Gail Wong with AT&T

Industrial Talk is onsite at DistribuTECH and talking to Gail Wong, Head of Marketing IoT Asset Management Solutions with AT&T about “Rapid Response – Quick deployment of cellular services for first responders”.

Scott MacKenzie and Gail discussed the latest innovations in utility industry communication and networking, highlighting the benefits of connecting meters and providing emergency communication solutions for utility providers. Gail emphasized the importance of quick deployment and backup networks in emergency situations, while MacKenzie stressed the crucial role of communication in restoring connectivity. Later, Scott and Gail discussed the shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) in fleet operations and the importance of enhancing visibility and operational efficiency in charging infrastructure. Both speakers stressed the importance of data-driven decision-making and strategic planning to optimize fleet operations and achieve sustainability goals.

Action Items

  • [ ] Connect with Gail Wong on LinkedIn ( or via email ( for more information on ATT's connectivity solutions.
  • [ ] Check out ATT's booth at Distributed to see demonstrations of their emergency response technologies like the cellular-enabled helicopter.
  • [ ] Consider how fleet telematics data and electrification strategies could help utilities prepare for the rise in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure needs.
  • [ ] Continue expanding the FirstNet emergency responder network and connected vehicle capabilities.


Connectivity and innovation in the telecommunications industry.

  • Scott MacKenzie welcomes Gail to the podcast and praises her work with Siemens.
  • Gail shares her experience working with Siemens and discusses the company's innovations.
  • Scott MacKenzie and Gail discuss the potential of satellite technology to improve connectivity, particularly in areas with minimal coverage.
  • They explore the possibility of using satellite signals to beam cellular and data signals directly to phones, potentially saving lives in emergency situations.

Utilizing technology to improve utility operations and emergency response.

  • Gail highlights how connected devices can reduce costs and provide better visibility for utilities.
  • Gail details FirstNet's progress, goals, and new $6B funding for responder network.
  • Gail describes a rapid deployment vehicle and helicopter with cellular capability for emergency response communication.

Emergency response and communication technology.

  • Gail describes how the team deploys assets quickly (100-200 miles) and reroutes traffic when fiber cuts occur.
  • Gail explains how trailers with network equipment are used to connect facilities when power is lost or flooded.
  • Gail discusses utilizing data from connected devices to improve emergency response times.
  • Gail discusses their experience with Tesla and the importance of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure and its importance for businesses.

  • Gail discusses the potential for electric vehicles (EVs) to replace gasoline-powered vehicles in fleets, citing cost savings and faster refueling times.
  • Gail highlights the importance of infrastructure support for widespread EV adoption, including public and office chargers.
  • Gail highlights lack of visibility in charging infrastructure for non-Tesla EV owners.
  • Gail Peter Wong shares his wealth of knowledge on industrial talk podcast.
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network, gail, AT&T, chargers, connected, vehicle, firstnet, assets, data, bills, industrial, cellular, satellite, partners, helicopter, utility, give, platform, trucks, operational efficiencies


Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go


Alright, once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk and thank you for your continued support of a platform that celebrates into the industry professionals all around the world. You are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly you innovate, you collaborate, you solve problems, making the world a better place. No doubt about it. It is quiet right now. We are at DISTRIBUTECH. We are really just a handful of people and we're hitting it hard and heavy today. We're going to have great interviews and we have one right off the bat. Right off the bat. He's a legend. Just get a paper and pencil because you're going to be drinking from a firehose. He's getting one AT&T is the company. Let's get cracking. Gail is in the house.


Good morning, Orlando and to all your listeners. My name is Gail Wong. I've been with


Dona Ana, and I just went right into it, man. You're just awesome. Hey,


you know you give me a microphone and Susie. He's just he just wrote. You give me a microphone. You gave me three mics. I


gave you three.


And he rose tells me to start talking.


It does. No. Yeah, get to a girl.


