In July 2019, Microsoft and AT&T entered a strategic alliance to lead innovation and deliver powerful new solutions in some of the most transformative technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, we are sharing that as part of that partnership, AT&T is introducing a new IoT solution consisting of a cellular guardian device powered by their network, security, and support services, and built with Azure Sphere.
As a global leader in telecommunications and network security, AT&T is deeply invested in providing resilient solutions that free their customers to innovate with confidence. When looking for an IoT platform to build upon, they were uncompromising in their quest to balance ease of use with best-in-class device security. They wanted renewable security to guard against emerging threats and keep devices secured over time. They chose Microsoft Azure Sphere for device security.
The cellular-enabled guardian device powered by AT&T combines the fully supported multi-layered security of AT&T’s core network with Azure Sphere’s integrated silicon, software, and cloud services. The Azure Sphere components work seamlessly together to deliver ongoing device security updates for more than ten years. The guardian device physically attaches to brownfield equipment with little to no equipment redesign, delivering edge-to-cloud communication via the AT&T secured cellular network.
AT&T’s guardian device is a transformative example of how Microsoft is working with industry leaders, like AT&T, to achieve more and, in turn, to deliver innovation and opportunity to their customers. Organizations in over 200 countries and territories can now connect their various devices directly to their own cloud network to securely manage and monitor them remotely, unlocking:
- Direct connection to their own clouds bypassing the need for Wi-Fi.
- Device connection in remote areas without Wi-Fi access.
- Devices which are mobile without the need for disconnection and re-pairing to multiple Wi-Fi networks.
A new connectivity option for enterprises
Cellular connectivity is a great addition to the Wi-Fi connectivity option natively offered through Azure Sphere. Cellular presents a compelling opportunity for enterprise customers to solve real world business problems through data and insights.
For instance, retail organizations with embedded or franchised stores (such as convenience stores, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, located in grocery stores, airports, hospitals, or remote locations) with third-party owned Wi-Fi, are now able to simply retrofit a cellular guardian module with Azure Sphere to their equipment and connect securely and directly to their cloud environments to improve product quality and customer service and to reduce operating costs.
Delivering on the vision of securely connected devices and data
As enterprises set their sights on what can be achieved through innovation, the precautions organizations must take when connecting their essential equipment to the cloud are well warranted. If not secured adequately, infrastructure can become vulnerable to exploitation, leading to equipment being rendered useless or controlled for malicious purposes, data pollution or confidential information being compromised.
IoT attacks put organizations at risk and can be so disruptive that they jeopardize long-term business value and objectives. With fully supported network security from AT&T, and device level security from Azure Sphere, organizations can leverage the benefits of secured bi-directional data transfer between devices and any cloud. AT&T provides front-end security, including wireless network security, professional services, and support to the guardian device. Azure Sphere provides the back-end security, protecting the device or equipment connected to the guardian device. This combination empowers enterprises to protect their devices while transforming their business with connected experiences.
Streamlined and scalable connectivity
AT&T’s extensive global network makes it possible for customers’ data to travel via cellular with fast activation out of the box. The cellular guardian device with Azure Sphere enables device connections in any market, with seamless and agile deployments. The AT&T Global SIM allows customers to utilize the same AT&T subscription across more than 200 countries and territories without the need to re-credential.
Azure Sphere’s mission is to empower every organization on the planet to connect and create secured and trustworthy IoT devices. Everything we do is organized around this mission. AT&T’s offer complements our mission; at its core, it’s designed to accelerate IoT transformation by delivering anywhere, anytime access to secured connectivity.
AT&T wants to make IoT easier for their customers. Mo Katibeh, EVP-Chief Product and Platform Officer, puts it nicely, “With the combined solutions from AT&T and Microsoft, we’re offering our customers the means to accelerate their innovation and business problem-solving – simply. This is about creating simple customer experiences that remove connectivity complexity. With cellular, devices just work without the customer having to do Wi-Fi pairing or managing issues with Wi-Fi networks that are not under their control.”
Organizations can streamline their IoT deployment process by leveraging the suite of AT&T’s professional services through the AT&T powered guardian device with Azure Sphere. Features include enhanced support, priority care and monitoring from a single provider, and simplified device connectivity process. By taking advantage of these services, organizations can scale their cellular connectivity deployment, ultimately reaching more end customers.
Get started today
AT&T has introduced a truly unique offering to the market by providing network security and services for a cellular guardian device. It’s exciting to see a network leader back their cellular guardian device with a commitment to security—AT&T is paving the way for customers to achieve more through scalable cellular-enabled IoT deployments.
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