Microsoft launches a slew of IoT-related offerings

Microsoft's goal is to reduce the complexity of IoT deployments.

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Microsoft this week announced the launch of Microsoft IoT Central, a software as a service (SaaS) designed to reduce the complexity of deploying internet of things (IoT) solutions. It is a fully managed SaaS offering for customers and partners to deploy IoT products without requiring cloud solution expertise.

In announcing the service, Microsoft acknowledged the benefits of IoT but also its challenges -- its complexity and a shortage of skills for starters -- which makes it difficult for everyone to take advantage of IoT.

The new service works with Azure IoT Suite, Microsoft’s platform as a service (PaaS) for building and customizing IoT services. IoT Central “has the potential to dramatically increase the speed at which manufacturers can innovate and bring new products to market, as well as lower the barriers to creating IoT solutions that generate new revenue opportunities and better experiences for customer,” wrote Sam George, partner director for Azure IoT.

Microsoft contends the Azure IoT Suite has the potential to dramatically increase the speed at which manufacturers can innovate and bring new products to market, as well as lower the barriers to creating IoT solutions that generate new revenue opportunities and better experiences for customers.

The website has been set up but is fairly empty as of now. Microsoft said it will roll out more information over the coming months.

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IoT Central was not the only IoT-related announcement Microsoft made. It also announced plans for next week to formally introduce a "connected factory" preconfigured solution in Azure IoT Suite for the industrial sector to easily configure and improve the performance of factory equipment, such as connecting and monitoring industrial equipment. It will be formally rolled out next week at an industrial equipment show in Hannover, Germany.

Microsoft also plans to introduce a new service called Azure Time Series Insights, which is a fully managed analytics, storage and visualization service that gives users an interactive and instant interface to analyze billions of events from an IoT solution.

Azure Time Series Insights will provide a global view of data across various event sources to give companies a picture of their IoT solutions and avoid downtime in case of failure. It helps organizations discover hidden trends, spot anomalies and conduct root-cause analysis in near real time, all without writing a single line of code.

Microsoft further announced the preview of Azure Stream Analytics on edge devices, a new feature of that extends the streaming analytics down to the device level. This enables organizations to use streaming analytics where connectivity to the cloud is limited or inconsistent but nonetheless is still needed.

Finally, in yet another effort to reduce the complexity and time required to get started with IoT, Microsoft is introducing the Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning service to simplify the enrollment process, enabling organizations to automatically register and provision their devices to IoT Hub in a secure and scalable way.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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