Electronics component distributor Avnet has partnered with AT&T to provide IoT managed services. With this agreement, Avnet will be able to seamlessly integrate into AT&T’s cloud-based application development environment that includes the platforms AT&T M2X and AT&T Flow Designer. The goal is to more effectively support designers as they develop and produce IoT systems with global cellular connections.
A few years ago, I attended an Avnet media event. The Avnet CEO at the time, Rick Hamada, was asked about a relatively new term, the Internet of Things. Would Avnet be developing products to support it? He responded, “However they use this Internet of Things, they’re going to need Avnet components.” True enough given the company’s vast global line card. Now Avnet and AT&T are offering a turnkey starter kit that was created to help designers deploy IoT technology globally. The Global LTE IoT Starter Kit will become fully available in June.
Based on previous partnerships with AT&T, Avnet decided to deploy the communication company’s cloud for the connectivity part of the kit. “When companies bring their product to market, they want to connect throughout the world. We want customers to be able to buy the kit, plug it in, and get working right away,” Tim Barber, SVP at Avnet Electronics Marketing, told Design News. “Customers can use it as an evaluation platform or use it in their existing line.”
The goal of the kit is to provide tools to create IoT-connected devices and provide the full connectivity, as well. “The combination of AT&T’s IoT managed services and Avnet’s Global LTE IoT Starter Kit offers developers a set of tools and services to simplify and accelerate the creation of connected IoT devices,” said Barber. “With the production-ready LTE kit and AT&T IoT services, Avnet provides the complete package for cellular connected sensor-to-cloud solutions.”
The starter kit includes three parts:
AT&T IoT Platform Access
The starter kit is integrated with the AT&T IoT Platform that includes M2X and Flow. It’s a cloud-based, fully managed time-series data storage service for networked and connected machine-to-machine devices and IoT. M2X enables the kit to connect to AT&T’s IoT platform, allowing developers to manage, organize and register individual devices. Developers will be able to deploy and run custom-built application logic from Flow Designer in scalable docker environments.
The kit is outfitted with a global SIM to enable operation in over 25 countries. It features a small (79.5 mm x 30 mm) development board build around Wistron NeWeb Corporation’s M18QWG global LTE Cat-4 modem module. To speed IoT deployment and reduce compliance risk, the fully certified development board includes the required network and government certifications. The board includes an ambient light sensor, temperature sensor, and 3-axis accelerometer for out-of-box demonstration examples.
A set of system peripherals, controllable through the user’s application code, are accessible through a 60-pin expansion connector or a 2x6 peripheral module. This facilitates customization with application-specific sensors and I/O interfaces through the addition of user-created or off-the-shelf plug-in boards.
Built for Speed
The overriding concept behind the starter kit is to help developers get IoT-enabled systems to market quickly. “We’re working with hardware and software vendors, so it’s an integrated approach. We’ve done all the design so developers can get to market quickly,” said Barber. Avnet also provides technical support for the kit. “The other thing we do is deploy technical resources so developers know they’re getting it designed properly and done on time.”
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Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.