5 min read
IoT technologies continue to evolve in power and sophistication. Enterprises are combining cloud-to-edge solutions to connect complex environments and deliver results never before imagined. In the past eight years, Azure IoT has seen significant growth across many industry sectors, including manufacturing, energy, consumer goods, transportation, healthcare, and retail. It has played a leading role in helping customers achieve better efficiency, agility, and sustainability outcomes. In 2021, Gartner positioned Microsoft as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT Platforms for the second year in a row. And Frost and Sullivan named the platform the Global IoT platform of the year. As computing becomes more distributed and embedded, this is a huge opportunity to unite IoT, Edge, and Hybrid, continuing our forward momentum while doubling down on our investments to date.
Companies commit to IoT to be future-ready
With the pandemic, economic changes, and rise of remote work, C-suite and IT leaders have had to rethink what it means for their organization to be “future-ready.” Here are a few Azure IoT customer stories and the solutions they have deployed to solve critical business challenges.
- Manufacturing companies like Inventec, a Taiwan-based electronics company, combined 5G, AI, and IoT to create scalable smart factories which were so successful that the company began selling the solution to other manufacturing companies. Norway-based TOMRA developed a sensor-based system that can process up to five billion data points per day, enabling faster and more accurate materials recycling. Monarc merged AI, IoT, and programmability to create the “world’s first robotic quarterback,” which allows any player on a football team to build specific skills without having to involve an entire squad.
- Energy providers are equally diverse in what “future-ready” looks like. XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, used Azure IoT to monitor and optimize oil fields. Allego based their fast-growing EV charging infrastructure on Azure database as a service (DBaaS) knowing that their tools and technologies will need to scale exponentially. E.ON built a platform based on machine learning and IoT to monitor and redistribute energy across an entire district/city grid to drastically reduce energy usage. Metroscope developed large-scale digital twin solutions for energy production plants that monitor and analyze industrial assets to gain greater operational insights in reducing emissions.
- Consumer goods enterprises like Grupo Bimbo increased manufacturing speed and efficiency by deploying sophisticated data analytics to manage all bakery equipment on a factory line through a network of data sensors. Keurig Dr Pepper used Azure IoT Central to perfect the at-home customer experience with highly personalized coffee brewing preferences which feeds data to corporate R&D for more focused and faster product development.
- Transportation companies like Iberia Express, a major player in the low-cost airline market, deployed AI to create a loyal customer base through personalized and immediate passenger experiences. Italian rail infrastructure manager Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane melded AI, AR and drone technology to optimize the way it monitors its construction sites.
- Healthcare providers like CAE Healthcare were able to pivot during Covid from using in-person intelligent patient mannequins, which mimic a medical patient’s conditions, to virtual mannequins using Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and Azure Functions which expanded the company’s reach and training capabilities.
- Retail companies GetGo and Cooler Screens collaborated to reshape customer experiences by combining GetGo’s traditional beverage cooler doors with the IoT-connected, 4K smart screens developed by Cooler Screens. The Azure-based solution modernized the high-traffic beverage aisles cooler doors to meet the buying patterns of on-the-go and impulse-driven convenience store consumers.
Visit the Microsoft Industry Blogs for a deeper dive into industry and technology deployments. Microsoft Cloud solutions for industries looks more closely at the available cloud platforms for specific industries and the recently published 2022 IoT Signals report explores the key trends in IoT adoption in the manufacturing industry.
Microsoft continues to grow its IoT services and support
Microsoft believes in simplifying cloud to edge for our customers. Our platform provides solutions to the challenges of preserving existing investments, addressing security issues, and managing complex technology environments.
- Diverse edge and device offerings: Currently, over 7,000 OEMs build Windows IoT devices like human-machine interface (HMI) for industrial PCs on factory floors, point-of-sales in retail, kiosks in transportation, medical equipment in healthcare, and the growing smart building automation sector.
- Comprehensive cloud-to-edge security: Controlling and governing increasingly complex environments that extend across data centers, multiple clouds, and the edge can present a variety of security challenges. Azure Sphere can securely connect and protect IoT edge devices.
- Hybrid environment maximization: To take advantage of cloud innovations and maximize existing on-premises investments, organizations need an effective hybrid and multicloud strategy. Azure provides a holistic approach to manage, govern, and help to secure servers and Kubernetes clusters, as well as databases and apps across on-premises, multicloud, and edge environments with Azure Arc, Azure private multi-access edge compute (MEC), and Azure Stack HCI.
- End-to-end product portfolio: Microsoft has a broad range of services for data intake, storage, reporting, and insights. Services like Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Explorer, Azure Digital Twins, and PowerBI pull information from disparate data streams into powerful dashboards and comprehensive digital models of real-world environments.
Partner ecosystem brings faster innovation
With more than 15,000 industry-leading solutions, apps, and services from Microsoft and partners, Azure Marketplace makes it easy to find pre-built, well architected, and Azure-optimized IoT solutions for many industries and use cases. Below are a few examples of ready-to-deploy Industrial IoT solutions that help organizations improve manufacturing efficiency, energy efficiency, and sustainability and can provide a faster path to value than a custom-built solution.
- Sight Machine delivers a solution that allows manufacturers to see the impacts of problems from machine to enterprise level as well the supply chain. Its streaming data platform converts unstructured plant data into a standardized data foundation and continuously analyzes all assets, data sources, and processes in near real-time to improve productivity, profitability, and sustainability.
- PTC and their ThingWorx Digital Performance Management (DPM) solution enables manufacturers to boost plant throughput by identifying issues that lower productivity, cause downtime, and/or reduce Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) with pinpoint accuracy at individual unit, line, facility, or production network scale.
- Uptake developed an AI-driven asset performance management solution, called Fusion, that gives all departments in an enterprise a single, shared view of every asset in an operation. Additionally, their unified industrial data management solution enables manufacturers to connect machines, people, and data to unlock and accelerate AI-enabled industrial intelligence.
- e-Magic Inc. is a specialist in large-scale Industrial IoT and Factory Digital Twin solutions. Their TwinWorX digital twin solution normalizes data from equipment, assets, systems, and other IoT devices into a unified view to provide situational awareness and command and control of facilities, equipment, and processes.
- ICONICS provides smart building automation solutions that integrates traditional building management systems, modern sensors, and end user productivity tools to gather and analyze real-time information from any application on any device from single buildings to global enterprises.
Begin your migration to Azure IoT
Certified Microsoft partners with experience in IoT solutions, analytics, and applications are ready to help you with your migration projects. Programs like FastTrack, with expert Azure assistance, can also help accelerate your cloud deployments while minimizing risk.
For enterprises in the Americas, Xoriant, Insight, Hitachi, NTT, Mesh Systems, and Kyndryl are certified Azure migration partners. Companies based in Europe and Asia can contact Cognizant, HCL, Capgemini, Infosys, or Codit. Ingram Micro and TD Synnex can help SMBs and ISVs plan migrations.
The future of IoT and the cloud
The future evolution of IoT plays an integral part of a bigger technology investment—the industrial metaverse. Azure is already bringing the physical and digital worlds together with digital twins. The 2022 Microsoft Build featured “From the Edge to the Metaverse, how IoT powers it all” to provide an in-depth look at how companies can use intelligent technologies from Azure to create value.
At Microsoft, we look forward to hearing from you and becoming your strategic partner. Reach out to our migration partners listed above, search the Azure Marketplace for the right solution for your use cases, or do a more in-depth technical study in the Azure Internet of Things (IoT) collection.