Today at Mobile World Congress, AT&T announced that its Digital Life and Drive platforms now work together. The company will link its connected car and smart home technologies to bolster its foothold in the fast-growing market for internet-connected devices, a new battleground for the company and rivals ranging from Verizon to Google.
The wireless company’s home security and automation service Digital Life and connected car service Drive will be integrated so users can control their homes from a dashboard in their vehicles, Glen Lurie, chief executive of AT&T Mobility told Reuters last week ahead of the company’s announcement at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
“Once you’ve told your home when the car is (for instance) within 20 feet of the house to please open the garage door, put the lights on, turn the alarm off, move the thermostat up, you can have those inanimate objects, the home and your car, really taking care of you,” Lurie said.
With the two services connected, a ‘Drive’ car can control devices in the home including security cameras, air-conditioners, coffee makers, stereo systems, door locks, alarm sensors on windows and sensors that detect leaks from water pipes.
Customers can pay for the new service through AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plan. A user can add $10 to the monthly phone bill to share data across multiple connected devices such as wearables and cars, Lurie said. Or customers can opt for plans provided by their car manufacturer.
Almost 90% of Americans own a mobile phone and the $1.7 trillion US wireless industry is turning for growth to connected devices. AT&T said it had about 20 million connected devices from cars to cargo ship container sensors in 2014, up 21% from the year earlier. It has not yet revealed its revenue from its ‘Internet of Things’ business.
Every tech company including Apple and Google are making their own plays. Mercedes-Benz has an application that let drivers control thermostats from Nest, a company acquired by Google. Reports suggest fast growth from the ‘Internet of Things,’ or web-connected machines and gadgets.
Given the sluggish smartphone market, AT&T has been working to secure new integrations and this Digital Life/Drive partnership puts that effort on full display. AT&T said that it added 800,000 wireless cars in the fourth quarter of 2014 and has plans to lasso roughly half of new US cars in 2015 and over 10 million by the close of 2017.