Microsoft has unveiled a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution designed to simplify the Internet of Things (IoT) for businesses. The new solution, IoT Central, can help business users streamline the innovation process and bring new connected products to market faster than ever before, according to Microsoft.
IoT Central also reduces the barriers to creating IoT solutions, Microsoft stated, and helps business users generate new revenue opportunities and better experiences for customers.
IoT Central is a fully managed SaaS offering built on the Azure cloud, Microsoft noted. It helps business users get the most out of the IoT without requiring cloud solution expertise.
"With Microsoft IoT Central, Microsoft is simplifying IoT so every business can digitally transform through IoT solutions that are more accessible and easier to implement," Azure IoT Partner Director Sam George said in a prepared statement.
IoT Central will be rolling out more publicly over the next few months, George indicated. It will be offered in conjunction with the Azure IoT Suite, Microsoft's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution.
Microsoft Eyes IoT Innovation
In addition to IoT Central, Microsoft introduced several other IoT technologies and solutions this week, including:
- Azure IoT Suite Connected Factory: The Connected Factory preconfigured Azure IoT Suite solution allows users to connect on-premises OPC UA and OPC Classic devices to the Microsoft cloud and browse and configure factory devices from the cloud.
- Azure Time Series Insights: With Azure Time Series Insights, users can leverage a fully managed analytics, storage and visualization service to explore and analyze billions of events from an IoT solution.
- Azure Stream Analytics on Edge Devices: Microsoft launched a preview version of Azure Stream Analytics on edge devices that "extends the benefits of this unique streaming technology from the cloud down to the device level," George pointed out.
Microsoft will showcase its IoT technologies and solutions at next week's Hannover Messe industrial fair in Germany.
European Outpaces US in IoT Investments
Microsoft is investing heavily in the IoT, and this trend appears likely to continue over the next few years.
However, a recent study conducted by global management firm Bain & Company showed European executives are more interested in IoT investments than their American counterparts.
The study of more than 500 European and American executives indicated 18 percent of European respondents indicated they are implementing IoT and analytics case applications. Comparatively, 8 percent of U.S. respondents said they are doing the same.
Market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) has projected IoT spending will grow nearly 16 percent between 2015 and 2020 and total $1.29 trillion by 2020. Moreover, IDC stated manufacturing is the "leading IoT industry" and invested approximately $178 billion in the IoT last year.