VP IoT and GM of Smart Cities at AT&T Mike Zeto spoke with TechRepublic’s Teena Maddox about turning Los Angeles into a smart city.

Mike Zeto: This week here in L.A., at Mobile World Congress Americas, we announced a very exciting partnership with the city of L.A.. It’s a public-private partnership that will allow us to improve connectivity across the city for all of the Angelenos, and also to deploy our network much faster here, in partnership with the city. And, at the same time, we’re helping them on their journey to becoming a Smart City, and creating a more livable, efficient, and safe environment for their citizens through exchanging some technology that we have. And, in return, again, we’ll be able to deploy our network faster. So, we are really focused on helping the mayor and his team gather data and analytics, so that they can then make decisions that have a positive impact for all the citizens of L.A., regardless of what neighborhood they live in here in the city.

From an IoT perspective, there are really three areas that we’ve started to focus. One is around emergency preparedness and structured monitoring. We have solutions, AT&T structured monitoring, that give you the ability to monitor elevated structures, so tilts, cracks, and vibrations in bridges, roadways, buildings–so, obviously, very important here in the Los Angeles area.

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The second area of opportunity, from an IoT perspective, that we’re working with the city on, is digital kiosks — but, for a very different purpose than many cities look at using a digital kiosk. It’s not as much about monetizing it from an advertising perspective. It’s about levering the technology to provide services to citizens, and primarily in homeless encampments throughout the city of Los Angeles, where you could provide digital services and give people access, not only to Wi-Fi through the kiosk, but also to finding the nearest shelter, or finding the nearest place where they could go and get a meal, or 911 services. It’s a very different use-case for digital kiosk, but they will be cellular connected, there will be Wi-Fi capabilities there, and again, focused on homeless encampments across the Los Angeles city area.

And then, lastly, AT&T’s Digital Infrastructure offering, it’s an IoT central solution that includes multiple cameras, environmental sensors, and audio sensors. So there’s a few key use-cases that can be addressed there. One is the cameras and the audio sensors that detect gunshots for public-safety purposes. The other is to be able to gather data related to traffic, and then also parking. So a couple of different use-cases there, from a camera perspective. And then also, when you’re looking at the environmental sensors, the ability to monitor air quality, which again, is a problem in many large cities that are becoming more dense, that have high traffic. You’ve got public safety, you’ve got the air quality, you’re got parking, traffic data, and then you have the ability to also develop applications on top of that sensor, and drive an economic development and innovation component for the city using the data that comes from the cameras and the sensors.