summit in Texas last week, telecommunications giant AT&T showed its corporate savvy.
From diversity initiatives to vertical-specific IoT solutions, AT&T is actively working to stay at the leading edge of a tumultuous, rapidly changing business landscape. That commitment fully extends to its channel.
Uniquely positioned to facilitate the convergence of the IT and telco channels, the company is charging both agents and MSPs to learn new skills and to develop new partnerships that will help all parties compete in an IoT-enabled business landscape. More than many stilted IT and telco behemoths, AT&T showed at the Summit that it has its fingers on the pulse of the world at large, not just as it exists within corporate America. It wants to both lead and support a socially responsible tech sector that delivers fast, uninterrupted connection to power both industries and individuals.
Click through the gallery below to see the highlights from the 2018 AT&T Business Summit.
Find Your Edge
AT&T wants to be the driver behind bringing 5G technology and internet-of-things (IoT) solutions
into the mainstream. It announced a number of new partnerships that revolve around initiatives designed to keep the carrier on the leading edge of connected solutions for a 21st century world.
“The idea is that there’s transformation going on in each of these industries,” says Mobeen Kahn, vice president of IoT strategy and product management, “And IoT is embedded and an integral part of that transformation.”
Eleven months ago, AT&T brought together its three legacy partner programs: ACC, Alliance and Partner Exchange. The company’s new indirect sales channel structure reflects its determination to provide edge-to-edge solutions
and give partners packaged IoT solutions to make it easy and fast for them to create verticalized offerings.
Diversity was one of the major themes running throughout this year’s Summit, with an entire track of sessions held in what was dubbed the “Equality Lounge” examining the role that AT&T and business in general should play in evening the playing field for minority groups in technology. Actress and producer Reese Witherspoon and AT&T’s chief brand officer Fiona Carter
took the stage to talk about their experiences and what they’re each doing to promote women in business in their own work.
"There is a crisis in advertising overall. It's a very real challenge," Carter said. "AT&T is one of the first advertisers to include a Gender Equality Measure (GEM) in ... our advertising."
Carter told the audience that about 90 percent of women don’t feel that advertisers understand them, and 85 percent say the media doesn’t recognize when women are portrayed as female stereotypes rather than people with their own agency. As part of a partnership with the Association of National Advertisers' #SeeHer initiative, AT&T created a litmus test to evaluate ads based on positive portrayal of women. The resulting data shows that ads with higher GEM scores create elevated intent-to-purchase metrics and are more effective in creating brand loyalty.
AT&T’s smart-city IoT initiatives are closely tied to solutions it’s working to develop for the public safety market
. Connectivity will be central to first-responder efforts in the future, and the telco laid out augmented-reality use cases that include sensors that can detect and report traffic incidents in real time, applications that will guide paramedics and firefighters through rescue operations, and cameras that will send photos and videos of the injured directly to a hospital so it can triage needs and prep facilities before the patient even arrives.
In addition to its Smart Cities programs, it highlighted initiatives like the AT&T ESInet, an IP-based call routing service that helps emergency-communications centers keep up with the current and future needs of its mobile callers, moving 911 infrastructure from analog to the digital age. AT&T also talked about its FirstNet public safety communications platform that it says is purpose-built to handle rigorous and detailed demands of first responders.
Health CareBlockchain is not just about cryptocurrency
, and at this year’s Business Summit, AT&T unveiled new partnerships with IBM and Microsoft to bring the decentralized ledger system to work for various industries such as health care. The telco has integrated its Asset Management Operations Center with IBM’s Maximo Network on Blockchain and Maximo Asset Health Insights to create secure service-provider networks for infrastructure-asset management. In addition, it’s integrating its IoT platforms with Microsoft Azure blockchain technology to bring transparency to complex data-supply chains. Both applications will help health-care providers secure, maintain and share patient records in real-time in accordance with HIPAA regulations.
We’d be remiss not to mention that attendees who didn’t stop by AT&T’s “operating room of the future” missed out on an impressive AR/VR experience that demonstrated how augmented reality might be used in surgery. Holographic displays can focus on specific anatomical elements and help guide surgeons through intricate operations with real-time virtual reality visualizations.
The manufacturing sector has been heavily dependent upon automation and hardware and software solutions for longer than perhaps any other industry, making it a ripe opportunity for managed service providers and agents hoping to cash in quickly on IoT. AT&T announced several dynamic partnerships designed to leverage the manufacturing opportunity, but none was as massive as its new work with Samsung Electronics America at a manufacturing-focused “5G innovation zone
” in Austin, Texas. The goal is to get a real-world understanding of how 5G can impact smart factories and manufacturing processes.
“This is the future of manufacturing,” AT&T Business CEO Thaddeus Arroyo told conference attendees.
“We believe this work with Samsung in Austin will pave the road for the future of connected factories.”