Unlocking opportunities in the next frontier of IoT

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We live in an increasingly connected world. I commute to work in a connected car, one that gets over-the-air updates with new experiences. I’m connected to my work and personal life in real time with my smartphone and laptop. And I work in a connected office, one that knows how to automatically save energy and ensure security. From the moment I woke up today, I was immersed in an IoT world.
And so were you.
We are surrounded by connected devices, all of them collecting and transmitting vast amounts of information. That makes a seamless, smart and secure Internet of Things (IoT) important to us all.
This week at IoT Solutions World Congress we are announcing new capabilities that further simplify the customer journey and deliver highly secured IoT solutions. These solutions help customers embrace IoT as a core strategy to drive better business outcomes, improve safety and address social issues, such as:
Predicting and preventing equipment failures
Optimizing smart buildings for space utilization and energy management
Improving patient outcomes and worker safety
Tracking assets across a supply chain that is constantly being optimized
IDC expects that 41.6 billion devices — including smartphones, smart home assistants and appliances — will be connected to the internet by 2025[1].
At Microsoft, we are committed to providing a trusted, easy-to-use platform that allows our customers and partners to build seamless, smart and secure solutions regardless of where they are in their IoT journey.
Making IoT seamless: Delivering new IoT innovations from cloud to edge
In 2018, we  announced our commitment to invest $5 billion in IoT and intelligent edge — technology that is accelerating ubiquitous computing and bringing unparalleled opportunity for transformation across industries. Since then, we have launched more than 100 new services and features in our IoT platform designed to make IoT solutions more secure and scalable, reduce complexity, make our platform more open and create opportunities in new market areas.
Azure IoT Central, our IoT app platform, reduces the burden and costs associated with developing, managing and maintaining enterprise-grade IoT solutions. With IoT Central you can provision an IoT application in 15 seconds, customize it in an hour and go to production the same day.
And today, we are excited to announce a set of breakthrough features to help solution builders accelerate time-to-value:
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 modeling, provisioning, lifecycle management, operations and data querying
IoT Edge support, including management for edge devices and IoT Edge module deployments
IoT plug-and-play support for rapid device development and connectivity
The ability to save and load applications to enable application repeatability
More data export options for continually exporting data to other Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) services
Multitenancy support to build and manage a single application with multiple tenants, each with their own isolated data, devices, users and roles
Custom user roles for fine-grained access control to data, actions and configurations in the system
A new pricing model for early 2020 to provide customers and partners with predictable pricing as usage scales
A variety of partners are already using IoT Central to transform their industries. For example, C.H. Robinson, a Fortune 500 provider of multimodal transportation services and third-party logistics, is using Intel intelligent gateways and IoT tags managed by IoT Central, allowing it to quickly integrate IoT data and insights into its industry-leading Navisphere Vision product. Key retailers are using Navisphere, including Microsoft’s own supply-chain teams who are optimizing logistics and costs as we prepare to deliver Surface and Xbox products for the holidays.
Read more on our IoT Central blog about how partners are leveraging IoT Central to transform their businesses and their industries.
Making IoT smarter
Azure IoT Hub is the core of our Azure IoT platform services. It is used by IoT Central and acts as a powerful cloud gateway, enabling bidirectional communication with millions of IoT devices. We are excited to announce new features that will make IoT solutions using IoT Hub even smarter:
Azure Event Grid on IoT Edge brings the power and flexibility of Event Grid’s pub-sub semantics and event-driven model to the edge. The same runtime in the edge and the cloud creates a portable programming model to publish between modules, edge devices or to the cloud. As with the cloud, publish your own events or connect other modules like Azure Blob Storage on IoT Edge to leverage their built-in event capabilities when new blobs are created
IoT Hub message enrichment adds the ability to stamp messages with rich information before they are sent, simplifying downstream processing and accelerating customer insights
IoT Hub integrates with Azure Event Grid, making it easier to send device telemetry events to Azure services. Azure Event Grid on IoT Edge is now available in Public Preview. IoT Hub message enrichment and telemetry events in Event Grid will be in general availability by the end of November.
Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, is using IoT Hub to move over 12 million containers a year all over the globe. “With Azure IoT Hub, we have seamless two-way communication between our IoT platform and devices,” says Siddhartha Kulkarni, digital solutions enabler, A.P. Moller – Maersk. “The ability to send commands from within Azure IoT Hub makes it a command and control system and not just a data ingestion system. Being able to set up Azure IoT Hub globally in different locations and regionalize data ingestion opens up many future options for us.” Read the Maersk customer story here.
And Danfoss, a Danish company that creates products and provides services used to cool food, heat and air condition buildings and more, is using Azure IoT Hub to build IoT solutions with reliable and secure communications between its IoT devices for refrigerators and an Azure-hosted solution backend.
