Connected cars are just the tip of the iceberg. Last year, AT&T unveiled a home security service that allows users to control their home’s lights, alarm systems, locks and doors from a tablet or smartphone. A year earlier, the company showed off pill bottles that send text messages to remind people to take their medications.
“At AT&T, our goal is to wirelessly enable everything,” said Glenn Lurie, AT&T’s vice president of partnerships, at a press conference on Monday.
These new services may be useful, but they’re also changing our behavior on the mobile Internet. Consumers are downloading more and more data as a greater number of things become connected and mobile broadband speeds become blazing fast with the nationwide rollouts of 4G networks.
In its latest annual Visual Networking Index, Cisco predicted that the average American will use 6.2 GB of data on their mobile devices each month by 2017. To put that into context, Americans used just 752 MB on average last year.
If data plans stay the same five years down the road, the average user’s smartphone bill could grow by $40 a month.
Not to worry, AT&T says. There are as many smart people thinking about how to solve the wireless data overload issue as there are people working up new ways to connect to the network.
“Don’t give up on technology innovators,” said de la Vega. “As we’ve seen major technology shifts in the past five years, from 2G to 3G to 4G, the cost per megabyte has always come down. We have to make these services affordable for customers, or else it will be impossible to use them.”