Cheap powered coffee cups. So I'm ready to I'm wired right now actually is my second cup. You


guys offering the the coffee over there? Today or in the neighborhood?


Neighbor. Today's three o'clock. We'll definitely have coffee from three to six. So a little blue. Yesterday.


That's right, which was doggone good, too. Oh, yeah.


I can call at three o'clock. Yes, sir.


Yeah. Just one second. She's in the house. She's after you've been? She's awesome. So if you have a few minutes, we'll get right to it. We have Gail right now.


Hi. How are you? Are you from Sophie? Where are you from? Oh, see, well, z. We work with Siemens all day every day. So yeah. So we're all friends here.


Sabina is on deck, by the way. Okay, is on deck. So hang tight. Grab a grab a chair to give him the grout. And there you go. How about that? So So Gail, outside of the fact. No, no, no, no, no. No. Just scale. No. Pull the seats out. Yeah. Yeah. It's just you. That's been there they are. That's good. All right.


All right. This is good. It's live. It's live. We're going live


action right now. What


did we say yesterday was our tagline.


No, today this morning, you just got to live it. No, gotta live it. Connecting changes everything that you said, you're gonna get right


there connecting changes. Everything's really if you think about what AT&T does, and how, you know, in 2008, we had a tagline of AT&T connects your world, every live everywhere you live and work and do it better than anything. Everybody else, right, circa 16 years later, and you know, I've been almost here 22 years. So I've got so many different taglines were truly, what does connectivity bring? In this dawn of an age? Right? Yeah, you know, the last time I was here, we I had talked about how the remember the commercials where you will, and we talked about, you will be able to have a video conversation over the network between you and your family, between you and your customers, between you and your service providers or your partners. And we do that each and every day. We do


it without even thinking about That's right. It's like a Space Odyssey type stuff. You remember that? That's right. It's that oh, that's.


So now you're talking about space. Right? So how do we now be able to beam and all the satellites now are pushing, you know, you talk to Elon, he's got Starlink and you got to talk to as t where it will now how do we broadcast a cellular plus data signal over satellite? Not to a big satellite receiver that's on your RV? Yeah. But now to your phone and utilize the spectrum that we give to the satellite partners with AT&T a TST and say okay, being that help us find where we have assets that that have little to minimal coverage? Well, your phone will be able to tell you that right you look at two current iPhones. iPhone 14 and above can do satellite SOS, right and saying, Hey, I'm stuck somewhere in the mountains or in this No, come save me. Right? So connecting changes everything. So if you think about right, that just saved your life, right? But when we talk about, you know, the things that we're doing here for utilities, well, at home, your, your utility meter is connected, right? No longer does a utility company need to send out and go read meters, right? You don't see the guys walking the sidewalks anymore, right? Because they're getting that data over what's called a network, network based IoT connection, less than 100k. But all I need to do is read your meter every day. So now what is that that's good for the planet, right? Because we're not driving cars everywhere. It's good for data processing, right? Getting your bills accurately, right? Because it's just pinging one.


