The new AT&T Foundry innovation center opened this week in Atlanta with the support of networking giant Cisco. The new center will help build and develop improved solutions for the modern network, which many increasingly use as a medium to deliver entertainment.
Bob McIntyre, vice president and CTO for Cisco's service provider group, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the Atlanta center is the fourth such innovation center that AT&T now operates.
"We're put some amount of funding into this to get it going and we can't disclose the exact figure," McIntyre said. "We have over 1,600 people in Atlanta, so we're already a major technology presence in Atlanta."
He added that among other things, Cisco put expertise, lab equipment and innovative new products that are designed and produced in Atlanta into the center. Cisco's Atlanta presence grew out of the company's acquisition of set-top box maker Scientific Atlanta for $6.9 billion in 2005. Cisco currently develops an AT&T U-verse set-top box as well as media gateways and network equipment.
Cisco has helped out other big service providers with OpenStack cloud technology. At the OpenStack Summit in Portland earlier this year, Comcast showed off its OpenStack-powered X1 TV viewing guide, which benefited from Cisco's OpenStack expertise. Cisco is a leading contributor to the open source OpenStack cloud platform.
"The whole notion of a virtualized network and cloud applications is integral to what we're doing at Cisco these days," McIntyre said. "I can't be too specific, but anything you can dream that makes sense to push into the cloud in terms of network or application control are all fair game for the foundry."
McIntyre noted that probably one of the first areas of examination is likely some form of Software Defined Networking (SDN) open networking type of application.
Other AT&T partners will also come into the Atlanta Foundry. McIntyre stressed that Cisco aims to help develop standards-based innovation that is in everyone's interest and will help AT&T to be more successful.
"Anything that comes out of this will be an open standard, and we'll take our chances competing on the basis of best performance, price and features," McIntyre said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist