AT&T committed to disruption through mobile - Mobile World Live

AT&T committed to disruption through mobile

28 OCT 2015

LIVE FROM MOBILITY LIVE, ATLANTA: Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO – AT&T mobile and business solutions, pledged the operator’s commitment to work with emerging disruptors and transform industries through mobile.

Opening up the keynote session this morning, Vega claimed “there is no company doing more to foster start-up innovation and get them going”, while highlighting AT&T’s work with well-known disruptors like Uber and AirBNB that are now serving to “completely transform both the transport and hospitality sectors”.

“We knew Uber before they were cool,” he said. “When they explained what they wanted to do, we said we’ll find a way for them to get their drivers connected through mobile.”

Vega declared “mobile is eating the world”, meaning it’s no longer companies like Amazon that are the disruptor, “it’s Uber and AirBNB, and we are working with companies like this to find how mobile can change industries”.

The executive further talked up some of the innovations happening in Atlanta in particular, the company’s home town, which houses the AT&T Foundry to foster innovation in start-up companies.

Along with mobile, Vega said changes in software are making networks more intelligent and in turn fuelling virtualisation, meaning its staff now face a new challenge in understanding the increasing transformation from hardware to software.

The company is now working with local university Georgia Tech to “retrain and reskill its staff”, and even offers to pay for its employees to enrol in a computer science course.

“The trend in software development and virtualisation is unstoppable, and by collaborating with Georgia Tech, we can get more than 100,000 staff retrained and reskilled.”

Atlanta pioneering the connected car
With AT&T looking to connect “one million cars every quarter”, Vega heralded AT&T’s home city as pioneering the development of the technology, as well as its role in broader IoT uptake.

Vega said AT&T now has more contracts with car manufacturers compared to anyone else in the country, and reflected on some of the issues the company faced in making the automobile industry understand the value in the technology.

“Before it really took off, there were big disagreements that cars shouldn’t be connected as drivers would have smartphones anyway,” he said. “The real value for manufacturers is centred on having 24/7 data about the car. For an engineer building new cars, this data becomes invaluable.”

Drawing on varying IoT forecasts, Vega said “it doesn’t matter if it’s 25 billion or 50 billion connected devices by 2020, it will just prove to be a massive opportunity”.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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