UPDATE: AT&T Finally Launches Digital Life Home Security & Automation system; Emerging Devices & M2M Focus Intact

April 26, 2013 UPDATE:  AT&T debuts Digital Life home network in 15 cities
AT&T is launching its Digital Life home security and monitoring service in 15 cities — some large, some midsize — with
plans to expand to 50 locations by midyear, the telecom says. In competing with companies such as ADT,

AT&T will allow people to use either mobile devices or PCs to keep an eye on various activities and appliances through Web-connected cameras and sensors hooked up to a broadband connection.



We previously wrote:

In January 2013, AT&T issued a press release indicating that their Digital Life Home Security and Automation system for “the connected home” would be available to consumers in March this year.


In mid-March of this year AT&T upped the number of cities it said would be covered at the outset from eight to 15. It has targeted availability in 50 cities by year end.


AT&T told Telecoms.com that demand following trials in two US cities [Atlanta and Dallas] led to an expansion of launch plans. “In response to customer feedback we’re nearly doubling the number of cities where we plan to introduce Digital Life,” the firm said. “As a result, we’re adjusting the launch timing.  This allows us to align our marketing and operational plans to accommodate the expanded launch. We will share pricing details when we launch the service this spring.”

But the Digital Life page on AT&T’s website currently displays a static form inviting prospective customers to register for details of future availability in their home area.  https://my-digitallife.att.com/support/digitallife

Digital Life  will be based around home security and monitoring solutions initially, before expanding into areas like utility management.  It will compete with similar connected home automation systems from Verizon and Comcast. Subscription security services in the US have a far lower churn rate than wireless/mobile services. Industry averages for home security system customer lifecycle was said to be on the order of six to seven years.

“AT&T Digital Life is a game-changing wireless centric home security and automation experience with its unique integration and an intuitive app to control every feature from your smartphone, tablet or PC,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president, AT&T Digital Life.  “Combined with AT&T’s wireless network (http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2943) and unparalleled distribution channels, Digital Life will offer exciting new innovation. We can’t wait to get it into the hands of our customers.”  In providing an end-to-end security solution, from hardware distribution and retail to installation and after sales support, AT&T aims to “disrupt and remake the security industry,” Peterson said.

AT&T has not revealed the value of its investment in Digital Life, the scope of the project is extensive. The firm acquired and then internally developed its own management platform for the security service, has built its own monitoring centres and dedicated support facilities and will source third party providers trained to install domestic equipment. These installers will ensure the devices’ connection to AT&T’s network and leave customers’ homes with the end users fully able to manage their new security solution through AT&T’s bespoke, multi-platform User Interface, according to Peterson.
A typical installation could require 30 or 40 devices, Peterson told Telecoms.com.

“We’ll subsidise the upfront cost of the kit and installation in exchange for two-year contracts,” he said. “We’ll be very competitively priced upfront, we’ll give lifetime warranties on the services and equipment and we’ll be very competitive on the monthly fee.”  AT&T’s costs will be offset by an international licensing strategy that exploits “owners economics” Peterson added.

AT&T executives have repeatedly touted home security and automation as one of the company’s new growth opportunities for “emerging devices,” M2M, and the Internet of Things (IoT).  AT&T stated it has been an innovative, proactive, early leader in machine-to machine (M2M) communications and sees exciting potential in this market. The company’s goal is to “help drive wireless capabilities into a wide variety of devices beyond traditional handsets for businesses. AT&T is driving the emergence of new categories of devices and applications that are enhanced by wireless network connectivity. This will create new categories of devices and applications, both for consumers and businesses,” according to AT&T’s website: http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/files/pdf/emerging_devices/M2M_Snapshot.pdf

Other emerging device applications that AT&T is working on (with partner companies) include the connected car, mobile healthcare/eHealth and mobile safety.  In addition to a global 3G and 4G-LTE cellular network, AT&T has the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with nearly 27,000 hotspots in the U.S.  Emerging devices could connect to those networks or even wire-line networks for M2M communications.

