AT&T has announced that OutdoorLink’s SmartLink is the first all-weather programmable device for the outdoor advertising industry to be certified to operate over AT&T’s wireless data network.
SmartLink is a wireless, M2M lighting controller designed exclusively for the outdoor advertising industry. It enables outdoor companies to turn off remotely unsold billboard faces plus track and monitor power outages, power restoration, bulb outages and daily proof of performance — all through a Web-based application.
In addition, the combination of digital signage and cellular M2M technology delivers the flexibility that enables outdoor advertising companies to update advertising displays quickly and frequently, as well as rotate images from several different advertisers. The control of lighting for digital signage through SmartLink also can save operational costs.
“With over 7,500 SmartLink units deployed in the market, more than $2.5 million has been saved in utility costs in the past 15 months,” said Dwight Jennings, founder and CEO of OutdoorLink, Huntsville, Ala. “The potential for direct utility savings and indirect business cost savings from using SmartLink are substantial.”
According to the company, the weatherproof device incorporates a soldered VQFN8 SIM (subscriber identity module) and is the first device with advanced machine to machine (M2M) technology in outdoor display advertising to complete PCS Type Certification Review Board (PTCRB) standards testing over wireless networks.
The VQFN8 SIM provides environment advantages over standard consumer SIM cards by providing extended service life and reliability of M2M cellular devices in outdoor applications, the company said. It is designed to stand up to extreme temperatures, vibration and corrosion that can shorten the normal service life of standard SIMs in rugged environments, potentially resulting in lower lifetime maintenance costs for M2M equipment.
“AT&T is an early leader in machine-to machine (M2M) communications and is delivering on the market’s exciting potential,” added Hamish Caldwell, executive director, product marketing management, AT&T Business Solutions, Dallas. “Our goal is to help drive wireless capabilities into a wide variety of devices beyond traditional handsets for businesses.”
According to a recent study from ABI Research ( “Cellular M2M Connectivity Service Providers,” September 2009), cellular M2M connections, which enable wireless data calls between machines, will approximately triple their current number of about 75 million by 2014.