BARCELONA -- AT&T Monday said it will supply LTE wireless services to most General Motors vehicles starting in 2014 in the U.S. and Canada.
A multi-year agreement between AT&T and GM subsidiary OnStar calls for vehicles to continue getting OnStar's safety and security services while adding information and entertainment services for backseat drivers, AT&T said.
Millions of vehicles will be affected, as AT&T rolls out LTE to reach 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014.
The AT&T-GM announcement is part of an explosion in the number of devices connected to the Internet, many of them wirelessly, in what some have termed the "Internet of Things."
"The is a big announcement for connected devices," Glenn Lurie, president of emerging enterprises and partnerships at AT&T, said in an interview at Mobile World Congress here.
At the International CES show in January, AT&T had announced its Digital Life service for bringing wireless home monitoring and security services to U.S. customers.
Lurie said LTE-connected GM cars can be linked to a connected home so that the vehicle's arrival will be recognized and then the system will automatically turn on lights or open a garage door.
Computerworld asked Lurie how average people will be able to afford having LTE wireless in a car as well as on every smartphone and tablet? Lurie said he imagines that AT&T may someday consider the car to be like any connected device in AT&T's data sharing plan, so that a group of 10 or 100 devices can share a bucket of data.
"We'll be wirelessly enabling everything," Lurie said, including wireless body monitoring that could help elderly people to continue to live in their homes.
Tom Daly, a group director for mobile at Coca-Cola, appeared with Lurie on a panel at MWC that was sponsored by AirWatch, an enterprise mobility management vendor. Daly said that Coke would benefit from personal monitoring devices that can tell a person when to get hydrated, as well as where to buy a bottle of water or juice or a soft drink through GPS and mapping systems.
Coca-Cola currently sells 1.3 billion servings of its various products every day, and is on track to expand that number to 2 billion daily by 2020. Part of that growth will be accomplished by using wireless technologies to match customers with places that sell products like Coke, Daly said.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.