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MWCA: AT&T to partner with Los Angeles on smart cities

AT&T and the City of Los Angeles are in talks for the carrier to deploy IoT smart cities technology and small cells across LA to improve traffic congestion, public safety, and natural disaster preparations.

AT&T has announced that it is in talks to form a partnership with the City of Los Angeles to deploy smart cities solutions across LA.

The public-private partnership would involve support from the city for the widescale deployment of AT&T's Internet of Things (IoT) technology and small cells to combat local issues including traffic, public safety, and natural disaster preparedness.

Being able to deploy small cells more rapidly will also help with the launch of a 5G network in future, AT&T said in its announcement during Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) in LA on Wednesday.

"We're exploring possibilities with the City of LA to create a technology-first environment that can improve experiences for residents and visitors across the community," AT&T VP and GM of Smart Cities Michael Zeto said.

"We're looking to help the city improve problems like traffic congestion and public safety."

The solutions being explored by the City of Los Angeles and AT&T include digital kiosks, structural monitoring, and digital infrastructure, with use cases to be deployed across all neighbourhoods in an effort to close the digital divide.

"Access to information is the foundation of equality, opportunity, and prosperity," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "We are establishing unique partnerships as we deploy new networks and technologies across LA."

AT&T also said it is looking to deliver its FirstNet services to the LA Fire Department and the LA Police Department in addition to the public safety agencies already using it in the area.

"We're about to witness an evolution in public safety communications and first responders' access to data. This is thanks to the advancements of the FirstNet network platform and the technologies that are being built upon it," AT&T's FirstNet consultant and former Los Angeles Police Department CIO Maggie Goodrich said.

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As part of its smart cities play, AT&T had in February announced a partnership with Cisco, with the networking giant to integrate its Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform into various AT&T smart cities solutions, including the Smart Cities Operations Center (SCOC).

SCOC, which provides near real-time information and analysis of city data on a central dashboard, will be bolstered with the addition of Cisco's cloud-based platform for extracting, computing, and transferring IoT data, AT&T said at the time.

According to the carrier, utilising Cisco's Kinetic platform will enable more uses for data, pointing to the example of connected parking meters providing information on available parking spaces to drivers; monetisation for third-party parking apps; and traffic pattern information for city planners.

"One data point -- parking meter availability -- can be utilised by multiple parties to deliver many different services. The same possibilities apply to smart lighting, urban mobility, water metering, safety and security, and many other city services," AT&T explained.

AT&T at the time also announced a smart cities project in Portland, Oregon, to trial its AT&T Smart Cities Digital Infrastructure and AT&T Smart Cities Structure Monitoring solutions, which it said would involve working with IBM IoT Cloud, IBM Services, and Moniteye on deploying LTE-enabled sensors across city infrastructure to measure temperature, tilt, and cracks.

AT&T's 5G rollout will see it bring 5G by the end of 2018 to Dallas, Atlanta, Waco, Charlotte, Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Louisville.

The carrier earlier this week announced that it is additionally planning to launch mobile 5G services in parts of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose in early 2019.

Across its 19 5G deployments, AT&T said it has selected Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung as its vendors.

The carrier will also be kitting out its Foundry innovation centres in Atlanta, Plano, and Palo Alto with 5G connectivity to focus on developing technologies and use cases across 5G, IoT, smart cities, and VR gaming.

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