Azure Maps inherits the goodness of Azure — including global scalability, robust security and data sovereignty — and provides location intelligence to IoT applications with mapping and geospatial services to drive insights and action.
For 12 consecutive years, Gartner has recognized Microsoft as a leader in analytics and business intelligence. With integration into Power BI, Azure Maps now enables Power BI users to easily perform Geospatial Analytics, enabling customers to build out Azure Maps solutions that don’t require developer resources. And to provide world-class security, protection and compliance to government customers, Azure Maps is now available on Government Cloud.
And now, in partnership with AccuWeather, Azure Maps customers can add geospatial weather intelligence into their applications to enable weather-based scenarios, such as routing, targeted marketing and operations optimization. “This is a game changer,” says Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder and CEO. “AccuWeather’s partnership with Microsoft gives all Azure Maps customers the ability to easily integrate authentic and highly accurate weather-based location intelligence and routing into their applications. This opens up new opportunities for organizations large and small to benefit from our superior weather data based on their unique needs.”
Azure Time Series Insights provides a turnkey, end-to-end IoT analytics solution with rich semantic modeling for contextualization of time series data, asset-based insights, and a best-in-class user experience for discovery, trending, anomaly detection and operational intelligence. It is purpose-built for IoT scale data, allowing customers to focus on their businesses without having to worry about manageability of their infrastructure, regional availability or disaster recovery. We are excited to announce the new capabilities, releasing soon:
Multilayered storage that provides the best of both worlds: 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 the customer’s own Azure Storage account, giving them 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 supported 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
Through our Express Logic acquisition, Azure RTOS (real-time operating system) continues to enable new intelligent capabilities. It unlocks access to billions of new connected endpoints and grows the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to Azure. Renesas is a top MCU (MicroController Unit) manufacturer who shares our vision of making IoT development as easy and seamless as possible and we are excited to announce that Azure RTOS will be broadly available across Renesas’s products including the Synergy and RA MCU families. It is already integrated into the Renesas Synergy Software Package and will be integrated out-of-box with the Renesas RA Flexible Software Package).
Making IoT more secure, from cloud to edge
Enabling a future of intelligent and secure computing at the edge for organizations, enterprises and consumers will require advances in computer architecture down to the chip level, with security built in from the beginning. Microsoft is taking a holistic approach to securing the intelligent edge and IoT from the silicon to the cloud in a way that gives customers flexibility and control.
Azure Sphere is quickly becoming the solution of choice for customers across industries — including Starbucks, Gojo and Leoni — as they look to securely connect existing mission-critical equipment and develop net-new devices and equipment with security built in. Today we are excited to announce the upcoming general availability of Azure Sphere in February 2020. Read more about the upcoming Azure Sphere general availability on the Microsoft Security blog.
Our mission is to set a new standard for IoT security that makes it easier to securely connect existing equipment and create new devices with built-in security. In April 2018, we introduced Azure Sphere as an end-to-end solution that includes an Azure Sphere-certified chip, the Azure Sphere Operating System and the Azure Sphere Security Service. The solution is designed to make it easy for manufacturers to create innately secure devices and keep those devices up-to-date over time with over a decade of security and OS updates delivered directly to each device by Microsoft.
Since we first introduced Azure Sphere, we’ve made tremendous progress delivering on our ambitious product vision, investing in partnerships and capabilities that help us serve customers wherever they are in their IoT journey. This includes our partnerships with silicon leaders to enable heterogeneity at the edge; our longstanding partnership with MediaTek, and our recent partnership announcements with NXP and Qualcomm, which will introduce the first cellular-enabled Azure Sphere-certified chip.
Discover how to unlock your own IoT opportunities
We have a number of ways to learn more, no matter what your goals are and where you are on your IoT journey.
Come see us at IoT Solutions World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Oct. 29–31, 2019. We will be bringing IoT solutions to life in our booth (#D411), across various industries and scenarios:
IoT at Home, featuring ABB & EnOcean
IoT on My Commute, featuring Dover Oil & Accenture
IoT in the Office, featuring Bosch & Edge
IoT in Store, featuring Codit & Cognizant
IoT for a Drink, featuring Celli Group
IoT in the Factory, featuring Softing & PTC

You can also catch my keynote on Tuesday, Oct. 29, Unlocking the Next Frontier of the Internet of Things.
Join us at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Nov. 4–8, 2019.
Visit us online to learn how to make great things happen with Microsoft Azure IoT.

IoT has already revolutionized our lives by transforming everyday devices into an incredible connected universe. The question now is, are you ready for what’s next?
[1] Worldwide Global DataSphere IoT Device and Data Forecast, 2019–2023, Doc # US45066919, May 2019
 
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