In an age of streaming content and alternate media sources galore, traditional telecom companies are at risk of bleeding customers and their precious disposable income to upstart competitors. However, the possibility of an imminent explosion in the Internet of Things has enough revenue to go around, and AT&T knows it.
So said Chris Penrose, senior vice president of AT&T’s IoT organization, in an interview with Reuters during the Hannover Messe trade fair, where the once-strictly cable and phone service provider outlined some of its plans to offer consumer products that join the growing trend of an IoT-enabled future.
“We have the ability not only to connect things … we also have the ability to enable the collection and the analytics of the data behind those, as well as do it in a secure manner and do it globally,” Penrose said.
In a turn of candidness, Penrose acknowledged that AT&T has fresh memories of being passed over by the first wave of new media innovations — the likes of Netflix, Apple and Amazon that have used the networks built up by telecom providers to spread a new kind of product. However, the intention of AT&T’s pivot toward IoT isn’t to own the space or exclude consumers from integrating themselves and their products with the open-source nature of the medium. In fact, Penrose emphasized the one-size-fits-all mentality that will govern its compatibility policy as it defines itself in the IoT space.
“We want to be the very best collaboration partner,” Penrose told Reuters. “Sometimes, we will provide connectivity, and that’s OK.”
Given AT&T’s long reputation as a provider of services less than cutting edge, it’ll be up to consumers to determine whether its entrance into a market that many consumers are starting to warm up to themselves is, indeed, OK.