Microsoft Makes a Play in the Industrial IoT

By Martha Vazquez

Microsoft is making it known that they can play in all emerging new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Microsoft has been working to extend its capabilities to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) space. Recently, Microsoft has been highlighting its efforts with partners like Fujitsu and Rockwell Automation. The company is focusing on these partners and is using real-world applications through its Microsoft Azure IoT suite.   

The Azure IoT suite connects devices or “things” as a means to capture the data being generated, then it organizes that data to help companies manage and make informative, and intelligent decisions about the data coming in. In one case, Fujitsu has transformed an old semiconductor manufacturing facility to a plant factory and is using Microsofts’ Azure cloud platform to create advanced agricultural techniques.  For example, Fujitsu is using the data being collected to determine potassium levels in lettuce, which is produced for consumption of dialysis patients and others with chronic kidney disease. All the information that is collected is tracked through Window tablets, hence making it easy for Fujitsu to monitor these high quality products.

Additionally, companies like Rockwell Automation are also using Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform to collect data from remote assets and stores it in the cloud. Basically, the company is able to remotely manage and monitor such things as oil pumps, collecting data from the sensors that tell them when an asset needs to be replaced. By analyzing this data, the platform enables the company to identify any potential equipment issues or failures in real time.

With the growth of the IoT, manufacturers are clearly taking advantage of the capabilities that are being offered by companies such as Microsoft as a means to automate their equipment faster and easier. Companies within the industrial automation space are seeing the true value of the IoT as it provides detailed insights for the supply chain, allowing customers to make better business decisions, creating a better customer experience overall. The IIoT space is not slowing down and, with more advanced analytic tools, we can only expect more businesses to revolutionize as additional processes are being optimized to help make better business decisions.  

All in all, Microsoft is proving that they will stay relevant not only in the computing market but will go beyond to expand into the IoT. That is not to say that the company will retain a giant presence in the market, since other companies such as ARM, SAP and IBM are also making a stand, but they are definitely not going to be left behind in this emerging industry.