The data generated by billions of IoT devices must be processed somewhere and one tech giant appears to have ambitions for the creation a comprehensive cloud ecosystem to achieve this ambitious goal. Microsoft says it is investing $5bn in the Internet of Things over the next four years to do just that.
Last year, Microsoft launched new network edge server systems in partnership with companies like Dell and HPE, to make it easier for organisations to connect to IoT platforms and their Azure clouds to manage and process their data, so this investment is the next step along.
Julia White, CVP of Microsoft Azure, commented: “We’re planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge. With our IoT platform spanning cloud, OS and devices, we are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer – regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors – can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences.”
With the new investment, said White, customers and partners can expect new products and services, resources and programmes. She said companies including Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies and Johnson Controls are all innovating with Microsoft’s IoT platform, launching new products, solutions and services.
Johnson Controls has transformed a thermostat into a smart device that can monitor a range of conditions to optimise building temperatures automatically. In addition, Schneider Electric has built a solution to harness solar energy in Nigeria and is using Microsoft IoT technology to remotely complete maintenance on the panels.
The focus on IoT comes soon after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed a new structure at Microsoft to focus on IoT, the cloud and artificial intelligence. Nadella said the firm is creating two new divisions which will support the “intelligent cloud and intelligent edge”.
Martin Courtney, an analyst at TechMarketView, said of the investment: “Microsoft no longer doubts the scale of the commercial IoT opportunity now presented. And it is keen not to be outdone by its rivals – including Google, Amazon Web Services and BT Global Services – all of which are moving fast to stake their own claim in a rapidly growing market for IoT products and services.”