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AT&T has been hosting its Developer Summit prior to the CES conference in Las Vegas for the past 11 years. Initially focused on mobile developers and promoting the use of AT&T services and platforms, the summit now offers a much broader program of events. For the past few years, AT&T has been delivering generously at the summit, making major announcements and sharing strategic initiatives outside the scope of developers. At the most recent summit in January, the CEO of Ericsson joined AT&T on stage. We don’t often see such a great example of under promoting and over delivering at one event.

Developers, hackathons, and a quick-start application contest still feature – but there are fewer ponytails

AT&T still uses the summit to provide platform updates and new tools to its developer community. It still sponsors a hackathon over the weekend and hosts a quick-start application contest for developers. However, the summit is starting to attract other industry participants beyond the developer community, including partners, vendors, customers, and technology firms. This means more suits and fewer ponytails.

At the most recent summit in January 2016, AT&T made announcements covering its progress on SDN/NFV; O2’s use of its Digital Life platform in the UK; mobile business expansion in Mexico; its smart cities program alliance partners (i.e. Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel, and Qualcomm); and the AT&T Foundry in Houston for connected health (among many other IoT topics). Any one of these announcements could have been enough for a standalone event.

Given the expanded audience and greater breadth of developments and announcements at the summit, AT&T needs to consider how to organize and promote the next one. It might be time for AT&T to give the summit a new name and develop more tracks for the larger variety of topics and attendees. Because the summit is a major event that details AT&T’s progress on many fronts at the very start of the year, it is still worth the time commitment each year. However, “AT&T’s Major Strategic Initiatives: A Show-and-Tell” is perhaps a more suitable name for the event.


Further reading

“10 trends from CES 2016,” TE0004-001059 (January 2016)


Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Services

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