Carriers have always had a central role in Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud strategy. The provider relies on network operators like AT&T Inc. to link its data centers with the offices of large enterprise clients, and it now wants to harness the same telecommunications infrastructure for supporting connected devices.
Amazon and AT&T today launched a new “strategic, multi-year” effort to widen the adoption of the former’s Amazon Web Services IoT service, a cloud-based platform for managing emerging sources of machine-generated data. The platform will be bundled into the carrier’s hardware development kits to help device makers who rely on its LTE infrastructure speed up their projects. Amazon also plans to pair its offering with AT&T’s newly unveiled IoT Data Plans, which are specifically geared towards low-power systems such as sensors that generate relatively small amounts of information.
The companies didn’t specify exactly what customers will gain from the latter part of the partnership, but it’s possible to make some educated guesses. Amazon might provide free network usage credits to organizations that adopt AWS IoT, while AT&T could put together a similar offer on its end. The vendors hope that making the cloud giant’s platform more easily accessible for device operators will increase demand and thus open new revenue opportunities.
For Amazon, an influx of new users should directly translate into more sales. And the subsequent increase in traffic from connected devices to AWS could create an opening for AT&T to sell more direct network links. The carrier said that it will enhance the connectivity options available to joint customers as part of the effort.
At the same time, AT&T will draw upon Amazon’s expertise to enhance its recently introduced Threat Intellect Service, which uses machine learning algorithms to detect malicious activity patterns in its network. The collaboration will likely place a particular emphasis on improving the detection of bottlenecks that exploit insecure connected devices to launch DDoS attacks. One such botnet made headlines last month after it took down the blog of prominent security blogger Brian Krebs with an unprecedented 620 Gbps of junk traffic.
Yet while it certainly stands to gain a lot from Amazon’s connected device ambitions, AT&T probably won’t be the only carrier that benefits. The cloud giant relies on multiple telcos to provide direct connectivity for enterprise customers and will likely take a similar approach with its IoT strategy. As a result, users can expect more such partnerships to be announced in the coming quarters.
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