carry a cell phone, there are not a lot of new customers for
wireless carriers to target. That is, unless you start considering non-human
customers. That's just what AT&T
has in mind with a new dog collar that can connect to the Internet.
After talking about wireless dog collars for more than a
year, AT&T is almost ready to deploy a collar. The collar could send text
messages or emails to a pet owner if the pet strays outside of a predefined
area. It could also provide continuous tracking of the pet.
A wireless dog collar is just one of many new devices
AT&T hopes will catch on and provide additional streams of revenue. Other
gadgets could include a pill box that will remind you to take your medicine, ereaders
, tracking devices
for shipping containers, and in-car entertainment systems. By connecting these
types of devices to the Internet via AT&T's network, the company expects to
bring in about $1 billion in annual services revenue in about five years.
"We see opportunities in dogs, in pallets, in cars and
how you take your pills," Ralph de la Vega, the head of AT&T's mobile
business, said at the CTIA annual wireless trade show.
AT&T showed off a dog collar at CTIA
but did not reveal a
price. The carrier expects to launch the collar later this year. The dog collar
was developed by Berkeley, California-based Apisphere.