AT&T Developing Resellable Packaged IoT Solutions for Partners
AT&T wants to help its solution provider partners capitalize on the growing opportunity with the Internet of Things, says Zee Hussain, channel chief, AT&T Partner Solutions, and it has already taken several steps to get them there.
The Dallas-based telecommunications giant announced its IoT platform for AT&T Partner Exchange two years ago, and since the end of 2017 has seen a more than 250 percent increase in IoT connections from its solution providers, year over year.
More recently, the company launched its own IoT Playbook on the company’s IoT website, which has use cases, tools, and resources to help partners start selling IoT solutions. Another push is developing packaged, repeatable solutions for partners, like its Fleet Complete offering.
“We’ve seen a good amount of interest from our partner community to get in the IoT space,” Hussain reports. “Now, they still need to do a lot of due diligence to figure out how to get at that space. So our focus has really been about teaching, coaching, helping our partners to figure out how to get into that business.”
Fleet Complete is an IoT-enabled location tracking solution for small fleets of vehicles that enables route optimization, order fulfillment, and other critical functions. “The hardware is built by somebody else, but we have to certify it so it works the right way on the AT&T Network,” Hussain says. “Same thing for the software that is being utilized. So Fleet Complete is a solution where it’s all powered by the AT&T Network, but all of those components are brought together as a package.”
That arms partners to approach limousine companies or trucking businesses with a pre-assembled solution ready to deliver rapid ROI. “In our IoT Playbook we’ve included use cases just like that,” Hussain notes.
The video below talks about how Pavo Communication, an AT&T partner based in Dallas, implemented Fleet Complete for Smith Limousine in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
According to Hussain, AT&T is working on other packaged IoT solutions for its partners to sell as well. “Our goal is to have as many repeatable packaged solutions as possible,” he says.
While he could not specify what category of solution would come next, Hussain says AT&T’s IoT business direction is a good indication of what it is considering from a channel enablement standpoint. For example, the company has a smart cities organization. “We have a vice president running that group and having the discussion with a lot of these cities to figure out what are the different components that we need to do to make a city smart,” Hussain says.
Take light bulbs, he continues. If they have sensors, you need to make sure they have longevity, so they are economical. And you need to make sure that when sensors are talking to the network they’re not accumulating data, because that costs money.
“Right now, that is a custom solution,” Hussain notes. “At some point, we’ve done our evaluation and we’ll say, ‘OK, we figured all of that stuff out. Now, here’s a package to take to a city, to take to a municipality, to take to a smaller community.’ I don’t think we’re there yet, but the goal would be to get there pretty quickly.”
Another application is the connected car. “That’s a place where we’ve done really well,” Hussain says. “At the end of 2017, we had about 17.8 million connected cars. We’re evaluating how do we take a module like that where we figured it all out and [make it] a packaged solution to our solution providers. So that’s your sneak peek.”
Hussain, however, goes on to say that the possibilities are endless. “You’re a construction company and you want to make sure that you have visibility into your assets, because these are pretty expensive assets,” he observes. “Is there a packaged solution where you can just put in the sensor and have a full view of where they are, and what’s going on?”
Hotels with spas are another candidate, Hussain adds. “Every time you’re going in the sauna, you’re pressing a button so they know you’re there. Every time you’re going to the steam room, you’re pressing a button. With IoT, you can put sensors in those benches. You can have motion detectors in there where it would be all automated pretty easily.”
And that’s just the beginning, from AT&T’s perspective. “IoT use cases are all over the place,” Hussain says.