All about the Network: Expanding Innovation in Healthcare, the Internet of Things, Big Data and Open
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
All about the Network: Expanding Innovation in Healthcare, the Internet of Things, Big Data and Open Source
January 05, 2016
By John Donovan
Imagine a world. A world of smart cities. Of connected cars. Of 50 billion devices plugged in to the Internet, protecting your home or your company, making your life easier and more enjoyable.
Imagine software that lets you link multiple tablets or wearables to a single mobile number.
Imagine medical devices and technologies that can make it easier for the injured or disabled to get around, or to get a diagnosis from a doctor without ever stepping foot in a hospital.
Now imagine all of that without a network behind it. The truth is, without a smart, flexible, fast network, none of those innovations will ever exist outside our imaginations.
I’m in Las Vegas today at the annual AT&T Developer Summit. While my colleagues from across AT&T are highlighting some amazing technology, I want to explain how the network makes it all work seamlessly.
We’ve been talking about our network transformation story for some time now. We’re becoming software-centric. We’re moving from customized hardware into flexible software. As I’ve said before, it’s like going from a bulky CD player to a streaming music app on your smartphone.
But that’s only part of the transformation story.
Another part is how we’re embracing open source, Big Data and the Internet of Things across our network:
- Open Source: We’ve said we plan to go from having 5% of our software built on open source software to 50%. We’re on track to hit that mark. We’re working with industry groups like OpenDaylight, OPNFV, ON.Lab, the Linux Foundation, OpenStack and others. For example, we’re building our AT&T Integrated Cloud, or AIC, technology in OpenStack. Our AIC nodes are the physical locations where we run virtual network functions. Our goal was to deploy 69 of these in nodes in 2015. We beat that, deploying 74. Creating this global cloud infrastructure gives us better performance, security and flexibility. We’re asking developers to continue to support OpenStack, and to make their applications cloud-native whenever possible.
- Big Data: Our AT&T Labs team recently created an open source Big Data visualization tool called Nanocubes. A Nanocube gives you real-time map of millions or even billions of data points from across the network. It helps make Big Data manageable.
- The Internet of Things: A year ago, we launched our M2X Data Service, a cloud-based data storage service for enterprise IoT developers. And today, we’re announcing the commercial launch of Flow Designer, a cloud-based tool developed at the AT&T Foundry that lets IoT developers quickly build new applications. These are powerful tools. But there are some challenges in the IoT space where we need outside help. One of those challenges is interoperability. How do we get all those billions of devices, from different companies, on different networks, in different parts of the world, to work together? We think the open source developer community has a huge role here. OpenDaylight is spearheading a project called the Internet of Things Data Management project. By doing this in open source, we can address concerns about vendor lock-in. We hope this project, or a similar effort, gets the support it needs.
This collaborative spirit is a driving force in our transformation. And the AT&T Foundry is a big part of that force. These five innovation centers in Silicon Valley, the Dallas area, Atlanta and Israel help us test, prototype and commercialize new products and services faster than we ever could before.
And nearly 5 years since the first facility opened its doors, I’m thrilled to announce we’ll be opening number six very soon. The AT&T Foundry for Connected Health will be located at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute in Houston, Texas.
This new location will be a branch of our growing IoT ecosystem, working hand-in-hand with our IoT-focused AT&T Foundry location in the Dallas area. We’ll have a lot more to share on that once we get closer to the official opening.
But at the heart of that new innovation project – of all our innovation projects – is the network. It connects and powers all of that great new technology.