A look inside AT&T's foundry innovation centers (pictures)

AT&T may have a reputation as a large, plodding company, but a closer look reveals places where people work on new ideas and projects.

Roger Cheng
1 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Welcome to the AT&T foundry

A large display welcomes you into AT&T's foundry in Palo Alto, Calif. Identical signs can be found in facilities in Plano, Texas; and Israel.
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Good neighborhood

The Palo Alto facility is in a quiet neighborhood a short bike ride from Stanford University. Neighbors include a venture capital firm.
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French Laundry

The front section of the foundry is nicknamed "French Laundry," a reference to white-run laundry businesses and a callback to the space's previous life as a Laundromat. Workers embrace the ironic undertone of the name given the collaborative nature of the space.
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Working at the foundry

Someone is clearly a "Star Wars" fan, with a Death Star on display behind a welcome sign.
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Much of French Laundry is made up of uniquely shaped furniture that's low to the ground. It provides a more intimate feel, with people getting close to the floor as they work together.
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A wall made of cable

One of the more unique features of the foundry is a sliding wall made of cable lines tightly strung next to each other, making for a flexible divider that separates, but doesn't close off, the room.
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Everyone is welcome

Entrepreneuers, programmers, and AT&T executives and employees regularly visit the foundry. One developer's dog is even welcome.
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Quietly working away

It's quiet during a recent visit to the foundry. Only a handful of developers are busy in the corner typing away at their computers. The foundry is virtually a 24-7 operation; people come in later in the evening and will often pull all-nighters.
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Facebook hackathon

The foundry played host to a Facebook-related hackathon last month, with nearly 200 developers crammed into the space and working on new apps for the social network (it was rearranged to accommodate the crowd). The Palo Alto facility focuses largely on apps.
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AT&T foundry in Israel

The Israel foundry, which was built on a squash court, is in the city of Ra'anana, and is sponsored by Amdocs, which helps AT&T and other carriers with their back-end systems. Israel focuses mainly on network technology.
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AT&T's foundry in Texas

"Innovation Architect" Joseph May interacts with the 24-foot-wide touch screen at the AT&T Foundry in Plano, Texas. The facility focuses on business- and government-related features and services.

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