AT&T opens latest Foundry facility in Atlanta, focusing on the connected car, home automation and emerging devices

If you haven't been paying attention, here's the skinny: US carriers are doing everything they can to expand their horizons, and in the case of Verizon and AT&T, this sense of urgency has led to the creation of numerous innovation labs. In a nutshell, these facilities serve as incubation centers for startups and well-positioned outfits alike that are looking to add cellular connectivity to whatever it is they're hawking.

AT&T's latest facility -- its fourth in total -- will open its doors later today, with the Atlanta-based Foundry focusing on innovation in the connected car and emerging devices sectors. Moreover, it'll be used to further AT&T's own U-verse and Digital Life platforms, though specifics of what exactly engineers will be toiling on remain under wraps. For an idea of what all goes down at places like this, have a look at a tour we took through one of Verizon's Innovation Centers right here; we're hoping to get a similar look at AT&T's lairs when time allows.

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AT&T FOUNDRY® INNOVATION CENTER OPENS ITS DOORS IN ATLANTA

New facility will speed innovation in Digital Life, connected car, home entertainment and more

DALLAS, August 27, 2013 - The AT&T Foundry® in Atlanta is officially open for business.

We're taking innovation to the next level, and the new AT&T Foundry® innovation center in Atlanta will help us get there. And as of today, the facility is fully operational. This space is expected to be a launching pad for new ideas and new companies that are capable of quickly going to market and addressing pressing needs in a handful of focus areas.

"At the AT&T Foundry®, we move quickly, so we need to be located in cities and regions with deep technical expertise and a strong entrepreneurial spirit," said John Donovan, Senior Executive Vice President of AT&T Technology and Network Operations, AT&T Inc. "Atlanta fits that description perfectly, and we can't wait to see the groundbreaking infrastructure that will come out of this facility."

The AT&T Foundry® in Atlanta will focus on Digital Life, AT&T's recently-launched home security and automation service, as well as Mobility services, the "connected car", emerging devices and AT&T U-verse.

"Atlanta is the hometown of AT&T Mobility and we're thrilled to launch the newest AT&T Foundry here," said Ralph de la Vega, president & CEO, AT&T Mobility. "With its great mix of Fortune 500 companies, world-class research institutions, and a strong workforce, Atlanta can truly become one of the world's premier locations for tech innovation."

STRONG COLLABORATION

The AT&T Foundry® is highly collaborative, and the Atlanta location will embody that spirit.

Host sponsor Cisco will bring technical and innovation capabilities that are second to none. Cisco will also help scout out the best third-party developers, investors, startups, and entrepreneurs around the world when outside expertise is needed to get a project across the finish line.

"Our deep-rooted heritage and ties to the Atlanta innovation community are a natural fit with the AT&T Foundry® vision," said Pankaj Patel, executive vice president and chief development officer, Cisco. "Cisco's long-standing relationship with AT&T is enhanced by our host sponsorship of the new AT&T Foundry® in Atlanta. We look forward to collaborating with AT&T to bring together people, processes, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever. By working together with AT&T, we look to turn information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences for consumers, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses."

The AT&T Foundry® in Atlanta is adjacent to Georgia Tech, and AT&T will tap into the research expertise and entrepreneurial creativity at the university to help accelerate certain projects. In addition, AT&T anticipates attracting local students to the AT&T Foundry® on a regular basis for hackathons, workshops and other events that will help the students hone their technical and business skills.

"Georgia Tech and AT&T share a common focus on innovation and are already collaborating in a number of areas," said Georgia Tech President G. P. "Bud" Peterson. "Having an AT&T Foundry innovation center in Tech Square will create even greater opportunities for our students and faculty, while allowing AT&T to take full advantage of the talent and intellectual resources at Tech, as they participate in the exciting growth of Midtown as an innovation district."

UNIQUE WORKSPACE

The assistance and insight of the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta was also critical in turning the AT&T Foundry® concept into a working innovation space in the heart of Atlanta as quickly as possible.

"Combining great ideas, business know-how and state-of-the-art infrastructure is a key part of our formula for growing the tech community in Atlanta and is at the heart of what the AT&T Foundry does," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "We're delighted to have an even larger AT&T presence in the city and know that this investment in Atlanta will attract additional investment and jobs."

AT&T Foundry® innovation centers are unique because they focus on smart, rapid development and commercialization. The physical design of the facilities is tailored to that goal. Open floor plans and work spaces encourage collaboration and brainstorming.

But the AT&T Foundry® centers also serve as venues for community engagement and gathering places for discussions and brainstorming around the most important trends in technology and society. For example, hackathons and other technical workshops provide a space for developers, designers and other dreamers in the local community to gather and compete in teams to build the best possible apps in just 24 hours.

ATLANTA AT THE HEART OF INNOVATION

The Atlanta location is ideal for these sorts of events, given the technical and entrepreneurial energy in the region. In Georgia, the app economy has an annual impact of $1.06 billion, according to a study from CTIA – The Wireless Association and the Application Developers Alliance.

Roughly 80,000 Atlantans work in information technology-related jobs, with software development and engineering among the city's strengths. And the next-generation of developers and entrepreneurs are cultivated through a robust university system, including Georgia Tech and others.

There's also a thriving community of small and large tech firms in the region, creating an ecosystem of opportunities around areas such as automotive, health IT, mobile payments and security.

The AT&T Foundry® is designed to complement and augment a region's innovative spirit. That's why we chose Atlanta.

The AT&T Foundry® locations also host occasional events such as the new FutureCast forum, a series of salon-style discussions where experts come together to discuss and debate some of the hottest trends in technology.

The AT&T Foundry® program was launched in 2010 to identify solutions both inside and outside of AT&T to some of the most pressing needs facing the company and the industry. That vision – of faster innovation through open collaboration – has been realized through a variety of projects.

There are currently four AT&T Foundry® locations. In addition to the new Atlanta location, we also have innovation centers in Palo Alto, Calif., Plano, Texas, and Ra'anana, Israel, focused on consumer, enterprise and back-office technology, respectively. A second AT&T Foundry® location in Plano, focused on Machine-to-Machine technology, will open later this year. AT&T Foundry® sponsors, in addition to Cisco, include Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs, and Ericsson, as well as Intel and Microsoft. Together, AT&T and the sponsors have invested more than $100 million in the AT&T Foundry® program.