I don't I don't want to create bills, I want cheaper bills,


that cheaper bills, but if you can reduce the cost of rolling trucks, it benefits everybody. Yeah. Right. So. So that's just one aspect, right? And so what we're showing here at DISTRIBUTECH, with AT&T business and AT&T connected solutions, is really about how does our solutions, provide better visibility, provide operational efficiencies, so you can make informed decisions? So, you know, we've got our, our we support the utility industry, just like our, with our FirstNet partners, right, we 18 t is, is the contract vendor to provide a network for first responders, which utility companies are extended primary for supporting, hey, we need to get, we need to get facilities back up and running for its constituents. So when Congress authorized it, at&t won the bid to build out the FirstNet network. And so, circa six, seven years later, we have met all of our goals that we've outlined. And so the federal government just gave us another $6 billion to now put that FirstNet network, which is basically a separate band that is, is definitely available on your cell phones, but only a available to the first responder nervous because unfortunately, during the 911, nobody could talk to each other. No first responders, everything was just there. It was it was the airwaves. And and and, you know, there was an interoperability between between all their different agencies. So as as we built the network, right, we said, okay, what are the applications that you need? As a first responder, right, we made sure those devices, the device partners, right, we don't make the phones. We're like BASF. Remember, though, that tagline. We don't make oil, we make oil richer, right? But we make the network, which has priority preemption capabilities, where you're number one on the network list when something goes wrong. You have a dedicated network across our consumer and commercial network. That is for you to make that call during the Superbowl, or during a national disaster. We're there to support you. And we have over 175 wheeled we are our century robotic dogs that are available to FirstNet agencies when they need it. We even have amphibious vehicles. So if you remember that hurricane that happened off off the Tampa site right south of Tampa, we had to bring cellular assets to an island that was not connected. It was completely off the grid room. Right. So we drove our amphibious vehicle. Let us settler on wheels big. Sorry, it was called a just Just don't


ask me. Yeah. Because all I know is I've seen your your mad technology over there. And I'm geeking out on that. So yeah,


a rapid deployment vehicle. So basically, that covers two miles of an area coverage. Right. And we I talked about our wings, right? So we can send a helicopter up in the sky powered from the ground, where that's going to broadcast up to nine miles of coverage for up to 16 days.


Now, see, this is what I was telling everybody. I said you're gonna be drinking from a firehose, just peppering us with the solutions. So just take it back down. You're saying that helicopter that I see over there? Yes. Is a cellular capability capable that hovers that hovers that will provide cellular capable communication, emergency response communication Correct.


Connected had to because there's not enough gas in the helicopter. Right? Right. Because it's Power over Ethernet. And if you drop a cable up to 400 feet down, it's being powered by the generators we bring on site. So during a national disaster a kitty Yeah, so I am part of ACP school. Yeah. I am part of ATI T's network Disaster Recovery Network, right. So it's a, it's, it's hundreds of assets that are at the beck and call of when there's a disaster. So we roll the team out. And we say, Okay, we need to, we need to set up these, you know, facilities for the staff, because we're going to be there to three weeks, we need to set up the generators, we need to set up the network equipment, all of that comes, and we take over an area. And so we say, Okay, first responders, what do you guys need? Where do you? Where do you see whether your fire department police, or the utilities? Where do you guys need us to give you connectivity? Right, because you have your cell phones that need to talk, you have your laptops that need to talk, you need to FEMA to come in, so all of those big government agencies are on that FirstNet umbrella, right? Over 22,000 agencies with over 6 million devices are now on FirstNet.


How did you do it? How quickly did you deploy it? You had the you had the incident that happened? And let's say continue to use Tampa? And clearly needed needed some help? How quickly can you deploy these, these solutions?


Atom at a minimum, you can get certain assets in ours, right? Because we've got multiple depots that that all of those of those equipments are staged, as well. So yeah, so you know, a hurricane, it's going to take days to come. But we've already staged those assets. We stage the fuel trucks. And so so that's we're ready to roll into it. If there's somewhere within 100 200 miles that we know, our assets are just ready to go. Right. And then we roll the trucks in. But when it's what's in it, what what when there's fiber cuts and all that other stuff, then that's when those trailers with network equipment that that we're going to reroute all that traffic. But we've that's when we got to plug in things, right? Just like when you you, you have fiber to your house, right? We've got instead of fiber to house, we basically connect from one facility through a trailer that has all the switching gear because maybe that that central office doesn't have power. Yeah, even though we've had generators there, it gets flooded in or get something happens when we've got to route all that power, bring new network equipment on trailers to connect in, and voila, the network's backup, right. And that that could be a 48 hour turnaround, just depending on what the severity is. But from a vehicle perspective, or, or flying wheel perspective, we can get them back and running. So you'll see there's briefcases over there. Right. So those briefcases are definitely portable, you put it in your your GMC Denali, you're off and running, and now you've got one mile coverage over satellite cellular that you can broadcast. That little camp that you've set up so vital.


