How To Reinvent Your Business with Microsoft Azure IoT Platform?
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There’s a high possibility that your business isn’t using the most useful Cloud Computing solutions that can take your business miles ahead of the competition. Yes, we are talking about Microsoft Azure. It is a powerful cloud computing solution which is used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies. One of the key services under Microsoft Azure that are transforming businesses through rich data insights and analytics is Azure IoT. It connects, controls and monitors billions of IoT devices or assets. 

Put in simply, IoT solutions refers to multiple interconnected IoT devices that exchange data with each other and to one or more back-end services running over the cloud network. By integrating IoT Suite with your existing processes devices or systems, you can automate business workflow and create new opportunities for innovation. If you lack expertise, partner an expert IoT development company for successful integration of IoT applications or services. 

To know more about how Azure IoT can transform your business into a profitable venture, read on: 

The article will provide you with details on areas like: 

  • What is Azure IoT 
  • Features of Azure IoT 
  • Services Available Under Azure IoT Platform 
  • Why Use Azure IoT for Your Business 
  • Challenges Related to IoT Implementation
  • Microsoft and Linux First Brainchild - Azure Sphere

What is Azure IoT?

As per the Business Insider Report, Microsoft Azure is the largest cloud platform after Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is growing steadily. Azure IoT suite, cloud service platform form managing IoT devices, currently owns 23% of market share in the cloud market. The company expects to generate 30% of its total revenue from IoT services by 2021. To place IoT services at the centre of the company’s product portfolio, Microsoft will invest $5 billion dollars in IoT and edge technologies and ecosystem by 2022. 

AWS

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Technically speaking, Azure IoT is a Microsoft-controlled cloud services platform that allows you to quickly build, deploy and launch IoT applications using its Azure IoT portfolio. Azure IoT Suite offers a bundle of managed services or products like IoT Hub, IoT Central, IoT Sphere and more that you can use easily to build connected solutions. 

Key Features of Azure IoT that Accelerate the Pace of Innovation for Startups and SMEs: 

Preconfigured Solution: Azure IoT comes with a host of preconfigured solutions or services. Businesses can avoid starting from scratch and use IoT solutions that suit their needs. 

Seamless Integration: Azure IoT enables the business to integrate their legacy systems with cloud-based apps or systems smoothly and automate the various processes without any hassle. 

Predictive Intelligence: Azure IoT also comes with predictive analysis and Machine Learning support for businesses to capture new insights from historical data

Bullet-Grade Security: Azure is built keeping security in mind with features like multi-layer software defences, device monitoring, privacy control, compliance tools and more. 

Services Available Under Azure IoT Platform

Microsoft offers a range of IoT products and services under its cloud platform, Azure, to improve 

  • Azure IoT Central
  • Azure IoT Edge
  • Azure IoT Hub
  • Azure Sphere
  • Azure Maps
  • Azure Digital Twins

Azure IoT Central:  It is a SaaS solution that enables you to connect, manage and monitor your IoT devices. It allows you to pick from pre-built app templates for the type of device you use and then test an IoT-central enterprise app your operations will use. 

Azure IoT Edge: It is a fully managed service built on Azure IoT Hub that enables you to apply your own business logic or deploy cloud workloads like Artificial Intelligence, third party services, etc. to run IoT edge devices. 

Azure IoT Hub: This service ensures a secure, seamless and reliable connection between your IoT-specific enterprise software solution or apps that it manages. You can connect virtually any IoT device using its cloud-hosted backend. 

Azure Sphere: It is important to secure and protect data in IoT connected devices. Azure Sphere exactly does that. It is a comprehensive IoT security solution that safeguards everything in a connected network, including hardware, OS and its cloud components. 

Azure Maps: You can use this service to add geospatial data to your enterprise web and mobile app solutions. Microsoft offers geospatial API to help you add maps and mobility solutions in your apps. 

Azure Digital Twins: Create digital twin solutions or virtual models of physical environments. For instance, you can predict maintenance requirements in your factory with virtual modelling. It comes with powerful features like spatial intelligence graphs, digital twin object models and more to help you build contextually-rich IoT solutions. 

Benefits of IoT for Your Business  

benefits of iot

Source: Microsoft IoT Signals Report 2019

Azure IoT Takes It One Step Ahead: Why Use It for Your Business 

Here are several benefits of using Microsoft Azure IoT platform for your businesses. This platform is an ideal option for businesses who are looking to use IoT for optimizing their operations, improving productivity and supply chain operations. 

