Microsoft invests $5 billion in Internet of Things

From improving driver safety on Alaskan roads to providing African schools with electricity, Microsoft Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are bettering working and living conditions around the world. And last week, Microsoft confirmed their commitment to their IoT platform, announcing a $5 billion investment in IoT research and innovation.

Previously only accessible to the largest enterprises, Internet of Things solutions can now be deployed by businesses regardless of size, technical expertise and budget. Microsoft’s platform uniquely offers everything a business needs to get started – cloud, advanced analytics, OS and devices.

Microsoft IoT platform

The Microsoft IoT platform includes the Azure services – IoT Suite, IoT Hub and IoT Edge – as well as the Windows 10 IoT operating system.

The Azure IoT Suite combines real-time data analytics using Azure Stream Analytics with Azure Machine Learning capabilities, together with Power BI for data visualisations. Devices can be provisioned and managed through the Azure IoT Hub, which also offers the possibility of bidirectional communication between device and cloud.

There is also the Azure IoT Edge service for artificial intelligence and edge analytics.

IoT in action

Microsoft highlight a number of real-world IoT applications brought to fruition on its platform. Johnson Controls created a smart thermostat that can monitor a range of conditions to optimise building temperatures automatically. Schneider Electric built a solution to harness solar energy in Nigeria, using Microsoft’s IoT platform to do panel maintenance remotely. Kohler created a new line of intelligent kitchen and bath fixtures that are both luxurious and more economical to use. And the Alaska Department of Transportation is building smart roadways that monitor weather conditions and can alert drivers and state officials about difficult conditions.

A connected future

The IoT sector has been the subject of hyperbole for a number of years, but with increasing adoption and continued innovation, real benefits are being achieved. A.T. Kearney predicts IoT will lead to a $1.9 trillion productivity increase and $177 billion in reduced costs by 2020.

Microsoft’s $5 billion investment is a commitment to the future of IoT. From connected homes and cars to smart cities, manufacturers and utilities – Microsoft continues to develop its IoT platform to support customers whether they’re building products that transform the home, office or factory floor.

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Written by
Simon Barrett

A native of London and a graduate in economics, Simon began his marketing and PR career in the music and film industries. Simon is fascinated by the compelling ideas that shape our future and communicates them with passion.