This is something that I didn't realize, I I knew that there were responses to this, but communication is everything in an emergency situation. Right? And and the quicker you can do it, of course, it makes sense. I just didn't know if you can't have these connected solutions. Exactly.


And so that's what all these utility providers that surround us here and, and the technologies used. So so what I've done in the last five, six years is, you know, data is just data, right? And I'm a I'm a full investor of AI. And I like to say Jen is is Gail AI, where it's really talking about what I get all this data now that, you know, I run the fleet management, asset tracking, kind of the go to market strategy of Well, with this data, it's kind of like when you met you married Suzy, right? With this date data IV wet, right. So what do you do with the data that all of these technology partners, whether it's AWS, Oracle, Salesforce are all here. But what do we do that data that makes business sense? So, you know, AT&T has over 127 million connected devices out there, right? Whether it's a vehicle a smart grid, generators, trucks, like I have, right? I can tell and this is how, from a strategy perspective, hey, utility providers. We are your network. We are your partners, that there's a whole transformation going on of, of I've I'm into the Evie vehicle space now. Right? I've had a Tesla since 2018. Right? My VIN was 1002 of the model three car there.


What are you bragging? Are you bragging, you're bragging? I'm not bragging because


it was my brother who actually got me the spot to get a 2018 model model, model three. But that was my first tranche. Right? And with the Tesla Supercharger network, Elon was smart. Elon knew if we don't have a supercharger network coast to coast, yeah, this is going to die on the vine. It's going to be like, that shiny toy that lost its luster because the wheel fell off. Yeah. So you've seen all these bills that the government has passed with the infrastructure bill and putting money towards Evie charging and things like that? Well, GM, like all the other car manufacturers that no no fault to them, because they're just playing catch up with what they saw Tesla doing, right? And you they saw what China's doing. So when you see all of that, Buzz, well, we need to catch up to well, what did they do they reverse engineer a model three, right? They bought 100 of them, and took it apart and says, Oh, well, this is their battery thing. And we need to somewhat copy it. Right. And so now, what's happening is that, you know, we are one of America's largest fleet telematics provider, but eventually, you're going to have to make a decision of well, is my fleet suitable to migrate to some kind of plug in hybrid or battery electric hybrid fleet? Well, that matters to utility. Right? Because Do I have enough power on the grid? That's going to see a 30% rise in Evie chargers?


That's a whole nother conversation. I mean, that's, that's a challenging


Exactly. But we're showing that as a mutual customers, or mutual partner to our customers is that, here's your here's what is suggested based on we have the data. So we have engine hours, idle hours, miles per gallon, how many how many miles you've driven in a full year, taking that data set? Right? And then factor it into your enterprise application that's using your app asset management or your TMS platform? Where are the routes that he drove? Right? So AT&T just made the decision to buy 100 rivian evey trucks to replace our GM V eight trucks that are installing to your your fiber tomorrow? Yeah. Well, how did we make that decision? Well, I've got 70,000 vehicles on my fleet telematics that are 18 T. So I'm see I'm sharing what that utilization looks like. And somebody's making the decision to say, Okay, let's have these assets in Dallas, because that's our, that's a huge growth number. Because everybody's moving to Texas. So instead of having a gasoline vehicle out there, why not have the Eevee vehicles because it costs us less. Right, and we can do it faster, right? I can get 400 on, you know, on on one of those reviens, I can probably get 300 400 miles without ever having to worry about getting gas and charging, you know, I just charge it every night. Yeah, but


you have an infrastructure to correct. You've got to have that to be able to support that. Exactly.


