Microsoft expands its IoT offering, launches IoT Central

Image: Microsoft

Taking industrial digital transformation one step further, Microsoft announced Microsoft IoT Central , an end-to-end IoT software as a service (SaaS) solution in the cloud that is easy to scale and is packed with enterprise grade security features that helps protect IoT security data.  From a business standpoint, Microsoft is building on its decades of experience by offering this managed SaaS model to businesses who want to build solutions but lack the resources and skill sets.

Microsoft IoT Central  is built on the Azure cloud and simplifies the development process, thereby lowering the barrier to innovate and accelerate time to market. Insights from advanced analytics opens new revenue streams.

Microsoft’s premise is to help businesses with little experience in IoT to accelerate automation and data-gathering capabilities and integrate them with existing applications and systems. The Redmond giant is also making a serious push for being the cloud platform of choice for Industries 4.0. Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite is pegged as the ideal choice to cloud-enable industrial equipment that includes machines that are deployed without any operational disrupting. For industrial businesses looking to transform their production line, the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model provides machine learning capabilities, data and device management and even the ability to manage equipment remotely.

According to Sam George, Partner Director, Azure IoT, the SaaS offering has the potential to dramatically increase the pace at which manufacturers can innovate and release products into market.  The move is in line with the Connected Factory preconfigured solution that leverages Azure services including Azure IoT Hub and the new Azure Time Series Insights. The Azure Times Series Insights provides managed analytics, storage and visualization service that allows users to analyze billions of events from an IoT solution on-demand. It also provides a global view of data spanning different event sources, and even enables businesses to validate IoT products.

The idea behind IoT Central is being more agile and customizable and providing a platform that can respond to emerging business challenges. That’s why George wants industries to be able to use of all of Microsoft’s IoT solutions.

Microsoft’s push into Industries 4.0

Recently, at the world’s leading industrial show, Hanover Messes 2017 Microsoft unleashed its smart manufacturing technologies and announced its intent to build industrial robots of tomorrow in partnership with Sarcos Robotics.  Soon, Microsoft will launch Robots-as-a-Service to transform safety and efficiency standards in industries across the world.

That Microsoft has big IoT ambitions is well-known and the number of IoT offerings gives Microsoft a competitive advantage in a space dominated by Siemens, GE and Bosch. Microsoft’s thrust is more on industrial IoT, with the launch of Connected Factory and now IoT Central. George mentioned in an earlier blog post, that Connected Factory allows to connect on-premises OPC UA and OPC Classic devices to the Microsoft cloud and get insights to help drive operational efficiencies. With new tools in its IoT toolkit, looks like the Redmond giant is poised to make a move on the chessboard, dominated by the likes of GE.

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Richa Bhatia
Richa Bhatia

Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.