Understanding the basics of the Azure IoT Solution
The term IOT has been floating around for a few years and in the last 18 months or so, it has become a term that is widely used but not always universally understood. By connecting a device to the internet, it becomes connected to a new world of opportunities and in the enterprise space, it’s driving fundamental changes to how companies operate from a standard buy and sell to a service model.
Microsoft has been playing in this space well before IOT became a common acronym and along with the proliferation of these devices around the globe, the company has been working alongside its partners and internally to develop solutions to fully utilize the data streams IOT devices enable. At WPC last week, I sat down with Jerry Lee, Director of product marketing for Data Platform and Azure IoT to paint the picture of Microsoft’s solution in the growing market space.
To extract the full value out of IOT devices, you need an entire suite of products; you need to gather and extract the data, analyze it and then act upon it to gain the full value of connecting new devices to the Internet. It all starts with the device and Microsoft’s strategy is to be open and encompassing of all products and platforms.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
You can bring any type of device to the Microsoft environment and utilizing an open SDK, connect the device to Azure; this process allows you to extract and store the data in the cloud. But this is only the very beginning as you then need to analyze the output using Cortana Intelligence Suite (or a tool of your choice) and then act upon the information with Dynamics (or again your tool of choice).
This is how Microsoft envisions a complete execution of the benefits that IOT can offer but it’s important to note that you need all pieces of the puzzle to get the full benefits. While it seems obvious that skipping any step would result in a lackluster ROI on your investment, Microsoft notes that that every solution on the market creates the entire package which is important to investigate before diving deep with IOT deployments.
When I asked Jerry about where he saw IOT in five years, he responded that he thinks we will stop using the term IOT and it will simply become the ‘norm’ for the devices that we use today to be deeply connected to the world around us. For Microsoft, because of the growth in this segment and the volume of data IOT creates, it’s a significant business opportunity for itself and its partners to help drive new lines of business while helping its customers streamline their operations.