The five coolest projects at AT&T Labs

Many of the projects are close to being completed

AT&T's Mobile Call Recording (2)

AT&T's Mobile Call Recording (2)

These days, researchers at AT&T Labs are focusing on cars, smart homes, wearables and health apps, judging by projects showcased at the company's Research Day. This year's exhibit, held Friday in New York, was more practical than previous ones, with many projects being close to release.

Here are five interesting projects shown at the event:

Connected cars

As your car gets close to home, the garage door automatically opens and the living room lights and air-conditioning system switch on. Convenient, no? AT&T wants to make that a reality with its Drive initiative, which will track a car's location, and when it's within a certain distance of the house, trigger certain pre-configured actions. Alternatively, users could manually issue commands through a console in the car. AT&T already offers smart home and security services, and it'll be up to car makers to implement this vehicle-based home automation service.

Recording mobile calls the easy way

A new service records mobile phone calls and stores them in the cloud, where they can be accessed later. Appropriately called Mobile Call Recording, it could be attractive to businesses, especially those in industries where recording customer calls is mandated by regulations. AT&T representatives didn't mention plans to make the service available to consumers.

Livecast your Web show to TVs with Execucast

As described by AT&T, the Execucast project will let people show a webcast on their own private TV channel. Execucast will work as part of AT&T U-verse. It employs a Web interface and a camera hookup to stream the live video up to a server to which TV platforms can connect. With it, a user can schedule the webcast, get it listed on social networks and on U-verse TV guides, and then broadcast it to mobile devices and PCs or to an assigned U-verse channel. AT&T has used the Execucast technology to train their call-center employees and ultimately wants to make it available to businesses and consumers.

Program your car through the cloud

With Project OnRamp, users will be able to remotely control their cars. Project OnRamp includes developer tools and APIs for developers to tap AT&T Drive's Automotive Service Delivery Platform (ASDP). Developers could make it possible for users to remotely open car doors, blink lights or turn on the car. An AT&T representative provided an interesting, but scary, possibility of remotely applying the brakes on a car via a cloud-based command that controls an analog circuit in the braking system. But that won't happen anytime soon, as many security and hardware compatibility issues need to be accounted for.

Meet your fitness goals

AT&T's ForHealth Web site -- which is not yet live -- helps users meet fitness and health goals by aggregating fitness data from a wide range of devices like FitBits and from fitness apps. The site's goal is to help users sleep better, improve their posture, sharpen their training regimen and reduce stress. Users can track compiled data or join challenges with friends on social networks. AT&T wouldn't say if the website will be compatible with the Apple Watch.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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