AT&T Media kit for “emerging devices” is at:  http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=13434

For more information, please visit:





Highights of 2013 Cloud Connect Conference: April 2-5, 2013 in Santa Clara, CA


The four-year-old Cloud Connect conference, sponsored by United Business Media, was held   April 2 to 5th in Santa Clara, CA.   Having attended all four Cloud Connect’s, this one was by far the most in depth and comprehensive treatment of Cloud Computing. At last, no more defining terms and debating methods of cloud computing, this year’s conference discussed how the cloud was being used now. And also how business could leverage the cloud for more effective IT operations.  For example, many attendees wanted to know how to make use of a hybrid cloud as they migrate from private to public cloud or look to combine both.

We also examine how the Mobile Cloud has and will continue to change business operations.  It’s a balancing act, with compromises needed between corporate compliance/security vs worker freedom/convenience.

Key Themes and Messages:
-There’s a strong focus on reinventing the data center for cloud computing, using software defined infrastructure, such as virtualized networking and storage as well as software defined networking (SDN).  However, the legacy networking infrastructure from Cloud to Premises is not going away anytime soon.
-OpenStack is now an acceptable alternative to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for public clouds.  There was a lot of  discussion on using OpenStack for private cloud implementations as well.  Openstack was initially promoted by Cloud Service Provider Rackspace, but is now endorsed by many other CSPs, including HP. There are many new and well funded OpenStack based start-ups.
-Virtual networking and SDN are being added to the growing number of OpenStack capabilities by the OpenStack Foundation (OSF).  On April 4th, OSF issued its “Grizzly release,” which contains 230 new features for running production-level cloud computing. Networking has lagged servers when it comes to being managed as a virtual resource and in most enterprises, is still tied to a set of hardware resources that are hard to modify. Virtual networking and SDN aim to change that by making the network a logical rather than physical part of the IT and cloud infrastructure. OpenStack’s work on SDN “lets software change the network infrastructure for cloud computing,” according to one knowledgable conference attendee.
-Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is now the defacto way of accessing AWS, replacing the public Internet (and in some cases) private lines. VPS lets the cloud user provision a logically isolated section of the AWS Cloud where resources are launched in a virtual network.  The customer has complete control over the virtual networking environment, including selection of  IP address range, creation of subnets, configuration of route tables and network gateways. http://aws.amazon.com/vpc/
-Big Data (analytics) and Cloud are a paradigm shift and an architectural change that involves putting data and computing power together as a massive processing unit.  With the explosion in all types of information, businesses need data analytics to be competitive. Organizations need to analyze data from multiple sources and places to gain insights. That data can’t be stored in one place and can even be maintained outside the organization (such as in a private cloud).
-The reorganization of computing into larger, more demand-responsive cloud-based data centers run by Google, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and others is part of a shift in business that replaces transaction systems with “systems of interactions,” said Cisco Systems VP of Cloud Computing Lew Tucker.  “Analytics becomes business critical” because huge volumes of data will be generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), with billions of devices soon to be connected to the Internet. The billions of connected devices drive a need for cloud storage and cloud analytics.  The creation of big data drives business decision-making and businesses’ need to keep employees in constant collaboration and communication, driving a need for a new style of internal networking: the software-defined network that responds more flexibly to changing conditions, Tucker said.
-Mobile Cloud is being used as more workers have mobile computing devices, especially tablets and notebooks.  Organizations continue to make use of mobile apps to improve productivity and business process, according to Citrix.  They deployed over 100 thrid party apps, e.g. Citrix Receiver, Adobe Reader, etc. as well as custom written apps.  Packaged, deployable mobile apps stores for the enterprise are starting to emerge. Author’s Note: Mobile Cloud is covered in more detail below.
-PayPal chief information security officer Michael Barrett stated that cloud computing had changed the stakes involved in the security of computer systems. The cloud can provide the computing power to run an attack to decipher passwords. “Password hacking is now the work for script kiddies,” he warned, as opposed to a challenge for skilled hackers backed by massive compute resources.
-William Ruh, VP and global technology director at General Electric said business is moving from an analog way of operating to a digital one which will change nearly every aspect of business.  Civilization is moving from the industrial revolution through the Internet revolution and into what he called “the Industrial Internet.”  Machines will be connected to the Internet (IoT) and become intelligent through the software they possess that analyzes the information they’re generating. That will contrast with today’s industrial operations where machines are not intelligent and most of the data they generate “isn’t even stored,” Ruh observed. The shift will “foundationally change the way machines are built and the way data is collected on them, petabytes of information,” said Ruh. The information will be fed to the operations staffs at utility power plants and other large industrial installations, who will use it to look for efficiencies that we don’t know about today, he said. 
-Case studies are beginning to emerge from a variety of users. The cloud industry has moved beyond case studies from technology innovators, such as Netflix, to rank-and-file companies that are just getting their first cloud computing systems up-and-running.

