New IoT and edge capabilities and programs to power partner and customer innovation; simplify journey to business value

Each year at our Inspire conference, we love hearing from our partners about the cloud solutions they are building, the business momentum they are seeing and the opportunities for growth. We heard early on that IoT’s complexity was impeding innovation and impacting business results. We have made it our mission to provide powerful yet simple to use IoT offerings across cloud and edge so that our partners and customers can quickly move from idea, to pilot to production without requiring deep expertise.

This guiding principle has led to new product innovations—such as Azure IoT Central, the industry’s first true SaaS IoT solution, and Azure Sphere, the first holistic security solution for connected microcontroller units (MCUs)—as well as new partner offerings. At Inspire 2018, we are celebrating a growing ecosystem of IoT ISVs, SIs, MSPs, and more. Each year, we nominate and award finalists and winners for the IoT solutions that stand out across industries and categories of partnership. Crestron Electronics, a leader in smart building technology and solutions, has been named our Inspire IoT Partner of the Year, and our finalists in IoT were Energisme (energy management), Marquam (business process innovation), and Fathym (framework for enterprise IoT). As we move toward a world of ubiquitous computing—the opportunity and the complexity of the Internet of Things has never been greater. That is why we are investing $5B over the next four years in IoT to enable partner and customer innovation through research and development, new programs and offerings.

Today we are continuing the momentum, announcing new capabilities and programs that empower our partners and customers to create enterprise-grade IoT solutions:

  • Azure IoT Central’s new features and support for partners to manage and extend IoT solutions: Azure IoT Central brings the simplicity of SaaS for IoT with no cloud expertise required. Today we are announcing several new capabilities that make it easy for partners to manage and extend Azure IoT Central to meet their customer needs:
    • Azure IoT Central now supports Azure CSP subscriptions, allowing cloud solution provider (CSP) partners to easily provision and manage Azure IoT Central applications.
    • Azure IoT Central analytics Power BI template enables customers to see IoT data in Power BI, such as how many measurements have been sent, which devices are most active, etc. With this window into real-time insights and historical data, customers and partners can analyze the long-term trends to inform business actions.
    • With the new connector in Microsoft Flow, customers can build workflows that are triggered when an alert is fired, such as issuing a ticket to inspect manufacturing equipment with Connected Field Service, using a simple drag-and-drop motion from hundreds of other systems in the library of published connectors.
    • Support for IoT data export. Customers can now continually export data from IoT Central to Azure Storage and consume it in Power BI for advanced visualizations and analytics, or Azure Machine Learning to gain deeper insights.
  • Powering digital societies with Azure Maps and smart buildings capabilities: With IoT, we can optimize how space (from buildings to cities) and energy are used, to maximize productivity and, end-user experiences and increase efficiencies. Building on recent announcements for Azure Maps GA and new spatial intelligence capabilities, we are showcasing new scenarios and announcing new capabilities.Azure Maps, a portfolio of geospatial APIs, is announcing more features to the Standard portfolio, including the ability to customize services based on country, adding satellite and aerial photography and gray-scale vector maps, support for batch services to power search, routing, and geocoding, as well as new features to support advanced geospatial scenarios, such as Matrix Routing, Route Range (Isochrones), IP to Location, and Return Polygon for Area, allowing users to query base map polygons and administrative districts. These updates make it easy to deploy commercial mapping and mission-critical geospatial solutions at scale, across multiple geographies.Last month, we announced new spatial intelligence capabilities in Azure IoT that our partners, including PCL, Honeywell, CBRE, Willow and Steelcase, to name a few, are building on top of to create new smart building solutions. These solutions can transform how we work and live, by optimizing space for productivity and collaboration, energy savings, building construction processes, and more.
  • Making intelligent edge real with Azure IoT Edge: We recently announced the general availability of Azure IoT Edge, the most enterprise-grade and open-edge platforms on the market today. Building on this news, we are introducing two new programs to enrich the Azure IoT Edge ecosystem:
    • Azure Certified for IoT: We are expanding the current Certified for IoT program to certify core edge functionalities (in addition to third-party devices), such as security, device management, and edge analytics. Hardware partners can learn more about how to certify your devices.
    • Azure Marketplace: You can browse prebuilt first- and third-party IoT Edge software modules now available through Azure Marketplace. Software partners can share and showcase their edge modules on the marketplace today, and even monetize offerings through the platform in the future. List your edge modules on Azure Marketplace.

On Monday at Inspire, I will be talking about our engineering investments and what that means to partners. You can check out all IoT sessions at Inspire here. From Sunday to Wednesday at the Internet of Things area in the commons, we are illustrating the end-to-end impact of IoT in manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and smart cities and smart buildings through partner solutions driving transformation in these industries. The examples of digital transformation across industries underscore the pervasive opportunity in IoT. I’m excited to hear from our partners at Inspire and can’t wait to learn how we can help them accelerate their businesses even further!

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