The Internet of Things (IoT) is already a powerful platform for understanding massive amounts of data and quickly taking actionable insights from that information. As many businesses and professionals work with devices and assets around the world, the ability to leverage geographic-based data with existing IoT deployments provides new opportunities.
Whether in the public sector, retail, transportation logistics or even the connected car, location-based service (LBS) context awareness enables an entirely new set of scenarios. Take the connected car, for example: Today’s connected cars and tomorrow’s self-driving vehicles may run on gasoline, diesel, electricity or even hydrogen, but they will surely run on one other vital resource: data. Over 380 million connected cars will be on the road by 2021 and autonomous vehicles are only a few years away, predicts Business Insider.
Even if there’s no driver onboard, location-based services are crucial to connected cars, which receive information from the internet and in turn share data from their sensors to the cloud. As a first step in enabling these intelligent location-based services, on Dec. 14 in Detroit we brought together mapping technology leaders TomTom, HERE and Esri, which are partnering in our common goal to empower the auto industry and connected cars.
With these partners we will enable the industry with Microsoft Azure cloud technologies and robust geospatial data and services, so automotive companies can build and equip smart, connected cars that help people travel and get things done in new, safer and more efficient ways. Our ambition is to enable our global customers with location-based services differentiated by an open IoT platform, with large data sets and natively integrated functionality for developers, and deep connections with other data graphs for new scenarios. We envision a platform that offers choice, options for customization and opportunities to enable transformation across multiple industries.
Location-based services can have a tremendous impact in other IoT verticals as well, including the retail sector. In this space the ability to understand the geographic orientation of consumer shopping patterns can be very beneficial to both online and offline merchants. For retailers, being able to aggregate anonymous data on “where” shoppers are consuming is just as relevant to retail analysis as much as “what” and “how.” The same applies to the public sector, where the ability to aggregate population movement data (from cell phones, for example) can help cities better manage their transportation networks by knowing where to invest in transit or where to add more highway lanes, for instance. For manufacturing, being able to track how parts move within a warehouse or a logistics chain can help improve production efficiency.
With our partners, we’re enabling the concept of a “world graph,” for a diverse set of customers, with a new data index of physical places, objects and devices, and how they interconnect. We view partnerships as a path to enable innovative solutions tailored to customer needs. TomTom is equipping its automotive customers with products, such as its High Definition Map and RoadDNA, to push autonomous driving forward. Meanwhile, a new agreement with HERE lets us expand the use of its data and services into productivity scenarios in cars. A longtime partner, HERE powers location data in Bing, Cortana, Windows and Office, as well as the Bing Maps API.
With Esri, we have integrated its ArcGIS location-based services into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite and many other apps and services. Together these technologies will empower businesses from a wide range of industries to create and use location services quickly and easily. We believe the advanced analytics of the intelligent cloud plus the power of IoT to connect millions of devices will enable an array of valuable business and personal scenarios. We recently announced a preview of ArcGIS Maps for Power BI for compelling visualizations, and Esri software is already powering TomTom and HERE to collect and manage mapping data, spatial analytics, and geometric networks.
As the public sector, manufacturing, retail and auto industries turn to LBS for innovation and efficiency, IoT technology will power their journey.