The Mobile Cloud:

Before the end of this year there will be more smart phones than PCs, and in 2015 there will be more tablets than PCs as shown in the illustration below.


Mobile and cloud are combining to change how the underlying infrastructure of business. Mobile and cloud combine to change how applications are developed, tested and distributed. Mobile changes what features and user experience exists in applications while cloud changes where data should be located and how it will be accessed. Security and management will also change as businesses embrace mobile. Applications will be device aware, location aware and network/cloud aware. But they have to be purpose built, i.e. desktop/workstation apps won’t run on mobile computing platforms- even with 4G access.  And because the demand for mobile cloud resident apps is uncertain, the mobile cloud must be very flexible in scaling up or down to accomodate the actual number of users for all the mobile apps being supported.

Going forward business processes will assume a multi-device landscape, cloud connectivity.  Mobile work styles are becoming the rule rather than the exception in Enterprise IT and traditional methods of securing data behind VPNs will fall short as employees demand business tools that are as easy to use and frequently updated as the ones they use at home.  Unfortunately, legal and regulatory requirements for securing data are no less stringent than they were before the mobile era. There are compliance issues with laws such as HIPAA and FINRA that apply to data sync and sharing of information/digital content.

In the future, companies will rebuild transform business applications to take advantage of a  range of by using contextual data from all connected devices, including location, time of day, presence and device type. Sensors in the latest devices will also also provide contextual information such as temperature, humidity, motion, and orientation. Applications based on business critical data from connected sensors will be used by many industries, with utility, oil and gas industries leading the way. Transforming business will require businesses to use the cloud and big data processing to turn mobile data into insight in real-time.

In an excellent presentation by Jesse Lipson, Citrix VP of Data Sharing, Managing Data in the Cloud said:  “VPNs are going away.They are clumsy and incovenient for mobile users.”  Other reasons:  there’s more IP outside of the firewall, Mobile Device Management (MDM) and simpler two factor authentication are combining to alleviate the need for VPN access.  Mr Lipson also sees several new trends as a result of mobile data tsunami:

-Active Directory Integration with Single Sign On (e..g. SAML 2.0)
-2 factor authentication going away; perhaps replaced by text message authentication
-Auto Log-In from mobile devices, especially smart phones
-On premises storage alive and well due to security, compliance, convenience, and ability to access existing data stores
-“Open-in…”  enable another application to open in the application being run
-Device control via MDM software deployed on all enterprise owned mobile devices
-Other mobile devices, especially laptops are getting more attention for security and control

In the end, enterprise control of mobile devices, data and apps is a balancing act between corporate compliance and security vs employee convenience and productivity (see illustration below).  Each organization must decide how to chose the necessary tools, methods and procesures to ensure that both objectives are met.

2013 Cloud Connect Part II is at:


M2M Market Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies, Industry Verticals and Forecasts


Signals & Systems Telecom (SNS Telecom;  http://www.snstelecom.com/) has just released a report on the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications market.  The report presents an in-depth assessment of the global wireless M2M market. In addition to covering the business case, the challenges, the industry’s roadmap, value chain analysis, deployment case studies, and the vertical market ecosystem, vendor service/product strategies and strategic recommendations, the report also presents comprehensive forecasts for the wireless M2M market from 2013 till 2018, including an individual assessment of the following submarkets: Network Connectivity, Application Services, Embedded Cellular M2M Modules, Network Security, Connected Device Platforms (CDP), Application Platforms (Application Enablement Platforms, AEP and Application Development Platforms, ADP), Integration Services and Enabling Technologies, across six regions.

