January 5, 2016 / 6:49 PM / in 2 years

AT&T steps up 'smart cities' push, to offer more services

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N) will expand its smart city services to help municipal authorities remotely monitor conditions of roads and bridges in real time and give citizens mobile apps to stay informed about things like traffic and safety problems, the company said on Tuesday.

An AT&T Logo is pictured as a U.S. flag flutters in the foreground in Pasadena, California, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The company’s smart cities efforts are aimed at tapping into a market that some expect to grow beyond $1 trillion by 2020. AT&T has not yet broken out revenue or profit for such “Internet of Things” services. These include things like connected cars and wired homes with automated thermostats and security systems.

AT&T has been demonstrating its smart cities technology at an event for developers on the sidelines of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

So far, AT&T’s existing smart-city services comprise Web-connected utility meters, street lights and water systems. The No. 2 U.S. wireless company said it is also building a digital dashboard to help city authorities monitor city conditions and developments from power outages to traffic jams.

In recent years, authorities of some cities from Barcelona, Spain to San Jose, California, have slowly been working on “smart cities” with telecom and technology companies. The technology being developed aims to improve the quality and cost-efficiency of services such as energy and transportation, and to help manage resources better.

Some cities including Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta “have agreed to partner and work with us to deploy some of these solutions together.” Chris Penrose, senior vice president of AT&T’s Internet of Things division, said in an interview.

“We can actually monitor and measure the real feedback from both citizens and ... savings and improved operational costs for the cities that we can then take that and use with other cities going forward.”

With the U.S. wireless market reaching saturation, AT&T is looking for new revenue sources by developing Web-connected services including smart cities, connected cars and automated homes.

The global market for “smart cities” is expected to grow to about $1.6 trillion in 2020, according to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

Technology companies have also embarked on smart city efforts such as Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Sidewalk Labs that is developing technologies aimed at improving urban life and city services.

AT&T has forged partnerships with companies including Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O), General Electric Co (GE.N), Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) to develop services for smart cities. In September, it set up a new division to focus on smart cities.

Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by David Gregorio

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