An AT&T LTE-M Button, announced today, uses sophisticated technology to make things simple. You could think of it a modern-day version of the “ring for service” bells that used to sit on store or dry cleaner counters– except that the entity responding to the alert could be far beyond the next room and may not even be human.

The technology can be easily customized for a wide range of applications. But in an interview, David Allen –director of Advanced Product Development for AT&T IoT Solutions — cited the example of a button attached to a trash container that end users can push when they want the trash picked up. This approach “improves route optimization instead of [sending a truck] at a certain time every week,” Allen explained.

AT&T LTE-M Button
End user organizations configure  the AT&T LTE-M Button to send one specific message to a specific recipient via the AT&T LTE-M network designed specifically for IoT applications. The offering also is supported by cloud infrastructure operated by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

End users will pay $29.95 for the device, which includes three years of LTE-M connectivity. In addition, end users will pay about 20 to 25 cents per active device per month to AWS, noted Sunder Somasundaram, director of business development for AT&T IoT.

As Allen explained, the AT&T LTE-M Button is similar to one previously released from AWS, but that device uses Wi-Fi communications. According to Allen, the LTE-M Button is easier to use because it is preconfigured onto the AT&T network and doesn’t have to be paired up with the customer’s Wi-Fi network. AT&T could have implemented the same capability on its traditional cellular network, but traditional LTE modules are considerably more costly, as is traditional LTE data service.

LTE-M is essentially an overlay on AT&T’s existing LTE network designed for Internet of Things communications. LTE-M devices draw less power than traditional LTE devices and communications is designed to have more range and fewer dropped connections, albeit at lower data rates than traditional LTE service can support.

According to Allen, it is quite easy for end user organizations to customize LTE-M Buttons for their own specific needs. The AWS infrastructure “allows developers to go in, create services in Amazon, do data storage and communicate with devices like the LTE-M [Button},” he explained.

Also today, AT&T said it will soon launch an AT&T IoT OBDII Kit aimed at enabling organizations to easily implement fleet management capabilities such as vehicle tracking and fuel and battery level monitoring. The device is designed to give AWS customers access to the AT&T Asset Management Operations Center (AMOC), which provides the fleet management capabilities, explained Somasundaram. The device will sell for $89.99 and will include one year of connectivity and access.