Microsoft Touts IoT Central To Remove Complexity For Businesses

IoT solutions can be complex, but Microsoft seeks to help with new SaaS solution to simplify the Internet of Things

Microsoft has made a number of announcements to help businesses jump onboard the Internet of Things (IoT) bandwagon.

Firstly it has opened up about IoT Central, which is being touted a SaaS service that will provide businesses with a fully managed solution for setting up their IoT deployments.

Secondly is touting Azure Stream Analytics for IoT devices, that will provide businesses with a near real time global view of their data across various sources.

And thirdly Azure Time Series Insights, will allow for the analysis of billions of events from IoT solutions.


IoT Central

Perhaps the most noteworthy is the announcement of IoT Central, which is essentially IoT as a service for businesses. This may be a welcomed development for firms struggling to attract the necessary inhouse IoT expertise.

“Yet while IoT brings a new set of benefits for companies that want to keep an edge on their competition, it brings challenges too – IoT solutions can still be complex, and a shortage of skills makes it difficult for everyone to take advantage of this new innovation,” blogged Sam George, Partner Director, Azure IoT.

“Microsoft IoT Central is a fully managed SaaS offering for customers and partners that enables powerful IoT scenarios without requiring cloud solution expertise,” he wrote. “Built on the Azure cloud, Microsoft IoT Central simplifies the development process and makes it easy and fast for customers to get started, making digital transformation more accessible to everyone.”

He explained how IoT Central will be available along with Microsoft’s existing platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution, Azure IoT Suite.

It should be noted that Microsoft IoT Central will be rolling out more publicly over the coming months.

IoT Analytics

The second announcement concerns Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics on edge devices.

According to Santosh Balasubramanian, Principal Program Manager at Azure Stream Analytics, this is a new feature added to Azure Stream Analytics to help customers utilise analytical intelligence closer to their IoT devices.

The thinking here is that Azure Stream Analytics on edge devices will help organisations to use streaming analytics in scenarios where connectivity to the cloud is limited or inconsistent.

A third development has been the public preview of Azure Time Series Insights, which is designed to help firms mine vast swathes of IoT data for insights.

Azure Time Series Insights is a fully managed analytics, storage and visualisation service.

Joseph Sirosh, corporate VP at the Microsoft Data Group explained that Azure Time Series Insights makes it “incredibly simple” to analyse IoT data.

“Time Series Insights gives you a near real time global view of your data across various event sources and lets you quickly validate IoT solutions and avoid costly downtime of mission-critical devices,” he blogged. “It helps you discover hidden trends, spot anomalies, conduct root-cause analysis in near real-time, all without writing a single line of code through its simple and intuitive user experience. Additionally, it provides rich API’s to enable you to integrate its powerful capabilities in your own existing workflow or application.”

IoT Investment

Microsoft is betting heavily on the Internet of Things. Last year the firm announced that IoT was a: “business revolution masquerading as a technology one.”

It should be remembered that Microsoft already supplies its Azure cloud infrastructure as a platform for companies to build IoT services and networks upon.

And last month Redmond opened an Insider Lab dedicated to IoT and AI in Munich, after the launch of similar centres in Redmond, US and China.

These centres are designed to help businesses  (both large and small) to tap into Microsoft’s expertise in order to develop IoT and AI technology.

Quiz: What do you know about the Internet of Things?