So strategy. Yeah. Because so then that's where we go to the customers and say, okay, because, and, and for the listeners, right? We give these sustainability tab on our platform where you can see wherever you last charge, right? Are you using public chargers? Are you using Office chargers? Are you using? Yeah, and so I'm charged from home so I have, you know, ACS McKinney, that's my my, it's my home, AT&T innovation centers where I charge at work. But when I need to go to Austin or why I need to go to Houston, I've got to use a plug charger, so I can see what my utilization is based on that. But what the problem is, you see with electric, electric phi America or some of these other players, they're not maintaining the Chargers well enough, where until you know you see three of six chargers in Bill mean Texas at a Walmart and three of six or more down well to the Electrify America, it's oops, what is that severity they don't know because they can't see how busy that location is. And that's the only one from from Dallas to Austin. So what we have you know, I talked about enhanced visibility and and making operational decisions we have an IoT video intelligence where I can put a camera on the on the light pole next to the the chargers, and I can see how many people are waiting. How severe is this outage? If I'm the only Electrify America charging area which is, you know, they're here, right? And make that ticket from moderate to severe because there's 10 people waiting for three chargers, right? Because no air, that's the dread. If you don't have a Tesla vehicle today, the dread of you chart having to charge on the road is severe. Look, you saw the Ford CEO or might have been the, the GMC, where they had said, oh, yeah, you know, I did it. I had to stop for like an hour. Right? And


which is, which is never a good thing to say. Exactly.


Never. Right. And, and, and it was like, wait, you know, the infrastructure is really not there. So, so that's how if we can bring visibility to all of our friends that are behind this wall. That's what we do. Connecting changes everything because the greater visibility, the operational efficiencies, it's going to make everybody's life happier.


If you wrapped it up, didn't you? See, I was just you, you are absolutely a wealth of knowledge. How do people get a hold of you, Gail? You


can find me on slash Gail Peter Wong or you can reach me at Thank you.


He's a social man. You're just you're just a machine.


I appreciate that. Well, today, you know, I traveled so much. And you think you've seen everything while you're traveling? I saw a Ghostbusters Octomore bill and I'll show you the picture right after this. It is the hilarious thing.


All right, let's there's we're gonna wrap it up on the other side, you're gonna have all the contact information for Gail out on Industrial Talk. So if you're not reach out to him, he has a wealth of knowledge. He is somebody that you need to collaborate without a doubt. So we will be right back. Thank you. We're


listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


That was a great company. So cool. I mean, Gail has tremendous passion. I mean, you need to reach out, you need to go out to his LinkedIn stack card, which is out on Industrial Talk, connect with them. That was DISTRIBUTECH cannabis conversation. And you should have seen their booth of course, they had this helicopter and being able to provide, you know, internet for areas that are struggling due to whatever disaster that is so cool. All right. Speaking of Industrial Talk, you need to connect with me. You need to amplify your voice. We have a platform that is specific to you industrial professionals. We have to get the word out. It is changing so drastically. Let's make it happen to be a part of this expanding ecosystem. We have webcast, we have podcasts of course we have podcasts. And of course we have technology Sprint's highlight your technology come on here and highlight your technology. Yeah, it's all there. You need to need to do it. Hang out with Gail change the world we're gonna have another great conversation from distributed shortly.

Industrial Talk is onsite at DistribuTECH and talking to Gail Wong, Head of Marketing IoT Asset Management Solutions with AT&T about "Rapid Response - Quick deployment of cellular services for first responders".  Scott MacKenzie and Gail discussed the latest innovations in utility industry communication and networking, highlighting the benefits of connecting meters and providing emergency communication solutions for utility providers. Gail emphasized the importance of quick deployment and backup networks in emergency situations, while MacKenzie stressed the crucial role of communication in restoring connectivity. Later, Scott and Gail discussed the shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) in fleet operations and the importance of enhancing visibility and operational efficiency in charging infrastructure. Both speakers stressed the importance of data-driven decision-making and strategic planning to optimize fleet operations and achieve sustainability goals.
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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