Five questions to ask when choosing an IoT provider

We recently announced two important milestones in Microsoft’s goal of making Internet of Things (IoT) adoption quicker, easier and more lucrative for the enterprise. With availability to purchase the Azure Internet of Things Suite, we are offering preconfigured solutions that target the most common IoT scenarios: remote monitoring, asset management, and predictive maintenance. This turnkey approach removes much of the complexity that usually exist with purchasing and implementing IoT technologies. It’s easy to provision, use and manage. It will enable the ability to pay as you go, and grow and scale as you need. It features end-to-end security and privacy features.

Recently, I shared a list of five questions that any business decision maker should consider before deciding on a provider for their IoT solution. Though Microsoft won’t be the perfect candidate for every scenario, we do offer considerable advantages in key areas. Here’s how Microsoft stacks up:

  1. Does the provider have a comprehensive IoT offering? Do they even provide all the tools and services needed to create an IoT solution?

Microsoft’s offerings include finished applications that target the common scenarios we see IoT impacting cross-industry, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance, to ease deployment, while providing the ability to grow and scale solutions to millions of “things.” We also offer businesses a personalized, accelerated introduction to IoT via our “Quick Start” half-day sessions, led by our trusted partners and Microsoft Consulting Services.

Microsoft’s IoT offerings are all core to our business; we don’t have to go beyond our own ecosystem to knit these things together. Our story includes the ability to connect almost any device, on premises or to a world class cloud, along with services and analytics to turn data into actionable insight. Our tools and services help you create strong and secure solutions. And our robust cloud platform can handle vast amounts of devices and data streams, scaling and changing as your needs evolve.

  1. Does the provider have the necessary experience, specifically related to IoT? Even if they have all of the important components for IoT, do they have a history of using them to create capable solutions at the enterprise level?

Microsoft has been creating enterprise-grade solutions with the trusted Azure cloud – helping companies turning data into insight – for more than 20 years. We offer both cross-industry and vertical-specific solutions to meet industry needs, and we continue to develop and strengthen our offerings. New products are engineered to support IoT scenarios, and we continually update existing solutions to make sure customers receive the latest that Microsoft has to offer. Our strong and extensive partner ecosystem works with you to deploy solutions that address your specific needs and business scenarios.

  1. Can they scale? As your business grows or as your needs change, can the solution change accordingly? Does adding new features mean reworking the rest of the solution?

Microsoft offers scalable solutions, so you can start small and grow as your business needs evolve. Our cloud platform can handle many data streams.  We provide both public and private cloud solutions, and we can knit them together for a hybrid environment. We have a strong track record of creating these solutions, and are in the market to stay, providing you with planning and support for the long term.  We can bring on new devices and infrastructure quickly and easily to support your plans for growth.

  1. Are they open? More than open source, can you use the technology you already have, and the devices and tools you want to use? Or do they lock you in with proprietary technology?

Microsoft’s IoT solutions remove complexity, and focus on getting you to market faster.  Our platform-based approach and components designed to work together help you get started quickly – in weeks, not years. Our platform-based approach also makes it simple to fine-tune the solution to address your specific scenario. Because of the flexibility of our cloud platform, it is easy to add new features, tools and capabilities without having to rework any other part of your infrastructure. We help you get to market faster, and we don’t let complexity undermine the other values we bring in IoT.

  1. Finally, do they accelerate your time to market? Even if they can deliver a capable solution, can they do it in a way that helps you quickly realize value?

Because we use common formats, you’re not restricted to Microsoft offerings. We provide great analytics, reporting and device management services, but if you want to move that data over to third-party analysis engines, you can. We work with whatever code sets, software or services you choose to bring, including Linux, Cloudera and Hortonworks data platform. You can even run some third-party tools on our platform to take advantage of our cloud capabilities.

We also support heterogeneous environments and can connect devices irrespective of manufacturer or OS. iOS, Windows, Android, Linux and more – we support them all. We work across devices types, regardless of industry, form factor or design.

Our commitment to furthering IoT in the enterprise inspires us to continue to innovate, creating new technologies, services and programs—and building a global ecosystem of partners that can help you realize the vast potential of IoT. Welcome to the Internet of Your Things.