Simple to Use: Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into making its IoT platform convenient and simple to use for IoT users. The plug and play capabilities and app templates available inside require minimal coding. Fast prototyping and deployments shortcuts are also available with many IoT suites of applications. 

Competitive Pricing: Each service under Azure IoT suite comes with its own pricing model that suits almost every business needs. They don’t follow a complicated approach; hence, the pricing is simple and transparent. 

Add on Capabilities: Each service under Azure IoT suite comes with powerful capabilities. For example, you get prebuilt app templates to build powerful cloud-based apps in Azure IoT central. Similarly, with Azure Maps, you get the facility to add spatial and geodata as well as include weather intelligence in your IoT solutions. 

Azure digital twins allow you to replicate your entire physical IoT environment. With digital twins technology, you can determine correlations, issues or forecast events for your physical IoT environment. For example, you can replicate your entire supply chain to make it more optimized with better inventory planning, shipment and storage conditions.  

Robust Security: Microsoftware has more than 3000 security experts and invests $1 billion annually in R&D and latest tech like AI, edge computing to protect its business clients globally.  


$5 Billion Investment and More: Microsoft, the tech giant, is very serious about its IoT services portfolio. They are on a mission to make a secure cloud infrastructure for connected devices. The company has invested around $5 billion in its IoT projects and are ready to invest more to build up upon its existing product and services. 

Real Support: Azure IoT as a cloud services platform is easy to start with for businesses, and IoT app developers worldwide. You get detailed FAQs, “how-to” videos, Azure advisors and other types of support round the clock. The company also offers services like Microsoft learn to make you expert in a particular IoT product or service. 

Global Partner Network: Similar to AWS, Azure also has a global network of certified IoT manufacturers, solution developers and community experts who work day and day out to make this platform completely user-centric for everyone. 

IoT Challenges Faced By Businesses Globally 

IoT challenges

Source: Microsoft IoT Signals Report 2019

Technical Challenges: The complexity to use connected devices and how to manage them hinders global businesses from IoT adoption. Also, transitioning traditional IT systems over cloud infrastructure is an issue that restricts businesses, startups and SMEs especially, from turning their eye towards IoT solutions. 

Security: According to Microsoft IoT Signals report, around 97% of the companies from all industries - from retail to banking & finance, consider security as the primary reason for the delay in IoT implementation. As IoT devices cover home and work networks - securing critical data is important for businesses. The type of security concerns includes software/firm management, device management, authenticating permissions, etc. 

Lack of Skills & Knowledge: Among IoT adopters, 47% of the global companies agree they don’t have enough skilled workers for IoT implementation. Also, companies believe they don’t have dedicated resources or knowledge base for training employees. Workers lack clarity about how to use connected devices driven by advanced techs like Artificial Intelligence and more. This is also a reason why global business falls short in IoT project realization.

Microsoft and Linux First Brainchild - Azure Sphere

Azure Sphere is a part of the ever-expanding cloud services pool of Microsoft Azure. It was first announced in May 2018 and is now open for public use. Azure Sphere is a “defence-in-depth” IoT solution from Microsoft. It uses a combination of hardware, software and cloud computing technology to provide robust security in a connected network of IoT devices. 

The hardware here implies the use of Azure Sphere–certified chips that are designed by Microsoft silicon partners. Whereas the software refers to a custom-built Linux OS and cloud computing technology refers to cloud-based security. 

For all IoT solution providers or manufacturers, Microsoft provides security chips along with custom Linux OS for top-notch security. Microsoft also uses its Windows Update Service model for Azure Sphere devices. It ensures timely updates to billions of IoT connected devices. The company also uses its own data centre to monitor security across Azure Sphere IoT devices.

Microsoft has also closely worked with Mediatek to identify seven key properties that it uses for building highly secured IoT network devices. To ensure bullet-grade security, Microsoft only allows access to Azure Sphere hardware (MCU) through its standard libraries, no general-purpose files or shell is available. In other words, developers can make connections with IoT devices via Azure Sphere service only.  

Taking Your Business to New Heights With Microsoft Azure 

IoT surely has the potential to increase efficiency in business operations and make them more streamlined. From task automation to rich data insights, everything is readily available in Azure IoT suite, you need to transform your day-to-data activities To tap into the IoT ecosystem successfully, you should partner with an expert IoT development team. Join hands with A3logics.

We are Microsoft Gold Certified partners, holding in-depth expertise in building future-proof IoT applications or solutions for businesses of all kinds. 

Contact us directly to know more about IoT development services.

 

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