AT&T joins Qualcomm’s smart cities gang, as industry seeks closer collaboration
AT&T has joined Qualcomm’s smart cities accelerator programme, which now counts almost 70 members and met for the first time in San Diego last week.
The initiative has been convened as a collaboration vehicle, to connect cities, municipalities, government agencies and enterprises with end-to-end smart city solutions. Qualcomm calls it an “all-in-one matchmaking programme”. The deal is only that said solutions are based on Qualcomm technology.
The objective is to accelerate deployment of solutions in the smart city space, which have often slowed after initial trials, as cities and enterprises have struggled with funding and revenue models, and ways to scale solutions across multiple city functions and within the context of a fragmented IoT market.
Both AT&T and Verizon have discussed in these pages how discussions with cities about 5G rollouts have opened up collaboration on new smart city solutions, either running in parallel or sprung on advanced LTE and 5G infrastructure.
Michael Zeto, vice president for advanced solutions at AT&T, commented: “We are always looking for ways to better engage cities and municipalities to truly optimise their investments in technology.” He said the Qualcomm programme “is one way [to] achieve this mission.”
As with other smart city groupings, which are multiple, the Qualcomm gang are seeking ways to ease the negotiation and design of smart city deployments, by bringing sundry players in the market closer together. Having announced the scheme in April, members convened for the first time at its headquarters in San Diego last week to discuss Qualcomm-powered solutions for smart cities.
The company claimed over 550 delegates, from over 400 companies, including 18 city CIOs, nine city managers, “dozens of other city officials”, plus the odd mayor for good measure. The ‘solutions’ side included integrators like Accenture, Black & Veatch, Quantela, Tech Mahindra, UROS, and Xingtera, and providers like Arrow, CIMCON, Compal Electronics, Cradlepoint, Lime, OneScreen, Telensa, and Ubicquia.
Sanjeet Pandit, the company’s senior director for business development and head of smart cities, stated: “Qualcomm invents the tech that changes the way the world connects, computes, and communicate. We’re continuing that leadership in this area that can have significant real-world positive impacts on people’s lives.”
UK smart street-lighting firm Telensa is another to join the ranks. Telensa’s Multi-Sensor Pod (MSP) solution – an array of streetlight-mounted units that monitor people, traffic, and environmental conditions in cities – uses Qualcomm SDM845 edge processor to convert video and radar imaging into detailed real-time insights, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques.
Telensa also uses Qualcomm products in its streetlight-mounted Sensor Hub units, which connect third-party sensors to lighting and cellular networks. Unsurprisingly, the two parties only had good things to say about each other.
Gordon Davidson, executive vice president at Telensa, said: “As smart city sensor networks are being deployed at scale around the globe, they demand technology that is resilient, deployment proven and power efficient, all delivered sustainably at the right price point. Qualcomm’s experience in smartphone technology allows it to deliver on all of these requirements.”
Pandit said: “Telensa is a global leader in smart street lighting, with more than 1.7 million lights connected globally. In addition to lighting controls, this also provides a platform for pioneering innovation based around these installed networks using Qualcomm’s technology. We welcome Telensa to the Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program and are excited about the potential for this strategic partnership to accelerate the move towards data driven cities.”