February 25, 2013, 8:37 AM — BARCELONA -- AT&T Monday said it will supply LTE wireless services to most General Motors vehicles starting in 2014 in the U.S. and Canada.
A multi-year agreement between AT&T and GM subsidiary OnStar calls for vehicles to continue getting OnStar's safety and security services while adding information and entertainment services for backseat drivers, AT&T said.
Millions of vehicles will be affected, as AT&T rolls out LTE to reach 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014.
The AT&T-GM announcement is part of an explosion in the number of devices connected to the Internet, many of them wirelessly, in what some have termed the " Internet of Things."
"The is a big announcement for connected devices," Glenn Lurie, president of emerging enterprises and partnerships at AT&T, said in an interview at Mobile World Congress here.
At the International CES show in January, AT&T had announced its Digital Life service for bringing wireless home monitoring and security services to U.S. customers.
Lurie said LTE-connected GM cars can be linked to a connected home so that the vehicle's arrival will be recognized and then the system will automatically turn on lights or open a garage door.
Computerworld asked Lurie how average people will be able to afford having LTE wireless in a car as well as on every smartphone and tablet? Lurie said he imagines that AT&T may someday consider the car to be like any connected device in AT&T's data sharing plan, so that a group of 10 or 100 devices can share a bucket of data.
"We'll be wirelessly enabling everything," Lurie said, including wireless body monitoring that could help elderly people to continue to live in their homes.
Tom Daly, a group director for mobile at Coca-Cola, appeared with Lurie on a panel at MWC that was sponsored by AirWatch, an enterprise mobility management vendor. Daly said that Coke would benefit from personal monitoring devices that can tell a person when to get hydrated, as well as where to buy a bottle of water or juice or a soft drink through GPS and mapping systems.
Coca-Cola currently sells 1.3 billion servings of its various products every day, and is on track to expand that number to 2 billion daily by 2020. Part of that growth will be accomplished by using wireless technologies to match customers with places that sell products like Coke, Daly said.