At a Glance



Project Type




Atlanta, GA


Anneliese Gegenheimer evaluated the economic and environmental benefits of using drones and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for water tank inspections.


AT&T Smart Cities is focused on delivering sustainable solutions for cities through its Internet of Things (IoT) offerings and enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Anneliese Gegenheimer to develop an AT&T 10x case study and market analysis on using drones and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for water tank inspections. AT&T’s 10x case studies demonstrate how AT&T is helping enable carbon savings 10 times the footprint of their operations by 2025. The AT&T IoT Drones and Sustainability teams were exploring drone and ROV use cases that could provide significant economic and environmental benefits but had not yet quantified the benefits for water tank inspections or evaluated that particular market for AT&T’s business.


After conducting market research, visiting two water utilities, and interviewing over 30 water utility professionals, water and drone experts, and AT&T employees, Gegenheimer created an AT&T 10x case study that identified the benefits of using drones and ROVs for water tank inspections. In addition, Gegenheimer developed a white paper based on the case study and market research. Gegenheimer concluded that while the market for drone and ROV-based water tank inspections may be smaller than some other opportunities in energy and utilities, buildings and infrastructure, and insurance, it is still an important case study to highlight opportunities for water utilities and city managers to use drone solutions like the ones AT&T provides. Finally, Gegenheimer used her research to outline specific engagement models, develop criteria to evaluate future drone use cases, analyze competitors in the market and identify key risks and considerations for AT&T’s IoT drone business.

Potential Impact

If AT&T helped 10% of the country’s water tanks adopt ROV and drone technologies for inspections, utilities could save over 1 billion gallons of water, avoid an estimated 2,000 metric tons of CO2e, save $12 million in inspection costs, and prevent nearly 300,000 out-of-service hours every year. For AT&T’s business, Gegenheimer’s deliverables provided collateral for the business development and sales teams to share with customers and market research for the strategy and product teams to inform future business decisions. At the end of her fellowship, Gegenheimer presented her findings to AT&T’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Charlene Lake, and Senior Vice President of AT&T’s Internet of Things Solutions, Chris Penrose. With this project, AT&T will be able to promote its 10x goal and further develop its IoT drone business.

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