This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the AT&T Innovation presentation at AT&T’s labs in NYC. I was invited by Andrew Zarian (GFQ Network), which many of you know was featured in our MTR Behind The Mic series. As a loyal T-Mobile customer, it felt weird seeing how the “other side” operates. Besides meeting some of the great AT&T staff, we had the opportunity to see some very innovative offerings that went beyond the mobile tech space and, if implemented, will change the way we live and communicate going forward. Check out the photos below along with a breakdown of the technology that we were able to see.
The first piece of software we saw was the AT&T Watson Speech Recognition API. Andrew and I had the opportunity to test Watson’s speech recognition capabilities and were both very impressed at how well it can recognize various commands. I tested Watson’s bilingual features by addressing it in Spanish, which worked rather well minus a few hiccups. The Watson API is being offered to developers by AT&T with the hope of integrating it into our mobile and entertainment devices. Expect to see Watson integrated in web search, voicemail-to-text, SMS, U-verse and any applications an independent developer sees fit to experiment with. Think of Watson like Siri but across a larger scope of tech.
Our next stop was to see the new location-based messaging software called “Donde” (which means”where” in Spanish). Donde is location-based messaging system that has the potential to increase productivity, but also to put an end to those of us who forget to buy milk on the way home from work. By using location, the Donde application is able to display not only to-do items, but messages that need to be seen as soon as you arrive at a set location. This prevents important messages from remaining unread in you SMS inbox.
Imagine getting in your car to catch a flight or head to work and being notified that you forgot your wallet or maybe your phone at home from the inside of your vehicle or on your mobile device. Sounds to good to be true? Well, it is a reality and AT&T showed it to us. “Got My Stuff” is the name of the application and it uses RFID tags which you can place on your phone, laptop, keys or any other item you often forget. Once that you have synchronized your devices with the Got My Stuff station, you will be able to track your devices via your mobile device or a HUD in your vehicle. In addition to reminding you of things you forget, it can also function as a destination aware checklist application – which is handy when you head to a place like the gym and want to make sure you have your sneakers packed. GMS will check via the list created and see if your shoes are in your gym bag. This was probably my favorite application because it is something that will be useful on a day-to-day basis and the integration with vehicles is something that will change the way we function.
While on the subject of automotive applications, I could not forget the Haptic-enhanced steering wheel which has a long way to go but it's usefulness cannot be ignored. While the presentation focused on applying this hardware to navigation features, I saw it as a way to protect drivers on the road. How, you ask? Newer vehicles are coming equipped with sensors that monitor head movement to ensure a driver does not fall asleep and, in the event they do, the vehicle would slow down or prompt a driver to wake up. A device like the Haptic steering wheel would provide an extra level of protection by vibrating to awaken a drowsy driver.
The final application we saw was a “ForHealth” API which allows developers to create a centralized system that stores various health and lifestyle data. So if you have a device like a Nike Fuel Band and possibly a Wi-Fi weight scale, you will be able to merge all that data in one place along with things like immunization charts and other medical data to get a full overview of your connected life. This API in my opinion can become the next step in medical data gathering. If you have devices like a blood pressure monitor or a glucose meter it would be great to have that data in the Cloud and it be easily viewed by medical professionals. I know that something like that is not what this was intended for, but given the new generations' need to be connected it is a no brainer to apply this API into the medical field.
After the seeing all the fantastic software and services on the horizon, Andrew and I got to see the AT&T data center which powers all those iPhones and Android devices which AT&T subscribers use daily. In seeing the data center, we got to see the evolution of the carrier from 2G to 4G LTE along with the enhancements made to accommodate all the data-heavy devices.
With the science out of the way, all that was left was a tour of the QNX Blackberry-powered Porsche which was very impressive. Not sure why Blackberry would showcase its improvements in a car when it needs to get handsets out there, but who am I to judge. I ‘d like to close things out by saying that my opinion of AT&T has changed a bit after seeing all the work they are doing behind the scenes to improve our connected lifestyle. MTR would like to thank Andrew Zarian from the GFQ Network for the invite and also Alix Anfang for the incredible hospitality.