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Microsoft, Samsung Partnership: Azure Cloud Manages IoT Devices

Samsung Electronics Co. and Microsoft Corp. have announced a global collaboration combining Samsung’s smart appliances and Microsoft’s digital cloud and IoT technologies to drive improved building operations and maintenance, along with creating better experiences for both service technicians and residents, the companies said in a statement.

The alliance surfaces only a few days after Amazon Web Services debuted IoT SiteWise, a cloud-based managed service for monitoring Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices. Moreover, the alliance also surfaces a few days before Microsoft Inspire 2020 -- a virtual partner conference -- kicks-off online.

Chanwoo Park, corporate vice president, IoT business group, Samsung
Chanwoo Park, corporate vice president, IoT business group, Samsung

The new Samsung-Microsoft strategic alliance, with pilots currently under development, combines Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform and productivity cloud services with Samsung’s smart devices and SmartThings platform, to help optimize building operations, equipment maintenance, energy management, asset performance, and new tenant experiences for commercial, hospitality and residential buildings as well as mixed-use developments, the companies said in a statement.

Microsoft Azure MSPs - Opportunities Ahead?: For Microsoft MSPs and Samsung hardware partners, the alliance opens global opportunities within the space to potentially manage and maintain multiple devices, as well as offer these services to an expanded customer base within construction, real estate development, facilities and property management.

Improving Building Management and Maintenance

The collaboration will leverage Samsung’s smart home appliances, HVAC systems and smart TVs integrated with SmartThings, together with Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins technology and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, to improve building maintenance and management by aggregating and analyzing IoT data from building systems and connected appliances, according to the statement.

For example, with this new capability building managers can not only create an integrated dashboard for handling building issues in real time but could potentially intervene before failure, saving time and resources.

“We believe collaboration with a key partner like Microsoft is essential for innovation, as the company shares our vision of inspiring the world to shape the future by innovating in technology and products,” said Chanwoo Park, corporate vice president heading up the IoT Business Group at Samsung.

“Providing building owners and operators with a robust and powerful set of tools to help them optimize their building costs and equipment, including the management of Samsung’s connected appliances and other devices, is paramount to our long-term alliance,” Park said. “Together with Microsoft, we are helping to solve real challenges faced by our customers by creating secure integrated insight and digital solutions that keep properties functioning sustainably and efficiently while providing better experiences for residents.”

Samsung Smart Devices and Data Management

The collaboration will leverage data from Samsung’s range of smart refrigerators, washing machines, vacuums, air purifiers, ovens and other devices connected through the intelligent SmartThings platform. Such data integration allows building operators to monitor nearly all devices in real time, identify issues and take appropriate measures before real damage happens, should a problem occur, according to the statement.

Sam George, corporate vice president, Azure IoT, Microsoft

Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform processes data from millions of building sensors and devices and then uses machine learning and AI to help building managers and operators determine what issues should be addressed in what order, Microsoft said. The platform then links to Dynamics 365 Field Service to determine the right person with the right skills in the right location to resolve the issue. This helps to reduce service calls while also improving service technicians' productivity; service technicians could troubleshoot multiple issues on a single visit and, if needed, get remote assistance through the Microsoft Teams application, the company said.

This collaboration with Samsung extends this capability to include Samsung smart appliances, HVAC systems and TVs, with plans to expand into digital signage equipment, as well, according to the companies. The alliance also covers Samsung mobile devices, including the XCover Pro mobile phone, to create improved experiences for frontline workers involved in handling building issues. Additionally, Samsung plans to offer SmartThings mobile development tools to enable builders to craft custom, tailored connected living experiences for their end users.

New Opportunities for Innovation

“With Azure Digital Twins, we can create comprehensive digital models of entire environments and a living digital replica of real-world things, places, business processes and people to help customers gain insights that drive better products, optimization of operations, cost reduction and breakthrough customer experiences. This collaboration with Samsung opens up new opportunities for further innovation in the real estate development and property management industries,” said Sam George, corporate vice president, Azure IoT, Microsoft. “Together, we’ll bring the best of Microsoft’s trusted, easy-to-use and secure Azure IoT platform, Azure Digital Twins and Dynamics 365 Field Service technology with Samsung’s expertise in connected devices and appliances to streamline building operations and maintenance.”

In addition to bringing new capabilities to the real estate and property management world, the companies have aligned their worldwide marketing, partner and sales programs to deliver these new integrated solutions for customers in facilities management companies and real estate developers, the companies said in the statement.