Microsoft Unleashes New IoT Capabilities
In its unending commitment to IoT and the connected world, Microsoft is introducing new capabilities that allow for the delivery of highly secure IoT solutions from the cloud to the edge. The company made the announcements at IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona.
More specifically, the new capabilities center around predicting and preventing equipment failures, optimizing smart buildings for space utilization and energy management, improving patient outcomes and worker safety, and tracking assets across a supply chain that is constantly being optimized.
“At Microsoft, we are committed to building a trusted, easy-to-use platform that allows our customers and partners to build seamless, smart, secure solutions regardless of where they are in the IoT journey,” said Sam George, corporate vice president Azure IoT at Microsoft. “That’s why we are investing $5 billion in IoT and intelligent edge — technology that is accelerating ubiquitous computing and bringing unparalleled opportunity across industries.”
Microsoft announced in 2018 plans to invest $5 billion in IoT technology and intelligent edge over four years. Since that time, the vendor has launched more than 100 new services and features in its IoT platform.
This week, Microsoft announced new capabilities for Azure IoT Central, its IoT platform:
- 11 new industry-focused application templates to accelerate solution builders across retail, health care, government and energy.
- API support for extending IoT Central or integrating it with other solutions, including API support for device modelling, provisioning, life cycle management, operations and data querying.
- IoT Edge support, including management for edge devices and IoT Edge module deployments, which enable customers to deploy cloud workloads, including AI, directly to connected devices.
- IoT Plug and Play support, for rapid device development and connectivity.
- The ability to save and load applications to enable application reusability.
- More data export options for continually exporting data to other Azure PaaS services, such as storage for rich analytics.
- Multitenancy support for building and managing a single application with multiple tenants, each with its own isolated data, devices, users and roles. And updates to that single application are visible to all tenants for easy manageability.
- Custom user roles for fine-grained access control to data, actions and configurations in the system.
- New pricing model for early 2020, designed to help customers and partners have predictable pricing as usage scales.
Introduced several years ago, Azure IoT Hub, a cloud platform that helps connect, monitor, provision and configure IoT devices, now integrates with Azure Event Grid, to send event notifications to other servers and trigger downstream services.
Also included in the sweet of IoT announcements are new preview capabilities for Azure Time Series Insights, a fully managed analytics, storage and virtualization service that allows users to explore and analyze billions of IoT events simultaneously. These new capabilities include:
- Multilayered storage: lightning-fast access to frequently used data (“warm data”) and fast access to infrequently used historical data (“cold data”).
- Flexible cold storage: Historical data is stored in a customer’s own Azure Storage account, giving customers complete control of their IoT data. Data is stored in open source Apache Parquet format, enabling predictive analytics, machine learning and other custom computations using familiar technologies including Spark, Databricks and Jupyter.
- Rich analytics: Rich query APIs and user experience support interpolation, new scalar and aggregate functions, categorical variables, scatter plots and time shifting between time series signals for in-depth analysis.
- Enterprise-grade scale: Scale and performance improvements at all layers, including ingestion, storage, query and metadata/model.
- Extensibility and integration: New Time Series Insights Power BI connector allows customers to take queries from Time Series Insights into Power BI to get a unified view in a single pane of glass.
Microsoft’s Azure Sphere, a Linux-based OS developed for IoT applications, will be generally available in February. Qualcomm Technologies this month announced its partnership with Microsoft to develop the first cellular chip optimized and certified Microsoft Azure Sphere IoT OS.
According to Qualcomm, the new Azure Sphere-certified chipset for IoT will include hardware-level security, come preconfigured with Azure Sphere, and will automatically connect to Azure Sphere cloud security services.