Also provided are network connectivity and application service revenue forecasts for the following 6 vertical market segments: Utilities & Smart Grid, Automotive & Transportation, Logistics, Public Safety, Security & Surveillance, Retail & Vending and Healthcare. Historical figures are also provided for 2011 and 2012.


Despite its low ARPU, the wireless M2M market has become a key focus of many mobile network operators as their traditional voice and data markets become saturated. Likewise, government and regulatory initiatives such as the EU initiatives to have a smart meter penetration level of 80% by 2020 and the mandatory inclusion of automotive safety systems such as eCall in all new car models, have also helped to drive overall wireless M2M connections and revenue.
Consequently we expect the wireless M2M market to account for nearly $136 billion in revenues by the end of 2018, following a CAGR of 23% during the five year period between 2013 and 2018. Eyeing this lucrative opportunity, vendors and service providers across the highly fragmented M2M value chain have become increasing innovative in their strategies and technology offerings which have given rise to a number of submarkets such as M2M Network Security, Connected Device Platforms (CDP) and M2M Application Platforms.

Key Findings:

 *   The wireless M2M market will account for nearly $136 billion in annual revenues by the end of 2018, following a CAGR of 23% during the five year period between 2013 and 2018
 *   At present, the M2M value chain is highly fragmented with module OEMs, hardware solution providers, application platform providers, device platform providers, and mobile network operators and aggregators/MVNOs all investing across multiple segments of the value chain, whilst still maintaining a key focus on a specific portion
 *   Signals and Systems Telecom expects the value chain to consolidate in the future, with a smaller number of larger and profitable competitors across the M2M value chain
 *   The growing presence of wireless M2M solutions within the sensitive critical infrastructure industry is having a profound impact on M2M network security services, a market estimated to reach nearly $1 billion in annual spending by the end of 2018
 *   Driven by demands for device management, cloud based data analytics and diagnostic tools, M2M software platforms (including CDP, AEP and ADP) are expected to account for $6 billion in annual spending by the end of 2018

Key Questions Answered:

 *   What are the key market drivers and challenges in the wireless M2M ecosystem?
 *   What are the key applications of M2M across industry verticals?
 *   How is the M2M value chain structured, how will it evolve overtime, and what will be its impact on key vertical segments of the market?
 *   What opportunities does M2M technology offer to mobile network operators and other players involved in the value chain?
 *   What strategies should mobile network operators/MVNOs, module vendors, hardware solution providers, software platform providers and other players adopt to capitalize on the M2M opportunity?
 *   How big is the M2M opportunity, and how much revenue will the industry generate in 2018?
 *   What will be the installed base of wireless M2M connections in 2018?
 *   Which geographical regions and industry verticals offer the greatest growth potential for M2M services?
 *   What is the vendor market share embedded cellular M2M modules, how many units will ship in 2018 and how will declining ASPs impact the sales revenue?
 *   How will embedded cellular M2M module shipments vary by air interface technology overtime, and will LTE take a lead in 2018?
 *   What is the network connectivity and application service ARPU for M2M services, and how will this vary overtime for each industry vertical?
 *   How big is the market for M2M network security and software platforms?

For more information, including report pricing, please contact Andy Silva: [email protected]

Other SNS Telecom reports are listed at:  http://www.snstelecom.com/reports-library

Another recently released M2M report was by Research & Markets:

M2M: The Next Billion Mobile Connections – Essential Analysis of the Growing Wireless M2M Industry


In that report, Parks Associates analysts examine the growing wireless M2M industry and highlight opportunities in this space for mobile service providers in the U.S. and globally. The report includes a comprehensive overview of the complex M2M ecosystem, profiles of leading M2M vendors, and analysis of carriers’ M2M strategies. The report also illuminates important trends in key verticals and provides a forecast of carrier-enabled device connections through 2016.

“Mobile service providers are facing declining revenue from traditional voice and SMS services and mobile data traffic growth that outpaces growth in data revenues,” said Jennifer Kent, research analyst, Parks Associates. “In search of new opportunities, mobile service providers are expanding their presence in the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) space. Widespread consumer and enterprise adoption of broadband Internet service, wireless routers, and devices with mobile connectivity means the ingredients are there for the M2M market to take off. Plus, mobile network operators have unique assets that position them to take advantage of the growing M2M market.”


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