What a week! We’ve just wrapped up a sold-out Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, where we had a great time engaging with our amazing partners and showing them the future we imagine for the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT holds tremendous potential to enable digital transformation across every industry, from manufacturing to retail and healthcare to government and more. Yet even as more and more enterprises today begin to see value from IoT, many businesses still need help building the necessary technical and digital capabilities. That’s where our partners truly shine, and at WPC we were excited to share the technologies, programs and other resources they can use to meet the needs of businesses, both today and in the future.
Enabling digital transformation with intelligent IoT
In an engaging session on Microsoft’s vision for IoT, Kevin Miller, principal program manager for Microsoft Azure IoT, shared our IoT vision, which starts with the internet of your things — whether the devices and assets you already own are jet engines, elevators or even cities. When those “things” are connected to the Microsoft Azure cloud, new value is unlocked from the fast analysis of huge amounts of data, which can drive new efficiencies and insights.
At Microsoft, we believe that IoT is at a tipping point where lower hardware costs and pervasive connectivity are driving broad adoption. As the industry matures, intelligence will emerge across devices (Windows 10 IoT), connectivity (Azure IoT Suite), insights (Cortana Intelligence Suite) and actions (Microsoft Dynamics). These solutions link devices, analysis and business systems, which our partners have used in impressively innovative ways to deliver real business value — and even save lives.
Partners drive inspiring changes with IoT solutions
Partners are an important part of the oftentimes complex IoT ecosystem, which is reflected in how we do business: More than 90 percent of our revenues comes through our trusted partners. One new way we are supporting partners is with Microsoft AppSource, where customers can find line-of-business Microsoft and partner apps that make it easy to connect location services, user data and business processes to get the Internet of Your Things up and running quickly.
Partners also apply our IoT offerings to do incredible things that are transforming businesses, many of which we talked about for the first time at WPC:
Lighting the way for students and doctors. Nigeria is an African economic powerhouse — but one with a serious energy availability issues. Most citizens have only a few hours of electrical power daily, which impacts healthcare and education in the region. Schneider Electric is lighting new possibilities with the Lagos Solar project to benefit an estimated 190,000 students and 4.7 million patients by 2020 while creating more than 3,000 jobs. Solar panels replace diesel generators and deliver clean energy right where it’s needed at remote schools and clinics. By linking the onsite Schneider Conext systems to the Azure IoT Suite, technicians anywhere in the world can monitor their performance, download software updates or alert a local technician that service is needed. Now, doctors can operate at night and students can study at home.
GE’s Industrial Internet of Things. The first step in a new GE and Microsoft partnership brings GE’s Predix Industrial Internet of Things platform to the Azure cloud. Predix on Azure will enable companies to connect industrial machines to the cloud and gain business intelligence from real-time data. As part of the partnership, Predix will integrate with Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite, along with Microsoft business applications such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI, to connect industrial data with business processes and analytics. Look for Predix on Azure to be available by Q2 of 2017.
IoT at 40,000 feet. Rolls-Royce aims to transform the airline industry with a new digital capability that will help airlines cut fuel usage, fly more efficient routes, and ensure staff and equipment are ready to service engines quickly. Using the Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite, Rolls-Royce will manage and integrate more airline operational data using smart data analysis and predictive tools to reduce cost and improve on-time performance. Singapore Airlines serves as the project’s lead airline development partner, offering advice on improving engine efficiency and ensuring that the new capability helps airlines achieve a higher level of operational performance.
Preserving vaccines, saving lives. Congratulations to BlueMetal, named Microsoft Internet of Things Worldwide Partner of the Year. BlueMetal aims to connect a company’s world of devices and sensors to gain more business insights in real time and create entirely new user experiences. BlueMetal has been pioneering solutions for Microsoft customers, most recently with Weka Health Solutions, which provides the pharmaceutical industry with software and state-of-the-art technology to help develop the Vaccine Smart-Fridge. This IoT-enabled device will be deployed to clinicians in the field who manage vaccine distribution to help save lives. Read about the award announcement and other WPC partner awards here. (Another great example of how BlueMetal delivers customer- and consumer-ready IoT offerings is its motorsports app for the Indy 500.)
Empowering IoT developers. With new tools from AT&T, developers will be able to quickly build IoT solutions using AT&T IoT Platforms and Microsoft Azure cloud, analytics, and visualization tools. Integration between AT&T IoT Platforms and Microsoft cloud offerings enable developers to use AT&T M2X and AT&T Flow Designer to access the power of Azure, including big data, business intelligence and machine learning tools that transform data into intelligent action. Developers can buy the tools together in one toolkit to start their IoT projects right away, making it simpler and quicker to bring new solutions to market.
AvePoint’s app for government services. When citizens ask for help, governments can now respond more effectively and efficiently. New from AvePoint and available at our AppSource marketplace is AvePoint Citizen Services, a central portal that helps government agencies resolve citizen service requests from anywhere, anytime, on any device, aided by built-in location services and automated incident reporting. For example, with Azure IoT Suite the app enables connected devices (like smart street lights) to automatically report failures and schedule maintenance before the failure is ever noticed by citizens. Using AvePoint Citizen Services, agencies can provide the highest level of service and information to citizens across multiple channels, optimizing their responses today while planning for tomorrow.
What we saw at WPC proves that IoT has opened dozens of new avenues for our partners, who continue to impress and inspire us with innovative IoT solutions to customers’ unique and complex business challenges.
When you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help, wherever you are today, with agile platforms and services that accelerate your digital transformation that can give your customers a critical edge in their industry.
For more information on what IoT can do for your business, visit www.InternetofYourThings.com.